Mistakes to watch out for when starting an e-commerce business

words Alexa Wang

Online ventures are some of the most popular businesses to get into today. With a laptop, internet connection and an idea, you can have an e-commerce store up and running. It seems simple enough. However, it takes more than that, as many entrepreneurs come to realise when they start struggling halfway.

Keeping an e-commerce store afloat and profitable requires a lot of tact and strategising. Some of the mistakes that online entrepreneurs commit might seem common, but you may not know you are making them until it’s too late. So, here’s what to avoid.

e-commerce business

Using the Wrong Platform

Entreprenuers have almost limitless options when it comes to picking a site for your web-based store. Not every one of those is ideal, though. An e-commerce platform is more than just a marketplace. It affects the type of customers that you attract and consequently, the amount of revenue you generate. Some platforms have bigger user bases than others, and that should factor into your choice as well. Take the time to evaluate your alternatives carefully. Consider elements like the availability of the platform in different regions, the usability of the site and shopping cart features.

Failing to Research the Audience

If you are to find the right platform for your customers, you have to know a bit about their habits. Most entrepreneurs focus too much on creating the business that they forget for whom they are creating. You have to define the target audience before even deciding how to brand your product. If you are to fulfil the needs of consumers, understand what they are first. Know their interests, anger triggers and buying behaviours. This information ensures that you structure an e-commerce site that serves the target audience in the best possible way. You can find more info about the need for customer research for e-commerce websites.

Lack of Scalability on Websites

‘Think big’ should be a mantra for any entrepreneur looking to set up an online platform. Regardless of how small your shop is now, it doesn’t mean it won’t grow. The same way you would envision a physical company taking off and demanding more resources, do that for e-commerce. Too many entrepreneurs don’t factor in scalability when developing their platforms, and that becomes a problem down the line. When your site brings in more traffic than it can handle, it would mean having to adjust it, and that leads to costly downtime. Partner with a hosting service that gives your site room to grow as the business gets better.

Compromising Customer Service

Don’t spend all your resources on building an e-commerce platform and branding then skimp out on customer service. Online shopping is primarily based on trust and part of that depends on how you treat customers. Shoppers will have questions, concerns and complaints that you should be able to handle professionally. Use traditional communication channels like telephone and email to engage with customers. Couple them with digital options like live chat and social media. Be open to criticism from buyers and use that feedback to improve where necessary.

Setting up an e-commerce site might not be as easy as most people make it out to be. However, with the right preparations, you can avoid some frequent miscalculations and increase your chances of success.

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