World’s largest e-commerce marketplace, Amazon now operates in 16 countries including India, Japan, Germany, and Turkey. With a million sellers alone in the US, Amazon is constantly leveraging technology to simplify online selling experience. While other marketplaces are following Amazon in creating a smoother seller experience, the sellers are failing to make the most of every opportunity.
A Business2Community reveals “65% of all e-commerce returns are due to mistakes from the retailers themselves”. With 80% of sellers selling on other platforms outside of Amazon, mistakes like shipping wrong product and inaccurate portrayal of products online are common.
Apart from these innocuous hiccups, other online selling mistakes sellers that can render business obsolete are:
1. Not discovering the Ideal Customer
A lot of entrepreneurs go on with their creation spree when starting a business, they build varied attractions related to their business but fail to check whether there is an audience for it or not. Market research helps you understand the following things about your customers:
- Their pain points
- Channels they use to engage
- The options they have tried before
- Attributes that are important for them
How does a lack of market research impact you?
You don’t know who you are selling to: Without market research, you will never discover the age of the audience your product is best suited for. A slight variance in the age of the targeted audience can impact your online campaigns. With proper research, you can design campaigns that hit the bull’s eye and bring you favorable results.
You try to sell to a non-existent audience: Not knowing who you are selling to and trying to sell to a non-existent audience are perhaps the two biggest sins of selling online. When selling to an audience that doesn’t exist, you create content that no one will read hence no one will convert.
2. Creating Multiple Accounts
Every e-commerce marketplace follows one seller one account policy but to garner better results and avoid tax implications, people often create multiple accounts. As the leading e-commerce platform, Amazon now leverages IP Detection technology to weed out such sellers.
Sellers create multiple accounts to acquire the “Buy Now” button, which is not just wrong but also unjust to genuine sellers. By creating multiple accounts, these individuals often coax genuine sellers into offering heavy discounts that possess a threat to their business.
Creating multiple accounts can lead to the following:
- Heavy fines and product blacklisting
- A permanent ban from selling on the marketplace
- Confiscation of items stored in fulfillment centers
3. Not getting rid of the Duplicate Content
A product description is undoubtedly the best way of impressing buyers. Through these descriptions, sellers can impart requisite info about the product and assist customers to make a better decision.
Using product descriptions provided by manufacturers is perhaps the most common mistake committed by sellers while selling online. Since the manufacturer is also selling these products on its online store, using the same product description makes for the classic case of plagiarism.
Freshly created product descriptions not only increase conversion but also impacts bracketing, which is one of the biggest e-commerce pain points sellers undergo.
Duplicate content on the site impacts in the following ways:
- It pushes your search ranking down
- Impacts the overall pass percentage on the platform
- Messes up the search results on e-commerce marketplaces
- Same product description mentioned by varied sellers confuses the buyers
4. Using Low-Quality Images
Not investing in building an impressive catalog is one of the biggest mistakes sellers make. A quality catalog not only impresses customers but offers a much-needed understanding of the product. With high-quality images from multiple angles, sellers can allow customers to actually check whether the product has the required features or not.
Some of the common mistakes sellers make with catalog images are:
- Not using a white background
- Leaving logos of image repository
- Not adding images with varied angles
5. Not leveraging User Generated Content
A Business Today report claims “almost 20% of the products sold on e-commerce portal are fake”. The increasing penetration of fake and imitated products on marketplaces has got the consumers worried.
When fake products are delivered, the overall return rate increases adding to the ever-increasing loss of marketplaces. Fake products not only impact the enterprise’s bottom-line but it also impacts the customer lifetime value.
Now, buyers want to be a hundred percent sure about the originality of the product before ordering it. By letting customers post photo reviews, sellers can confirm interested buyers about the authenticity of the product.
Customers often click exquisite pictures of products and share them on social media. Using these images as a part of your social media campaign instead of stock images can help sellers generate more interest and receive more orders.
6. Not Planning for Holiday Sales in Advance
Online sales during holidays and festival season is an opportunity for sellers to do some good business. While these sales appear to be all lucrative and beneficial for buyers but when planned efficiently sellers can make the most of these sales too.
