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7 Avoidable Mistakes That Sink Your E‑Commerce Business

3 min read

March 4, 2017

Business Advice

A laptop with an e-commerce site pulled up and showing how to avoid mistakes that will sink a e-commerce business.

Building an e‑commerce business on Shopify isn’t easy. As an experienced business owner or a first timer, mistakes can sink your business fast. Learn how to avoid seven common mistakes e‑commerce business owners make.

1. Assuming your store will be noticed

Launching your store is only the first step. There are 4+ billion pages on the web at any given time. Yes, FOUR BILLION. That means that when you launch your store you have a 1 in 4+ billion chance of someone stumbling across it. Yup. Those odds suck. Want a successful e‑commerce business? Put in work to get folks there.

2. No or default text logo

What do all big retailers have in common? They have a professionally designed logo that represents their brand. It is the first thing that visitors see on their site. And it should be the first thing that your’s see as well. You don’t have to spend big bucks to get one. You can use a service like 99designs to get a high quality, low cost design.

3. No SEO strategy

I know. I know. SEO is a pain in the a$$. It’s hard to do. It doesn’t produce any immediate results. And above all, it is pretty easy to overlook. At the same time, SEO is one of the most powerful tools to get folks to your store. As a new online store you can’t afford to skip it or be bad at it. Identify the top 10 keywords you want to target and build your SEO strategy from there.

4. Little or no social proof

Social proof is the positive influence that’s generated when people find out that “others are doing something". Social proof done right drives conversions, while done wrong can be harmful.

Reviews are a common form of social proof for e‑commerce businesses. Favorable reviews help customers feel confident about their buying decision. While reviews done too early can do the exact opposite. If you are selling a new product, the best practice is to include a review section AFTER you have some customers to get reviews from. A blank review section can cause customers to question if they should buy from you. Why are their no reviews? Has no one purchased this product?

Social media is another common form of social proof. Your social media stats are trust indicators for first time purchasers. Networks with little or no followers often leave negative impressions with potential buyers. So don’t try to be on every network from the start. Choose one or two and build up a healthy following. Only add a new network after you have squeezed out all the potential from your active ones.

5. Underestimating the power of the about & contact pages

Don’t let your about page be an afterthought. It will most likely be the second or third most visited page of your site. This means your about page is important to visitors and has great sales potential if you use it right. Your about page is an opportunity to tell your story, establish a connection with your customers, and build trust. Who is the person behind your company? What is the mission/vision/values that drive your company. What things have you overcome personally or as a company and how? What’s the big takeaway of your story? The answers to these questions make a great company story.

Your store is online, but visitors still care where you are and where your products ship from. Your about page is a great place to include this information.

Generic email addresses like gmail are convenient, but do not use one for your contact page. A professional email addresses builds customer trust. Use a service like g suite to set up a business email that uses your domain.

6. Adopting a scatterbrained approach

All to often, new business owners chase every new strategy, growth hack or app that appears on the market. Hoping this will help them become successful. Yet, more often than not that is not case. The better approach is to focus on one task, one strategy and one goal at a time. Anything else taxes your energy and rarely produces desirable results.

7. Let your marketing channels marinate

No marketing channel works overnight. Dipping your toe into Facebook ads? Instagram influencer outreach? Email marketing? Doesn't matter, you can't escape the dedicated time, energy and money it takes to get results. Spending $100 on a Facebook ad that doesn’t get any sales, doesn’t mean the channel can’t work. It could be that you haven’t given yourself enough time to find the right audience. Or to change the design or copy to better resonate with your audience. Choose your channel and assess it using defined goals. Give it enough time and money to prove itself. Don't abandon a channel without the right data saying so.


Building a thriving business is hard work. Taking time to step back and see the big picture is mandatory for your hard work to pay off. Use these seven tips to get your business in the right direction. Do everything you can to avoid pitfalls that sabotage your efforts.

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