Last updated on 07/13/2022
What are the common mistakes of an entrepreneur launching their first e-commerce brand?
Are you about to launch your first e-commerce brand? Congratulations!
But before celebrating this happy event, let’s take a look at the common mistakes made by brand e-commerce entrepreneurs (and pointed out by themselves), so as not to repeat them.
- Speed up the product research and sourcing
- Too-low margins
- Budget and time not well spent
- Thinking they can do everything themselves
- Not knowing who their customers are
- Not listening to their customers
- No competitive advantage
- Building a cash-flow business, not a brand
- Don’t invest in marketing for their first launch
Speed up the product research and sourcing
Under-researched ideas are a common mistake in e-commerce.
Product research can take time, but it is crucial. Finding on-demand products with the marketing instinct is an art.
The founder believes in their idea and their close circle who will back anything they do. The problem is that these founders didn’t research if there was a big enough audience for the potential product. Nor did they consider how much competition they had in their niche for that audience’s attention.
Next, they need to take the time to choose the best manufacturer for their brand, the one that fits their needs and understands their expectations. This process may take time, especially if they are doing the entire product development process with a unique design, especially if it is their first time.
Many entrepreneurs do not make a financial plan or do it missing some costs.
For example, they forgot to include the cost per acquisition, the delivery costs from the warehouse to the final customer, thinking that the customer will pay 100% of the shipping fees.
It is not necessary to write a long formal 3-year business plan but at least list all costs and the margin that will be left at the end.
A strategic plan creates momentum, which means that because you have a clear and researched idea, you are inspired to succeed.
Many new entrepreneurs begin their journey without thinking about the big picture. They then have no understanding of the market, financials, business model, or logistics, and that lack of understanding can cost time, money, and effort when things go wrong.
Avoid this common mistake by creating a very simple business plan to help identify the unknowns and spot the gaps you need to fill.
Do you need to work with a 3PL or ship manually?
How will you manufacture products?
Who are you selling to?
Budget and time not well spent
How to prioritize your actions, make good decisions and choose your investments?
You need a clear plan with business objectives.
Email marketing campaigns and social media ads are how you drive people to your site, turn them into customers and build revenue. So you need to launch it as soon as you get your product and the website is live.
Don’t focus on unnecessary details that will waste your time. For example, don’t waste time on unnecessary website details until you have enough traffic on it.
Your time is limited as an entrepreneur, and you need to prioritize your tasks as much as possible as they will pile up quickly.
Thinking they can do everything themselve
The bias of the new e-commerce entrepreneur is often to want to do everything alone.
Set a schedule and watch the hours go by, and take note of what you spend the most time on.
“In the beginning, it’s common to think that no one can do the job as well as you can. You know your products inside out, and are the only one who truly has the passion to make the business succeed.” – Andrew
But this is not only a recipe for burnout, it can actually significantly hinder your success. Having an experienced and knowledgeable consultant or mentor can give you a much-needed objective perspective on your business and your market.
Not knowing who their customers are
“Critical step most entrepreneurs miss is finding an ideal customer and building a customer profile. When you know who your customers are, how they behave, and why they behave the way they do, you’ll be able to serve them in a way that meets their needs.”
Not listening to their customers
When you have your first customers, go contact them.
Send them a personalized email, ask them to call, send a feedback questionnaire, go to customer service and take tickets. It’s even highly recommended that at the beginning, you handle customer complaints and requests yourself to understand how to optimize your business.
These interactions may help you build your fan base. If the feedback is negative, make sure you understand why, ask questions, ask how you can improve the overall experience and determine where you should fix the problem.
“Feedback is a gift” If you are lucky enough to receive it and take the time to study it.
Jeff Bezos and many successful e-commerce brand founders have a customer obsession. Take it as an example.
No competitive advantage
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when starting an e-commerce brand is not doing market research. You want to know more about the competition and understand how you can differentiate yourself from them.
Find your competitors and look at:
The number of online reviews
Search engine rankings (SEO)
Paid ads on social media
With this information collected you should be able to determine your positioning, what advantage you have against them, and how you should use it.
Competitive advantage and creating a unique value proposition are extremely important. The visitor on your website should clearly see the value you provide through your brand and product.
Building a cash-flow business, not a brand
Building a brand is just as important as the products you sell, since your brand is how people perceive your business.
In the beginning, it is quite normal to look at performance data to judge if your e-commerce brand is successful or not.
ROAS, CPC, CPM, CTR, new sessions per user, bounce rate etc., are important metrics. However, you also need to think about creating a brand around your products and your website.
Share a vision that embraces everything and is perceived by customers with an intangible value. It is your most valuable asset that will keep your brand alive in the long run, like Apple, Nike, or Coca-cola
Don’t invest in marketing for the first launch
Many new entrepreneurs still think that when the e-commerce website is launched, the orders will magically come….
“If you build it, they will come.” This is a common belief among new entrepreneurs. They think that they can just rely on free PR and word of mouth to get website traffic.
In reality, the vast majority of brands will need to invest heavily in marketing. This can include SEO, content marketing, PR and paid advertising to drive traffic.
Look at where your competitors are spending their marketing dollars, and ask yourself how you can compete and differentiate.
Finally, it is important to mention that failure is not a dead end; being aware of your mistakes allows you to adjust the situation in time, but sometimes it happens anyway.
The most important quality is perseverance, to believe in yourself and in your brand. This is the key to success that has been given long ago by all successful entrepreneurs.
Here is what you should do:
- Write a business plan: where are you going? Which industry,niche,positioning?
- Research your niche: is there demand?
- Know your customers: who exactly are you solving a problem for?
- Find a gap in the market: is there some value you can add, or are you just a me-too store?
- Have a marketing plan in place.
- Avoid wasting time with distractions.
- Hire help.