Common ECommerce Startup Mistakes and How to Evade Them

Common ECommerce Startup Mistakes and How to Evade Them

In the eCommerce business, the journey from setting up your store to becoming an established name in your domain involves careful planning, strategizing, execution, and continuous monitoring.


With literally thousands of online stores for everything you can want, a single mistake can shatter your chances of success. This is why it is imperative to study and learn from the common errors startups make while designing and building their eCommerce platform.


In this article, we’re helping you do just that. Let’s check out some notable eCommerce development mistakes startups often make and how you can evade them.


Table of Contents:


  1. Neglecting Market Research
  2. Not Identifying Your Target Audience
  3. Poor Website or App Design
  4. Slow Loading Times
  5. Sub-par Product Information and Visualization
  6. Inferior Product Photography
  7. Ignoring Search Engine Optimization
  8. Overlooking Social Media Marketing
  9. Inefficient Customer Support and Communication
  10. Faulty Inventory Management




1. ECommerce Conversion Rates – Grasping the Basics


Before we explore the planning and development mistakes in detail, it is vital to understand the principal metric of success of an online store – conversion rates.


Within eCommerce platforms, each instance where a user completes a desired action is documented as a conversion. Although the term ‘conversion’ is commonly associated with a sale, it can also denote various actions such as adding items to a wishlist, or cart, subscribing to newsletters, or engaging in social media sharing activities.


The conversion rate refers to the percentage of conversions on your platform. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) involves a series of strategies tailored to enhance specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), notably sales.


By implementing sound CRO techniques, you can target various sections of your online store, including category pages, landing pages, and other points of customer interaction.


What is an Ideal eCommerce Conversion Rate?


Recent research indicates that a significant majority of eCommerce marketers report conversion rates typically falling within the range of 2.5% to 3%. Consequently, while the conversion rate for your store is subject to fluctuation based on factors such as industry, target demographics, and pricing strategies, you can consider 3% as a feasible benchmark. Thereafter, you can keep improving your platform and upscaling your business for greater conversion rates.



1. 2 Other Important Metrics for Measuring eCommerce Conversions


Apart from assessing your online store’s conversion in terms of sales, you must consider several other metrics that influence Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).


Click-through Rate (CTR)

CTR indicates the number of individuals who click on a link leading to your website from an advertisement or email. Strategies aimed at boosting CTR typically involve optimizing AdWords or email marketing campaigns. This drives user engagement and prompting actions like social media interactions.


Bounce Rate

Bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors who exit the site after viewing only one page. Increased bounce rates constitute a significant challenge to your business. It literally calls out to search engine algorithms that visitors are not finding relevant content on your website and are leaving immediately upon arrival. This adversely affects your SEO efforts and organic traffic.


Exit Rate

Often confused with bounce rate, exit rate indicates the proportion of visitors who leave your site after viewing a specific page. Monitoring exit rates allows you to identify and work on the specific pages your visitors are probably not finding relevant and losing interest in your offerings.


Average Session Duration

Average session duration gives you a general overview of the time visitors spend on your site. A high bounce rate often correlates with a low average time on site, suggesting that visitors are not remaining on your site long enough to complete desired actions.


Average Page Depth

Average page depth or ‘Pages Per Session’ in Google Analytics shows the number of pages a user (and potential customer) views before leaving. It takes into account the total pageviews within a session duration. While a higher page depth may suggest increased engagement, it could also signal a lack of clarity in your sales funnel if conversions are not occurring.



Read Also: Transforming eCommerce: 20 Tips to Double Your Conversion Rates



2. 10 Costly Blunders Often Made By E-commerce Startups


Now that we have understood what conversion rates are and other factors affecting them, let’s check out some eCommerce development mistakes that can be disastrous for your CRO efforts.



2.1 Neglecting Market Research


Assuming that everyone wants to buy your product is a cardinal sin when it comes to creating your online store.


Beginners in the eCommerce business often jump to the conclusion that their offerings will appeal to everyone and that their merchandise will be in high demand right from the get-go.


