One of the biggest misconceptions about the e-commerce industry is that it’s simple and easy. They figure that if they can come up with stuff to sell, somebody’s going to want to buy it… there’s so much more to it than that, and that type of mindset is essentially what makes lots of e-commerce businesses fall victim to failure.

When it comes to building an online business, regardless of the industry you choose, there are certain skills needed in order for your business to be successful and profitable. Just think about it… you could be the most talented and innovative product designer but if you have no clue about the ins and outs of what it takes to effectively run an online business, your business will never take off… you’ll just be a talented and innovative product designer with a business that you can’t effectively operate. People won’t even know your business exists. If you want to have a successful online business, you’re going to have to do your homework.

One thing to always keep in the forefront of your mind is that regardless of how long you’ve been in a particular industry or how much knowledge you have in that industry, your mind should never take a vacation from learning, especially when marketing your website. You’ll want to take note of different strategies of what worked and what didn’t.

The goal of this type of research is to help you avoid some of the same mistakes others before you have made. Whether you’ve been in e-commerce for years, but especially if you’re just getting your feet wet in the industry, you’ll want to make sure you don’t make the biggest mistakes that could potentially cost you your business.

Neglecting Your Existing Customers

This is one of the biggest and completely unnecessary mistakes you can make as a business owner. So many businesses have lost their most loyal customers due to putting ALL of their focus on getting new customers. Now, don’t get things confused… customer acquisition is an integral part of a business’ growth and success but so are the existing customers.

It’s actually much cheaper to retain your existing customers than it is to acquire new ones. You’ll spend all kinds of money per month to get new customers to visit your site and those tactics will definitely get people to your site but a lot of them won’t make a purchase. Your existing customers already know how great your brand and products are so they’re going to stick with you anyway.

Your goal with existing customers is to get them to buy your products more frequently and of larger value. If you put more effort into personalizing their shopping experience when they’re on your site, they’re going to feel valued and actually buy more products from you and at larger values, just as you wanted them to do. That reason alone is why Forbes states that a long-term customer is of much greater value than a one-time buyer.

Not Taking Time Out to Get to Know Your Target Audience

If you don’t know your target audience, how will you be able to better cater to their needs? E-Commerce business owners will market their product to a wide audience, thinking they’re “reaching the masses,” but the reality is that they’re doing all of this marketing and not taking into account the age groups, behavior, and other demographics.

Without the proper customer segmentation, you’re wasting money on expensive marketing campaigns on people who may or may not visit your website, and even if they do visit your website, they won’t convert or commit to a purchase. So why is that? Mostly because they’re not interested in your product. Segmenting your audience allows you to reach potential customers who actually have a need for your product and are more likely to push that “buy” button.

Terrible Web Design

In your mind, you’re thinking that people aren’t visiting your site to critique it… they’re there to shop, right? Yes, that is true but only partly. Visitors to your site are essentially there to shop but if they can’t focus on what they want to buy because your website is just aesthetically not pleasing to the eye, whether it’s poor font and color choices or if the site just looks too busy, you have the potential to lose customers. With web design, you want to put your focus on making your website easy to navigate, fast page loading time, and an overall pleasant layout that’s fitting for your products.

Choosing the Wrong Domain Name

This mistake is one of the silliest and most unnecessary mistakes to make, mostly because it’s a mistake that you didn’t have to make if you utilize the right tools to help you. It’s essentially, a common sense type of mistake. Would you believe that people make mistakes like having a cupcake shop for dogs but name their website The problem with that example is that the domain name mentions nothing about the sweets being for dogs.

A person could look at that domain name and think that it’s sweet treats for humans and once they get to your website, they’ll see that it’s for dogs and will immediately leave your site. Something like would have been a more fitting name for that particular business. If you need help choosing the right name for your website, there are several options out there. If you use a free tool for finding a domain name, you won’t have to worry about making that type of mistake.

Your Site Isn’t Mobile-Ready

This has to be the most costly mistake you can make as an e-commerce business owner. As you already know, e-commerce is the method of selling goods over the internet. So what device do you think most online purchases are made on? Studies have shown that the majority of online purchases come from smartphones and tablets.

According to the US Commerce Department, e-commerce sales grew to a whopping 15.5%, so not having your website optimized for mobile devices can cost you a significant amount of money… making your website mobile-ready is one of the first things you want to do upon building your website… take it from others who made this mistake in the past.


About the Author:
Hi, I’m Sarah. I’m a freelance writer and small business coach living in Harrisburg, Mississippi.
I love small businesses (backbone of America!), helping them setup processes for customer support and growth, and working on creative marketing messaging.
I have always loved to write, so now I am combining the passion for entrepreneurship with my love of writing to teach others how to be successful!