Here’s the reality of e-commerce. Long gone are the days of simply building an e-commerce website, running ads and posting content on social media.
A vital part of launching an e-commerce store is understanding what makes the store profitable and scalable.
There are mistakes that you can make that may be hurting your bottom line. Let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes made by e-commerce store owners and how you can avoid them.
The misconceptions around e-commerce.
Today’s a reality check! What most people think about e-commerce starting an e-com brand or an online store, the first thing they think of getting supplies from either Alibaba or AliExpress thinking all they have to do is source the products from there, like it’s so easy. People who want to start their business online literally think all they have to do is download an app and message some suppliers, and that’s it!
While it’s true that you can easily see that the cost of products there is quite low and then naturally you may think you can sell a product for ten dollars and you can buy it for one dollar and that will give you nine dollars profit. Then that’s when things start to work off of it, but you have to know that there’s so much more to it than it actually looks like.
You may even see a trend of entrepreneurship goals on social media because that’s what gets people in the entrepreneurial mindset. You’ll also notice, and you start to see people changing their Instagram bio to entrepreneur or something big like “E-com King with 10 million dollars in one year” or whatever! It is like you’ll see stuff like that popping up just because you know someone went on Alibaba and just messaged a few suppliers and got a few prices. That’s a serious misrepresentation that may cause other people to fall into a trap.
The bottom line is: don’t just jump on a bandwagon of these amazing success stories some people are claiming on social media just because whether they truly did it easily and successfully or just using a hook to get you hit the deal with them. Success in business doesn’t happen overnight, and this is not discouraging you to start your own business.
In fact, we encourage everyone who wants to start their own brand to do so, but mindfully and carefully! We just want to lay the groundwork, lay the pathway and the warning signs of what you might be getting into as you go along this journey
The two key things you’d need to know before starting your e-commerce store.
There are two things you have to do before starting:
First: we’re telling you what’s ahead of you even though you’re probably doing lots of research watching hundreds of hours of youtube videos and everything in between, and
Second: Know what kind of financial commitment you’re going into because, unfortunately, gone are the days of running an ad and getting sales that easy!
There’s so much more to it. Lots of people don’t know it and consequently, lose a lot of money running ads and basically throwing money in the wind because they don’t know how to structure the campaigns. Technical knowledge is important in this ever-changing digital world of business.
Most people that are just starting e-commerce do not know how to sell online – you should at least know the right copy that works for your business. Do they even know the rates they have to anticipate? For example, click-through rates, and are they aware of what conversion rates are?
Why does e-commerce fail and what are the mistakes to avoid?
Did you know? 90% of e-com brands fail because of a lack of preparation from all aspects. When you start an e-com brand, you don’t build the company from day one. You have to go through the learning phase, it usually starts with you alone, until you get a bit of cash then you start hiring your first person unless you’re ready to splurge money from day one and start hiring experts to do the stuff for you.
90% of people don’t even get to that phase of creating a company. You may have such a great market now but it’s also where everyone’s an entrepreneur and everyone’s starting an online business.
The thing is everyone thinks that they can sell something by putting it on an online store but the reality is that’s probably 5% of the work that’s needed to be done.
What are the few preparations that need to be done before launching?
There’s a lot more work that needs to be done than just putting something on an online store. There’s no doubt that many people can start building a website pretty much like any online store, but you’ll hear from our co-founder Fady who comes from a design and development background and has already built probably hundreds of online stores and even has a team he manages and out but here’s what we always hear from our clients:
- Website needs an update and/or upgrade.
- Online store needs to be redeveloped.
- Website needs to change its structure.
- Business needs rebranding.
There’s so much more to that, and already a lot of work in terms of a website then there’s more such as direct copy or sales copy.
For example, if you’re selling a phone, how do you sell it? What is the copy you’ll be using that is both branded and direct that makes it an irresistible offer? You may say that it’s something everyone needs to use in our everyday life.
You know then that you can have the following:
- A great website
- A great product or a collection of multiple products
- A great packaging,
- A great user experience of the product.
- Great copywriting et cetera
Now how do we build the brand? We run traffic to the website, cool!
How do we do that? We build the funnel online. In terms of our campaign, here are some of our client’s questions about building the website and campaigns that you may find value in:
- What does that mean?
- How do you build it?
- I want to know and track back a step.
We believe that our clients reflect most of the people wanting to start their online business and the best way to avoid mistakes is to learn from other people, from their experiences, and points of view.
How does the website reflect branding?
When talking about the website, you have to think about branding, too, and there are a lot of steps before the website you’ve got to take care of.
Too many people confuse branding with the website itself. Making the website look should reflect your branding which includes your brand colour palette and that’s it. Whereas branding is actually more focused on what your brand stands for and makes it different from others.
It’s a little bit more about what problem you’re solving with your brand. You can do literally all 538 steps of building a brand down to building a product and a product range and everything but still end up in a situation where you thought you could just finish everything and then click run on ads and you wait for 2-3 months and then you realize that you haven’t sold anything yet.
Why do you think that’s happened? Do the following resonate with you?
- Maybe the product doesn’t work,
- Or the market doesn’t like your product,
- Have you looked at what um products work and what don’t?
- Have you looked at the market?
- Have you done your research if this is a saturated or exhausted industry or exhausted audience?
- Have you tried comparing what others are already doing and what else can you offer differently that your competitors are lacking?
- Or are you just doing what others are already doing?
That being said, there’s so much that has to go on and on and on. It requires a lot of testing and that includes time and funds. Stop thinking that you could perhaps get a teeth whitening kit, run ads to it and then become a millionaire in an instant!
