50+ Hard Lessons You’ll Learn When Running an Ecommerce Business
Running an Ecommerce Business could be a source to learn more about your audience. Now think about a world in which you never started that store. Would you have ended up in a completely different place in your life? Can you even imagine it at all? If you’ve found success in the world of ecommerce, chances are you can’t fathom the idea of not working on whatever it is you’re selling. However, in terms of people who are playing around with an idea or just starting to launch a shop online, they may have some qualms about the whole endeavor. Sure, a fresh new entrepreneur is going to be naive at the beginning, but they are also going to be going through some stress.
Where does this stress come from?
The fact that they can’t ever prepare for the unexpected. What if you don’t sell any products or you can’t handle the orders during the holidays? What if people bash you in reviews? There’s no telling what types of hardships you’ll endure, but one thing’s for sure: Lessons will be learned. Since this uncertainty lingers, we wanted to take a moment to put some of you newcomers at ease. No, you won’t be able to avoid the hardships by reading this article, but the hard lessons you’ll learn when running an Ecommerce business will at least give you the ammunition you need to prepare for future problems. Therefore, without further ado…we give you the 50 hard lessons you’ll encounter when running an Ecommerce business.
1. Your Competitors Are Most Likely a Step or Two Ahead of You running an Ecommerce business
Face it. Competitors are constantly thinking about ways to undermine you, and you’re better off accepting that they know more than you. This way, you’ll be ready for the attacks and prepared for striking back.
2. Your Customers are Also Thinking Way Ahead of You
Customers often think of new ways to improve your products. After all, they are the ones using them. Therefore, it’s wise to continuously reach out to them to understand their needs.
3. Customers Expect Little Short of Perfection
When a customer gets a package late, they expect an explanation. When they get below average customer service, some of them will tear you apart online. Get ready for backlash, and develop a plan for handling it without causing more problems.
4. You Must Get Educated on Running an Ecommerce Shop
Your competitors are learning about the industry, so why aren’t you? Follow blogs, get email newsletters and go to events that allow you to network and learn about what to expect in the future.
5. This Process Will Be More Difficult and Expensive Than Anticipated
It’s not that expensive to setup an ecommerce website, but if you start scaling up (as most companies are hoping to do,) the expenses will start piling on. Go into this venture knowing that you’re going to have some tough times, and you’ll have to take out the checkbook.
6. The Amount of Time You Spend on Your Business Will Increase as Time Goes By
Pushing work off on other people is rarely going to happen when selling online. Chances are, you’ll be doing different tasks a year from now, but you should never think that you’ll slowly sit back and watch others do all the work.
7. You Won’t Be Spending Much Time on the Beach
This ties into the previous lesson learned, but it more so touches on the famous books you’ll read about only working a few hours per day or sitting on the beach while you rake in money. Most of these books are pure fantasy.
8. If You’re Moving to Ecommerce from a Physical Store, Your Operations Will Change Drastically
Since customers are going to expect different things, you may have to change around your point of sale. You’ll also need people to fulfill orders, handle online customer service and more.
9. Customers are Often More Informed Than You
With reviews, ratings, blogs, comparisons and all sorts of tools online, chances are your customers have tons of information before they buy a product from you. How do you stack up in the comparisons?
10. Don’t Wait for Your Customer Lines to Get too Long to Build Your Support Team
You’ll lose plenty of customers this way. Consider building a small customer support team before you expect a big traffic surge to start.
11. Uniqueness Helps You Fight the Big Dogs
Not all of the big competitors are that unique. Therefore, it’s essential to standout with gifts, superior customer service, faster shipping, personalized service and more.
12. Data is Always Better Than Advice from People
It’s easy to take advice from your cousin, or even one of your employees for that matter, but data is always going to tell you the truth.
13. A Simple Website is a Great Way to Boost Sales
Slow, cluttered websites can be smelled by customers from miles away. You may not be seeing boosts in sales because of it, so it’s prudent to test how simple your site is on occasion.
14. Hiring the Right People is Essential
Are most of the people on your staff smarter than you? If not, you’re not hiring properly.
15. Putting People in the Right Positions is Crucial
Did you assign someone as a customer support rep who should be managing your social media?
16. Rewarding Your Workers Builds Promise
Imagine how much faster your warehouse employees would work if they received occasional bonuses or rewards. In return, you get faster shipping.
17. Constant Product Recommendations Are a Must-have
Amazon brings in tons of money with recommendations popping up at all times.
18. Your Payment Processor and Gateway Could Be Cutting Into Your Profit
Compare alternative options on a yearly basis.
19. A Credible Fulfillment Service Has Tons of Benefits
Wouldn’t it be easier to have a company that picks, packages and sends out your items? Not to mention, these fulfillment services also store some of your inventory.
20. A One Click Checkout May be Worthwhile
Amazon has had great success with this.
21. Retail Best Practices Still Apply to Your Online Store
Customers still expect great customer service while talking to you online or on the phone. You’ll also need to handle inventory in a similar fashion, along with product displays. Customers want to feel and touch their products as well, so it’s essential to give them all the media they need to feel like they’re in a real store while running an ecommerce business.
22. A Well-Developed Social Strategy Gives You a Leg Up on Competitors
You have tons of social media outlets to choose from. Many companies try to get on all of them, which isn’t a bad idea, but you must have a plan for managing these and pumping out quality content.
23. You Leave Lots of Money on the Table When Not Selling on Other Outlets
From eBay to Etsy and Amazon, some potential customers only buy from those places. These are great spots to find new customers, and they serve as places for expanding your opportunities for increased profits. [Read more…]