It’s no surprise that so many aspiring store owners are opting to take their respective ventures online instead of opening brick-and-mortar establishments. Not only does doing business online enable proprietors to reach a broader customer base, it’s also incredibly cost-effective. Unburdened by the plethora of overhead expenses that inconvenience traditional store owners, online entrepreneurs are able to hang onto a much larger percentage of their profits. Of course, this isn’t to say that every online store is profitable. Online enterprises can go belly-up just as quickly as their physical counterparts if their proprietors don’t possess the right business acumen and managerial knowhow. First-time entrepreneurs looking to make a splash with online stores should actively avoid the following mistakes.
Inconvenient Site Mechanics
If you want your store to be a hit with shoppers, it’s imperative that the site be easy navigate. Not only should perusing your inventory be a hassle-free experience, shoppers should also be able to find specific items at the drop of a hat. Furthermore, updating one’s shopping cart and checking out shouldn’t prove cumbersome in the slightest. With this in mind, take care to utilize top-tier online shopping cart software when putting together your site. It’s also important to remember that functionality should always take precedence over aesthetics. While it’s great to have a store that looks nice, attractive visuals mean very little if the site is a chore to navigate. This isn’t to say that looks need to take a complete backseat to functionality, but the latter should occupy a much higher spot on your priority list.
Lack of Mobile Optimization
To call mobile optimization important is an understatement. In fact, it’s no stretch of the imagination to say that any online business that wishes to remain profitable in this day and age needs to be optimized for mobile devices. With over half of all online traffic coming from smart phones, mobile optimization has essentially become a prerequisite for doing business online. Additionally, the majority of online purchases are now made through mobile devices. Suffice it to say, if your store has not been optimized for use on these devices, you have no one but yourself to blame for its lack of profitability.
Ignoring Social Media
Social media plays an important role in the marketing efforts of nearly every online business. As such, if your store has yet to carve out a social media presence for itself, you’ll need to rectify this posthaste. Maintaining accounts on social media mainstays like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram enables you to keep current and prospective customers in the loop about restocks, new merchandise and various other facets of your business. In addition, interacting with your followers is a great way to build trust and generate positive buzz.
With the right management and marketing tools, an online store can be a very profitable venture. However, as is the case with brick-and-mortar businesses, many online stores go under as a result of inexperienced proprietors making rookie mistakes. To ensure that this fate doesn’t befall your store, remember to prioritize user-friendliness and mobile optimization while maintaining a strong social media presence.