Top ten mistakes made by online entrepreneurs

Are you new to the e-tail game? Just started selling products and services over the web? Well, avoid the mistakes made by countless entrepreneurs before you. Heed this advice from Russell Blackmore, co-founder of photography e-tailer Sonic Editions.

by Russell Blackmore
Last Updated: 20 Apr 2012

1. Don't try to fit in

Good companies disrupt the current market. Made.com and Dollar Shave Club are both magnificent examples of this. Don’t try to fit in with what else is out there – create a new experience and you’ll carve yourself a niche in a crowded market.

2. Don't do it all yourself

Utilise the power of others. Partnerships help to build traffic and brand equity. If credible brands are working with you, chances are others will too.

3. Keep an eye on stock management

Our prints are made to order, which means we don’t get caught with a lot of excess stock that we need to store and pay for its upkeep. If you have to pay to keep stock that you’re not using, it’s a waste of money.

4. Be mindful of over-selling

Connect with your audience regularly but do not over sell. Use social media to reach out to your audience, rather than pushing a hard sell. You need just enough exposure but not to the point of overkill.

5. You are your product or service

Brands should be reflective of their products. If you’re selling something with a premium price point, your customer experience must reflect that. The service is just as important as the product. Do your research and know what experience you want to create – then live and breathe it in everything that you do.

6. Always answer consumer enquiries

Ignore a consumer enquiry at your peril. Some of the best leads come through social media, so make sure you check who is getting in touch and what they’re saying. Responsive customer service will mean repeat business.

7. Start small, think big

Offer your product in a variety of key currencies. Only when you’ve built up the sales base in a different country should you consider translating into a different language. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Not at the start, at least.

8. Poor delivery is a no-no

Find a trusted and reliable delivery partner. Poor service will come back and reflect badly on you. Remember the video of the USP deliveryman throwing the monitor over the wall? There’s no point in your company being let down at the end of the line.

9. Hone your IT skills

Update your website every day. You will have to understand basic simple rules. For example, lots of traffic will crash your site. This is something that you’ll need in all aspects for your role. You cannot simply depend on smart interns to keep your tech side running.

10. Banks are not your friend

Don’t over rely on the bank. Make sure you know where your finances are coming from!

Find out more about Sonic Editions

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