Online businesses come and go by the millions every single day. If you’re looking for success as an online business owner, then examining the reasons for the failure of many online businesses is a good, proactive approach to preventing your own failure. Some of the reasons all by themselves are not enough to make a business close; but in combination with other things, they can definitely play a big part in its demise.
* The “We’re Open, Show Me the Money” Syndrome: If you think that simply opening an online store is going to have money rolling into your bank account, you’re only fooling yourself. It just doesn’t work that way. Sadly, too many would-be business owners think that’s all there is to it. What do you have to offer your customers that the other stores do not? What is going to get the customer to your store rather than someone else’s? What sets your store apart? If you can’t answer these questions, you have a little work to do.
* Lack of Marketing: Just because your site is open, it doesn’t mean customers can find you. Launching your online store simply means you exist and you’re open for business. Now the REAL job begins: marketing.
* Only Offering Pay Pal as a Means of Credit Card Payments: Pay Pal is a great, convenient payment service, but if it’s the only means you offer for accepting credit card payments, then you’re going to lose out on lots of potential sales. A lot of folks simply do not trust Pay Pal, even though it’s far more secure for them to keep their credit card information on file there, in one secure location, than to enter it into a multitude of sites all over the Internet as they shop. For some reason though, many people do not want to use Pay Pal. What I can attest to is that my sales more than doubled when I acquired a merchant account for processing credit card payments. And after over a year of having the merchant account, more than 90% of my sales are paid for via credit card through that account. And many other primitive business owners that I know have had similar experiences with regard to Pay Pal and merchant accounts.
* Your Website is Confusing or Difficult to Navigate: People will leave your site if it’s too difficult to get around or find things. Your category links and menus should be organized in a logical manner that is easy to navigate. Ordering Info and Products should be easy to locate. And your shopping cart should be easy to use.
* Your Website is Full of Typos and/or Grammatical Errors: If you can’t spell, find someone who can to proofread your site’s content. I personally exit a site quickly quickly when it’s full of errors. These kinds of mistakes make you look unprofessional and lazy…and how is that going to entice shoppers to make a purchase?
* Too Many Bells and Whistles: The best way to annoy your shoppers is to provide cursor trailers, music, slideshows, talking characters, excessive blinking or scrolling text, or any combination thereof. You really don’t need all the bells and whistles…and your products should speak for themselves.
* Too Much Unscannable Text on the Home Page or Too Many Banners and Ads: Text should be scannable on your home page–that is, easily scanned for key content and words. People aren’t going to your online store to read a book (you can create a blog for that), so the focus should be on your products. If you want to offer articles and such, that’s great. But put them on a separate page instead of bombarding the shopper with information on the home page. And avoid all the ads and clickable images on the home page that lead to other folks’ sites. Do you really want to send your customers to other folks’ websites so quickly?
* Inadequate Product Descriptions: Many folks leave out important information about their products. Give as much information as you can, and don’t forget to include dimensions/sizes, as photos don’t always reflect the actual size of the products.
*Ever-Changing Graphics: Maintaining your site’s recognition factor is an important part of establishing your identity and/or brand. If you change your web graphics or look too often, you are lessening that recognition factor you want your customers to have. The biggest change to avoid is the change that is done with each season; this is considered too excessive.
* Poor Quality Photographs: Customers need to see clear, crisp product photos. Invest in a good digital camera and learn how to use it. Then Google yourself a search on how to take quality photographs!
* Photos That are Too Large in File Size: If the file size of your photos is too large, it slows down the page load time on your site. The more photos you have, the longer it can take the pages to load. And for the customers who are still on dial-up (they ARE out there!), you are simply inviting them to leave as they grow impatient waiting for your site to load. So optimize every single one of your images before uploading them to your website.
*Lack of SEO: If you don’t know what SEO means, then you’re already at a huge disadvantage. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and this involves everything you must do to optimize your website to enable the search engines to find you and include you in their index. There is a lot involved in SEO.
* Impatience (Giving Up Too Soon): Creating a successful online business, as with ANY business, does not happen overnight. It takes hard work, and lots of it! It can take 2-3 years in business before you even turn a profit. Giving up too soon is often the result of ignorance about what is really involved in creating a successful online business. So educate yourself as much as you can in this regard.
These are just some of the reasons why online businesses fail. There are, of course, others. But hopefully these can offer some insights that can help guide you on the path to success in the primitive business world.