The Small Business Times

Ecommerce Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Your Ecommerce Business 

Starting a business is hard and it’s very easy to make mistakes. Some ecommerce mistakes can be teaching moments while others can put your business into serious debt and can be fatal to the business.

A new ecommerce business owner may believe that by selling a product from one of the most profitable niches, they can make a quick and easy profit. However, a detrimental mistake will push buyers to buy from your competition and it can lead to the downfall of your business. By knowing which mistakes to avoid, you can approach business decisions tactfully by considering the impact that each decision has on the business. 

Not Understanding Your Audience

Selling a product from one of the most profitable niches will not be a successful venture if you don’t understand the audience that will buy your product. Selling a product without knowing who the target audience is, is one of the most detrimental ecommerce mistakes a business owner can make.

You should be aware of who else is selling the same product as you because their target audience is your target audience. To reach the target audience, you have to focus on your marketing strategy. You want to show your buyers why your product is superior to the competition. Targeting a specific audience is financially beneficial compared to targeting a wide audience.

Trying to attract a wide audience is an ecommerce mistake many business owners make. Marketing to a wide audience will not attract many buyers and will not yield many sales because these people are not interested in owning your product the way that the target audience is. Thus, an ecommerce business should understand who their target audience is when they are marketing their product. 

Failing to Provide Good Customer Service 

Providing good customer service gives buyers the initiative to buy from your ecommerce business and to come back and shop again. Not valuing your customer’s shopping experience is an ecommerce mistake that businesses have to avoid.

The online buying platform can make it difficult for buyers to contact a business with questions. Failing to provide potential customers with contact methods often results in losing a sale because if a customer can’t have their questions answered, they won’t feel confident buying from a business that doesn’t value its customers.

One way to provide good customer service is to have a live chat feature on your ecommerce site. This feature can provide customers with immediate answers to their questions. Email is another communication option for customers. With email, it’s important you get back to your customer within 24 hours. The sooner you reply to your customer, the better. 

Having Confusing Return and Refund Policies

Returns and refunds are something any business would want to avoid however, having confusing return and refund policies is a mistake to avoid if you want customers to trust your business. A quick and easy return process will encourage buyers to keep shopping with you because they have the peace of mind that they will get their money back if the item doesn’t work out.

Sometimes, the problem can be completely out of your hands and you may be forced to issue the buyer a refund without receiving your product back. For example, if the shipping company you use loses the parcel, you will have to refund the customer. It’s important to be aware of the shipping company’s lost package and insurance policies because the company may eventually find the lost package or you can get your money back if the parcel was insured. 

Returns and refunds play a negative when it comes to the profitability of your product so it’s important to be financially organized. You should consider the shipping cost, listing fees, and restocking fees, among others, when dealing with returns and refunds.

Sometimes, refunding the buyer and letting them keep the item may be a more cost-effective option. At the end of the day, bad customer service is an ecommerce mistake that can be easily avoided by having communication methods for your customers.

Being able to quickly answers questions, accept returns, and provide refunds will keep your customer happy. When a customer is happy with your business, they are more likely to shop with you again. 

Using Insufficient Product Photos and Descriptions

Blurry photos and confusing descriptions are ecommerce mistakes that will influence whether a buyer shops with you or a competitor. Since you’re operating an ecommerce business, it’s highly likely that the buyer’s first time seeing the item will be via your photo instead of in person.

In a survey done by, 61% of participants said that a poor-quality photo will keep them from buying. Buyers want to see multiple pictures of a product from different angles so that they can get an idea of what they are buying. 

In addition to photos, you want the product description to provide the details that the photos couldn’t. A survey done by IZEA found that 87% of people consider the description important when deciding whether to buy a product. The description should point out anything that may be misleading about the pictures as well as include details that the pictures couldn’t capture.

A buyer should be able to look at the pictures and read the description and have the majority of their questions concerning your product answered. The pictures and description should communicate to the buyer why your product is better than the competitors. 

Not Having an Online Identification

We live in the age of social media which means your ecommerce business has to exist beyond your web store. Failing to design a logo that distinguishes your company and not establishing a social presence are two mistakes to avoid when developing your ecommerce business. 

Not having a logo makes your brand forgettable and reduces the likelihood of retaining customers. A logo should make your brand stand out against your competitors. A logo is particularly important if you’re selling products from some of the most profitable niches because it helps distinguish you from others. Your logo should be used consistently throughout your site and your social media pages. 

Lacking a Social Media Presence 

Not having a social media presence is a mistake to avoid because it reduces the social reach your product can have. Social media can inspire your customers to interact with each other and to comment on their experiences with your product.

By encouraging customers to engage with your social media posts, your brand can benefit from customers sharing your brand information with their family, friends, and followers which can grow your audience. Establishing an online identification will help your brand grow a following which will encourage product sales. 

Having a Poor Webpage Layout

Nothing is more discouraging to a potential buyer than an ecommerce website that is impossible to navigate. A poor website layout is a mistake to avoid because if a consumer can’t figure out how to use the website, they will simply leave the page and not buy anything.

Your homepage should visually communicate what the product is that you are selling. It should pull the buyer in and encourage them to continue browsing. The navigation features on your site should help buyers find what they are looking for quickly and easily.

One way to organize website navigation is by organizing your website content into categories. Designing an easy-to-use webpage may take time but it will be financially beneficial to your business. With a clean layout and features that facilitate browsing, a customer is more likely to buy from you again. 


Every business owner will deal with mistakes but some ecommerce mistakes can be avoided. Some ecommerce mistakes can lead to the downfall of a business. One small misstep and you may not be able to keep up with your competition. By understanding your customer, valuing their shopping experience, and facilitating their shopping process, you can avoid mistakes that can be detrimental to your business.