Are you finally ready to launch your e-commerce business, or are you still unsure whether there are additional preparations you need to undertake before the launch? As they say, hindsight is 20/20 vision, so we have compiled for you some lessons many online sellers wish they knew before they started those businesses. Learn from these lessons acquired the hard way and increase the odds of succeeding in your online venture!
Niche isn’t king
As a prospective online entrepreneur, you may have heard a lot about how important it is to find your niche and niche down even further if you would like to make inroads into highly competitive industries. While it is important to define and focus on your niche, niching down isn’t all that matters.
For example, even if you identify an underserved niche and come up with the perfect product or service to address the unmet needs of your chosen niche, customers will not come flocking to you unless you undertake deliberate measures, such as Facebook ads, to make your customers know you can help.
Finding a niche is just the beginning; the real work starts thereafter!
Be willing to learn, fast
Ecommerce is a rapidly evolving world, and people in this space need to develop the ability to learn fast in order to cope with the demands of this landscape. For example, Google frequently changes its algorithms and online retailers have to tweak their site/page optimization in order to cope with those changes.
Additionally, as a business owner, you have to juggle many roles. You are the accounts person, the marketing exec and so many other hats. This calls for being able to learn on your feet.
A mistake some people make when they venture into e-commerce is to dismiss or downplay the value of an approach that they are unfamiliar with. However, sticking to just what you know is a recipe for disaster because what you are used to quickly becomes obsolete and can no longer serve your current and future interests. You have to be nimble and learn fast in order to survive and even thrive.
Make emotions your friend (as you sell)
We don’t mean that you should throw a tantrum each time a client is unreasonable! What we are saying is that you should recognize that a lot of us make impulse purchases, and there is plenty of research to back this up.
As an ecommerce entrepreneur, look at your business and ask yourself whether it makes it easy for impulse buyers to shop with you, or not. For example, do you request site visitors and potential customers to fill out a long form, verify the accounts they have just created and then get onto the process of buying a product? Doesn’t that sound like too much work?
Make your site easily navigable, the shopping cart easy to locate and the purchase process as seamless as possible. In this way, you will not put off a lot of people who don’t want to reveal a lot of their personal information or go through steps they deem unnecessary in their shopping experience.
People aren’t interested in reading
There is so much information out there that people have somehow become immune to taking in written information. For example, don’t be surprised if your customer helpline is swamped with clients asking about product details which are clearly elaborated in your product descriptions. People don’t want to read; simple.
So, what is an ecommerce business owner to do? Go over your entire website and ensure that important information cannot be missed. For example, you can highlight in red (or any other color you deem appropriate) the important product attributes that you want customers to take note of. You can also place the order buttons where clients can’t miss them, and even create dropdown menus to allow clients to choose the product specifications (color, for example) that they prefer as they order a product.
Also, keep any written material concise so that buyers aren’t put off by having to go through lots of text before making a decision to buy or leave.
Carriers/shippers eat packages
Ask anyone who has been in the ecommerce space for long and they will tell you some horror experiences of when an important package went missing at the worst possible time. Classic Murphy’s Law at work (whatever can go wrong will go wrong at the worst possible time).
Even the carrier you hold in the highest esteem due to their reliability and professionalism will at one point disappoint; and clients will be mad at you. It is therefore advisable to launch your business when you have put in place mechanisms to handle such situations if and when they arise.
For example, your customer care team needs to be equipped sufficiently to calm down customers whose packages got lost in the mail. You also need to have your logistics system robust enough to ship out replacement packages in quick time in order to limit the damage caused when a carrier “eats your package.”
There is a giant lurking (name is Amazon)
Every prospective ecommerce entrepreneur should know that whatever they intend to sell, they will have big competition in the name of Amazon or other retail giants. That competition comes with a huge distribution network that is so well-oiled that customers will judge you by the standards that Amazon has set.
For example, can you deliver a package in two days or less like Amazon does? The bar is high, and you must prepare to play by the standards people have been shown to expect. If you can do better than the giant, excellent!
If the bar is too high for you, consider ways to ride on the success of Amazon in order to reach your own nirvana. For example, why not think about joining the Amazon FBA program so that you leverage the networks of Amazon to access a large market and avoid the hassles of shipping orders yourself?
All in all, there are lots of lessons that seasoned online business owners wish they knew before they ventured out. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel; learn from those who have walked the road you wish to travel and implement what worked for them while avoiding repeating the mistakes they made on their journey. The internet has brought the world to your fingertips (computer keyboard), and all you have to do is conquer it!
To Your Success,