Don’t try to sell everything
Most successful eCommerce websites start by focusing on selling just a limited range of products for one specific category. Once they create an audience and make money from it, they were able to invest a little into stocking something else to sell.
If it worked and sold well, they would invest more, and add more products, and that’s how modern juggernauts like Amazon.com were born, so don’t assume that stocking a lot of products from day one will bring success. Focus on selling what you know best, first.
Don’t focus on just one marketing strategy
Focusing on just one marketing strategy will result in your eCommerce website getting traffic from only one channel, and that is not going to be good in the long run. In fact, traffic does not always turn into customers.
For example, if you only concentrate on email marketing or on social media posts, you have to diversify and offer contests and coupons, create blogs full of content related to your products and services, and engage your customers and visitors by letting them participate.
Don’t make false claims
Never, ever try to sell something describing it as something that it is definitively not. You should not even stock something on your eCommerce website that isn’t what it offers to be.
This includes not hyping your services or your guarantees, describing your products as being manufactured with materials of which it was not, or offering guarantee periods or refunds that you will be not able to fulfill. Be upfront and sell what you have, because customers love that!
Don’t forget about customer service
Many eCommerce sites make themselves unreachable, sometimes on purpose and most often than not by omission. Many eCommerce websites out there have a “contact us” page that only has an email address which isn’t self-hosted and that is basically never checked.
Don’t commit this mistake, ever. Customer service should be one of your number one priorities and you should offer more than one contact method for your customers to reach you.
It would be good to have an email address that you can check on a daily basis, a hotline number and when the budget allows for it, a live chat solution. Always respond to email inquiries within 48 hours. Make yourself available!
Don’t leave your site unattended
If you go on the internet and start looking for products and services online, you will find that many websites look like they were abandoned in the 90s. The products and services that they offer may be top notch, but it will be difficult to know, because they look like they are about to expire.
Forgetting about running routine checkups and maintenance on your website from time to time will have its consequences. Typos, broken links, outdated product inventories and many other things can be found on websites that are left unattended for too long.
Don’t overuse email marketing
One of the greatest things about email is that everybody uses it. In fact, studies show that email marketing gives back a greater return on investment than any other marketing methodology, but it can also backfire if abused.
Too many times it is abused, because eCommerce companies tend to send out emails to their customers that end up being redirected to the spam folder.
Remember, not every customer will be interested in every one of your products, nor would they want to receive an email from you every 4 hours.
One of the greatest things to happen to modern eCommerce website owners is that they can create their websites easily using template based eCommerce website builders, but that has also left a lot of the simplicity out.
The majority, if not all of the most successful companies around the world has stuck with their design and imagery since their inception, even if they were born more than half a century ago. This same principle should apply for online businesses.
It’s OK to retouch your site from time to time, or change little details to keep it fresh and to keep up with times. It is not ok at all to overtly change your website’s design and make it unrecognizable to repeat customers. They want your website, not a different one.
Don’t alienate entire audiences
While it is true that you will be targeting your products and services to a certain audience, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t leave room for other ones. To get audiences to stay and to grow, this is especially important.
For example, if your eCommerce website sells vintage and expensive movie memorabilia, don’t exclude the common folk that just wants to buy or stream movies. Engage them by also selling popular movies with lower prices.
Don’t use the checkout process for marketing
This is one of the greatest sins committed by eCommerce websites far and wide: using the checkout process to sell more stuff. One thing that you need to understand is that the checkout process should be super safe, fast and easy.
By using it to promote another offer or to upsell, you are interrupting the checkout process and giving the buyer the opportunity to abandon his or her cart, which is just bad business. The only upsell permitted there are product upgrades, which in many cases a customer will be grateful for.
Don’t give up
eCommerce can become a complex task, especially at the beginning, but like with every good business, it is unrealistic to expect big profits and success to show up overnight. It will require patience, discipline and hard work on your part.
If you happen to have a great and innovative product or service to offer and you really love what you are doing with it, then the sacrifices will be worth it in the long run!