Why Most E-Commerce Startups Don’t Succeed (And How to Fix It)

online store ecommerce

People of all ages and predispositions are looking to join the e-commerce boom that’s busy unfolding online.

E-commerce startups come in a variety of forms, from hands-off dropshipping models to big companies who’ve opted to incorporate an online format. Generally, the bigger players entered the market with capital resources or have grown over the years to where they are today.

If you visit a small business website or big corporation online, you can easily see that today’s sites are often auto-geared (Shopify and others) or built to be geared for great SEO, great content, and great sales. 

Everyone imagines that they’ll hit the ground running and immediately start receiving orders. 

The truth is? 

The excitement of launching your e-commerce startup is yours alone. 

No one knows you’re there, and the difference between anticipated realities and the day of the launch can be ghastly. Just because you build an office block and do everything right-it’s got lovely touches, green energy, and great overall design-doesn’t mean you’re going to make money. 

Building something right and getting tenants are two different things. So, too, it is with a commercial online presence. 

You need to build it correctly – but customers aren’t built into it, unfortunately!

Between speculation and riches is marketing

It’s OK that your arrival online feels like a big, fat flop. 

All businesses involve speculation. In fact, the common adage of “Business is risky” points to a deeper truth – that business is always speculation! 

Business is a speculative and demanding activity, which is why most people opt for employment. 

Running an online business goes beyond what makes sense at times, into territory that will tax your sanity. Online, you need a willful refusal to accept anything other than success.

Business takes more than drive and “a will to succeed” – it takes a strong chin and the ability to assimilate ghastly despair, rotten figures, and lousy statistics, and still see success. Just as any seasoned forex trader will tell you, it’s not about the techniques or the trimmings, it’s about your ability to not react emotionally.

You’ll find courage you never knew you had because true success takes real effort that initially gets no rewards.

So, after the dust has settled, you’ve built your site, and it goes live to zero applause but your own…

What do you do?

The value of marketing

Marketing is…

  • what you do once you’ve launched online
  • where you spend your time, and 
  • what will send visitors to your site 

Online, marketing’s value is unambiguous.

The real work wasn’t your planning, website build, or any other tasks completed when gearing up for launch and sales. 

The real work is marketing

Marketing is what…

  • pays speculation its dividends 
  • enables initial and return business 
  • tells you what you need to do to optimise your offer, and  
  • shows you where interest is coming from.

Market your business online as much as possible

E-commerce takes guts, it true – and no less than legacy business ever did. 

The idea that you can run your business from your laptop might generate a false sense of ease, but running your own business is tough.

So, you’re the startup that didn’t succeed. You did everything right and yet no one is visiting, no one is slapping you on the back for it. 

Time for marketing. 

Those who want to minimize distress and truly succeed in e-commerce need to be ready to shift their focus from their stunning site to the stunning silence that followed its launch. 

They need to break that silence – one click at a time – with marketing.

Marketing capital and funds

If you’re like most people, you’ve spent everything on launching the site and have zip left for marketing. 

Of course, those who received venture capital or have reserves can better weather the initial launch’s silence and spend money investigating where and how to market – and then spend more money on tweaking whatever sweet spots they find. 

However, the solo entrepreneur doesn’t have that luxury.

With the same tenacity that you found the money to add a payment gateway and pay the developer for another page or three, you need to find the money to market your online store. 

You might buy ads, market content on social media, or follow a host of different yet inclusive routes to online marketing, but market you must. It’s the only thing able to turn you from a zero-value statistic into a busy site.

The barrier to entry into e-commerce isn’t money; available templates and backend services are astoundingly affordable and enabling today. 

The barrier to e-commerce-as with any business-is sheer willfulness to succeed. 

It’s a kind of crazy guts that’s ready to bang its head as many times as it takes to break through the wall.

Start making sales with better marketing

You’re a startup that’s yet to start making sales – and that’s OK.

You just need to accept that marketing deserves the same obsession you gave to launching in the first place.

Educate yourself on the topic, investigate everything, fail as often as you can, waste time on dead-end platforms – it happens. 

But keep at it. 

Keep up with your marketing, even if it is only intermittent as cash allows, or low-key on social media and other free platforms. 

Keep at it. 

Marketing pays you for all the effort you put into creating a great product and getting online, and the only tool that can generate growth, allow you to eventually break even, and start accumulating a profit. Organic growth with even modest marketing does happen.

Stick with it!

Leave a Comment