For instance, imagine that you’ve created a new range of organic skin care products. Without thoroughly researching the market, you presume that there is a huge demand for your products and stock up inventory levels only to find later that the market is actually saturated or highly competitive. Proper market research could have saved you from this huge setback that could potentially ruin your business.



2.2 Not Identifying Your Target Audience


Identifying your target audience is one of the most important steps involved in any eCommerce website development strategy. Without clearly understanding your audience, you will be highly prone to making the aforementioned mistake of thinking that everyone is interested in your products.


Spotting and analyzing your target customer base not only tells you who to aim to attract but also allows you to procure individualized shopping experiences.


Let’s assume that you have a store selling high-end fashion items and accessories. Without precise target audience identification, you may end up wasting valuable time and resources on ineffective marketing campaigns to irrelevant users like students or older individuals who are not into pricey fashion items.



2.3 Poor Website or App Design


Cluttered design elements and a confusing user interface (UI) can significantly hamper your chances of driving conversions on your eCommerce mobile app or website.


If visitors enter your store and are overwhelmed by too flashy graphics or unnecessary aesthetics, they are almost certain to leave without making a purchase. This also raises your bounce rates and exit rates while reducing your average site duration figures.


A lack of crisp and intuitive navigation is another key concern here. Users should be able to easily understand where and how to find what they are looking for on your platform. To avoid a poor user interface and experience, include relevant menus and a “search” option to help users navigate their way around your store seamlessly.



2.4 Slow Page Loading Speeds


In the present digital age we live in, we look for speed everywhere — how long it takes for our pizza to arrive, how fast we can invest in a stock, or get a loan approved.


Loading speeds of websites and pages are no different. All it takes is one slow page or a couple, for us to leave a site and visit one offering similar products.


Inferior loading speeds can have various causes – large image files, poor server performance, using too many plug-ins, poor code quality, excessive HTTP requests, inadequate web hosting, and so forth.


You need to closely monitor them and make the necessary improvements using tools like Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom Website Speed Test, Lighthouse, GTmetrix, and so on.


Optimizing all of the said factors requires considerable technical prowess and it is best to hire a trusted website development company with experienced UX/UI designers and developers at the helm of your eCommerce platform.



2.5 Sub-par Product Information and Visualization


Irrelevant or inadequate product information is a leading cause of shoppers losing interest in your eCommerce platform.


In traditional offline retail, buyers physically check out and test the merchandise before purchasing, and you can get away with insufficient data to some extent. However, in eCommerce, product images, information, videos, 360-degree views, and customer reviews and images are all that shoppers have to rely on.


This is why it is critical to provide high-quality images and accurate facts and figures about your offerings to boost confidence among buyers.


Additionally, include videos, demos, and 360-degree displays wherever feasible, as eCommerce giants like Amazon and Flipkart have already incorporated these options.


In 2024, with a little almost 5 billion smartphone users worldwide, it goes without saying that you need to focus on responsive design for your e-store and make it work seamlessly on mobiles and tablets as well.



2.6 Inferior Product Photography


The standard of product photos requires a separate mention in our discussion as mobile phones can take high-quality photos today. We naturally expect clear images of products to reassure our decision to make a purchase.


Poor lighting, cluttered backgrounds, inconsistent image quality, and lack of detailed shots are the key areas of concern. Your product might be miles ahead of the competition in terms of quality and functionality, but if you don’t provide good images, customers are bound to seek other sellers.


To maintain a professional brand image, it is vital to make sure that all photographs and videos are of consistent quality and are optimized for all screen sizes and device types.



Read Also: Shopify vs. Magento: Which One to Pick For Your eCommerce Business?



2.7 Ignoring Search Engine Optimization


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a set of methodologies aimed at improving the rankings of your pages on search engines in response to related entries from users.


When we look up products and solutions on Google, for instance, we hardly check past the first 5 or 6 results. SEO helps ensure that whenever your target audiences search for products you offer, your product or category pages appear within the first few results.


You can drive search engine performance and generate leads with PPC (pay-per-click) and paid marketing campaigns without using SEO services. But this requires you to invest on paid campaigns on search engines and social media platforms.


