Hindsight is 20/20, as they say. The correct choices always seem more obvious when you’re looking back on the past. It’s practically guaranteed you’ll make missteps when you’re launching your ecommerce store. However, it’s far from the end of the world because you can make adjustments as you go.
While it’s unlikely you’ll be able to eliminate mistakes entirely, you can learn from others’ experiences. Then you can apply this knowledge to your own store.
Here’s what ecommerce storeowners wish they’d known earlier.
Know Your Niche Inside and Out
A lot of the legwork occurs before you even commit to an idea for an ecommerce store. Or, at least, it should. One entrepreneur shares on Medium how he started his ecommerce store without a crystal clear idea of its niche, target audience and the problem it was trying to solve. While he made it work eventually, he calls this “a recipe for endless frustration.”
The lesson here is to do your research before launching. Understand the market into which you’re venturing. Zero in on your target audience: Who are they and what do they want? Conduct keyword research by identifying relevant search queries. Read through customer reviews for comparable products and brands to get a feel for pain points.
All this information will help you forge ahead with a solid business plan.
You Need a Unique Selling Proposition
The idea of broad appeal may sound, well, appealing. But trying to please everyone is an expensive mistake many retailers end up making. Make sure to differentiate your store with a truly unique value proposition—that is, the distinguishing factor conveying why customers should buy from your ecommerce store rather than its competition.
Many merchants wish they’d identified what sets their store apart earlier—then communicated this “x factor” more prominently to website visitors. Make your unique value proposition a central part of your branding. Tell your customer exactly what you can do for them right away.
User Experience Design Mistakes Kill Conversions
The user experience (UX) shoppers encounter when they visit your website can make or break conversion rates. Consumers expect to encounter easy navigation to get them where they’re trying to go. Facilitating simple site search is a must. The layout should be clean and in line with how people naturally browse websites. This goes for both your desktop and mobile experiences.
Nowadays, many free website templates from platforms like Shopify incorporate UX design best practices already. Whether you customize a premade option or build your own store from scratch, study up on UX so you can avoid placing hurdles between visitors and completing transactions.
Marketing Can Be Effective and Inexpensive
Many ecommerce entrepreneurs will attest they spent unnecessary time and money “barking up the wrong trees” when it came to marketing their stores. Here’s an example: Rolling out an expensive paid ad campaign on social media right away. While you might want to pursue this strategy down the line, doing so at the expense of more cost-effective options is a waste.
Make use of famously low-cost strategies like email, content and referral marketing first.
Your Return Policy Is Make or Break
Many ecommerce storeowners underestimate the sheer volume of returns they’ll need to handle—and how large of a role return policies play in customer satisfaction. Of the 60 percent of online shoppers that make at least one return or exchange per year, almost all (95 percent) will make another purchase if they have a positive return experience.
By learning from what other ecommerce storeowners wish they’d known in the past, you can avoid common mistakes and optimize your store as soon as possible.