Ecommerce is the present and future of retail. And along with its growth are competitions that keep getting fiercer each day. In fact, eMarketer reveals that online sales are going to exceed $4 trillion by 2020! Hence, to stand out, you need to exhaust a well-planned approach with clear priorities, right from the start.
As always, there’s a David and Goliath story in every retail’s history. In the past, Kmart and Walmart are the store giants that battled in bricks-and-mortar arena. Fast forward to the digital age, eBay and Amazon reigns supreme in online selling field.
Playing with these giants is a tough row to hoe. It means that even the slightest hiccup can shoo away customers and will hurt your revenue even if you just started - and this, my friend, is the harsh reality in ecommerce.
To make sure your customer base keeps growing and your bottom line is improving, pay attention to these seven common gaffes that you can and need to avoid at all cost in the infant stages of your ecommerce business.
1. Feeding Contents to the Wrong Audience:
Ecommerce and content marketing go hand-in-hand. The objective here is to place the right message on the frontline, straight to the most susceptible eyes. If you use your branded content correctly, it can be your most valuable asset. On the flip side, if you just feed it to whoever you like, it can be your biggest disconnection with your target audience.
It’s like giving out printed flyers about beauty products to people in a construction site. No matter how hard you work, people just don’t pay attention because they can’t relate to your flyers.
It's crucial that you take the time to properly plan out every message you’ll send and determine its possible effects. You also need to get aware of the issues and prevalent concerns within your industry. Fortunately, there are various tools that you can use to do it. Through conducting a comprehensive research, you can get all the necessary insights you need for content inspiration.
Another factor with utmost importance is looking for trending and relevant topics to create content that caters to different levels of interest. For instance, a person who is browsing to find solutions to his or her problems is not looking for aggressive sales-oriented content. However, this person is looking for pieces of information that could educate him or her about his or her concerns.
Therefore, you have to inspect your ecommerce business’ entire buyer’s journey and find out how to gear your content accordingly.
2. Failure to Invest in Web Security:
Inability to comply web security is one of the biggest mistakes you can make in running an ecommerce store. And it has risks that could kill your operation.
Customers almost always expect an ecommerce website as safe enough for them to share their information with it. You can't afford to take risks because these customers share their financial data with you. If you don’t have a secure platform, all your sales tactics and marketing efforts will not bring substantial results.
If you’re new in the business or didn’t take any serious precautions for your platform yet, stop wasting more time and learn the basics of website security. You can start by learning the PCI (Payment Card Industry) Security Standards.
These are rules and information designed to promote safety guidelines on how business owners should process, transmit and store payment information. You need to keep updated with new requirements and changes as the landscape is subject to changes.
The next move is to obtain an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. It will guarantee the security and encryption of all the information forwarded to your sites such as usernames and passwords, address, phone numbers, credit card information and more. It’s not just mandatory regarding PCI Standards. It also gives a sense of assurance to your customer that their information is safe and secure.
3. Misjudging Demand:
Inventory issues are probably the biggest iceberg that can quickly bring your ship down if left untended. Because ecommerce is still young in conducting retail operations, many businesses encounter a number of miscalculations and growing pains. One small error can eat up your profits and creates disaster for your logistics.
Keep your worries at bay because there’s good news. Ecommerce is parallel to big data along with their evolutions. Also, predictive analysis is no longer a futuristic idea. It’s now an important tool that helps businesses save money when it comes to inventory management and gets a good sense of the demand of their customers.
There are business solutions that use demand-forecasting and big data to help online sellers prevent stocking issues across the board and eradicate random guesswork. Small traders and businesses are also subject to big limitations when it comes to taking advantage of market inefficiencies, estimating stock and mastering their supply chain.
If you want to survive in the harsh world of ecommerce, be sure to provide back up and proper data to every important decision that you make. That’s how you should play the game.
4. Using the Wrong Platform:
Using the wrong platform is another cringe-worthy mistake that most business owners make. It’s always crucial that you pick the right platform for your business. You need a platform that you can own and control to avoid total rebuilding in the future.
Platform applications such as BigCommerce, Weebly, and Shopify control the system. These applications prohibit complete control over the shopping experience both regarding management and fulfillment and the customer’s point of view. It means that you're stuck whenever these applications make changes that are not convenient for you.
These actions also mean you won’t be able to handle the sale if the system doesn’t accommodate your required condition in fulfillment or purchase such as delivery time cut-offs.
You don’t need to make design and operational sacrifices in this important revenue channel and marketing tool for your business. Make sure that your site can accommodate your operational requirements, user-experience and mobile design expected by your customers.
5. Not Having a Clear OVP (Online Value Proposition):
According to the study conducted by Nielsen Norman Group, the average time a potential customer can spend on your site before deciding to stay or leave is 10 seconds. Yes, that’s how fast it is. Thus, you need to have an excellent value proposition tool to keep them.
Your OVP is your commitment or promise to your customer to solve their problems, deliver specific benefits, and it tells them why they should buy from you. Don’t ever put a cold shoulder with your OVP, because without it, you will easily lose the sales battle. Remember, your opponents are just one Google away.
6. Taking for Granted the Power of Customer Service:
A customer service is one of the most common myths associated with e-commerce. In the past, this notion was somewhat true. But in 2017, customer service is the primary factor that sets online businesses apart.
There are many ways for an ecommerce business to excel in this field. Be it through digital ads or print flyers. As you know it, shoppers are naturally impatient. People nowadays simply move on to the next company that can provide their needs instead of waiting and getting angry. It’s the core reason why customer interactions need to be easy, quick and meaningful.
The options for customers are simple. They can either get in their car, get off the road and manually find what they need. Or, they can just open their mobile device or computer, find what they need and make a purchase on a matter of minutes. As a business owner, you should be wise enough to know which option the customers will make - it’s the latter of course!
7. Lack of Solid Strategy:
A strategy is as equally important to every operational and marketing efforts in business. You always need to consider your market, budget, time frame and buyer persona. It structures the development process, the user-experience considerations, governs the design, presentation, and upselling.
A strategy will control your efforts, so you don’t waste time, money, and energy. A marketing plan with particular regard to social media and email are also essential, same with policies, loyalty programs, and other customer service processes.
Starting is always the hardest, whether in life or business. It’s virtually impossible not to commit mistakes when you're starting out. Well, if your business is an exception, that’s great to hear! But, if ever you see your business in any of these scenarios, you can follow the pieces of advice above and change for the better before it’s too late. Steer clear from these mistakes during the infancy of your business, or else they’ll backfire at you further down the road.
Maria Estrada is an affiliate of Print Meister, an online printing company in Australia that provides affordable flyer printing, brochures, banners, etc. Apart from spending her time on corporate duties, she is also a freelance writer and contributor to various magazines. Maria likes to write about print marketing, technology, and science and shares them with her readers.
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