Thursday, October 26th, 2017 | 6 min read
When I was in college, there was a girl down the hall who always braiding intricate bracelets with little crystals in them.
Day in and day out, you would never see her without fabric in her hand, weaving something together.
One day, curiosity got the better of me and I asked her about it. She explained that she sold the bracelets through her shop on Etsy and that they were starting to become a decent source of income for her.
For dorm room weavers and are big brands alike, there are myriad benefits of e-commerce. Sellers don’t have to worry about geographical distance or times of operation, and enjoy lower costs through a more streamlined structure.
That said, e-commerce is a very competitive marketplace, no matter what you’re selling.
With the ease of entry and low overhead costs, anyone can try growing a side business.
Don’t make these 5 common marketing mistakes and you’ll be well on your way to staying ahead of the game and crushing the competition in no time.
1. Lack of Research
Remember the girl I mentioned earlier?
She didn’t just start making bracelets randomly one day, she did plenty of research on which crafts sell best on Etsy and started making her offerings accordingly.
She conducted the appropriate market research and saw a clear desire for a product that she was able to provide, which is exactly what she did.
Before you jump into e-commerce, do enough research to confirm that there is a clear and sustainable need for your products or services.
It doesn’t matter if you have the best marketing strategy that money can buy, it’s all irrelevant if there’s no demand for your product.
Spend time on as many e-commerce platforms as you can (ebay, Amazon, Etsy, etc.) and see what products are selling in the market that you are most interested in – and for how much.
2. Poorly Designed Site
Think of an e-commerce site as a virtual store. Wouldn’t you want your interface to welcome customers and make the experience go as smoothly as possible?
You’d be surprised by the number of brands that completely disregard this during the buying process.
Follow these rules when designing your site to avoid leaving a bad taste in anyone’s mouth:
1.Keep your homepage clear of graphics and text that aren’t relevant to prospective customers. Remember that people on the internet already have a very short attention span and will quickly move on to the next site if you cram their screens with blocks of text.
2.Be sure that your site doesn’t have a long loading time. Anything over a few seconds and your customers will be on Amazon before you know it. Keep it simple, keep it clean.
3.Don’t include pop-up ads. They obscure the site and annoy consumers before they even have a chance to check out your offerings.
4.Last but not least, offer guest checkout. Consider how aggravating it is to browse a site, fill your cart with items, decide to buy them, and then be forced to make a full account in order to check out. That’s an effective – and very avoidable – way to lose people one the verge of making a purchase.
3. Weak Branding (or Lack Thereof)
When e-commerce first became popular, many big-name retailers didn’t face many problems building their brands online. That’s because their brands were already well established and customers knew what to expect from them.
As you dive into the world of e-commerce, the only way to stand out from the competition is by branding yourself in a compelling, memorable way.
If you need help in building your brand, first answer these 3 questions:
1.What is your mission?
2.What problems do your products solve?
3.What will your tone be?
Once you have these answers, use them to inform your website, social media channels, and all other corresponding materials.
Make sure to maintain a consistent style and tones throughout all your content, and consider designing a fun logo to be the face of your business.
4. Ignoring Mobile
Think of all the time you spend staring at your phone. It’s crucial for your e-commerce site to capitalize on all of that attention?
Exactly how much attention are we talking about? A whopping 62% of smartphone users have made a purchase online in the last 6 months.
One of the most glaring mistakes I see with even seasoned e-commerce business owners is that they spend time making sure that their desktop site is optimized to a tee, but don’t spend sufficient time on their mobile site.
To remedy this, start by incorporating visual content and making sure the links and buttons on your mobile site are mobile-friendly – easy to use for smartphone and tablet users.
Ask your mobile-savvy friends (i.e. all of your friends) to test your site and provide honest feedback.
One final thought: include a “click to call” feature so that customer are able to contact you without having to exit their webpage.
5. A Lack of Clear Goals
What are you hoping to accomplish with your e-commerce business?
You want to make money, of course, but there are more questions to ask.
Do you want this to turn into a full-time gig or do you just want some extra cash in your pocket?
As trivial as it may seem, establishing your goals and keeping them top-of-mind improves your odds of achieving them.
By and large, the majority of e-commerce business owners are similar to the girl I mentioned earlier, in that they have products or services that they know there is a market for and want to capitalize on it.
Before you dive into e-commerce, figure out exactly where you want the business to go.
Once you have that in place, put together a business plan that suits your needs and helps you accomplish your specific goal.
E-commerce is a tough egg to crack but as long as you stay focused and don’t make the same mistakes as all the other guys, you will be in the clear.
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