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6 Reasons Your Transition to E-Commerce Fell Flat

6 Reasons Your Transition to E-Commerce Fell Flat

Any good businessperson, in any future venture, tries to learn from their past mistakes. This is especially true if your online business has either struggled or simply could not get off the ground. Even when business owners have the strongest business plans and the best intentions, e-commerce sites can still fail. Here are some common reasons why e-commerce businesses do not succeed.

You Didn’t Give It Long Enough

It takes at least several months for your online site to get noticed and to begin making sales. Customers will likely not be beating down your door minutes after your site goes live. It takes time for your website to show up in search results and for word to spread. It follows that your e-commerce site will not be profitable immediately. It takes time to build a business and that is especially true in online sales. Many business owners pull the plug before all stops have been pulled out, which may be a premature end for the business. Your business model and concept may have been viable, but did not have the appropriate amount of time to succeed.

Bad Feedback

More than anything else, customers pay attention to what others are saying about an e-commerce site. After looking for discounts, the next stop on a due diligence tour is invariably to check the reviews of a site. A business cannot survive with bad reviews. Feedback and reviews are like a giant word of mouth. A single review from a well-respected Yelper or blogger can make or break a business. If your business had at least one bad interaction with a customer that was well-publicized, it can be difficult to overcome. If you decide to give e-commerce another try, positive word-of-mouth is a must for success and without it, your business will likely fail with so much other competition out there.

Poorly Designed Website

E-commerce sites should be designed to put relevant information in front of customers in an easily accessible manner. Your site may have been either overly basic or simply not intuitive. Customers should not have to work too hard to see what they need and act on it. Your business idea may have been a great one, but you only have a few seconds to make a first impression when it comes to online sales. E-commerce websites should be simple, but not simplistic. In other words, you want to give the customer exactly what they need without anything extraneous.

You Did Not Engage

E-commerce requires a different level of engagement than a traditional business. When selling online, customers barely need an excuse to move on to your competitor since there is no face-to-face interaction. Accordingly, your business may have needed to make all possible attempts to make itself visible online to interact with the customers during the sales process and help shepherd them through. Customers cannot simply be left to their own devices online. E-commerce is not an example of “if you build it, they will come.”

Your Pricing Was Too High

When purchasing services online, customers are well-armed with information. That means that they can readily compare prices. If your business was simply not competitively priced, you were never going to be in the conversation. Customers will not even give a second look to sellers that appear to be outliers when it comes to their pricing. Businesses should always be well-versed in what their competitors are charging. If there is a reason why your business was charging more, it should have been well articulated so that customers have a reason to stay on your website even when they saw that the price was higher than that of competitors.

Bad Mobile Optimization

The number of people who make online purchases while sitting at a desktop computer is rapidly dwindling. Sure, many people do their shopping at work, but more people pull up a website on their mobile devices and expect to have finished their purchase with a few clicks on the screen. If your e-commerce site was more conducive to desktop use, you may have been losing an entire category of possible sales to those who want to purchase while they’re on the move. E-commerce sites that are optimized for mobile use will be the ones that can reach the highest potential number of customers.

Even if your e-commerce venture was not successful, it does not mean that you do not have what it takes to make money selling goods and services online. Sometimes it takes several tries for even the best business owners to make money. By studying what went wrong during your debut online effort, you may be better armed for a more successful venture your next time out of the gate. With the right homework, it can be done.


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by Eileen O'Shanassy // Eileen O'Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter: @eileenoshanassy.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.