Mistakes to avoid when starting an ecommerce business or an online store.

When you start an e-commerce business, more than asking “how to start an online business?” you should ask, “what to avoid when setting up an online business?”

The Internet is mushrooming e-commerce sites, every second. Currently, there are 5 billion websites and counting (according to WorldWideWebSize).

Opening an online store and expecting to get instant results, should not be your motto or a prerequisite to starting an e-commerce business in the first place.

In a virtual world, where each second a website is coming into existence, you need to build a website that delivers the best customer experience. If not, your’s will be meet ‘blink and miss’ fate!

Before you jump through numerous online business ideas, do a complete research of existing e-commerce websites. Learn from the mistakes these businesses made. And try to avoid them, when you are processing to build an online store.

Here are 5 mistakes you can avoid when starting your e-commerce business:

1 — Weak Customer Service. Inadequate Customer Experience

The entire purpose of starting an e-commerce business or building an online store is to sell your products. And to sell products, you need customers. Your customers have the launch button to the success of your business.

Having an online store comes with many benefits. You don’t have to meet employee management cost, rent, electricity bill and others. You don’t have to communicate directly with customers. In spite of this arrangement, you still need to deliver the best customer service and experience.

A brand thrives on the loyalty and trust of its consumers. The moment you fail to connect and meet their expectations, your business will tumble like Jack and Jill from a mountain.

Create an easy and convenient pathway for consumer communication.
 Even if you don’t have to connect with your customers face-to-face, you still need to have meaningful conversations and discussions.
 Allow your customers to ask questions and queries. Give them enough room to share problems they are experiencing with your products or even positive testimonials.
 Offer instant refunds, returns and easy-to-handle complaints and processing deals.

2 — Weak Social Media Presence
 Check out these figures and be the judge –

  • 56% buyers search for potential suppliers via LinkedIn
  • 84% executives analyze their purchase making decisions using social media
  • Potential buyers with adequate budget prefer social media for purchases
  • 52% — 61% IT buyers keep their research and information intake intact through Technical Blogs.

Now that you’ve got the Factual-Big-Picture, you should not deny the impact of social media. Ignoring, overusing or downplaying social media presence on your online store, will cause a major adverse haul on your sales and profits.

It is important to maintain a brand presence and develop loyalty amongst your customers who use social media.

Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter are few of the most valuable social media sites where you can play with catalog presentation. Such platforms help in sharing your products and deals with potential customers, in the form of fans, followers and connects.

The social media channels are uber resourceful for e-commerce businesses because you can use them to promote your channel, product and keep the buzz around your site alive and intact.

Therefore, remember to add social sharing buttons, especially in your product pages, when you are setting up an online business.

3 — Inadequate presence of product images and descriptions

When you plan to build an online store, you are basically, creating a channel similar that to an offline store. All that is different is the presence of a concrete brick and mortar store. Other than that, everything remains the same.

You need to display images of every product. In case of an online store, you need accurate and resourceful product descriptions for each product.

So, the third point to keep in mind and a mistake to avoid, when you are starting an e-commerce business is to take care of product images and product descriptions.

Product images are a bridge between your brand and potential buyers. They are the only source of visual information for consumers to understand and get an initial experience before the purchasing process.
 With an online store, customers do not have the ease of testing a product before making a purchase. Therefore, adequate and clear representation of products via images, will help customers in understanding and evaluating products before buying them.
 Have many displays of every product, from different angles. If a product is available in various colors, make sure to include the options in the images.
 Along with clear and concise depiction of product images, you should also align them with readable, clear and feature oriented descriptions for every product.
 Try covering every feature, USPs and manufacture information in every description. Remember, your customers are unable to touch and feel or try out a particular product. Giving a descriptive insight to products, will determine their final decision.

4 — Limited Shipping Options

For an e-commerce business, the most important point of consideration is delivering the best customer experience. We love having options in life. Same goes for your potential customers.

When you give them options, you are developing trust and loyalty. Giving a multiple shipping options, will further engage your users.

5 — Not having a mobile-ready e-commerce site

Sale of smartphones has increased by 30% in the last 5 years. 80% online traffic comes from smartphones. 40% consumers search for products through mobile phones. There has been a major decline in desktop computer users.

Potential buyers are making transactions on tablets and smartphones. So, when you are setting an online store, make sure to develop a mobile-friendly e-commerce site.

Whether you are starting to build an online store or already have an e-commerce business, make sure to keep it updated and avoid these five mistakes.

August 16, 2016


Originally published at quadrant.technology on August 16, 2016.