It is certainly true that the internet has made it much easier and more accessible than ever for wannabe start-up entrepreneurs to kickstart their businesses, especially because of all the tools out there, but that’s not to say doing so is an easy feat. Unfortunately, many don’t understand this and there are many an online store that don’t survive their first year.
Opening an online store takes far more than throwing together a flashy website and adding a few products to it. Starting a new online store requires, amongst other things, 110 percent effort, a good, solid product, and a stroke of luck. Although most start-up entrepreneurs are eager to succeed and put the work in, many look too far into the future due to the excitement and fail to consider what they need to do now in-order to get there.
Most Common Obstacles for a New Online Store
By being aware of the challenges ahead though, you stand a better chance of success. Whether you are creating your own bespoke store or are turning to Shopify, these common obstacles still apply to you.
1. Attracting your customers
Bringing customers to your site, encouraging them to make a sale and trying to get them to return is by far the biggest challenge faced by new eCommerce start-ups. People aren’t just searching for products through Google and Amazon, they are asking their friends for recommendations, looking for reviews through social media, and searching out the best deal. As an online store, you need to find out where your customers are and how to appeal to them.
2. Being demotivated by a painful start
Very few online stores will find success immediately; most have a slow and outright painful inception. It is important to stick with your idea, though, and properly test out the market. This is true even if you are getting off to a painful start and things aren’t looking great—you never know when the tides can turn, and customers start flooding in. Most companies barely breakeven in their first year… this is simply the cost of doing business.
3. Unrealistic expectations
It’s OK to have ambition, but if you have grandiose expectations and views of your abilities then you will be disappointed when things don’t go exactly as you planned. Whilst you may have a good idea, don’t expect it to take off overnight and be the next big thing. It’s probably not going to happen. Not being realistic can lead to slower growth and development as you waste time on things that don’t matter.
4. Safeguarding data
We live in a digital age where data is everywhere. You may have heard the term ‘big data’ thrown around, and it’s more than just a buzzword. If you are going to deal with your customers’ data then you need to properly safeguard it, ensuring that every part of your business is 100 percent safe and secure, and that you are not vulnerable to data breaches. Whilst eCommerce platforms provide for this, when you go it alone it is something you need to handle yourself.
5. Digital marketing
This is a big one. It’s very hard to market a new business and drum up excitement around a new product or service, and before you can even start doing this it is essential to know who your customers are, who may want your product and how you can target the people who do. What do they like? Where do they hang around on the internet? What are their demographics? These are just a few of the things that need to be considered when it comes to marketing your start-up. Rising above the crowd isn’t easy and you need to get it nailed down.
It’s Not All Doom and Gloom…
… at least it doesn’t have to be. If you are willing to put all the work and effort into not only coming up with a product or service and launching your online store, but researching absolutely everything possible so that you have raw data and analytics to act on, you will overcome many major obstacles.
It won’t be easy, but nothing that is worth it is easy. It’s possible to overcome obstacles to opening an online store and succeed if you have the knowledge, drive, and determination to do so.