5 Things You Should Know Before Starting an E-commerce Business
Everyone wants to be an entrepreneur. You get to set your own hours, be your own boss and have a far more flexible schedule than when you work for the man. However, starting your own ecommerce business won’t be all sunshine and roses. There are some things that people forget to consider before jumping head first into the deep end. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
There Will Always Be Bad Customers
If you’ve worked in retail before, you may be thinking you won’t have to deal with customer complaints if you open your own business. Think again. No matter how out of your way you go to please your customers, there will always be at least one who wants to make your life a misery. It’s almost as if some people find satisfaction in an argument and will make a fuss over very little should the opportunity arise. So, if you’re hoping to leave conflict behind, you should know that it exists in every corner of the service industry.
You Can’t Always Rely on Postal Services
When you start an ecommerce business, you’ll need to have researched the best option for postage and packaging. You may think you have it figured out, but until you’ve done a year in business, you won’t understand how little you can rely on postal services when you need them most. For example, your orders may be easily and smoothly fulfilled during the Summer, but as Winter approaches and your sales increase due to the holidays, you may find that customers don’t receive packages or packages are delivered damaged. This can often mean that you’re out of pocket and constantly worried about the delivery service you’re using.
Many people make the mistake of starting an ecommerce business and storing products in their own homes. Back rooms often turn into small storage rooms and it can even over flow into the rest of the home if sales increase. If you hope to increase your sales and customers, you’ll eventually need to find proper storage solutions. E-commerce businesses need to invest in modern storage systems where products are easy to put your hands on. If you don’t research storage options in your area before starting your business, you could find that you’re at a loss when you really need it.
Beware of Fraud
If a sale looks suspicious, it’s important to always take a closer look. Ecommerce businesses in the US lose an estimated $3 million every year because of fraud. When fraudsters know what they’re doing, they can go through every ‘safe’ channel and still manage to gain products from you for free. In many cases, small ecommerce businesses tend to think they’re safe from fraud. Why would small businesses be victim to fraud when there are bigger businesses to steal from? Because they’re easy targets. Small business owners don’t tend to look too closely when it comes to big or unusual sales. Use your instincts and protect your business from fraud.
When it comes to the small print, don’t leave anything to chance. You don’t want to give people the opportunity to argue that your business was misleading. For example, if you run a competition to gain more followers, the instructions of the competition must be as clear as day. The same goes for the description of your products and your terms and conditions. Make sure you state important information several times. Customers who miss important information will argue that it wasn’t made clear enough.
The first year of an ecommerce business may make you feel like giving up. You’ll probably face more hurdles than you’ll see successes. However, think of this as a test period. Can you handle everything that business throws at you? Just because it’s difficult, it doesn’t mean you should give up. The first year of business is always the hardest, so don’t feel like you’re being singled out. The great thing about e-commerce business is that it’s always evolving, so once you’ve passed that first year, it will get easier.
After the first year comes the opportunity for growth, which can be just as exciting as starting the business in the first instance. Take all the opportunities that come way, including networking with other businesses and testing out innovative ideas. Remember, your competitor is always watching you, so give them something good to watch.
You can read all the warnings you can find, but when it comes to running your first ecommerce business, go with your gut instincts.