5 eCommerce Mistakes That Are Threatening Your Business

February 5, 2015

2015 is going to destroy many eCommerce sellers…But you could be safe.

With the eCommerce sales set to tip $ 2 Trillion dollars in 2015, the level of competition is getting fierce.

We have already seen the battle of the pixel start, with many of the worlds largest sellers rushing to ‘tag’ their visitors with remarketing pixels for future use. And we’ve seen SEO change dramatically with the rolling Google penguin update, which means more than ever, businesses are now at a constant risk of penalization in search results.

But even with these new events, it’s the sellers who are making these 5 mistakes, which will be suffering the most. If you’re making even one of these 5 ecommerce mistakes, and ignore it, then there is a high chance that 2015 will be a tough year in sales for you.

Mistake 1: Not having a clear USP

A powerful and effective USP is the foundation of all business success. Yet, for some reason there is a growing trend of businesses with no uniqueness about them. In fact, every day I see more and more copycat businesses and ‘me to’ businesses launching in every industry imaginable.

So where’s the problem in all this?

Its right here: A business without a USP or an ‘edge’ is a commodity. While you may experience some mediocre success in the good times, when things get tough its the commodity’s that go out of business.

There are many ways to learn how to write a USP, but the important thing isn’t how or what your USP is – Its simply having one.

Mistake 2: Not Building Authority In Your Niche

Whats the difference between Jamie Oliver and the chef at your 5 star restaurant? They are both great cooks and most likely have the same amount of training.
So why is it that at many of Jamie Oliver’s restaurants there is a 2-3 week waiting list to dine?

The answer: Because he is an authority in his field.

Through his countless cookbooks, TV shows and endless publicity, Jamie has built a reputation as one of the worlds best cooks.

It is this kind of authority that is needed if you want to survive and grow in 2015.

You don’t necessarily need to become a global celebrity, however you do need to become a market leader in your industry. You need to be the respected go-to source of information in your marketplace because along with the respect you’ll also position yourself and your company as the only one consumers should trust.

Companies are taking the ‘authority first’ model very seriously by structuring their business models around supplying content first, getting visitors to their sites, then driving them to the store once they’re hooked.

Here are 3 handy, actionable tips to help you build your authority in record time:

  • Blog– Try to publish a minimum of 2-3 blogs a week talking about topics your industry is interested in. By building this base of content on your site you’ll not only attract loyalty from your readers, but dramatically increase your traffic.

  • Start Industry Specific Groups– If you sell cupcake decorating equipment online, then start the facebook ‘cupcake decorators’ group. This allows you to be the ‘leader’ of the marketplace and to build a herd to share your blog content too.

  • Contribute to industry publications – Find the leading websites and magazines in your market and offer to contribute fresh, informative and helpful content to their readers.

Combine these authority tactics with your USP and you have a winning formula for success online.

Mistake 3: Not Optimizing Your Website For Conversions

The battle for traffic is heating up. And because most common advertising platforms work on an auction format, I predict that in 2015 many eCommerce merchants are going to hit their glass ceiling on what they can afford to pay for traffic.

Once this happens, how are you planning to get prospects to your website?

This is why in 2015 businesses that want to grow their sales, need to put a large emphasis on increasing their conversion rate of prospects on their website.

By spending time focussing on increasing the way your website converts, you’ll see dramatic increases to your bottom line in 2 ways:

  1. If you double your conversions, you double your sales & your profits without needing to spend on any additional ads.
  2. Once you’ve successfully increased the value of each visitor, you can then afford to place more competitive bids to get traffic to your site.

One word of caution: Before you do any split testing and optimization, please read the conversion optimisation guide to avoid costly SEO mistakes.

Mistake 4: Not Knowing your lifetime customer value

In the world of instant returns and fast money, most ecommerce businesses never look at the lifetime value of their customers. Instead, they focus on making a lousy $ 10-15 on the first sale, rather than the $ 2,500 they might make over the next 5 years.

By taking a step back and calculating how much each customer is worth long term you can now break even or even lose money on the front end, because you know how much they’re actually worth long term.

Here is the simple way to calculate your customers lifetime value:

  1. How much is your average order volume? (O)
  2. What is your gross profit on each order (Gp)
  3. How many times does a customer buy from you on average? (Ao)

Then all you need to do is: Gp X Ao= LTV

Once you’ve found your customers lifetime value, you’ll be in the position to make far more educated decisions on acquisition budgets, retention schemes and even loyalty programs.

Mistake 5: Not Utilizing Email Marketing

According to Amazon, email marketing is the most underutilized tactic by most eCommerce business owners, and their not alone.

A recent study by Convince and Convert revealed that people who purchased through email spent 138% more than those who found your store directly. And according to Email Marketer, 66% of consumers have made a purchase online due to an email promotion.

So you can see why Amazon is so adamant about the importance of email marketing.

The best part, is if you’d like to start your own email marketing campaign, services like Mail Chimp and campaign monitor make it affordable and easy to setup and manage on your own.


2015 can either be a very profitable, or very painful year for your business. Take my advice, learn from these mistakes and don’t repeat them. It’s far cheaper this way.

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