The Complete Ecommerce Startup Guide: Common Mistakes to Avoid

Not every list in our guide resolves around things you should do—in fact, this one is all about things that you shouldn’t do. Here are some common mistakes that you should avoid at all costs. Doing so will help keep your good name intact, and help your ecommerce site achieve long-lasting success.

Table of Contents:
The Complete Ecommerce Startup Guide

  1. An Introduction to Ecommerce
  2. Defining Your Niche, Strategy, and Goals
  3. Picking an Ecommerce Platform
  4. Setting Up Your Store
  5. Designing Your Website
  6. All About Ecommerce SEO
  7. Offering Amazing Customer Service
  8. Time to Launch!
  9. Ecommerce Marketing Methods
  10. Common Mistakes to Avoid
  11. Long-Term Ecommerce Website Maintenance
  12. Further Reading & Additional Resources

Not Taking Customer Service Seriously

If you don’t understand the importance of customer service, please go back and read chapter 7 again. Word travels fast online, and an unresolved complaint on social media or a negative experience on the phone can quickly spiral out of control and do serious damage to your reputation.

If you’re leaving your customer service in the hands of other employees or an outsourced call center, do regular check-ins to ensure that they’re handling things correctly. Consider meeting once a month or so to discuss any large problems or common complaints that you may be able to resolve, or to brief them on new launches or website changes so they can be prepared to answer questions and provide quality help.

Not Monitoring Your Reputation Online

You should always be listening to what is being said about your brand – both good and bad. Being proactive about mentions allows you to know what your reputation is like, and helps you identify any potential problems before they escalate or permanently damage your reputation.

This doesn’t mean scouring the Internet on a daily basis for mentions on social media or reviews on other websites. You can set up a simple Google Alert for your brand name or website URL that will email you any time you’re referenced:

How might this help you? Let’s say someone complains on a forum about a product you sold. Once you get the alert, you can register and publicly respond, both addressing their complaint and showing others that you are willing to make things right. Similarly, if someone compliments you on a blog, it would be nice to leave a comment thanking them for their kindness!

Ignoring Negative (or Neutral) Reviews

If reviews are enabled on your website, from time to time you may receive a negative one. What should you do about it? The answer isn’t “nothing.” A negative review gives you the opportunity to turn a bad situation into a great one with just a little work.

Reviews often require customers to provide their email address. Reach out to the customer via email and ask what you can do to make the situation better. If they didn’t like the item, let them exchange it. If something else went wrong with their order, offer a partial refund or another goodwill gesture. Customers are often pleasantly surprised by gestures like this, and you’re likely to turn around even the worst possible scenario by being proactive and helpful.

Note that you shouldn’t ignore neutral reviews, either. A review of “I liked the product, but the shipping speed was horrible” is something you should address with the customer. The same applies for something like a manufacturing defect in a product you aren’t responsible for: acknowledge it, and ask what you can do to help.

Want to get rid of that negative review? After you’ve resolved the problem, ask the customer if they would like to remove or modify it. They may allow you to add a note of your own at the bottom of the review (usually by editing some simple HTML) stating how the problem was resolved, and how they felt about your service.

Not Keeping Up With Your Marketing Activities

Don’t have time for your blog? Getting tired of Twitter? Sick of writing content that doesn’t get views? Giving up is not the answer – in fact, it’s the worst thing you can do.

It takes time and effort to get noticed online. Even the most popular bloggers spent months or even years writing without any sort of following. Their success didn’t happen overnight, either: their audience was built slowly, through hard work and dedication. So while it can be disheartening to put up yet another blog post that doesn’t get shared, or create a great guide that no one seems to read, don’t give up! You need to give yourself a chance before you stop altogether.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to do anything alone. If you don’t have time for your blog, but know it’s going to be important for your overall marketing strategy, look for a marketing company or even a freelance writer who you can pay to keep up with it for you.

Getting help with your marketing is far better than simply stopping: potential customers who see a blog or social media profile that hasn’t been updated in weeks might reconsider doing business with you. If you’re unresponsive or not present on your blog or social media network, what do you think the perception will be of your customer service?

We’re nearing the end of our guide! Our last chapter will talk about long-term maintenance for your ecommerce store, and a few common questions that may come up in the months and years that follow.


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