10 common e-commerce mistakes that destroys your business and sales in 2017 and 2018, that you can fix today!
Table of Contents
- 1 10 common e-commerce mistakes that destroys your business and sales in 2017 and 2018, that you can fix today!
- 1.1 Mistake #1 Lack of value proposition
- 1.2 Mistake #2 Poor Product Description
- 1.3 Mistake #3 Wrong Profit Calculations
- 1.4 Mistake #4 Not finding the gap in the market
- 1.5 Mistake #5 Too many products
- 1.6 Mistake #6 Not having a marketing/ content plan
- 1.7 Mistake #7 Too many giveaways (freebies)
- 1.8 Mistake #8 Wasting time on unimportant stuff
- 1.9 Mistake #9 Not knowing your ideal customer/ client
- 1.10 Mistake #10 Your site doesn’t look trustworthy
In this post we’ll cover how YOU can fix these 10 common mistakes for you online business or e-commerce site, to generate more sales, leads or revenue.
Creating an online business isn’t necessarily a walk in the park, and a lot people struggle just to get a few sales. However a lot of the mistakes that are made, will be covered in this post.
We’ll cover how YOU can avoid these mistakes and how you can fix them, today!
Mistake #1 Lack of value proposition
A strong and clear value proposition is very important for the success of your business. If you visitors, clients or customers doesn’t know why you are any different from your competitors, or why your products are better, why should they buy from you.
Your value proposition the argument why a customer should buy from you. Value proposition is also close related to the branding of your business because these value will determine what your customers or clients think of you and your brand, and your products.
To determine your value proposition think what your unique selling proposition is. Your USP is what makes you special and unique. Unfortunately, not only do many ecommerce sites have poor value propositions, but many sites and stores even have difficulty communicating exactly what they sell.
Here is 2 examples of some simple Shopify stores that have a clear, but strong value proposition, and make it obvious what they sell.
Make sure to incorporate your branding, value proposition in those areas of your website and ecommerce store:
- High quality images (for cover or product or both)
- A strong headline with possible subheadings
- Benefits or “uniqueness” of your products described in as few words as possible
- Sociale proof and/or reviews/ testimonials with your product or services.
- Body copy explaining why anyone should be from you, how your product works and why your offer the best solution.
Once people know what you sell and why they should be from you (USP for example) this would dramatically increase you sales and revenue because of a big boost in conversion rate.
BONUS info, 8 out of 10 consumers will purchase online if they were offered free shipping according to hostingfacts.
Mistake #2 Poor Product Description
Everyone will agree that a product description is important but most stores doesn’t prioritise this enough. A lot of stores only focus on generating traffic, spending time on SEO and marketing, but forget to optimise their landing pages and product pages.
A study from Nielsen Group found out the following:
“Thumbnails of bookcases were studied intensely, whereas thumbnails of flat-panel TVs were mainly ignored. In fact, on the full Amazon page, only 18% of the viewing time was spent on the photos, while 82% was spent on the text.”
This is why the information about your products are extremely important. This will lower your bounce rate, create more value for your visitor and opportunity to generate more revenue. If you think about this makes sense. If you are about to buy a new computer, you care about the specifications (CPU, RAM, Screen resolution etc) to compare the product to it’s competitors and to know if this is the right product for you. The more unique your product is the more important the information gets, because you need to explain more about what you’re offering, what it is, how to use it, why to buy it etc, compared to selling clothes. You need to adapt to how your main target audience and the products/ services you’re offering.
If you have a more expensive product consider offering a long refund guarantee (60 or 90 days for example) to make your customers feel more “safe” when buying. If they don’t like the product or expected something else, they can return it.
Mistake #3 Wrong Profit Calculations
When people are starting businesses and ecommerce stores, it’s very easy today to get started and most the people who launch their business is to make money, which make sense. However 1 main problem we discovered through the years is that the profit calculations were wrong or non-existing.
So what does this mean, is it even important? Yes, this is important, and you should consider creating a more conservative calculations at the beginning so you don’t get disappointed if you don’t reach these numbers.
This is what the calculations normally looks like:
Profit = Price – Product Cost
This is what the calculations should like (to make it simple):
Profit = (Quantity * Price) – Product cost – Website hosting – Fees – Shipping costs – Marketing Expenses
If you sell a product for 15 USD and buy it for 5, you’ll have a 10 USD margin. Wow, that’s great isn’t it? Well it depends a million factors, but especially the demand of the product. You should consider if the demand is big enough the product or service you chose to sell. You should also consider to figure out if you’re able to sell a certain amount of units to make a living.
