It’s common for first-time shop owners to make mistakes when they launch their ecommerce store.
It’s part of the territory.
But what if there was a way to avoid some of those initial headaches?
You don’t need to be an expert in ecommerce from the get-go by any means. But you should at least be an expert on your shop.
Understanding your motives and goals is going to instill confidence on both sides of your business.
If you have a strong sense of self, you’ll take the hurdles that come in stride and grow from them.
Check out the 10 most common mistakes first-time shop owners make to be better equipped when planning your shop!
1. Not Developing A Business Plan
We know the words “business plan” sound daunting and even off putting for some people.
But an ecommerce store – no matter how small it is – does fall under the business category.
Some think that a business plan will take away all the creative joy and spark they have for their shop.
It’s going to reinforce it.
Laying out all your goals will motivate you to succeed and put all possible resources into your shop and avoid one of the most common ecommerce mistakes.
You might be thinking of just the “big picture,” but these are tools you can use to succeed on day one.
Checking out your competition, mapping out a promotional plan, and making room for potential growth are all relevant pieces of a business plan.
And a business plan is a great way to find gaps in your shop and your business strategy.
Anything you do that’s related to your shop should be tied in some way to this business plan, whether that’s creating a new design or launching a shop-based podcast.
How is it going to help you succeed?
Developing your business plan doesn’t take long, either. You can do it in as little as 30 minutes.
2. Getting Caught Up In The Details
A lot of people fail to get their business off the ground when they get blocked by small details. There’s the assumption that everything should be 100 percent perfect for them to launch.
If that were the case though, no one would ever start anything.
It can be overwhelming to take on something new that’s outside of your comfort zone. Treating it like a learning experience instead of a challenge is going to be key to your success.
Don’t go into your shop with a rigid idea of how everything needs to be.
That kind of thinking will prevent you from exploring worthwhile possibilities.
These steps are important to take, even if you don’t feel ready.
You’re not going to have everything figured out on day one, and that’s okay. Don’t let that stop you from pursuing your passion.
3. Not Promoting Products
The work doesn’t stop once you have your shop up and running; things are just beginning.
People are much more likely to find your page if you focus your effort on marketing your products in enticing ways.
Sharing your shop link won’t be enough.
People want to see how your products – t-shirts, hoodies, totes – look like when they’re worn by real people. They need to feel like they’re a part of what you’re selling.
Spreadshop has stock model photos you can use on your site, but they don’t translate as well on socials.
Model the merch yourself or take pictures of family and friends in different attire.
Promoting your products in a personal and stylized way is going to help establish you as a brand.
You’ll look professional and appear as a trusted source to potential customers.
Marketing your merch looks different depending on the platform you use.
Adapt to the style of different socials without losing the core of your shop.
4. Spreading Yourself Thin
Just because you can be everywhere, doesn’t mean you should. Ecommerce mistakes are common, but they don’t have to be.
We know, we just talked about the importance of promoting your products. But not every platform is going to work or be beneficial for your shop.
If you’re a gaming shop, your audience probably isn’t going to be on Pinterest. You’re better off sticking with Tik Tok and Instagram: socials that suit your target demographic.
Spreading yourself thin doesn’t just apply to your social presence, though.
Within your shop, it also helps to be particular with the items you’re selling.
Spreadshop has hundreds of products you can put your merch designs on. But you want to avoid overwhelming your customers with options.
Youtuber Modern Millie recently made a video about how to increase product sales with your merch.
She edited her shop to focus on products that felt right for certain designs. This helped make her shop feel relevant and specific to her.
5. Not Knowing Your Audience
Making money from your shop requires people to make purchases. And there are ways to determine and control who those people are.
It’s easier to attract an audience if you have a shop with a niche.
Your niche can be as specific as you want it to be. There are so many shops that have taken their niche and run with it.
You might not have even heard of some of these hobbies or interests, but there’s an audience for them.
Who is your audience? How can you attract their interest?
Go to the platforms they use. Join groups and follow hashtags that are relevant.
You want to be familiar with fellow users and have a relationship with them before you start trying to sell them stuff.
Because you know them so well, it should be natural when you promote your shop and products to them. Talk like a real person and engage with them on a level they can understand which is one of the most overlooked ecommerce mistakes.
There’s power in finding your niche.
6. Pricing Items Too Low/High
Pricing can be a tricky thing.
You want to make a profit and have products that are relatively affordable.
Spreadshop allows you to earn money while offering reasonable pricing for customers.
Our products have a fixed base price with room for margins so shop owners can make money.
Anything you charge over the base price is considered profit. You can access this by adjusting the retail price in your shop settings.
But that doesn’t mean you should make a ecommerce mistake and go crazy and upcharge your merch.
Think about what your customer base is willing to spend and consider the average price in the market.
Somewhere between $20 and $25 is typical for a t-shirt. We wouldn’t recommend selling a t-shirt for $50 just because you can and want to try and turn a profit.
No one’s going to buy it – doesn’t matter how cool your merch is.
7. Neglecting Product Pages
First-time shop owners put a lot of focus on their landing page and overall vibe of their site. But individual product pages are just as important.
Product pages give people insight into important information, such as sizing, materials, and customer ratings.
It gives customers reassurance to see you took the time to add these details. And it will prevent people from spamming your email with unnecessary questions.
Youtuber Nick Nimmin reaffirmed the importance of product pages in his Spreadshop demo.
People like to see this information when they’re shopping, especially something like customer ratings.
You can enable these features for your Spreadshop in minutes.
8. Not Identifying Competitors
You might think it’s best to ignore the competition because you want your shop to be nothing like them, but it’s important that you do to avoid this recurrent ecommerce mistake.
But that’s a close-minded way of looking at your business.
It’s important to understand what similar shops are offering. What does their website look like? What is their social strategy?
You need to know why someone might be more likely to shop from their business versus yours.
Check for patterns that seem to work for them, whether you measure that through their social followers or general interest.
Then decide how you are going to differentiate yourself.
You might notice there’s a gap in the type of products they’re selling. There’s a demand for hats and other accessory based apparel, but no one’s offering it.
That’s where you come in.
Don’t feel unoriginal because you’re checking up on your competition.
You’re doing it for the benefit of your business so you can find success and growth, ultimately.
9. Doing Too Many Giveaways
Giveaways are a great way to introduce your ecommerce store and generate hype.
But they don’t have the staying power you might think they do.
Everyone loves FREE stuff, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to stick around after the winner is declared.
You want customers that are going to support you three, six months down the line. And giveaways won’t get you that solid following.
They work for the launch of your store and on occasion, but they shouldn’t be your main source of interaction with followers.
Doing giveaways too often can even mess with the Instagram algorithm and reflect how your other posts are received.
Learn more by checking out the 10 Common Mistakes Businesses Make With Their Giveaways.
10. Not Securing Intellectual Property
When you start a business, it’s important to identify your core brand elements.
This includes names, logos, slogans and any other brand affiliated designs.
If you don’t own these things, anyone can use them.
This is one of the ecommerce mistakes where you will need to register your business trademarks so competitors can’t make a profit.
This way, no one will be able to use your trademarked materials. And if they do, you can take them to court.
Securing this intellectual property should be one of the first things on your first-time shop owner checklist.
You don’t want to spend so much time and energy building your shop up and then see it slip away.
Take ownership of your brand and you will grow.
We hope identifying these common mistakes makes you more prepared as a first-time shop owner. We can’t wait to see where you go from here.
Open your Spreadshop and start selling merch TODAY!