If you have thought about starting an online business, you have hopefully done some research on the subject. But you may quickly find that it is hard to differentiate the truth from myths when it comes to e-commerce selling. Some websites, books or successful business owners say one thing, while others say something completely different.
With so many pieces of advice and opinions floating around about online sales, it can be difficult to discover what is actually real and what is just hearsay or bald-faced lies.
So, without further ado, let’s break down four of the most common myths that online entrepreneurs often believe.
Myth No. 1: You can start a business with just a few clicks
OK, so technically this statement is true. You can easily set up an e-commerce website with just a few clicks and not a whole lot of technical design skills or knowledge. However, you cannot with just a few clicks.
There is a whole lot more that goes into selling online than just building a website; even just the website creation part is complicated enough on its own. Your website design can make or break your e-commerce business. Plus, beyond just creating a website, there is a lot more that goes into getting a business up and running. Since you don’t have a physical location that your customers may happen to pass by, you need to have a solid marketing plan in place to capture potential customers’ attention.
Now this information is definitely not here to discourage you from launching an online business, but it is important that you are aware of what you are getting into. This is a huge time commitment, especially during the initial stages. There is a lot more that goes into things than what some online sales website support companies would have you believe. Be sure that if you partner with a hosting service it provides the support systems you need to manage all of those aspects.
Myth No. 2: Dropshipping is complicated and risky
The concept of dropshipping, unfortunately, sounds almost too good to be true, which is why many online entrepreneurs immediately dismiss it. In case you’re not familiar with the concept, it basically goes like this:
You find a third-party retailer who has the products you want to sell. Typically, these companies are located overseas and offer low prices for products. You then sell that product on your website for a higher cost and when a customer buys, your third party dropshipper sends them the item while you keep the profit.
So, once again, there is some truth to the myth. There are definitely some horror stories that e-commerce business owners have shared about dropshippers who did not keep their end of the bargain. Finding a third party can be risky – if you don’t do your research.
However, there are lots of fantastic benefits to dropshipping that are worth consideration. It does save you lots of money as you don't have to purchase your inventory up front. There are also plenty of dropshipping companies available, so finding one is pretty simple. Dropshipping provides you with more flexibility and a large range of products. Of course, there are some disadvantages, since you have far less control over the products or the shipping process.
The key here is to find a dropshipper that you are able to trust and that provides good service. Be sure to do your research and don’t just go with the option that offers the lowest prices.
Myth No. 3: Online shopping is only for B2C
Lots of people assume that an e-commerce business must offer a physical product, so these are generally marketed toward consumers. However, the online B2B sales market is growing rapidly and becoming a far more common way for brands to offer online services and programs to companies. In fact, online B2B sales are expected to nearly double that of B2C in just a few years.
The sales journey for B2B products and services is far different than B2C, but that doesn’t mean that online selling doesn’t fit in. In general, B2B customers will conduct far more research before buying. In fact, 82 percent of B2B shoppers look online and conduct an average of 12 searches before deciding on a single brand. Over half of B2B purchases are now made online, a method that 93 percent of customers prefer over dealing with a human sales representative.
This opens up lots of opportunities for online sellers who are more interested in working with companies over consumers. Again, B2B is an entirely different beast, so a defined marketing structure is important here. Be sure that you are well prepared if you want to pursue this type of online business.
Myth No. 4: Negative customer reviews will scare away business
Reviews are incredibly important during the online shopping process. Of course, seeing a lot of positive feedback helps customers feel more confident in their purchase, whereas negative reviews are likely to send them looking for other options.
However, many e-commerce business owners are so afraid of a few negative reviews that they either delete them, hide them or even pay for fake positive feedback to boost their ratings. But the truth is that a few low-star reviews will not necessarily be the death of your business.
Seventy-nine percent of consumers say that they are totally comfortable purchasing from a brand that has a three or 4-star rating. In fact, seeing a couple bad reviews sprinkled in here and there can actually make them trust a business more. According to a study, 68 percent of consumers reported that they were more confident about purchasing from a company that had both good and bad feedback.
Obviously, a plethora of bad ratings could destroy your business, so you should strive to delight your customers as much as possible. But the truth of the matter is that a few bad reviews are not the end of the world. Negative sentiment could actually be a good thing, depending on how you handle it. Honesty is a very powerful tool.
Search for facts
Since starting and running an online company is a new and “trendy” thing to do, there are a lot of misconceptions and myths out there about e-commerce entrepreneurship. Don’t believe everything that you hear. Be sure to do your own research and take the facts into consideration to uncover the truth.