Are you starting your own e-commerce business? Here are five mistakes that could KILL your business!
E-commerce business? The term has become so popular that 99% of you reading this would already know what it stands for. For the 1% of you living under a rock, e-commerce is defined as commercial transactions conducted electronically over the internet. There are tons of e-commerce businesses out there, from Amazon to Shopify stores and even Instagram shops. The thirst for entrepreneurship is growing with each passing day as everyone wants a taste of owning their own business, and who’s to blame them?
You get to run the show, and the feeling of watching a business grow from nothing to something through hard work is a feeling unparalleled by many. E-commerce is fast becoming the favourite platform for shopping as well, and the desire for instant knowledge of products and 24/7 accessibility will be the norm somewhere in the year 2026, having millennials (1980-1995) and generation Z consumers (1996-2010) as the main drivers for this big jump in consumer activity. Through this massive boom of up-and-coming entrepreneurs’, only a handful will survive as the competition for consumer attention will increase exponentially, resulting in massive losses for those who delve into this trendy path without a proper plan.
Here are the top five things you should look out for if you want a higher chance of success as an aspiring entrepreneur!
Like all businesses, money is the number one thing on everybody’s minds. Heck, it’s the reason you’re starting your own business in the first place. From product costs to selling costs and maybe even labour costs, if you’re planning to hire a few people, it can get pretty overwhelming, and that’s when everyone forgets to consider one significant factor, shipping costs. Depending on your products, they would likely come from overseas, and like all things, shipping them comes at a price. Factoring in shipping costs is so important because it allows you to gauge your selling price to maximize profit accurately. If the cost price of one of your items is $10 and you’re selling it at $15, forgetting to add the fact that your shipping price is $5 per item, how much profit are you making? The answer is negative $1. You’re throwing money away. Don’t underestimate shipping costs as well. One simple watch from Amazon delivered to Singapore within a week can set you back a whopping $18! And that’s only for one item. Hence, never forget to factor in your shipping costs when you are doing the necessary calculations.
You know who I’m talking about. One moment you’re proud of yourself for shipping that pretty ceramic cup to your customer for a $10 profit. However, you’re reading an unpleasant email or answering a phone call from a frustrated customer, saying his cup arrived broken and that he wants a refund. How did this happen? The cup came to you in perfect condition, and like the right business owner you are, you double-checked it as well before shipping it off. What happened, you ask? The likely reason is that somewhere along the way, someone might have carelessly handled your package, causing your item to be broken in the process of reaching your customer.
Either that or the journey might have been a rough one hence causing the cup to be broken. Some ways you can remedy this:
- Inform your delivery person (if you’re engaging with him directly) to be extra careful with your items and make sure fragile items are labelled as such.
- Ensure your items are wrapped well to minimise the chances of them being broken.
- Make sure to take a photo of your items before shipping them off to ensure that you are not the party responsible though this might be difficult to do if you are running a company with plenty of customers.
Another way would be by placing things such as a shock watch on your package. These devices are like stickers that go on to your packages, turning from a transparent colour to a bright red one should it receive any significant impact. This not only serves as a warning for others to handle your item correctly, but some are even able to track down the time at which the impact was received, allowing you to identify the party responsible with ease. With these items and some quality protective packaging, you can be sure your items will be handled with care.
Who doesn’t love free stuff? Everyone enjoys the occasional free meal/item, but not if it’s at the expense of others. When you’re starting your entrepreneurship journey, along the way, you might encounter a few of these opportunists or freeloaders as what I call them. These people will purposely damage an item to claim a form of compensation from you, such as free shipping, for instance. They might even try their luck and inform you that they did not receive their item, hoping you might send them another. Therefore, ensure you have taken the necessary precautions and are prepared for these claims from these sly foxes before you ship the items.
You’ve liked what you see and am seduced by what you read. The product seemed too good to be true and consumed by the potential customers you will have you proceeded to buy the item in haste, only to realise that the product was nothing like the description said and that it was indeed too good to be true. Just as there are plenty of benefits from shopping online, there are always two sides to a coin. Like all things, there is prone to have cons to buying products online as well, and another is the lack of physical touch. You, as a consumer, would be unable to see the item in real life or touch it and must rely on the information given by the supplier before making the purchase. These might result in you wasting your money on an item of poor quality but seemed like a good buy online; therefore, you can always try to purchase a sample first and only release them out to your customers once you are satisfied. This way, you would minimise your losses.
Sometimes, things do not turn out how you want them to, and despite how well you plan everything out, natural causes might cause your items to go bad and be unsellable. One example could be running a business selling food such as cheap vegetables to your customers. In the process of them reaching your customers, oxygen and moisture might come into contact with your food and cause them to spoil even before reaching the hands of your customers. This occurrence can be avoided if you have appropriate packaging material, such as the ones shown here.
Another example is if you are operating a jewellery business online. An important thing to note is that certain jewellery, such as those made of sterling silver, cannot be susceptible to air for too long a time. This would result in them undergoing tarnishing, a process that causes it to have a yellowish tinge or a dull, dark colour and be plain nasty to look at. Therefore, whatever you are selling, always know your products and know that prevention is better than cure. For jewellery, a few packets of Silica Gel would do the trick just fine! They absorb and hold water vapour in the air, causing the jewellery to be protected for extended periods (you can read about them here.)
There you have it. With this newfound knowledge, you are better equipped to start a business than most of your competitors! It’s time for you to succeed and remember here at Stream Peak. We’re always here to help!