red pencil and the word help – featured image for ecommerce mistakes blog post

6 Ecommerce Mistakes Every New Business Needs to Avoid

Are you considering starting an ecommerce business? If so, you’re in good company. More and more consumers are heading online to buy everything from gifts to groceries, and there’s still plenty of room to stand out in the market — especially if you have great products and customer service.

Which I’m sure you do.

So let’s make sure all the rest of the nuts and bolts are in place before launching your ecommerce business.

Watch out for these 6 ecommerce mistakes, and you’ll be well on your way.

1. Choosing the wrong ecommerce platform

The market is becoming flooded with ecommerce platforms that offer you the moon and stars — but don’t deliver on their promises. When you’re choosing a platform to build your ecommerce website on, invest in one that will offer the smoothest experience for your customers, and the fewest headaches for yourself.

Think about your site’s functionality needs, the features you’d like to have, integrations, your budget, and any sorts of customizations you’d like to make. Plus, consider where you want to fall on the spectrum of “plug-and-play” versus getting your hands dirty with platform. Some platforms will have a much steeper learning curve than others.

Before deciding, play around with free trials to get a feel for what you want. And if you need advice, save yourself guesswork and find a website developer you trust to walk you through the options.

Learn more: Hosted vs Self Hosted E-Commerce Sites: What You Need to Know

2. Not knowing your ideal customer

You’ve got your widget business ready to go — but do you really know who you’re selling your widgets to? It’s critical to do your research ahead of time and make sure your product is something people actually want to buy. That will save you tons of heartache down the road.

Understanding your ideal customer will influence decisions about your branding, site design, and marketing approach — which is why it’s so important to dive into that research now. Don’t just assume you’ll figure it out as you go!

3. Ignoring site security

If you’re getting into ecommerce, you can’t ignore the biggest elephant in the room: security. Shoppers are wary of handing out their credit cards to a new website — and rightfully so. A string of highly-publicized data breaches over the past few years have consumers spooked.

This mistake isn’t confined to ecommerce, but there are certain things you can do to make sure your site is as secure as possible. Make sure your site has clear indicators that it’s trustworthy, such as an SSL digital certificate, and demand that same level of security from any third party vendors you work with. If you choose to work with a developer, make sure to choose one who takes security seriously.

Learn more: Earning Your Customers’ Trust in 5 Simple Steps

4. Not optimizing for mobile

More people are shopping on their mobile devices, but many ecommerce sites are lagging behind. If you’re just getting started, embrace mobile from the get-go!

But don’t just make your mobile site a responsive version of your regular site. According to data from Smart Insights, mobile site conversions (on smartphones) still lag behind conversions on desktops and tablets — which suggests that not enough companies are really optimizing their mobile sites for smartphones.

conversion rates of online shoppers graphic

5. No “About” or “Contact Us” page

This is one of the more common ecommerce mistakes new businesses make. Online shoppers are naturally suspicious of new websites. If they give you their hard-earned money, can they trust you’ll actually ship their product? Or that it will be as advertised?

Demonstrating that there are real people behind your site can help soothe some of those fears, which is why it’s so important to have a good About page. You should also make sure people know how to get in touch with you if they have questions, using a professional email address (no Gmail!), actual phone number, and a contact form.

6. Confusing check out

When it comes to your check-out process, you want to put as few barriers as possible in between your customers and the final sale. Asking for unnecessary information or overly complicating the process can cause customers to bail before they click the final “order” button.

When you’re designing your check-out, imagine yourself going through it step-by-step. Is it intuitive? Do you know where to click? Is it easy to add your payment information? Do you ask customers to enter the same information during multiple steps?

Test, test, test to avoid these ecommerce mistakes!

It’s a good idea to have other people test the process — and, frankly, everything on your site — from a user experience standpoint to make sure it’s as smooth as possible.

If you’re thinking of starting an ecommerce business, we’d love to hear what your biggest concerns are. Leave them in the comments!

Conversely, if you’re an ecommerce veteran, what are some of the biggest ecommerce mistakes you wish you’d known to avoid when you started out?

3 responses to “6 Ecommerce Mistakes Every New Business Needs to Avoid”

  1. Mahadev Majaladar Avatar
    Mahadev Majaladar

    Great tips Jessie! Using heatmap tool is a good way to overcome confusing checkout.

    1. Jessie Kwak Avatar

      Thanks, Mahadev — heatmapping is a fantastic tool!

  2. Stella Pike Avatar

    Excellent article, and I totally agree that above mention mistakes should avoid every online merchants to make one of the best eCommerce website. Sometime Seller also forgets to create a backup plan. It is very important, In case something goes wrong with their online store and some malicious attack wipes site files that time by using backup we can recover a website.