Congratulations on your decision to make an E-commerce site!

E-commerce is a great way to expand your business with the shift towards buying online, and away from traditional brick-and-mortar shops.

“Online retail sales increased roughly 15.7% in 2014 when compared to the previous year while total retail sales only grew by 4.4%.

What does this mean to you?

More and more people are purchasing from their home or mobile device instead of driving to the store. (

Opening an E-commerce site can grow your company by adding additional streams, but without some planning can be a costly mistake.

Here are the top 5 mistakes small business owners make when building an E-commerce website.

#1 No business plan

This is a recipe for disaster.

While you don’t need to have a novel of what could happen for every situation, you need to have an outline plan of your E-commerce site.

Much like a brick-and-mortar shop, you need to know who your audience is and what you’re selling.

Do you know who your ideal customer or client is? Have you identified how your E-Commerce site will best solve their issues of ordering online?

Do you also know who your online competitors are? What is their website like? Are they successful? What’s their email capture strategy or social media strategy?

We aren’t saying you can just copy and paste their solution onto your own site (we’re pretty sure they’ll be enraged) but take a look at what best practices your competitors are using on their site, or what areas they’re lacking.

Coming up with a game plan can lead to success of your E-commerce website, and it shouldn’t be skipped!

#2 Underestimating the work involved

E-commerce is not a “set it and forget it” product (it also doesn’t come with epic pitchman, Billy Mayes). Your E-comm site will never be 100% done.

You will have to invest a serious amount of time and effort into managing your site, after the initial launch.

You will have to constantly manage the online store, shopping cart/check-out process, shipping/distribution, and track your inventory.

It’s still a store you’re running, just online, and E-commerce has many of the same responsibilities of a physical store.

You will need at least one person to continually run the E-commerce store. It’s not something you can check on when you feel like it.

#3 No marketing strategy

Field of Dreams is an oddly popular movie that has the catch line “Build it, and they will come”.

It may have worked for Kevin Costner, but just building a E-commerce website does not magically draw in customers (or the ghosts of baseball players).

Simple tactical things that increase traffic to your site and drive buyers to your shopping cart, like blogging and making sure your site is SEO-friendly, can boost your online store’s chance for success.

Do not pay for SEO services.

These “SEO-guru’s” are often times con artists are only going to cost you money and can actually damage your SEO potential.

To avoid the hassles of a lack of a marketing strategy, do these four things:

  1. Come with some sort of a marketing plan.
  2. Measure your marketing efforts using Google Analytics to track your website’s traffic.
  3. Promote your brand and utilize social media to ensure web-success.
  4. Do research to see what would be successful for your business, or consult an expert. 

#4 Poorly showcasing products

Nothing makes a web designer cringe more than a client giving them pictures to “showcase” their product, and seeing a poor quality, low resolution image.

Then having the client complain that the website isn’t selling any products because “it doesn’t look good” and it’s all the web designer’s fault. (psst…we have a secret. It’s probably your low-quality photos that make people not want to buy your product).

Buying online has a risk factor involved, and when people can’t physically hold and see the item they’re trying to purchase. Combined with a lack of trust or credibility from really bad product images, equals buyers who don’t buy.

Not having a high quality image can hinder a customer from taking the steps to buy your product.

Take multiple pictures of the item, have good lighting, and make sure the customer can clearly see it looks professional. This will help them overcome doubts and trust your store enough to make the purchase.

#5 Check outcomes

There’s a lot to consider when running a E-commerce site as it’s just as challenging as owning a brick-and mortar store.

You can have a successful online shop, one that draws in customers and gives you a return on investment.

Take the above points into consideration when building your site, and talk with a web designer who can show you results on how they’ve built a successful E-commerce store.

Want to work with a designer who understands E-commerce?

We know what it takes to build a successful E-commerce store, and work with platforms to optimize your business.

If you want to explore what we can do for your E-commerce site, or just want to talk to an expert, contact us here for a free consultation.