Example, if you want to make 10.000 USD raw profit a month and you sell a product for 15 USD, but it for 5 USD and have other expenses of 5 (marketing, shipping, hosting etc), you’ll make 5 USD a unit. Then you need to sell 2.000 units a month (30.000 revenue – 20.000 expenses to make 10.000 in profit). Are you able to achieve 2.000 units in sales a month? Even though a cheaper product is more likely to get purchased (terms of law of demand) sometimes it’s easier to reach a certain amount of revenue or profit with a more expensive product. You’ll save time on customer service, save costs on shipping fees, administration and need less customers / conversions. If you sell a 150 USD dollar product, buy it for 50 USD and have other expenses of 50 USD (similar like the other example), you’ll only need to sell 200 units a month instead of 2.000. Take this into consideration when you’re making your budget. There is no right or wrong choice, but some people prefer the larger volumen, but some are maybe not able to generate enough traffic to make a living of a 5-15 USD product.
Mistake #4 Not finding the gap in the market
This is also referring the mistake above, but it’s just a as important. You need to differentiate your store, your brand and you product. Not to mention that you’ll have to compete with Amazon, Wallmart and other giant ecommerce platforms.
You need to figure out what your target audience is and how the competition are within your industry. Depending on if you’re running a dropshipping or alibaba store or manufacturing your own products, keep in mind if you’re making a “general store” or a “niche store”. Make clear for your visitors whats your store and ecommerce store is all about. If you for example have an ecommerce store selling survival equipment like Adventure Survival Equipment (random store i found on google). They have picked a niche within “survival equipment” and then created a universe within the survival field, by offering a lot of different complementary survival products to their audience. This is generally a great way to grow your business by offering complementary products close related to your main product.
Just make sure to test out a few samples in at your target audience before going big. This will safe you a lot of hard earned money and your spare time. Also make sure there is a decent and stable demand of the product your selling, and take notes if it’s a very seasonal product, because this can have a major impact on how you should plan your marketing, what to expect in terms of sales, etc. Think about a more long-team solution, and fidget spinners isn’t one of them!
Mistake #5 Too many products
A lot of stores launch with “too many products”, and when I say “too many” it’s because more isn’t always better. Depending on what type of ecommerce business you have, you need to have a brand that your customers or clients understand. If your product range is too random with all kinds of different products (besides if you run a general store) a lot of small entrepreneurs will experience more sales if they stick to fewer product. One of the reason is also that when you can focus on fewer products, you’ll have more time and money to optimize these.
This doesn’t mean you can’t launch a shopify or woocommerce store with 1.000 products, but just keep in mind why you want the products and what your concept and brand should be like.
Mistake #6 Not having a marketing/ content plan
Not having a marketing and / or content plan can have a huge impact on your business. Most startups have an idea (hopefully) of how they want to generate traffic or at least an idea of how they want to do their marketing. However one thing that is generally overlooked is incorporating content marketing in your marketing strategy.
Sometimes it can be difficult to write content about a small niche or generally generating a lot content about some random products. For example, you might run out of ideas if you only sell swimsuits and you need to write 50-100 posts about swimsuits.
However if you’re not sure how it works or how to get started here is a few quick tips:
- Write content according to your customers, not the product itself.
If someone is interested in swimsuits they might also be interested in other water/swim related content such as sailing, diving, snorkling, travelling etc. Get inspired and adapt to your audience
- Schedule your posts
Schedule your posts on your website or social media accounts and release content regularly so you customers still remember you. Your visitors, followers, customers and clients will rather have regularly updates with new and up-2-date content than receiving 20 post for 1 day, once a year.
- Determine what can of content you want to create
Since everyone’s business is different, you’ll need to create content that make sense for your target group. Make blogging is good maybe not, maybe you should create videos with people using your product, contests, collaborations with influencers or other brands. That depends on your brand and product.
Mistake #7 Too many giveaways (freebies)
It’s very popular to do all kinds of contests and giveaways to win free products, hurray! However make sure to plan out what your goal is with the campaign. Freebies and giveaways are an effective and fast way to generate engagement, views, click but not always sales. If you’re doing the contest in collaborating with another brand or an influencer make sure that the influencer promote your products in the right way, and their target audience is the same as yours. Freebies would work on perishable or consumable products – skincare, foods, supplements, and similar. For all other products (even if it’s something that someone could order another one of, like a piece of clothing), I would generally NOT recommend it.
