10 Jul

Pitfalls to avoid if you’re thinking of opening an online store

We all know retail is tough, but where so many people go wrong is in the thinking that launching an online biz is an easier option. The thinking behind you spend less money so it’s less commitment. However you also take less money and it’s much harder to make people aware of you certainly initially.

In my book many people make the mistake of opening an online store without proper financing, and without doing anything differently and that is why so many businesses either fail or take very little money.

If you’re going online make sure have the money to create the coolest site out there. Do not DIY your website, or take your own photographs unless you are good at it, you won’t look cool or be taken seriously. If you can’t shoot things yourself or pay for someone to do it, then have everything as a cut out. Simple as. Many suppliers also have photography you can use. There are lots of online packages you can buy for your website infact the easiest part of going online is starting. It’s the 6-month one-year in that reality starts to hit.

Here are the biggest mistakes I see time and time again. It may sound like I’m trying to put you off I’m seriously not I’m purely making you aware because knowledge is power!

Launching in a field with little or no experience and that is already über competitive.

There are thousands of online stores out there what is going to make you any different? How are you going to stand out from the crowd, earn any kind of living and get noticed at all?

Answer

Find a vibe or product line(s) that set you apart from the rest. Do your research otherwise you will struggle to make money and I don’t know about you guys but I am not in this biz to just get by on some nickel and dime salary. No thank you, if your takings aren’t pulling in enough rethink what you are selling, begin again.Rather than following behind charter new territory because you’re not going to win customers otherwise. Spend time travelling; researching, going to graduate shows, exhibitions set yourself apart.Get inspired and get creative.

Not putting enough effort in

The most common mistake I see time and time again is that everyone thinks its going to be easy and are not prepared to work weekends, evenings and 14 hour days to propel the biz. If you are not serious about it don’t enter the fray. The amount of time I spend on this business is scary. I don’t resent it (occasionally I might) but generally I don’t. You’ve got to one hundred per cent love what you are about to go into and its hard work. You live it, you breathe it. Online is no different, you don’t do less hours because they aren’t  physical customers as such. Infact you need to do more work to make them discover you as with bricks and mortar you are immediately on everyone’s radar from the press to the people in the street.

Having a weak marketing plan

To get customers through the so-called door you need a marketing plan otherwise no one will find you. No strategy no money, big trouble. Figure one out and quickly! The biggest game changer I can give you is set yourself apart; niche businesses are the only way to go in this day and age. You’ll get noticed, people will spend and before long you will have excess cash to plough elsewhere just like we are doing with our own label!

It’s not easy there will be pitfalls and learning curves and to stay ahead of the game you will have to (one hundred per cent) put the work in.In the words of Newt Gingrich and why I am quoting him who knows but he nails it, “Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did”.

Everyone successful knows that in order to build something strong, scale-able and sustainable you have to invest time, the results don’t manifest themselves for ages, years even. There is no short-term reward in retail, more specifically in interiors. It’s a hard slog but it will pay off, those rewards are there to be reaped if you stay with it. I don’t mean plodding on if it’s not gong well I mean shaking things up and taking risks, constantly evaluating and staying on your toes. Like I say all the time if it were that easy everyone would be successful and they’re not!

Stay with it, it opens up a world of opportunities you would never even imagine!

 

 

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