How to fail in e-commerce in 2017

The unfortunate truth of running an online business in 2017 is that a big percentage of those who set out to become successful in e-commerce, never manage to do it. And even though every case is a unique one, there are some things that many failing e-commerce stores have in common. In this article I will list five of the most common reasons for failing to succeed in ecommerce in 2017.

1) Not building a brand around your store

Let’s face it, pretty much regardless of what you plan to sell online, someone else is already selling products that are either the exact same as you will sell or so close substitutes that it makes no big difference to the buyer, from whose store he or she buys from. So how do you solve this problem? By building a brand in addition to the store. When launching a store you should consider how you are going to differentiate your store from the competitors. You should aim to a situation where every customer remembers the URL of your store once they have visited it once. In order to achieve that you should for an example think closely about what the domain name of your store is (to use an extreme example to illustrate this point: it is much easier to remember than it is to remember, and how you can make your store look different, but still professional, from your competitors. 

2) Selling products with very low profit margins

Traditionally for an example things like electronics have had very low profit margins, and online the situation is even worse, thanks to the giants such as Amazon using their massive purchasing power to negotiate favorable deals with the producers. Remember, from the actual money-in-the-bank perspective it is better to sell $10,000 worth inventory with 50% profit margin than $50,000 worth inventory with 5% profit margin.

3) Participating in the race to the bottom

This is another problem that relates to the profit margins. Even if you choose to sell products with good enough profit margins, you might at first be tempted to undercut your competitors by selling cheaper than them, with the plan to increase your prices once people start coming back to your store. While this strategy might provide some success, it is certainly not the perfect strategy: the big problem is that your customers start associating your store with low prices, and might be disappointed or even mad when you no longer offer them – this is especially problematic in the online environment, where your competitor’s store is just a click a way.

4) Not having properly mobile optimized website

Mobile shopping is not something that is going to come in future. It is here now, it is massive and it is only going to get bigger. If you don’t make sure that your e-commerce website is properly optimized for all the most common mobile shopping devices, you are going to be in lot of trouble.

5) Relying purely on search engine traffic

While it is nice to get so called free (when you consider the time and even money spent on the rankings, it is actually not really free) traffic via search engines to your site, it is also dangerous to rely purely on it. In the recent years we have seen multiple examples of how Google has changed its ranking algorithm, resulting in many people losing their good search engine rankings. So with that in mind make sure that you are pulling traffic to your online store from all the possible sources, these include for an example: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, word of mouth and even “real world” 

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