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8 Deadly Ecommerce Mistakes to Avoid

Published by Salvador Briggman. Find him on Twitter.

Whatever you do, don’t make these mistakes!

You’ve invested so much time and money into launching and growing an ecommerce business. You don’t want to find yourself wondering how everything went wrong so quickly.

I’ve interviewed a lot of ecommerce entrepreneurs on the Crowdfunding Demystified podcast. Some of these founders have gone on to run six and seven figure online businesses. Others have fizzled out, despite early success.

By avoiding these common ecommerce mistakes, you’ll ensure happy customers, thriving employees, and a healthy bottom line.

1. Creating a Product BEFORE You Validate The Business Idea

This mistake is made by many new ecommerce entrepreneurs. You have a great idea for a product and you decide to invest all of your money into the prototyping, manufacturing, marketing, and advertising of that product.

Finally, one day, you release this product to the public with a grand launch. Instead of hearing applause and seeing the cash tumble in, you get crickets.

Do your best to validate the product idea before spending months of your life on the project. There are a lot of ways to do this. A very simple way is to set up a landing page or mock sales page and test conversions.

2. Fail to Market the Product Effectively

This is the #1 mistake that I see, particularly among creative types or inventors who tend to look down on marketing as being “salsey and slimey.”

Just because you have a high quality product that solves a need doesn’t mean that the world is going to beat a path to your door.

I wish it wasn’t that way. I really wish the best products would just easily gravitate to the top of the heap.

I spent a lot of time and energy writing my latest book, The Kickstarter Launch Formula. Even though I think this is THE go-to crowdfunding resource, no one’s going to buy it unless I continue to market it.

I have to show readers and listeners WHY it’s such an amazing product. I have to show them the results that it will generate for their business. I have to prove to them that they’ll raise 10x more on Kickstarter with the techniques that I go through.

You have to be willing to SELL your product. You can’t just expect it to go viral.

The easiest ways to up your marketing game are to:

  • Include high quality video
  • Have lots of great product images
  • Build up the social proof/testimonials
  • Highlight the benefits, not just the features.

3. Have A Poorly Designed Website

It’s sooo easy to set up an online store now a days. You can quickly get one up and running with Shopify. You can then choose from a lot of high quality themes and plugins to make the store look really professional.

Of course, there are other online store builders out there that you can use to set up your website. No matter what you say, there is NO excuse for not having a modern website now a days. It doesn’t cost tons of money, and you can have one all set up in a weekend.

Not only does design communicate professionalism, but it also allows you to charge more for your products. Don’t believe me?

When’s the last time you were in a house or furniture store will REALLY well designed products?

I don’t know about you, but my first thought is always, “Man, this place looks expensive.”

We tend to equate good design with a high price. It takes time, effort, and focus to design something well.

4. Ignoring Taxes and Accounting

I’m as guilty as anyone else when it comes to having great accounting records. I absolutely hate accounting.

If you don’t set up an organized accounting system, you’re going to regret it later. You also might find out that you’re in big trouble!

For the first year in business, I would recommend taking a very conservative approach to taxes and accounting. Make it your primary goal to figure out how everything works before you begin taking cash out of the business and spending it on a regular basis.Make sure to keep records of all of your income and expenses.

Of course, I’m not an accountant or attorney, so you should always consult your accountant or lawyer. This blog post does not construe professional advice.

5. Forgetting to Build an Email List

Email marketing is the best way to direct traffic and rack up sales in a short amount of time. Your past buyers are always more likely to buy from you than cold prospects.

There are a lot of different email marketing software tools out there. Pick one that you feel comfortable with and start to build your list!

As you begin to acquaint yourself with the functionality of the tool, you can begin to experiment with other features, like segmenting various portions of your list based on purchasing behavior.

You can also use designated email lists to gauge interest around a new product idea. If you don’t have many people who sign up to be notified when the new product becomes available, you might re-think your marketing strategy or scrap the product idea all together.

6. Not Spending Money on Advertising

If you’re really good at organic marketing, you might be able to get away with a low priced product. However, most of us need to invest money in advertising the product on sites like Facebook, Google, etc.

You need to budget this cost into the price of your product. This way, when you sell 10 products, you’ll have enough money to go out and advertise. That advertising might cause you to sell 10 more products. Now, you’re on to an engine of growth.

A true engine of growth gets started when you have enough money from your product sales to exponentially grow your revenue over time.

For example, if selling 10 products gives you the advertising money to then sell 15 products, you know that you’re on to something. You’ll then have the money to advertise, which will result in 22 more products sold. Slowly, you’ll start to grow the business by investing your profit back into advertising.

7. Weak Supply Chain Management

There are certain portions of your business that are 100% under your control. There are other parts that, for the most part, are out of your hands. When dealing with other partners like retailers or manufacturers, it pays huge dividends to create strong relationships.

Often times, if you have multiple partners, one person is responsible for the logistics behind an ecommerce store. You might also hire someone like this to make sure that you’re getting the best prices and cutting out all of the inefficiencies in the supply chain.

By working to strengthen your supply chain, you’ll increase the overall consistency of your online shop. There won’t be weird delays for some customers and prompt service for others. People will come to expect a certain level of quality when they buy a product under your brand.

8. Shirking on Customer Service

I think that customer service is often seen as a hassle. You don’t want to have to answer questions and deal with complaints. One healthy way to think about customer service is to view it as the cost of acquiring a future customer.

You could put in the time now to ensure that a customer buys from you again in the future, or you could spend money marketing to and acquiring a new customer. Which is more profitable for your business?

Customer service is also very important because it creates social proof around your brand. If you have a lot of angry customers, no one is going to buy from you over time. If you have a lot of happy customers, it makes the sales pitch much easier.

If customer service is not your strong suit, then get someone in the venture who loves it. If you don’t love it, you’re just going to come off as frustrated and annoyed.

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