Reviews, ratings, and customer feedback are major parts of your business’s social proof. And new businesses definitely need strong social proof to persuade customers for buying from you!
While all eCommerce businesses should avoid these mistakes because of the sensitive nature of this industry, these are very crucial for new online sellers since they can become a source of negative customer reviews and bad shopping experiences.
1. Unoptimized Manufacturing Process
During the ideation, research, and validation process, eCommerce owners who come up with product ideas that are handmade, unique, or not created in bulk in factories, seem highly profitable in the beginning.
Later, such products take lengthy manufacturing processes: the time you (or your suppliers) consume in creating the product outweighs the profit margins.
You take three weeks to create a product, your response gets delayed, orders become overdue and shipping gets late. You’ll eventually feel like things are falling apart and you have loads to do.
Tip: Don’t fill too much on your plate. Either balances the no. of orders or hire a team member to optimize the manufacturing process. See if you can outsource some parts of your product creation. But then, balance everything against the price you are charging the market size for the product.
2. Poor Product Page Content
Your product page content includes everything from descriptions to photographs to discount deals! No matter how cool your products are, if the content is miswritten or misrepresented, let alone inaccurate or unclear, the business will gradually face complaints and lose customers.
Tip: Make sure the content is accurate in terms of size, color, variations, etc. Photographs need to be clear enough to influence your visitors’ buying decision for good!
3. Targeting the Wrong Audience
This is a marketing mistake and can break the overall eCommerce business cycle. If you are selling skincare products, the bigger segment of your audience will be females aged between 22-35, rather than teenage boys who can’t care less about a video game.
Tip: Always market to relevant audiences, establish a sizeable fan following and make your customers take your brand seriously.
Like a traditional business, you will also identify your cash cow in the first 2 months – these are the most popular (and most likely profitable) products in your online store. And this calls for another product mistake by eCommerce businessmen. Most of them focus on producing more popular products and don’t regularly add new ones.
Unless it is a subscription type of product, your previous customers then will stop visiting your store if you are inconsistent in adding new products. Especially in the second and third years when you should be scaling your business! Order fulfillment is a prime example of services to outsource. Look for a reputable third-party logistics (3PL) provider.
Tip: Add new products consistently. Target similar niche products, but with slightly variable details. Keep your customer’s feed fresh, yet relatable.
5. Annoying (And Spammy) Emails
Though email marketing is meant for ‘marketing’ – but that doesn’t mean you have to sound salesy.
Here is how new eCommerce business owners mess up their email marketing campaigns:
They add links to their related products in every email or force the users to take action immediately, making fake product performance promises. In short, they build their email content around more sales only. What’s the result? The readers either don’t open the emails at all or unsubscribe in masses – and that’s the last thing that should happen to your brand!
Tip: Remember to use emails as a way to make your audience remember you for relevance and value addition (and minimally promotion) – not only for advertisements.
6. Lengthy Checkout Process
People don’t like lengthy, time-consuming checkout processes, especially where they have to provide their payment information or shipping addresses all the time.
Tip: Ask your mobile app development company to make the user journey as short and quick as possible. Allow short checkouts and guest checkouts in your app. Show the shopping cart icon on every page of your website and mobile application so they can add products and quickly navigate to the order action.
7. Working Single-handedly
One major mistake we have seen many eCommerce business owners make in their initial years is they try to do everything, technical and non-technical themselves. They forget that they are eCommerce business owners and that they don’t have to perform all the duties themselves.
While it’s okay to write your brand story and capture photographs of your products and write handy user manuals yourself, it is not ideal to calculate indirect taxes and fix website bugs on your own! These responsibilities overwhelm business owners and they end up giving less than the required time to their actual business processes, like acquiring new customers and community engagement.
Tip: hire freelancers, virtual assistants, agencies, and delivery guys for work that does not need your 100% attention – especially in the second and third years when you should be scaling your business!
8. Taking the Feedback Too Seriously Or Lightly
Yes, you read it right! Doing either of these is harmful to an eCommerce business, especially during the first two years of inception.
Negative feedback and less-than-average ratings are part of any customer-centric, on-demand business. Responding to customers Is necessary, but taking their words to affect the business negatively is not a good idea.
Tip: Don’t get underestimated or discouraged by a negative rating or two. In such times, keep yourself calm, and see if you could fix the situation with an exchange or refund. Plus, learn from your unhappy customers and improve your products and services building on what they have pointed out!
9. Automating Too Early or Too Late
There is a right and wrong time to automate your business – or say, make it completely headless. Some people don’t get a mobile app until they start missing customers or see their competitors grow, while others launch the feature-packed web application even before they have a product idea.
Tip: evaluate your product idea, check if you should go for iOS or Android application development services, then get a website and intermediate-level eCommerce app. Then update the app to a feature-rich one, yet bug-free and lite. In short, follow the instructions step by step without messing the sequence!
10. Unclear Refund Policies and Poor Customer Service
Refunds, exchanges, and complaints are part of business processes. Unclear rules that are always changing and differ based on customer segments and demographics can hurt your business in the long run.
But that doesn’t mean you have to exchange or refund every customer who makes a request, regardless of analyzing the situation. For example, If you are selling custom hand-painted portraits, a full refund might end up causing you a loss. But then, the refund is important in cases if the final product doesn’t match the promised quality.
Tip: Depending on the nature of your products, you need to set a clear exchange and refund policy right from the beginning of your eCommerce business. Set clear benchmarks, classify conditions for exchanges and refunds.
All businesses, especially startups make mistakes in the beginning. While there is no problem in making mistakes, there is definitely one when businesses repeat the old mistakes. Successful businesses learn from their mistakes, especially from unsuccessful products, and unhappy customers. You too can make a different future if you take these mistakes as a learning opportunity and come back stronger and more profitable.