Starting your online shop: why some sellers fail

Stressed tired young businessman sitting and thinking

Starting your own online shop is an exciting venture that requires thorough preparation and proper implementation. This will also require quick-thinking and flexibility in case things don’t go your way. E-commerce offers a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to earn great revenue for less overhead. It allows them to reach customers outside their city or country, and they’re also able to source their products from overseas. Because they’re also selling to people outside of their time zone, sellers are able to operate and sell products 24/7.

According to Oberlo, there are 2.05 billion online shoppers in 2020. Despite this enormous and promising number, some sellers are, sadly, still struggling with their businesses. Some shops are not able to stay profitable while some have had to shut down. Let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes that can impact your business:

1. Contact Information that Is Hard to Find

It’s critical that you make your contact information available and visible at all times. When you design your site, make sure that it is posted on every page. There are good reasons that your customers would want this information handy.

Some customers are keen on knowing more about the products first before making a purchase. Some customers prefer shops that they can trust, and seeing your contact information will give them that peace of mind. Perhaps they have questions about some billing charges and might resort to calling the bank instead because your contact information is hard to find.

We also want to deal with complaints internally because if disgruntled customers post their reviews or their sentiments online, this may negatively affect your reputation.

2. Low-Quality Product Images

Because your online store does not have a physical showroom, the photo gallery will have to do. You’ll want to upload the best ones. Expect different types of people viewing your products. There may be visually-impaired customers. You might have customers who love nice photos. There are customers who base their purchases on the product images and not on the product descriptions.

While it’s not necessary that you hire a professional, at least use a decent camera or smartphone that can do the job. Lighting is important, and make sure there’s no clutter when you take those photos. Let your customers see the product from different views or angles.

You might be asking why we don’t recommend using the manufacturer’s photos instead. It’s not outright bad to do that; after all, you’re granted permission to use them as their customers. The problem here is that this won’t make you stand out because customers will find similar images online from sellers who rely on manufacturer photos.

3. Poorly Written Product Descriptions

Some sellers copy and paste information provided by product manufacturers. While this is not outright wrong either, we should avoid doing this for the same reason stated above. Apart from that, you’ll want your product description to be SEO friendly by using targeted keywords. Write product descriptions that sell. Do a quick grammar and spelling check before posting these.

4. Non-Responsive, Underwhelming Site

Most customers use their phones to go online. While more people use their phones to visit online shops, it seems that desktop computers are able to convert better. One good reason is that many stores don’t have a responsive web design. Don’t make this a reason to lose those potential customers. Select a web design that works well on any electronic device. Utilize elements that elevate the design of your online store. Make it eye-catching, fully functional, and responsive at the same time.

5. Complicated Payment Process

Customers want to be able to purchase with ease. If you make the checkout process complicated, they might lose interest and abandon cart. Among the things that cause cart abandonment are the following:

  • Requiring customers to sign up before they can checkout
  • An unresponsive checkout page
  • A checkout page that routes them back to an empty cart
  • Limited payment options

6. Shipping and Hidden Fees

Barilliance conducted a study on why consumers abandon carts. Their report shows that the majority of customers who abandoned cart did so because of the shipping fees, and many did the same due to hidden charges. While shipping and handling fees are charges that we cannot avoid, there are marketing strategies that help. You can bundle the shipping fee together with the product price; you can also give a discount or offer free shipping for a minimum purchase.

7. Online Marketing that Lacks Strategy

Online marketing requires planning and a good strategy because advertising is costly. Targeted marketing is key. You’ll want to send those sales copies or e-newsletters to recipients who actually care about the message in your email. Being able to identify your target audience helps determine your advertising approach. While brand awareness is a good objective, the ultimate goals of your online marketing efforts should be conversion and better sales.

8. Static Pricing

Prices of goods online change by the hour. If you don’t play by this, you will be left behind. You will see your customer base dwindling because of other merchants who offer the same product for a lower or more competitive price. Repricing is very common among online sellers. This involves monitoring competition and how they’re pricing their products. This can be taxing if done manually. The good thing is that there are AI repricers available. Among the best repricers are those that can reprice your products to a price point that is highly competitive yet optimally profitable.

Starting an online shop may not be a breeze. It takes a lot of hard work, preparation, and research to avoid the pitfalls that many entrepreneurs make. When done right, though, you can actually achieve great success in this highly lucrative source of revenue.

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