Why Do People Fail On Shopify?
Ever wonder how there are thousands of new Shopify stores every day and 99% of them fail on the platform? If you’re one of those, and do not know the best practices on launching an eCommerce store, and want to understand more about why people fail on Shopify, this article is for you. I’ve started eCommerce stores about 6 years ago and didn’t achieve much success to be honest. However, over the last few years of experimenting, trying out new stuff and eventually quitting my job, I have discovered there are so many practices out there that will skyrocket your chances on success with your own Shopify / online store.
The 7 Reasons Why
1. Having a “Build It And They Will Come” Mentality
Many people have the mindset of building an online store, and money would start rolling in immediately. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Building an eCommerce store doesn’t guarantee success. You would need to know your market, customers, products, and have a lot of research done beforehand.
Having a mentality of “Build It And They Will Come”, and not doing the necessary research and planning before starting up your online store has proven time and time again to be very unsuccessful. Even if you have a unique product on hand, doing your research on your customers, market, advertising channels, and more will be beneficial in capturing sales.
2. Poor Branding
Companies, start-ups and new Shopify entrepreneurs are still making this mistake. Not focusing on branding and at the end of the day, this will show to be a bad experience for customers. You need to invest in your brand and think about what your brand represents, what your products do and who is your target audience.
Having a well-constructed brand will go a long way towards eCommerce success. You would need to put a lot of effort onto your logo, website design, messaging and copy-writing. It all needs to jive and tell your company’s story. For example, when I started my eCommerce journey, I started dropshipping a lot of Korean female clothing which used to be the trend and focused a lot on the price. So, I dropshipped these products from a vendor from Penang and shipped it all over Malaysia. I realised that without a proper brand and product images, all I can do to compete is with pricing, which is a sport that you should never be in.
Always build a brand or a business that can run without you. For example, even when I’m asleep, sales will still be coming through because I’ve provided a certain customer experience that my existing customers can expect from us. We provide a certain level of service and they know they’re at the right place when they shop for a certain product.
3. Not Treating it Like a Business
The third mistake that I most commonly see is that most new entrepreneurs do not treat their eCommerce store like a business. They treat it like a hobby or a form of side income. You definitely need to treat your eCommerce store like a business because it is one and if you want any chance of succeeding.
When I was running the Korean female clothing business, I was working a full-time job with a biscuit company in Malaysia. Due to the lack of focus and time commitment, that business slowly died off because I wasn’t treating it like a business. I didn’t have a proper supply chain; I didn’t have proper pricing strategy; I didn’t have proper marketing resources put into the business and didn’t even have very accurate accounting. Somewhere along the way, I’ve decided that I needed to treat my eCommerce store like a business and ever since I took this step, things have changed wonderfully for me.
4. No Focus on The Store
By not having time to build up your business since day one, chances are you are not going to have a lot of success with your business. Other competitors who are more committed will come in and take your spot. Having no focus and building 2 to 3 different projects at the same time will be less effective and efficient. “Put all your eggs into one basket”. By focusing on one project that you really believe can ignite and working hard on it, you will really see it take off.
Being the hot-blooded young person that I was, I always took off with different projects at the same time and it really backfired. Not only that none of them worked out, ultimately it also wore me off physically and emotionally due to having too much on my plate. If you want to succeed in eCommerce or business in general, you need to make it work. Make it your baby and give it all your care, love and attention that it needs to make it succeed.
5. Lack of Social Proof
Many businesses out there do not leverage with social proof. For those of you who doesn’t know what social proof is, let me give you this scenario. Imagine if you walked into a restaurant and no one else is in there, you go check on it online and there are no reviews. What would you expect from this restaurant? You would expect the unexpected because there is nothing to build your expectations upon. Now picture this other scenario, before you go to a restaurant, you checked it out online and found out that this restaurant has received many positive reviews. When you get there, you realised that restaurant is filled with people. What does that say about the restaurant’s service and quality?
Leveraging with social proof is one of the most important in eCommerce because people can’t see the products, feel the products, let alone test the product. The only thing that separates them from purchasing one of the products is just a website. So how would they know if the company is genuine, authentic or even trustable? By gathering all the reviews and testimonies for your products, it allows customers to trust your store even more. It’s as simple as that!
6. Not Experimenting Enough
Another mistake that new entrepreneurs make is that they stick only with what they know, and they do not experiment. For example, If your business partner told you that he/she is a specialist in Facebook advertising and it will definitely bloom from that platform, you being the newbie that you are, go along with the plan and dump all the ad budget into Facebook advertising whereas you could be selling a fashion product, which would be better advertising on social platforms such as Instagram or Pinterest.
Even though it is very important to focus on one business, you must experiment on the different possibilities that are available for your business. For example, my business was built on Google SEO, content marketing all the way in the beginning. It’s still one of the best revenue generators for us, but after that, we’ve started implementing email marketing and social media marketing strategies and we’ve seen our business take off. Email and social media are one of our biggest revenue contributors right now. Focus on your business, but experiment on marketing channels and different ways to do things.
Running a business isn’t easy and you would have to keep experimenting and find the best way to do things and doing it better than your competitors. It is an endless loop of innovation and thinking of new ways on doing things. For example, I have a team running the show for me. They would innovate and always find new ways to doing things and I could have some weight off my shoulder. Experiment and always try to outdo yourself and build a team that always believes in what you do is the key to success.
7. Do Not Have a Well-Constructed “About” Page
Many eCommerce stores spend most of their time uploading products and whatnot, but they do not spend a lot of time on their “About” page. Having a well-constructed “About” page can do wonders for your eCommerce store. If you have a well-constructed “About” page that tells the story of your company, your story and what kind of causes the company supports would give people a glimpse into your business that people can relate to. When people relate to you, you actually build a personal relationship and that is what you want to achieve in eCommerce. Having a well-constructed “About” page, people are able to connect with your brand, people are going to love your brand a lot more and are more willing to spend on your products.
Jeremy has been running several online businesses behind his laptop for the past 5 years and he has worked as a freelance web developer previously. A trained marketer by profession, he also has Ruby on Rails and web development knowledge. His forte lies in eCommerce, SEO and content marketing. He’s been featured on Vice, Thrive Global, YFS Magazine, Forbes and several other publications. He prefers to connect with people on LinkedIn.