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The Most Common Mistake in E-Commerce

Upendo Ventures: Biggest Mistake on Any E-Commerce Website

We're nearing a year now that we've all been in various stages of unrest and lockdown in our respective states and cities.  With us all being separated, places closed, and looking at our homes and belongings, it's no wonder that e-commerce has grown at such leaps and bounds through 2020.  There was one glaring mistake that I kept running into, though, regardless of the size of the vendor.  

We're spending more time at home, and we've found ourselves improving many aspects of our home lives.  With the store mostly closed, observing less open hours, and avoiding crowds, we've turned to online shopping more than ever before.  

I've bought many things this year via websites.  Some of them include clothes, masks, cleaning supplies, supplements, and more.  Nearly the only thing I don't have delivered via a website or app is my groceries.  I even just bought a couch last night.  

Upendo Ventures: Face-palming

Okay.  Let's forget about the couch for now...  

Hint #1...

I'm not going to out them publicly, but one of my favorite local businesses to buy cool stuff from has probably the worst e-commerce website I'm able to find online right now.  I've bought some masks and shirts from there.  However, the website is so difficult to use, doesn't load on a phone, checking out is a painfully long process, and the inventory is always wrong.  Oh, and they usually only have a single grainy photo of each product.  The only saving grace here is that if I message them directly on Instagram or Facebook, they'll respond quickly with more images and availability.  

Sometimes seeing a price has even been an issue.  Ugh...  

Hint #2...  

Another website I love to visit when I want some hot sauce has similar issues.  On many of their products, they're either missing information entirely, or have a single image for the sauce.  I wish I could say contacting them helps, but they rarely respond to messages.  However, there are many hard-to-find sauces on their website and the deliveries always arrive on-time.  

Upendo Ventures: Shrugging

Do you know what I'm getting at yet?  It's actually pretty simple...  

Final Hint...

Another website I visit frequently is a major website that every single one of you have visited.  In this case, the website allows vendors of various sizes to sell their products.  However, there are several items I've purchased where I wanted to know dimensions or some other minor detail.  It was simply not there.  I'm not nit-picking either.  I see the same questions I have asked by other people in their crowd-sourced question section.  

Have you figured it out yet...?  

Keep Your Catalog Updated

Whether it's images, inventory, descriptions, dimensions, or other useful information, I have a very important piece of advice for you.  

Update your products regularly!  

Upendo Ventures: Wayne Gretzky Quote

That's right.  

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

Wayne Gretzky NHL Hall-of-Famer

If you don't add more images...  
If you don't add more descriptive content...  
If you don't update your inventory...  
If you don't pay attention to these and other details, you're missing the shots.    

It's impossible to measure how much money you're potentially losing, but it's a very safe bet that the majority of your customers are not new.  They're existing people and fans that already trust you.  This is not a way for any successful business to grow.  You'll never scale the business.  

The most common excuse I get is some version of, "I'm just super busy trying to keep my business running."  That's a great problem to have and I appreciate the sentiment, but you may have set some wrong priorities.  

Assuming you have great products for sale, if your catalog had a process and/or person(s) to keep it updated, then you're going to make more money.  

More money means less stress.  
Less stress means less burnout.  
Both of those mean that maybe you can hire an intern or a part-time person to do this stuff for you.  Heck, you could even hire someone offshore.  Something like this is perfect for that.  

Now that you put in the hard work to actually grow your business and have someone doing that for you moving forward, you can return to those other things that you previously thought were more important.  

In summary, update your catalog and keep it updated.  Do it as often as necessary. 

It's not the sexiest part of your e-commerce business, but it's definitely one of the most important parts of your business if you want it to scale and allow you to have peace of mind when you go to sleep.

Follow this advice, and this will be you by the end of the year...

Upendo Ventures: Cheers on a remote beach!

What do you think though? Is there another glaring mistake I missed? Let me know in the comments.

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About the Author

Will StrohlFounder & CEO
Upendo Ventures
Overall, Will has nearly 20 years of experience helping website owners become more successful in all areas, including mentoring, website development, marketing, strategy, e-commerce, and more.

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