Simply building a website and launching an online retail business is not enough. It actually takes some effort to make this business profitable. Hamster understands that the start may be difficult for those who are new to this and would like to share some of the most common mistakes that new e-shop owners tend to make.
The first mistake: investing money and effort wrongly
Spend initial funds only on what is essential to generate profit and build the target audience’s loyalty – for example, on expanding your products’ range or on ensuring fast and convenient delivery. Ironically, startups often first and furthermost focus on the uniqueness of website design and disregard the functionality. They spend six to twelve months developing a store, improving and modernizing something that in the end does not result in a lot of customer traffic. Finally, startups end up with empty pockets.
Also, as in any business, when opening an online store, it is advisable to define every detail of exactly how your business idea is supposed to work and make monthly calculations. And you have to count twice: according to the optimistic and the pessimistic scenarios, and then invest significant amounts of money. The best option for creating a new and fresh project is to start with a very simple and practical website design.
You do not need any fancy or trendy designs, lots of embellishments, or super modern, flashy video blocks your website. Choose a simple website builder with convenient ready-to-use templates. At this point, you do not need to find a programmer or a website design studio to manage web hosting as the website builder is a serverless, ready-to-go tool.
The second mistake: using free web hosting service and domains
If the first mistake is not too common, the opposite can be said about the following issue: most new business owners have very limited funds. Therefore, they believe they can save on domain and hosting costs by choosing cheap or free options.
As a rule, it often happens that such hosting services go out of business, domains collapse, servers get overloaded and fall apart – in fact, a wide variety of problems may arise. When servers crash, you find yourself in a terrifying situation that you have no control over.
Free web hosting providers do not guarantee any SLA (uptime of the server) or clean IP addresses. This means you are at risk of having your website hosted on a blacklisted server, which in turn means that any email sent front the website will be marked as spam on most major email platforms (Gmail, Microsoft Outlook etc.).
The third mistake: incorrectly selected CMS
If an online store is based on some kind of CMS (WordPress, Joomla) rather than developed from scratch, first you need to study all its technical possibilities carefully. It often happens so that the engine is not capable of solving various issues that clients believe it should deal with easily. In most cases, such an error occurs simply because the customer does not take time to study the full description (User Guide) for the product he/she purchased.
Take time to explore all the features of your e-shop platform. It may turn out that your CMS already has a toolkit that optimizes your work (sales and visit analytics, fast order processing, integration with useful services) and it will save you time on dealing with technical issues, which means you will have more time and resources to take care of administrative matters and (hopefully) increasing sales.
The fourth mistake: prioritizing beauty over functionality
This misconception is typical for those who desire a trendy-looking site and forget about its selling functions. Without a doubt, the look and feel of your online store should be memorable and impressive, but remember that the first task of a website is to generate sales.
This is why focus on launching a store with the set of selling opportunities that you need at the moment. Here are some major features of a good online store:
- the site has the seller’s contact and registration information;
- the site works without technical errors;
- full information about the goods, products, services is provided;
- description of the goods is written in a simple and understandable language;
- the description is supplemented with good quality photographs (own production, without violating other people’s copyrights);
- the site has a convenient shopping cart for orders;
- online store managers are always ready for dialogue;
- phone numbers on the site are real and working;
- secure the form of payment is protected and secure (with SSL certificate installed);
- genuine product reviews provided (not only positive ones).
It’s great if you can tick off all of these points as it means your online store is working in a professional manner. If not, it’s time to think about where there is room for improvement.
The fifth mistake: insufficient website promotion
If you do not have a marketing plan and promotion strategy, you inevitably end up spending your budget funds ineffectively. SEO optimization should be included in your marketing plan, otherwise, you will end up doing a chaotic promotion that does not bring the desired effect.
As well as SEO, optimize social network campaigns, otherwise, you risk wasting your time doing Ineffective work with various groups and communities, and, as a result, having a “dead” subscribers’ base, with almost zero participant activity. The way out of this situation is to create lively communication to attract active subscribers in an artificial way, using “virtual” profiles created for this purpose. This “inoculation” may as well draw the attention of real people to the group.
Errors in creating contextual advertising. In particular, when the display of blocks is focused on high-frequency queries, this leads to a significant increase in advertising costs. Moving an online store to the top of the search engine results list is much cheaper for low and medium-frequency keywords.