Mistake #8 Wasting time on unimportant stuff
Since a lot of small business is bootstrapping, chances are a lot of people, small businesses and entrepreneurs are doing everything themselves. Well it makes sense, you’re low on money and just want to get started ASAP. That is a good thing, but in economics where opportunity cost is a great concept, this isn’t necessarily always the best option. Opportunity cost is essentially, when you choose to pursue any 1 opportunity, the “cost” of that to you is that your time or money is no longer free for other opportunities or choices. So the cost of 1 opportunity is actually every other opportunity you have, in short.
So, when you’re setting up the store by yourself, designing your logo yourself, finding the right products to sell ,doing marketing yourself, customer service, logistics, accounting etc it’s insanely time consuming. You’re doing a one man (or woman) show, but consider if any or some the tasks you’re doing could be done easier or outsourced.
Make a list of all the tasks you do and divide them into the following matrice:
Now you have 4 lists of tasks divided into these groups shown on the right.
Very important + very urgent tasks:
All these tasks should be done by yourself. It’s your business and this is 1. priory tasks. Do these and keep track of how you’re doing. Remember to focus on the tasks that generate value for your business and brand.
Very important + less urgent tasks:
These tasks are also very important but doesn’t have an urgency, keep track of your deadline. These tasks should be done by you as well but try and find easier way to this and/or find an automation. For example, check our e-mail automation guide here, maybe you’ll find some inspiration-
Less important + very urgent tasks
These tasks should be outsourced ASAP. If you can’t afford this at the moment, keep in mind that you are WORTH more. This means your opportunity cost would be that you could spend more time with your family and friends or just focus on the very important part of your business, instead of sending and collecting packages for new orders. Time consuming but not difficult.
Less important + less urgent tasks
These tasks should either be outsourced or totally erased. Think about why you picked the tasks to be here. Remember if it isn’t very important or urgent, why should you do it? Don’t waste your time or money.
Mistake #9 Not knowing your ideal customer/ client
This is an common mistake, but isn’t to hard to”fix”. When I launched my first ecommerce store, we decided to sell audio equipment, but we figured out pretty fast that our marketing wasn’t doing too well, simply because we didn’t knew exactly who our ideal target group was like.
Doing a good research before launching or before advertising is extremely important and you’ll find out crucial knowledge about your customers behaviour and habits, if you do it right. Build a customer profile, maybe 1-3 ideal customers defined by age, gender, demographic, income etc and describe what your audience is like. Some entrepreneurs I’ve spoken to hadn’t even thought about this before they started. I’m not saying you can’t succeed with your business without doing this step, but I’m just saying that many people will gain valuable information and data to determine your next decisions. Even if the niche you found has sufficient demand and a good selection of products, without knowing your ideal customer, it will be a lot harder for you.
The deeper you dig, the more you know, the more you know, the more effective your marketing will become and the more sales and content you can generate. You’ll also have easier to identify your customers needs and values.
Mistake #10 Your site doesn’t look trustworthy
This is HUGE. If your site ain’t trustworthy, why should anyone buy from you. Even if your products are better and cheaper. Remember that all of the really big guys like Wallmart, Amazon, but also medium sized ecommerce stores with a decent brand, they dont’t have to prove anything because they’re already trustworthy. They have already builded a good relationship with their audience and target group and a lot of people know what it says and/or what they sell.
However, just because you’re trustworthy looking doesn’t mean the visitors are going to buy from you. Some studies actually show that the design of the site played a bigger role than the actually content of the site. Besides showcasing your product, having an awesome looking theme, fast-loading website etc. you’ll also need to have the ability to track your customers order, have a decent refund policy, good and fast customer service either on e-mail, livechat or phone as well as showing your address. These things can play a big role for visitors and customers who don’t know who you are, and you need to convince them to buy from you and not your competitor.
Here are some other ideas for you to implement on your site to gain additional trust:
- Testimonials / reviews
Make sure to have some testimonials or reviews ASAP to make a social proof for new visitors. Let them know that other people like your product or services, and this will rapidly increase your conversion rate.
Get in touch with the publication in your industry to spread the word about you business and ecommerce platform. This builds both traffic, attention, trust and possible backlinks for your site to improve your SEO rankings.
- Company information
Have a dedicated about and contact us page, and show and tell your customers about your business and products. If no-one know you are and what you’re doing why should they trust you. Tell your story and convince people about that you’re developing the best products in your niche.
- Updated design
Keep your site design up-2-date. We have all found some of these old 1990’s websites that looks insanely outdated. You don’t want to be that guy, remember to keep your design up-2-date and fresh.