With so many entrepreneurs launching their own successful ecommerce stores online, it can seem all too easy; and sometimes it really is. With any new business venture there will be a lot of determination and hard work ahead. For success, it’s imperative to put in the hours and hard work to build your online store into an empire. And for every successful entrepreneur, there are numerous people that don’t make it because of these fundamental misconceptions that are fatal to any online business. Learn how to avoid these popular myths that have cost companies their success so you don’t make the same mistake.
1) Myth: I’m working online, I don’t need a business plan
Just because you are working online, doesn’t mean you can skip the business plan. Ecommerce is surprisingly complex so you need to brainstorm ideas and build up a workable strategy you can put into place. How are you going to execute your plan and make your company successful?
- Create a comprehensive business model to ensure business success
- Set out achievable goals to work towards. Budgets, benchmarks and profits are all important for a successful business strategy
- Avoid costly mistakes with market research to make sure there is a market for your products
- Implement a workable growth strategy that will allow your company room to expand. Set achievable goals to work towards and plan for future growth within your company
- Financial planning will help you forecast future performance and help manage cash flow that prepares for situations of cash shortages. Equally it helps manage cash flows when demand is high to plan and budget for the future
2) Myth: Launching your own online store will be inexpensive
To say that launching your online store will be inexpensive negates the fact that prices to set up your store will differ dependent on the type of store it is, tools used and initial capital. Though it will cost you to set up your online store there are always ways to lower costs and make your online store affordable.
- Use free tools for your site like Hootsuite and PutsMail so your store can run smoothly without costing the earth. But eventually, you may need to mature using paid version of SaaS tools to gain access to functions and other paid-for tools
- DIY is fine, but you also need experts. Learn how to complete tasks yourself at first to save costs on consulting and business advice. Once your business reaches success, step it up to the next level with expert advice
- Expand your business slowly to reduce risk. Only when your company is ready to grow should you expand, otherwise you could potentially lose time and money by making a bad financial decision
- You might need capital to float your initial investment in stock: be careful about borrowing as it may inflate your revenue figures. Even though the business is cheap at first, company growth will require paying out more for logistics, staff and marketing to keep your company afloat
3) Myth: All ecommerce store builders/environments are the same
Just like any product, no two online store builders are the same, with some taking on vast amounts of your website maintanence and others leaving it all to your expert hands. Pick between self hosted or hosted websites depending on experience and how much help you require.
- Will you be able to handle site management, or would you rather leave this up to the professionals? Self hosted websites give maximum customizability but can give you unnecessary tasks to take care of especially for those just starting out
- For those looking for a bit more guidance and ease, hosted ecommerce sites like Shopify hand the tricky site management tasks over to the professionals so you have more time to focus on the important things
- Other ecommerce environments can offer clean and professional looking websites for those who have more time to spend on creating their site. WordPress offers lots of useful plugins specially for ecommerce, to help build your site. Magento or Drupal are viable options for larger ecommerce outfits
- Take the time to research into your options to find the best possible suit for your online store
- You’ll be surprised how much time tech takes to get up and running. Ensure you pick the right ecommerce platform for your site which will give you room to grow and expand in the future. The wrong choice now could cost you a pretty penny later. Look into the integrations that come with platforms, will managing your inventory and customer data be easy?
4) Myth: Don’t waste time on professional photos
Being an online store, you lose the ability to sell products to customers face-to-face and so need to take pride in other selling points on your website to keep up with the competition. Product images are crucial to boost sales and tap into to the visual nature of humans. Don’t upload sloppy, pixelated or wonky photos of your products or customers will not be enticed
Draw your customers into your online store with stunningly bright professional looking photos that give a full representation of your store’s brand. Product images are the backbone of your ecommerce store so their appearance will alter your customer’s perception of you as a whole.
- Ensure photos are representative of the products you are selling. Make sure customers can tell how big the item is, it’s color (as best you can) and that it actually looks like the product you're selling
- Focus on lighting, background and image quality for higher revenue
- Take product photos with mobile users in mind because this audience is bigger than ever before
5) Myth: Customers will flock once your site is up and running
If only it were that easy. Ecommerce merchants around the globe know that it’s a lot more difficult then that. You need to put all your effort into good SEO practices, quality content and marketing to get your name and brand out there.
Look into web analytics tools like Google Analytics to monitor traffic to your site and find areas of improvement. What's making customers stay on your site and more importantly, what’s making customers leave your site?
- Find out where your audience spends their time and focus on a marketing strategy that will target them. Utilize metrics to understand your target audiences online behaviour so you can tailor your marketing strategy to suit
- Engage with customers on multiple channels to build a good reputation
- Focus on SEO and backlinks to your site to increase rankings and the visibility of your site to boost conversions and revenue. Ensure your site is SEO friendly so search engines can understand what your site is about. Build a blog and create incredible content people will want to link to. Guest blog on other sites to build up more backlinks to your site and increase visibility
6) Myth: I work online so customer service doesn’t matter right?
Wrong. There is a misconception amongst ecommerce newbies that because you are selling items online, you don’t need to handle customer service complaints or inquiries when really you should be the first point of contact for all your customers. Great customer service is the building block to a successful company and one that will grow and expand over time.
- Be the first point of call for customers on all channels. Monitor mentions on social media and respond to comments on your social media profiles. Respond quickly to inquiries whatever medium customers are reaching you on
- Find customers where they are - online and through social media. Track mentions so you never miss when someone talks about your brand or company online
- Reply to comments with a helpful and attentive manner
- Use an integrated chat features to offer assistance to customers while using your site. This boosts conversion rates and will increase revenue
- Never underestimate customer experience (CX). Provide multiple touch points for customers to interact with your brand and ensure you are providing them with the best possible experience every single time
These ecommerce myths are ruining people’s online businesses and it’s important that you don’t make the same mistakes. Provide customers with more than just great products, and offer them unique value with a customer experience they will not forget. Have you heard of any of these myths?
Patrick Foster is an ecommerce entrepreneur, coach and writer, sharing ideas on his own blog EcommerceTips.org. On his blog, Patrick shares engaging ecommerce content for entrepreneurs and business owners alike.