What Not To Do When You Launch Your Online Store

Studies show that American e-commerce retail sales are projected to top $735 billion by 2023. In 2017, there were estimated to be 1.66 billion global digital buyers, and by 2021, this number could ramp up to 2.14 billion. That’s a lot of potential sales, though the marketplace is getting increasingly crowded, competition can be fierce, and only the fittest survive.

Online shopping is estimated to account for more than 17% of all retail sales across the world by 2021. Most people start an online business when they want to monetize a hobby, or if an opportunity has presented itself in the form of a sudden financial windfall. A life event like death, divorce, retirement, or marriage that causes a change in your circumstances could be also the raison d-etre.

While these are great motivating factors to set up an online store, the downside to the good news is that an alarming 90% of all Internet start-ups fail in the first four months.

Online Store Failure Can Be Traumatic
Online Store Failure Can Be Traumatic

The reasons could include:

  • Inadequate preparation and research
  • Inexperience
  • Lack of both short-term and long-term business planning
  • Lack of statistical and industry-related data
  • Poor financial and personnel management
  • Inadequate testing of e-commerce platform
  • Not investing enough in marketing, website development, or the exploration of emerging sales strategies.

Whatever the reasons for failure, it can be a traumatic experience for the promoters and has a serious impact on their personal lives.

The Most Common Online Store Ideas

Small business start-ups and online retail stores continue to enjoy great popularity, despite facing the heat from giant competitors and multinational players. Statistics reveal that online store and small business ideas that are most likely to succeed include:

  • Food/restaurant
  • General retail
  • Home services
  • Health, beauty, and fitness. 
  • Business services

Along with these, sunrise ideas that leverage the power of technology like virtual reality arcades and 3D printing are emerging as front-runners.

Avoid These Mistakes While Setting Up Your Online Store

Industry gurus say that most first businesses stand a big chance of failing, and it’s a rare entrepreneur who becomes a millionaire through his first venture. Launching a new business is risky, and there are far too many variables that could come into play before, during, and after the launch.

Some common mistakes by new online entrepreneurs include:

Not doing enough number-crunching: You need to spend a major portion of your planning time on getting the numbers right. Most start-ups are seen as extensions of a hobby or a side-business without delving deep into the facts and figures. You don’t need to be an expert in business math. A simple understanding of revenues, profits, and expenses is good enough.

Vitamin M deficiency: Almost 82% of startups fail due to cash flow problems. Vitamin M (money) should be a major factor in your business plan. Studies show that 77% of entrepreneurs use personal funds, 34% use bank loans, 16% tap into resources from family or friends, and a small percentage use crowd-funding, angel investors, venture capital, etc.

Not having a USP: With thousands of start-ups hatching and taking wing every day all over the world, you need something that sets your business apart to succeed. Strategizing for success includes researching the competition and bridging the gaps you find.

Not knowing your customer: Sometimes you have the customers ready and waiting for a product, but most often it’s the other way round. Finding and targeting the right customer in the right way, giving them what they want, offering the right kind of freebies, providing a great UX, safe payment gateway, and data protection are things that must be built into your business plan right from the start.

Skimping on marketing: Today, it’s all about creating a buzz. Work with a modern, tech-savvy, professional agency that has experience in your sector for best results. Remember that you’ve set up an online business, and your marketing plan must be focused on the online customer. Give them great content, interesting and valuable information, customer service, and stay in-sync with their evolving needs, preferences, and budget while being loyal to the early ones. Leverage the power of social media to reach a wider audience.

Not seeing the wood for the trees: Being over-involved and obsessed with a narrow area can cause genuine harm. You need perspective and big-picture visibility to succeed. Farm out routine tasks so that you’re free to concentrate on your core capabilities. Be wary of scams in this sector. Shady pay-per-click companies that guarantee immediate success are hazardous while relying on inexperienced, family-member type web marketers can also be disastrous.

A well-established and reputed partner like Shopify can give you the right advice and assistance to sell any product online. They help you in installing payment gateways, providing content management, analytics, and marketing, and value add-ons like live support and personal coaching.