5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Selling on E-Commerce

Andre Oentoro

There are numerous advantages of selling on e-commerce. These include the ready access to niche markets and the friendly global e-commerce seller community.

E-commerce like Etsy is easy to use, has a built-in customer base, and enables anyone with a passion or pastime to turn that hobby or love into financial profit.

We are always advised on what to do in life but not so often which mistakes to avoid. But it's the mistakes that tend to screw up our plans. When it comes to selling on e-commerce, the situation is no different. Merchants set up their own ecommerce shop with the best intentions and positive aspirations. Very often they have the products that have the potential to sell.

However, new entrepreneurs often make the same glaring mistakes when selling on e-commerce which end up dooming them to failure. So what are some of the most common mistakes to avoid when selling on e-commerce?

Let's take a look...

Mistakes sellers make when selling on e-commerce time after time after time.

Not doing your homework properly

You've dreamt up an awesome brand. You've designed and created products that you are sure will sell. You are so excited to get started, in fact, that you've decided to do absolutely no background research and have launched your e-commerce shop. What could possibly go wrong? Well, everything in reality.

Before you get started selling on e-commerce it's absolutely vital that you spend some time researching the product you are selling, understand the people who are likely to buy it, and do your reading up on what e-commerce actually is and how it works.

You should certainly invest a few days reading through the e-commerce website and its policies (it's also vital you understand trademark and copyright laws for the jurisdictions you intend to sell in), visit forums, and peruse online articles that will educate about what e-commerce is and how it operates.

Try to glean knowledge from successful e-commerce sellers and understand how the e-commerce community ticks. Those who do none of the above almost always fail.

Getting the imagery and description wrong

Image can be everything in life. This is especially the case when it comes to the world of e-commerce shops and trying to sell products to Joe Public.

It is absolutely essential that you invest in multiple high-quality photos of your products that will entice others to purchase from your shop. You can pay for the services of a photographer. If this is unaffordable, invest in a good camera phone and learn how to use some of the many brilliant photo apps and websites that are available to us all.

Consider using gorgeous professional color images that have a white background and try to avoid adding other objects to the photo that are not part of what you are selling.

And as well as imagery, make sure your texts and descriptions are fit for purpose and encourage people to buy your product, not give it a wide berth. Your product description should say everything that needs to be said about your product in a concise and clear way.

Any potential customers need to be attracted to your professional images and then able to fully understand what they need to know about what exactly you are selling. Also bear in mind that your text should be keyword rich and your link product titles include appropriate keywords.

Skipping social media and other forms of marketing

You might be very lucky and your e-commerce shop becomes a roaring success overnight with little effort aside from sticking some nice products on it. But it's extremely unlikely this will happen and instead, your business will probably fail.

There's a reason why huge corporations such as Coca-Cola spend a massive proportion of their budgets on marketing and continue to do so even when their brand is known by virtually everyone on the planet: branding and communication is a relationship with customers.

If you don't do it or stop doing it, they either won't know who you are or will stop caring. Use social media platforms to connect with others, to inform, interact and to engage with them.

Your e-commerce shop won't ever become a real business unless you treat it as such.

And one of the things you must do is to constantly maintain a relationship with your customers and potential clients on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest (this platform is particularly popular with e-commerce users), Twitter or wherever you identify as the best platform to communicate on.

e-commerce offers sellers the ability to link to Facebook and Twitter and there are numerous other ways to promote your shop which you can discover by reading ecommerce blogs and their website.

Is your business a business or a hobby?

If your e-commerce shop is nothing more than a hobby then there's no need to read on. If however you wish to combine business with pleasure, then you need to treat your e-commerce shop exactly as you would any other business and create business plans and strategies.

What is your target for your shop? What are your products? What's your shipping policy? Marketing strategy? Product development plan? Where do you see your brand after a year? 3 years?

Not creating a customer base

It's vital you create a customer base. Your business won't succeed if you rely on customers only ever making one-off purchases with you.

Create a link in your e-commerce bio for people to sign up for an email list created by you. And, while you are at it, add it to your email signature as well. When you build an email list, you are able to instantly promote new products to existing clients.

Thank clients for buying your product with a simple two line email and adding a discount code for future repeat sales as a token of your appreciation. Tell the customer you are excited and grateful they bought your product and that you will prioritize them in the future and let them be the first to know when you launch a new product in your e-commerce shop.


E-commerce offers merchants a brilliant opportunity to showcase their products to the world. Ultimately, however, your success will come down to hard work, offering good products, making wise business decisions, and avoiding many of the common mistakes we have discussed in this blog.

Author Bio:

Filip Nikoloski is a Partnership Specialist at Printify. Printify is a transparent print-on-demand and dropshipping platform designed to help online merchants make more money in a simple and easy way.

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Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award winning explainer video company. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales, and get positive ROI from explainer videos (in that order).


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