As the African market shifts towards the online space, more e-commerce businesses are springing up every day. While it is essential to have a large number of online stores, both for a healthy competition and better customer incentives, not paying attention to some important factors can hinder the growth of many players.
There’s a baseline that must be met by new e-commerce businesses in Nigeria or anywhere in the world. Launching without paying attention to these conditions wouldn’t just be both fool-hardy and reckless for any entrepreneur that makes the plunge, but could put the founder out of business as soon as possible.
That said, here are the 3 biggest mistakes new eCommerce businesses make in Nigeria, India, and many other places around the world:
1). Launching With An Empty Online Store:
Imagine visiting Dubai’s most expensive hotel (Burj Al Arab) at it’s inception to book a room, only to discover that there’s little to no furniture, bedding, and many other facilities.
What would you do? I bet there’s a 99.9% chance you’d immediately leave to find another better furnished hotel.
This is the problem many new e-commerce businesses in Africa have. they launch with little to no product items listed on their websites. If your online store is going to sell only a very few selected items, then the website should be well designed to look like it only sells those few items.
Imagine a brand like Chanel building a website that looks like Amazon’s. It’s a total no-brainer, knowing they release only a few collections per quarter.
First impressions are everything. When you launch an empty or low-stocked online store and start using various marketing strategies to get visitors to your website, upon arrival, they’d skim through, leave, and probably never return.
Without the right resources in the basic volume for the right types of customers, you’d be throwing your efforts to the wind.
2). Immediately Spending A Lot Of Money On Ads:
This is probably the biggest mistake many new e-commerce businesses make. Because they see the largest players spending hundreds, and sometimes thousands of dollars everyday on both online and offline ads, they take the little startup capital they have, and begin to flush it down the advert drain.
Here are a few reasons it’s absolutely stupid to do this:
- Your startup capital is probably low or moderate, so spending most of it blindly on ads will get you “truly” cashless in little to no time.
- Okay, you argue you’re not spending it blindly. But you’d still need to understand which consumers react to what type of ads, and how. Experimenting like this on a low budget could cost you over half of your startup capital, if not everything.
- It kills your creativity and problem-solving potential. When you’re only motivated to solve problems with money in any new company, you’d either take forever to turn cashflow positive, or you could pack up within 3 years or as soon as you opened shop.
- It shows potential investors how recklessly you could tend to squander their whole investments.
Before you start throwing in a lot of money on ads, first ensure you’ve acquired all the right items for sale on your website, done your best to make the shopping experience feel and look seamless, built the right team to run the startup, and are darn sure your online store’s unique value already has an edge over the nearest competitor.
Remember: Don’t enter a market just for the sake of owning a business. If you must, you should either be disrupting the market or driving the prices down. Any other motive is a waste of time.
3). Not Gathering Enough Data On Time:
Many new e-commerce businesses don’t know their average daily page views, daily unique visitors, what pages get visited the most, what items get purchased or returned the most, what items get ignored or inquired about the most, what their real daily running expense costs are, their customer acquisition cost, what customers have to say about their service, and a lot more.
Data is very crucial to the growth and survival of any business. Operating without data is like walking blindly. You don’t really know where you’re headed, so what you’ve got are your instincts and feelings. The sad truth about basing decisions on hope or feelings is that hope is not a strategy, and mostly only leads to endless disappointments. You strategise so you may control what comes next, and that’s the best course of action for any new business or executive.
Without the right data, your business could come to a standstill and eventually crash out.
Keep records and gather feedback by using tools like QuickBooks, Google Analytics, Survey Planet, and a host of others. Then a good understanding of your data will lead you in the right direction.
Remember: “Direction is more important than speed!”
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What are your thoughts on these biggest mistakes new e-commerce businesses make? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
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