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Biggest Mistakes E-Commerce Businesses Make and How to Avoid Them

Richard Clayton Sep 16, 2019
In case you didn’t know or didn’t realize it by now, e-commerce is a phenomenon that is steadily growing with no intentions on slowing down or stopping.
Do you know how many businesses solely operate online? There are hundreds of thousands of them.
And for good reason too! The e-commerce industry isn’t some business trend that’s here today and gone tomorrow. In fact, the global e-commerce market is expected to reach up to 4.9 trillion in sales by 2021, so if you’re thinking about starting your own online store, there’s no better time than now to hop on the money train!
According to the Pew Research Center, a survey was conducted which revealed that eight out of ten American consumers shop online (which is roughly 79%) and out of that 79%, 15% utilize online shopping on a regular basis every week and 51% of those consumers made purchases on their cell phone.
These numbers definitely indicate that business is booming in the e-commerce industry, right? Yes, and it’s also the green light that entrepreneurs need to take the initiative to start their own e-commerce business.
Now, the world of e-commerce has definitely opened doors to many entrepreneurs and brought them great success, they had a good business idea and just enough technical savvy to launch their business but it’s not as easy now as it seemingly was, a few years back.
The competition is fiercer now and the trust consumers have in online businesses is typically pretty low.
These two factors as well as being inexperienced, are all too often the reasons why e-commerce business owners make such huge mistakes that greatly impact their business’ success.
But to be fair, the blame can’t all be put on entrepreneurs new to the e-commerce world… there are also seasoned e-commerce business owners who make unwise choices and mistakes that hurt their businesses too.
The good news is many of these mistakes are reversible. For instance, if you have a website but didn’t choose a memorable domain name, you can easily use a free tool to find the right domain name for the customers to remember.
That’s one of the biggest parts of planning successful e-commerce site but some people still get it wrong in the first go-round but it’s okay because it’s an easy fix.
Now, there are definitely mistakes that are irreversible but prevention is the key. If you knew some of the biggest e-commerce blunders to avoid, would you avoid them or do what you wanted to do?

Mistake 1: Creating a Website With No Web Design Experience

It’s well-known that anyone can create their own website and start an e-commerce business but the success has a little to do with how the website looks. If you have an untrustworthy looking website, people won't stay on your site for long and definitely not shop from there.
It's not that you have to be a web designer to start your online business but it makes difference if you were. If not, you need to hire a professional web designer or use a trusted e-commerce platform that has up-to-date and modern themes for you to build your website.

Mistake 2: Not Having a Target Audience

As an e-commerce business owner, some of your biggest competitors will be companies like Amazon. Your goal is to give people a reason to buy products from you instead of them. The only way you’ll be successful is by determining your target audience and work toward earning their trust.
In addition to choosing a target audience, you also need to create a customer profile. A customer profile is pretty much a picture of who your business’ ideal customer would be and any factors or aspects about them that would make them shop at your store.
  • Have a clear understanding of their interests
  • How your product meets their needs
  • Places that they’re social (physical location or social media)
  • Having a clear idea of their values
Not having a target audience can cause you to lose money by utilizing marketing efforts on a group of people who would never buy your products.

Mistake 3: SEO Errors on Your Site

E-commerce sites are very susceptible to SEO errors than any other site. These mistakes can be a huge hindrance to generate traffic to your site, and traffic is the foundation of e-commerce growth. There are some common technical SEO errors to be aware of.
  • Broken links or links to pages that no longer exist. Typically, if a customer runs into this, it will show an error code that looks like “404 Error.”
  • Duplicate web pages.
  • Links with error codes 301 or 302 that typically mean a customer clicked on a link and it redirected them to a page they were not expecting to go to.

To solve these issues, your best option would be to speak with an SEO professional, especially if you have no experience in working with technical SEO errors. 

Mistake 4: Not Having an Informative “About” Page

Many e-commerce business owners will skip designing an “about” page as they think people don’t look at those pages, nor do they think it greatly contributes to SEO traffic or referrals. Well, this thinking is one of the biggest e-commerce mistakes a business owner could make.
When you look at your analytics closely, you’ll be surprised at how people stop by this page before leaving your website, so if you have an “about” page, you might want to spruce it up a bit. Here you can pitch your unique selling tactic. Your “about” page doesn’t necessarily have to be all about you.
People think that “about” pages need to tell the business owner’s life story and how they stumbled upon this great idea to create their website, etc. Your “about” page doesn’t need to go into all of those details.
It needs to talk a little about you but it’s there more to help your customers have a better understanding of your brand and to explain how your products will benefit them.