Neglecting your SEO is bound to hurt your conversion as paid campaigns are only feasible in the growing stages of your store and can burn a hole in your pocket in the long run.


If you are not versed in advanced SEO and link-building skills, consider hiring a reputed digital marketing company to boost your store’s online presence.


What sets SEO apart is that it creates organic traffic without requiring you to expend resources on PPC initiatives. Search engine algorithms index and crawl your pages for relevant content and solutions.


This is why you usually find what you are looking for within the first 5 results on Google and rarely have to go to the second page.


Here are some effective SEO practices that can facilitate higher rankings and increased organic traffic for eCommerce platforms.


On-Page SEO:

  • Proper keyword research and optimization
  • Creating high-quality and relevant content
  • Improving page loading speeds
  • Image and video optimization
  • Incorporating effective title tags and meta descriptions
  • Creating relevant interlinks to your product and category


Off-Page SEO:

  • Building high-quality backlinks from reputed websites in your niche
  • Establishing brand image and social media management
  • Online reputation management
  • Focusing on local SEO factors, if applicable
  • Public relations and influencer marketing
  • Website analytics and SEO audits



2.8 Overlooking Social Media Marketing


Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (now ‘X’), and LinkedIn have billions of active users globally. Neglecting social media marketing means that you miss out on a vast audience base that could become your customers.


For instance, let’s assume that you have an eCommerce platform that sells handmade wall decor. If you focus on social media marketing and have a vibrant community of interested users, it becomes much easier to spread the word about your brand and new launches through these channels.


You need to prioritize user-generated content (UGC) on social platforms in the form of reviews, comments, posts about your products, and so on. Especially, pay careful attention to negative feedback on social media platforms and try to address them immediately if possible.


This builds brand image and establishes social proof, validating that customers have liked your products and are actively recommending them to others. Hence, neglecting the power of social media is certain to take a hit on your conversion rates and profitability.



2.9 Inefficient Customer Support and Communication


One of the common blunders eCommerce startups make is failing to provide quick responses to customer queries and complaints. As customers, we want prompt resolution to our issues and when one seller fails to deliver, we switch over to others with similar offerings.


Lack of effective communication channels,  poorly trained customer support staff, and an absence of personalization are the salient causes of a poor customer experience on eCommerce platforms.


Artificial intelligence is offering major solutions to this problem by allowing you to build automated chatbots. These chatbots can understand and learn from customer interactions with technologies like natural language processing (NLP), machine learning, and neural networks.


Chatbots can provide 24/7 customer support and even provide resolutions to minor issues while identifying and transferring the more intricate cases to human operators. Virtually every top eCommerce marketplace has integrated AI-driven customer support bots and hiring a specialized artificial intelligence development agency can help immensely if you don’t possess the technical know-how.



2.10 Faulty Inventory Management


Poor inventory management and supply and demand forecasting can seriously hamper the profits of eCommerce platforms. Without sound insights into customer demands and market trends, it is an uphill task to decide when to restock. And how much stock to order.


The lack of real-time tracking of inventory levels is also a critical issue that needs addressing. Businesses can easily lose track of supply and demand figures and end up taking orders for products they have run out of.


Ignoring stock safety is yet another threat to the profitability of your online store. It can lead to severe disruptions in your supply chain, resulting in delayed deliveries, inadequate services, and a poor customer experience.



On A Final Note


There is no denying the fact that developing a high-performing eCommerce platform is no cakewalk and the journey is beset with pitfalls and it takes one mistake or neglecting one key aspect of your platform to lose customers to your competitors.


However, with proper knowledge and following effective tactics for eCommerce conversion rates, you can avoid the critical errors we’ve discussed above. You need to first understand how eCommerce conversions occur and how to reduce the bounce and exit rates of your pages.


Thereafter, you can start researching the market, analyzing the competition, planning, and developing your eCommerce platform.


Reach out to us at Webgen Technologies if you intend to build a top-notch eCommerce store that takes your business ahead of the curve.

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