You have an idea, a laptop, and internet access, you’re ready to start your online business, or you think you are!

Before you enter the world of e-commerce, here’s a sobering statistic: 90% of all online start-ups fail within the first 120 days.


They all make some or all of the most common mistakes.

If your business is going to be one of the 10% that succeed, you need to know what they are.

Here’s a list of the most-deadly 7.

Avoid these, and your e-commerce business might live to tell the tale!

1. Not Having Your Finances In Place

In the early days, make sure you have the cash flow needed to give your business the support it needs to get established and grow. One option is a small business loan. You want to keep any borrowing to a minimum at this early stage, but a lack of funds is a sure-fire way of forcing you to cut corners, such as:

Choosing underperforming platforms and software based on price, skipping necessary multi-channel marketing strategies, and ignoring paid advertising.

Don’t be fooled into thinking just because you build it (your website) buyers come because they won’t, this isn’t the field of dreams, it’s a wasteland of failed e-commerce stores and unfulfilled dreams.

OK, now let’s look at what else can go wrong!

2. Not Identifying Your Target Market

If you don’t know your target market, how can you build a business that’ll serve them?

It’s a common mistake that so many start-ups make; they build their website based on their product or service, wrong!

For your customers to find you, and then trust you enough to buy from you, you’ve got to build your site around their needs and advertise where they are, all of this takes research.


  • YOUR AUDIENCES DEMOGRAPHICS – How old are they etc.
  • PLATFORMS – Which ones they use to search for and buy what you’re offering – (Do they mostly shop using social media platforms or websites?)
  • WHAT`S THEIR LANGUAGE? – Every market has its own language, learn it then use it.
  • WHY DO THEY WANT YOUR PRODUCT? – Once you know the why you can focus on connecting with them using content, images, and video.

Find out who and where your market is by using a tool like BuzzSumo, it`ll tell you everything you need to know.  

3. Choosing the wrong Ecommerce Platform

Choosing the wrong e-commerce platform is like buying shoes that are too small; they don’t fit your needs, and there’s no room for growth.

Don’t think small just because you’re new; you need a platform that can fully support you now and in the future. When choosing a platform, consider which ones suit your back end needs and your customers.


  • SPEED – Your website has 3 seconds to load, any slower and you’re history.
  • CUSTOMIZABLE – Can you integrate complex plugins, expand into other markets, add advanced marketing strategies?
  • INVENTORY CONTROL – Is there any, does it provide shipping solutions?

Now’s the time to think ahead and cover your bases, otherwise there could be trouble ahead.

4. Ignoring The Importance Of SEO

You’re a new e-commerce business, so, chances are you`re going to rely heavily on organic traffic. 

In case you don’t already know, this is how consumers find you if you’re not running ads or marketing campaigns. Consumers put the product name, related words, or phrases into a search engine (Google), and the websites that show up are those that are SEO-optimized. Without this, your site will live in the virtual wastelands, gathering dust for eternity.


  1. A highly optimized website template/platform (not all are! So, check that too before you choose one).
  2. Highly optimized, well-written keyword placed (short and long-tailed), informative, and relevant content.

Finding the right keywords for your market, and more importantly, those you have a chance of competing for takes knowledge and understanding. You can outsource this service or DIY by using SEO tools, many of which are free. 

5. Not Having The Right Tools For The Job

Finally, having identified your market and the right platform, you need to equip yourself with the tools required to provide a smooth and consistent service. If you fail to deliver your promise or misplace your marketing, you’re going to be in that 90%!

Fortunately, again you can outsource tools and pay monthly subscriptions for numerous services that will help turn your new e-commerce business into a well-oiled, 12-cylinder, money-making machine. Whether it’s shipping solutions, e-mail marketing, social media marketing, or customer service, make sure you have the tools for the job.

Drew Neisser