Making mistakes is how we learn, and there’s not a successful business today that hasn’t made a mistake or two. But for first-time online retailers and ecommerce startups, even understandable mistakes in the early stages can derail or sometimes halt development. How can you avoid mistakes without losing their lessons?


The answer is to learn from other’s mistakes so you don’t have to make them yourself. All the wisdom, none of the consequences. In this article, we list the 5 most common marketing mistakes in ecommerce and how you can avoid them.


1. Mass Targeting (or Not Narrowing Down Your Target Customers)

As we’ve said before on this blog, ecommerce is easier with niche markets. Stores that sell “something for everybody” tend to be brick-and-mortar department stores or large-scale online marketplaces like Amazon. Just starting out,  you may not have the budget or resources to compete on that level… yet.


How to Avoid It:

In a word, specialize. There are innumerable niche and micro-niche markets that you can target, and by specializing in particular groups, you can really focus on their particular needs. That also makes it easier to cater to their preferences, not to mention it mitigates the risk of introducing new products, if you know what this kind of shopper likes.


If you need help choosing the right niche for your brand, read our guide: How to Choose an Ecommerce Niche, or browse our recommendations of the Top Ecommerce Niches for 2022.


2. Ignoring SEO


SEO is one of the main marketing channels for online retail, the ecommerce equivalent of a busy street being built in front of a brick-and-mortar store. Ignoring SEO, then, is ignoring a lucrative opportunity. Unfortunately, too many online retailers either don’t know or don’t care how to leverage SEO for their business.


How to Avoid It:

There are a few different options for improving your SEO. You can improve your natural SEO by implanting keyword phrases in the text of your website, especially your product pages that have their own SEO best practices. You can also buy Pay Per Click (PPC) ads to have your links appear at the top of search engine results pages.


But if you really want to take SEO seriously, you should add a blog to your website. Blogs are one of the strongest driving forces for SEO, not to mention their effect on customer engagement and drawing in new visitors.


If you’re unsure about what to do, read our 5 Key Principles of SEO to Rank Higher and Drive Customer Engagement.


3. No Social Media Presence


Just like SEO, social media is another main contributor to ecommerce traffic. More than just a place to plant your links, social media gives brands a chance to have direct communication with their customers. On social media, you can discuss your products, post news about promotions, handle customer service complaints, or even just chit-chat with potential customers.


However, also like SEO, a lot of online retailers ignore social media because they don’t understand it.


How to Avoid It:

Social media isn’t so hard, as long as you’re prepared. Following the Ecommerce Social Media Best Practices can help you get started and set up a reliable routine for yourself. Once you feel comfortable on your social media platforms, you can expand into more advanced strategies, like partnering with influencers, giving custom coupon codes to followers, or improving loyalty programs.


4. Lackluster Product Pages


The design of your product pages can make or break a sale. Even if you’ve already hooked a customer, they’ll still abandon the sale if the product page has poor UX or doesn’t exhibit the product properly. That makes your product page design one of the most effective sales tactics in ecommerce.


On top of that, your product page can contribute to your SEO and social media campaigns. But before you work on sharing it, you have to make something worth sharing.


How to Avoid It:

The only way to avoid a lackluster product page is to design it with care. For starters, you need high-quality product photography — online shoppers can’t interact with products directly, so they rely on visuals to glean what they can. Although high-quality photos cost money, you can still use Cheap & Easy Photography Hacks to stay under budget.


But you also want to pay attention to other areas, especially the product description and call-to-action. As we mentioned above, your product page is one of the main components of a working SEO strategy, so keep keywords in mind when writing yours.


5. Forgetting to Follow Up on Performance


If all of your business decisions are blind guesses, sooner or later your luck will run out. The only sure-fire way to build a stable and long-lasting ecommerce brand is to make smart, informed decisions. But some online retailers just assume what they’re doing works without checking the facts, and only when it stops working do they realize their mistake.


How to Avoid It:

How do you know what works and what doesn’t? Check the data, both for sales and marketing. The numbers don’t lie.


Sales data is invaluable when deciding what projects to offer and how many of them to order when restocking. In the long-term, you can check for seasonal trends so you’re better prepared for holiday rushes or big events like Cyber Monday. You can even take it a step further and calculate figures like the Cost of Goods Sold, so you can precisely optimize your pricing or choose more efficient shipping methods and product sourcing options.


But this goes for your marketing campaigns as well. You want to check your performance data to see which channels yield the best results; then you’ll know the smartest way to invest your marketing budget the next time around.


It’s not always just about traffic either — certain sources may give you more conversions even though they give less actual visitors. The amount of conversions or profits are some of the most important statistics to check; otherwise, you could be wasting your marketing budget on bounces.


Start Off on the Right Foot


Getting started in ecommerce, you’re bound to make a mistake or two. And that’s okay. You can still prepare and plan your own digital marketing strategy; knowing what to look for makes it easier to avoid. You can also use ecommerce software like our own ecomdash to help navigate your business until you get your feet wet.


Not only does ecomdash streamline areas like inventory management, consolidating sales channels, and setting alerts, it also processes and analyzes your data for quick and convenient reference. Sign up for your 15-day free trial now, no credit card required!


Better eRetail eBook
Better eRetail eBook

We teamed up with other ecommerce industry experts to put together 75 tips to help your boost online sales. It’s perfect for the beginner and advanced retailer alike.

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