The year of 2014 saw a sudden flooding in e-commerce industry. Everyone wanted to create a website or list itself as a seller on existing market places and sell products online. There was a surge and everyone leapt to get a chunk of his or her share in the upcoming market. Many entered the market but only some of them survived while the others opted out. E-commerce business looks quite easy from outside, whereas is not so. The flooding happened because people thought it does not require heavy fixed capital and can be started with their existing infrastructure. There are common mistakes that people make while starting a new e-commerce business.
1. Entering the market without understanding it
People generally enter the e-commerce market either with no or less knowledge, both of which can be excessively harmful. They should study the market before entering it. The more they’ll know about the market, the better they’ll be able to perform. Enter the market only when you take into account all its aspects. For example, e-commerce business doesn’t require much fixed costs but its variable costs are high. You need to spend regularly on advertisement, discounts, shipping, packaging, coupons, other promotional items, etc. These expenses largely affect the profit margins.
2. Trying to compete the big players
If you are a start-up, don’t try to compete with the big fishes from day 1. First analyze the present market trends. Then design a strategy for your company. Just because the bigger firms do something, doesn’t mean you too need to do the same. You can opt for options that haven’t been considered by other players. It is the capital and turnover, which makes a business, big or small. For instance, if the existing players offer a discount of 50% on a particular product, you don’t have to do it just to get noticed by customers. If you can’t sustain it, do something else to boost up your sales, like, keeping reward points, non-cash backs, coupons etc. Provide them better and faster services.
Try to first set yourself in the market. Only then you’ll be capable of competing with them. If you have a turnover of one or two orders a day and you want to compete with the leaders of the industry, it is utter foolishness. Competition is always among equals. Once you are set, get yourself recognized. After you get yourself recognized, target customers. Form a strategy that will increase traffic on your website.
3. Take care of finances
Finance is the blood of business. Your business will live, until it’s flowing. Take into account the finances you have. Plan out a strategy to utilize the money in the best possible manner. Do not spend it without giving it a thought. Excessive money generally leads to wastage, which in turn leads to losses. Keep a steady hand and spend only where its necessary. Don’t throw money in too much of advertisement. You can promote your product in a better way, if you analyze properly. Keep some amount as reserve, to be used in case of emergencies only. It is recommended to keep liquid cash in hand.
4. Un-responsive website or application
Online customers do not have patience. They hate websites, which are slow and asks them to wait. Develop a website which is responsive, that is, gives quick results. 74% of customers buy products within the hour of their browsing. 65% customers do not even wait, if the website is slow or doesn’t respond quickly. The better the response, the more the traffic you will receive. Your website should have a large bandwidth. It should be optimized for speedy results. It should even respond on 2G speeds.
Develop a website which is compatible to all the devices and Operating Systems, viz. tablets, smartphones, PCs, Linux, iOS, Android, Mac etc. More than 70% customers prefer to use the website that has an application or is compatible with multiple devices. This will attract traffic and get you increase your sales. The website or application should ask for information only once. People hate entering the same information again and again. Design an interactive website and you’ll get a better response.
Customers have a fickle mind. They can easily slip to other e-commerce sites if not targeted properly. In order to bind the customer, follow them regularly. Send them newsletters, mails, messages via social media, SMS etc. about new offers, new releases, exclusive products etc. Wish them on special occasions like their birthdays and festivals. Re-target and get them to shop. Keeping in regular touch with customers will ensure better conversion and turnout. It will also help in mouth publicity, which is undoubtedly the best form of marketing.
Shipping goods via courier is expensive in India. Almost one third of the orders are returned everyday and the shipping cost is borne by the seller. Frankly speaking, online business requires patience and perseverance. You should have the ability to understand the fickle minds of customers and ignore such returns. It is not an altogether profitable business. Shipping is expensive and it will take some deep thinking on your part to overcome this hurdle. Even if you are able to convert customers and increase your turnout ratio, it won’t help much because shipping cost is variable. It will depend upon the package weight and distance. Cash on delivery is way costlier than regular delivery. Since some people have adopted it, small and new start-ups too go after it, ending up in losses. Think before spending money, because after all business is done to earn profits.
Business is not easy especially nowadays when there is a cutthroat competition everywhere. Every time think before taking a step. Use your resources well to get maximum output or return. Use your resources wisely. Avoid wastage at all costs. Enter the market with latest and updated knowledge and plan out well. Seek expert advice, if required. Move ahead with a kind heart and a keen mind.