How do you do market research?
How can people do that research so what are some tips and tricks up your sleeve?
- Identify who your customers are.
- See if there’s a need or desire for your product how do you approach that.
- This learning phase is not the job of any marketing agency you’ll hire.
A lot of business owners come up to us and say hey “I’d like to sell this product what are you going to do about it?” But honestly, we can give you a framework/layout and some sort of marketing plan that we can do for your brand to sell your product but not setting or analyse if what you did at building your brand in its learning phase is correct based on your target audience. A marketing agency’s job is if you’re selling currently a quantity of products a month and we would work on improving and scaling the figures.
Like how do we get it and how do we get it to increase the revenue to two times in the next three months. We map out the plan for you. This is how a marketing agency can help. However, if you’re starting at zero and you want to sell this product a marketing agency generally won’t be able to help you. Unless you have a lot of money prepared to spend on advertising, then that gives us an opportunity to test.
The importance of competitor research.
The best place to start would be at your competitors. Take everything with a grain of salt, just because a competitor is doing something doesn’t mean you should copy it. You can take inspiration from it but never copy.
Let’s say you’re selling a teeth whitening kit. Take a look at what other competitors are doing in the market. Big brands like Colgate, and Oral B, have a look at the ads they’re running, Facebook ads library gives you exactly this information. Consider the creative look, messaging and the different creatives they’re using, because that is what formulates the funnel.
Messaging is very important. Say something that targets the brand and doesn’t even talk about the product could make some references to the product but mainly focuses on the brand middle of the funnel. Then you can add some testimonials too, quite a bit of social proof and then your marketing is your offer with urgency.
Common mistakes start-ups make that you could avoid.
In spite of all that we have mentioned above, it may still not work for some companies, especially start-ups and here’s why:
Comparing their business idea that is yet to be put into action with big companies can also have a disadvantage. For example, underestimating the big companies who have spent a long time in the industry backed with say 10-15 years of research and lead generation long before you could ever think of starting your own company with your idea, they already have a solid customer base. Let us also not forget that they have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars already and are more willing to spend more than you’ll ever be able to afford or would in your learning phase.
Most business starters think of their ideas so highly without looking into the bigger picture – thinking their product is the ideal one for everyone, which is not impossible too but have they tried getting out of their own vision and try judging from the market’s point of view?
Here’s our advice: Putting themselves in their customer’s shoes is the best way possible to generally judge their ideas and plans. Are they looking from the other side? Because if you ask us, we know when we see a Facebook ad from a random business where we ourselves won’t buy coming from our customer perspective.
How do you attack a market?
Well, simply put. How you attack a market or attack a gap in the market is testing, putting out the product in the market, and getting feedback from other people because you’re not going to find the gap in the market you will find it through other people and then you’ll eventually start to piece and start to understand and put together what you’re trying to sell.
How we founded Digital Oasis is through a market gap.
For example, how we discovered Digital Oasis was through a gap in the market that we found from other people’s experiences because we’ve heard a lot of noise about what’s happening with some agencies these days. What we’ve noticed is that some agencies, promise crazy stuff but are not able to deliver in the end. You’ll find agencies that promise these unrealistic expectations disappointing a lot of brand owners and ultimately potentially ruining businesses and thus ruining other reputable marketing agencies as well.
A lot of people are not trusting agencies anymore due to their valid experiences, and how we learned about these issues is through our clients’ feedback. hence why we’ve formed Digital Oasis because we’re here to help business owners of all walks of life and become their oasis – we’re here to guide you through their journey in the digital marketing industry. And that’s a kind of a gap in the market in itself.
The most frequent issues we hear from our clients.
It’s our culture to have a meeting before signing the contract with our clients and sharing both our expectations and experiences as well relevant to the project. And most of our clients have complained about some previous agencies they’ve worked with in the past. Money-back guarantee is a bait they always fall into where agencies guarantee business owners sales or they don’t pay.
Most of our clients were always having the same problem saying “my agency didn’t do this and that”. That itself is feedback and that goes the same thing to the e-com industry. Social listening is important in the learning process before you finally formulate and finalize your business ideas, and map out your plan.
How? Writing a couple of points and feedback from other people and then looking at the trend over time and see if you can identify a gap in the market unfortunately there’s no easy sort of answer to that but the reality is it takes money and time. But it’s worth it instead of rushing and going bankrupt in the end just because you didn’t do your homework.
If you’ve got what it takes to take the shortcuts then that means a lot of money connecting and potentially networking with people who’s done that and are a lot more invested in the same industry or into sort of e-commerce. That person may help you shed some light and a cap on the market.
Our focus is on growth and performance.
We, as a marketing agency, are usually focused on growth. Technically we’re a marketing agency but we’re more of a growth agency and a growth agency really requires a proven consistent flow of sales to be able to take on these clients like the evidence that your business has or your brand or your product and has what market response.
What your focus as a new e-commerce brand owner is to try to figure out ways to attract sales organically if possible through the word of mouth, through referrals, through influencer marketing, because there’s no point in saying you’re going to chuck 50 bucks a day on Facebook ads but you’ve got absolutely zero only or one person speaking about the product like why do you think a lot of our clients sell it’s because they just have insane social proof going on.
Every time we go on Instagram we’re seeing an influencer posting about our client that’s why our campaign has just gone through the roof.
We want to build a relationship with the owner of the company we really want to be partners and invest it into your brand just as you are invested in your brand because we understand how much it takes to build one.
If you want to grow your brand and see real performance, don’t waste any more time – contact us today!