Whether your startup is just now coming into being with an eCommerce focus, or you're bringing your company online for the first time, how you go online is incredibly crucial.
Many businesses are seeing more and more profits coming from their online segments, but if you don't build your eCommerce startup properly, you're not going to make it.
Here are the top four mistakes you need to avoid to have a successful eCommerce startup.
1. Lack of Focus
A lack of focus is one of the biggest mistakes that eCommerce startups make. Your website may sell a variety of products, but you need to make sure that each page is precisely targeted so that customers can find what they want where they want it.
If your site is poorly designed, has low quality, amateur graphics, or is just confusing to navigate, potential customers are going to close your page and go shop with your competition.
What this means for you: If you're building your own website, spend a lot of time looking at the competition and understanding both what they do right, and what they do wrong. If you're hiring out your website build, get good references, and communicate clearly about what you need your site to do.
2. Forgetting About SEO
If your site is basically focused on selling products, then SEO isn't a concern, right? Wrong!
More and more, consumers expect to see well written, engaging descriptions on your website, just like they would get in a catalog. Those same descriptions will be used by Google as search terms to index and rank your site.
One of the best ways to keep your site high in Google's rankings is to keep your website up-to-date and fresh. This also involves, you guessed it, SEO and content creation.
What this means for you: start with eCommerce SEO from the beginning. Understand the search terms that are going to pull in traffic to your website and use them in your titles, descriptions, URL's and product page.
3. Not Managing Your Email List
What will your company use its email list for? Just sending out shipping notifications and occasional coupons?
There's so much more that you can do. A common mistake eCommerce businesses make is not taking advantage of their email list early and often.
Many companies assume that when they want to get in touch with their customers, they'll use a blog or social media. You only need to follow the troubles businesses have in reaching the full audience of their Facebook fans, however, to understand how that strategy can backfire.
What this means for you: When you collect information from your customer, capture the email address if you can, and then get permission to send the customer occasional, targeted messages about your product.
Once you have that email address and permission, respect your customer and send them emails that are relevant or a new product launch. Sending them too frequently will cause your customer to unsubscribe just as quickly as they subscribed in the first place.
Related Article: Project Management Tips for Creating an E-Commerce Site
4. No Target Customers
Another mistake eCommerce businesses make is not having a target customer or choosing a group of customers that are almost impossible to reach. After all, unless you're a Fortune 50 company, there's no way to have "everyone" as your target audience.
The smaller your company is, the more tightly you need to focus your marketing.
What this mean for you: Part of your business plan should be determining your ideal customer. You should know their age, demographic, career status, and family status.
You should know what else they're buying, and where they spend their online leisure time. You can then target your marketing to reach them where they are and make sure that it appeals to them. When your sales fall, the first step is to make sure that you're still connecting with your ideal customer.
Sometimes, it seems like eCommerce is so hot that all you need to do is copy another startup, and your business will succeed.
While the industry is still rapidly expanding, you need to move forward as carefully as you would in any business. By starting with a good idea and avoiding these pitfalls, you'll be able to make sure that your business develops strongly, and in the right direction.