Big players like Amazon and Flipkart start sending mailers 60 days in advance for such sales, which is enough time for sellers to plan, build inventory and create marketing plans. A huge number of sellers see these sales through a negative lens, which pulls them away from great opportunities.
How can sellers make the most of these sales?
Stock in advance: When you start preparing for such sales in advance, you are left with enough time to make changes and plan your marketing campaigns.
Stop selling a day or two before the festival: If worried about return rates, stop selling a day or two before Festivals. Since products ordered on the day or a day before Christmas won’t reach on time, their chances of getting returned or canceled are very high. Stop selling or mark the product “out of stock” a day before the festival and you can save yourself from heavy losses.
Ship as soon as you can to avoid last-minute cancellation: It is true that during holiday sales a lot of products are either canceled or returned. To avoid paying for returns, ship as soon as you receive an order. Faster shipping makes people stick to the product even when the product is available for a cheaper price on other platforms.
Wave off the shipping charges during holiday sales: Bulk order will fill up the financial gap created by waving shipping charges. Wave off shipping charges during holiday sales and cart abandonment rates for your product will decrease helping you receive more orders.
7. Not trying to understand the Seller Policy
All marketplaces maintain a set of rules and regulations to ensure smooth functioning of the platform. It is these set of regulations that offers every seller a fair chance and varied growth opportunities.
Sellers pay very less attention to these policies when selling online and commit mistakes that are irreparable, like:
- Including offers/Coupons in product titles
- Putting their brand logos on catalog images
- Leaving website links in the product description
8. Not getting well-versed with the pricing structure
In the excitement to start selling online, sellers often pay no attention to pricing structure and repent later. Closing fees, delivery charges, and storage costs add up to the headache hence getting well-versed with the pricing structure before listing products is a must. A seller must find out the following before selling online:
- Tax structure
- Marketplace commission
- Packing, handling and delivery fees
- The closing fee charged by marketplaces
- Delivery charges for returning packages
Amazon’s price calculator allows sellers to calculate the money they will make by selling on its platform. Almost every marketplace has one such calculator, check them out before listing your product.
Note: These price calculators often double as a tool to find the most profitable products to sell online.
9. Bad Post-sale Support
Buyers often want to engage with sellers to understand the product better. With electronic items, getting in touch with the seller allows buyers to learn how the product works. A quality post-sale service allows sellers to:
- Grab a higher rating
- Receive repeat orders
- Control the return rates
- Cross-sell other products
Things to avoid when dealing with customers online:
Since marketplaces are customer-centric, one complain and you can be banned from selling online. Hence when dealing with customers online never do the following things:
- Arguing or pissing off the customer
- Not catering to their queries instantly
- Trying to mislead or cheat the customer
- Trying to persuade customers for a higher rating
10. Not Opting for the Dynamic Pricing
The emergence of multiple marketplaces has coaxed big players like Amazon, eBay and Flipkart to leverage competitor benchmarking. Price matching is a common practice, marketplaces map the price of a popular product to stop their loyal users from buying products from other platforms.
Sellers who do not opt for dynamic pricing miss out on every opportunity created by competitor benchmarking. Keeping the price static not only makes the buyers lose interest but also leads to an increased cart abandon rate.
Some of the additional benefits of opting for Dynamic Pricing are:
- Gets you more orders
- On-site Search ranking improves
- Helps you win the Buy Now button
- Gives you an advantage over your competitor
- It is fast, error-free and uses logic over emotions
On an average 3300 new sellers are joining Amazon on a daily basis, these new sellers are bringing in new products with themselves. If you do not work on improving the overall customer experience through your offerings, you will fail to survive the cutthroat competition.
Avoiding the ten common online selling mistakes can help sellers hold their ground firmly. By leveraging user-generated content, dynamic pricing and using the quality catalog, sellers can create an incomparable shopping experience for buyers and retain their spot.
Linda Taylor is an experienced business and marketing consultant with MattsenKumar LLC. Linda’s vast exposure in growing B2B SMEs, E-commerce and improving Customer Experience enables her to create quality content in the form of Articles and Infographics. With a focus on benefiting the masses, Linda is creating content that adds value and routes companies towards success.