There’s a whole lot of work and preparation to be done when starting an online store. Product manufacturing, distribution and an e-commerce website are just some potential tasks that are all epics within themselves and take up a lot of time and resources. In my experience with online store start-ups, way too many see these epics as their only challenges to get going and forget some key things that are also crucial for success when starting an online store.
So what is the biggest mistake an online store makes when starting?
No Marketing Budget!
Aside from product sourcing and management and then distribution and website creation, building traction when you launch your store is one of the biggest challenges a store will face so having a healthy marketing budget for this is critical to success.
I’ve seen many online store start-ups invest thousands in products, website building, branding and distribution and then have nothing or a small amount left in the pot to start gaining traction through marketing your online store. This is a big mistake as, without conversions, a store (however great it is) will eventually close down due to it not being profitable and will leave the store owner feeling disheartened and feeling like all their efforts were wasted - it’s a hard lesson to learn!
Another common mistake is when a store owner wisely keeps a healthy marketing budget but then ignorantly blows it all due to a lack of marketing knowledge. I regularly hear of store owners wasting hundreds or even thousands on Google and Facebook Ads with very little success due to them not fully understanding how to effectively run campaigns and how important it is to track every campaign vigorously to ensure you keep improving your campaigns and are indeed reaching the correct audience.
A question that is often asked is ‘Should I hire an agency to market my store?’ Well… many stores do and they then successfully gain conversions and make a profit so I don’t see why you should disregard this option, however, if you do decide to hire an agency or freelancer you should be actively involved in the decisions and you should be very aware of important information they acquire through their research and tracking such as what campaigns are getting the best returns and just as importantly why they are. Also, what’s your customer acquisition cost? What other marketing channels have they been testing with? These questions are some of the many that you need to know the answers to as a store owner even if a marketing agency is running your campaigns for you.
The main point is, that if you do not want to run online campaigns yourself, you should still take time for self-learning in this area and be very actively involved to a point where you almost manage the marketing projects at a high level whilst ensuring you know all of the valuable insights.
Aside from campaigns, sales channels are reasonably new to the e-commerce world and are a great way to draw in sales. What’s even more attractive is that generally they are built on a commission-based model which means you don’t pay anything unless you get a sale. Services such as Upurr, InstaShop and Google Shopping are some of the available sales channels out there and are very effective in driving more traffic to your store and generating more sales.
It’s worth ensuring your store is utilising these services and even more so when you’re trying to build traction. If you’re starting a new online store remember to allocate as many resources as possible to your marketing so you can focus on building traction and drawing in shoppers. Utilise all of the free resources including online directories (local & national) such as Yelp or Yell and any available sales channels such as Upurr. There are also some great Facebook groups out there where you can get free advice and guidance and I will list a few at the bottom of this post.
Let’s face it, there are many mistakes to be made when building any business and you can always learn from these mistakes going forward. Creating a successful online store involves lots of different tasks so see it as a marathon as opposed to a sprint to success and with the proper knowledge and determination, there’s no reason why you can’t make your store as successful as any that you shop at today.
- Shopify UK
- E-Commerce Store Owner Tips
- WooCommerce Community
- E-Commerce Entrepreneurs
- Wix Support & Services
Thanks for reading this article and if you’d like to keep informed about the latest news and posts by Upurr you can subscribe below.