Starting an eCommerce business can be tricky if you get off on the wrong foot. Focus too much on the wrong area and you waste a bunch of time that could have been spent somewhere else. So what exactly should you do? What are some tidbits that can lead you in the right direction? Fortunately, you’ve stumbled upon this article where we’ve asked business coaches and influencers around the world what their most underrated business advice is for new entrepreneurs trying to get into the eCommerce game. In no particular order, here’s what they’ve said:
Peter Pru - Ecommerce Empire Builders
New entrepreneurs especially those going into Ecommerce often fall victim to thinking all they need is a store filled with "winning products". I see this time and time again. It's like a "build it and they will come" mentality. It couldn't be further from the truth. Instead focus on solving a problem for your ideal person. That means actually caring about the people you sell too. From what I've found, going with the serving mentality often leads to success. Also focus on sending traffic to funnels highlighting one specific product. The more options you give the less your conversion will be.
Chris Hardy - Self Made Newbie
An important concept that I still remind myself of on an almost daily basis is “opportunity cost.” Opportunity cost is a basic economic concept, which means: the cost you pay for what you are not doing. So if you skip work go and watch your favorite movie. It hasn’t only cost you the price of the movie ticket, it’s cost you the hours you didn’t work as well. a $20 movie ticket is therefore actually costing you a few hundred dollars.
Opportunity cost also ties into the saying, "The man who chases two rabbits catches none."
When I first started out on my entrepreneurial journey, like many newbies, I suffered from shiny object syndrome and doing too much with the finite amount of time I had. The cost of this was not giving any of the things I wanted to do the focus they deserved.
For those struggling with what business to start or what avenue to go down, look at your areas of interest and strength, then look at the fundamentally strong ways people are already using to make money online, Not shiny objects or get rich quick schemes, but genuine methods like e-commerce, affiliate marketing, or freelancing. Pick one and commit.
While it’s important to be adaptable and not spend too much time on failing endeavors, it is also important that you focus on one thing at a time and allow yourself the time to learn and for your business to actually grow some legs.
The #1 most underrated thing new entrepreneurs should pay attention to when getting into ecommerce is ATTENTION.
Right now everyone's attention is on TikTok, and you can literally build a successful ecommerce brand just by posting consistently on TikTok and leveraging micro TikTok influencers to create content for you.
The average human attention span gets lower and lower every single year which is why TikTok has grown so fast and why Instagram is pushing its "Reels" heavily now.
They understand that most people would rather consume content in 10-30 second bite size pieces of content rather than 5 minute long videos
Right now my main ecom business is bringing in $400,000+ a month by leveraging UGC (user generated content) from TikTok and using that as my ad creatives for my Facebook Ad Campaigns
We have found that people watch TikTok style ads longer and the CTR is higher when your ad doesn't look like an ad and instead looks like a TikTok which people have already proven to love watching!
When entrepreneurs start a new business, we are so excited about creating or launching a product that sometimes we put on the side customers.
I learned over the year that the number one reason people buy is to solve their problem, but most notably for the transformation you are about to make in their life when they buy your product.
Sometimes we have to step back instead of trying to sell something that we like, or you think it will sell because it is trending.
Let's start to be creative, define your audience, who do you want to serve? Let's connect with them, be their friends, feel their pain, celebrate with them, serve them at the highest level possible.
"When you start treating your customer like a family member, your brand will grow, and you will be known."
I think the most underrated thing new entrepreneurs should really pay attention to is providing a solution to people. Every solution can be sold, which means you have to find the right problem. Being an e-commerce entrepreneur, you have the privilege of providing solutions in terms of services or products with ease of access, low operation cost and highest quality.
As a 3x ecom founder and ecom investor, I've invested over $30m USD to 200+ online brands -- the number 1 thing entrepreneurs should and NEED to pay attention to when first starting out their eCommerce businesses is their profit margin. It's so easy to constantly see the flashy Shopify dashboards of today's revenue, the monthly revenue, YTD sales, or whatever it may be. However, sales ≠ profits. And the biggest reason so many ecommerce businesses fail is because profitability was not a top metric from day 1. Ecommerce businesses are very capital intensive (inventory, marketing, shipping usually eat 40-60% of profits alone). If you ignore such a huge chunk of your margins early on, it will be very difficult to create a sustainable, long-term business. Although it's also assumed will be unprofitable at the beginning, just like any new business, discrediting or avoiding your profit margin will kill your business before it even started. There are healthy ways to recognize that sales figures are important to see your topline revenue grow, but don't feel the need to compete with every dashboard you see being flaunted across social media. You don't know if they're even collecting a penny of profits. I rather own a business that does 10k a month and has 80% margins than a company that does 100k and just breaks even.
My number one recommendation when starting a new eCommerce business would be to niche down as much as possible into a new and unsaturated industry, as competing against countless bigger and more accomplished competitors isn't gonna get you many conversions.
My number one recommendation when starting a new eCommerce business would be to niche down as much as possible into a new and unsaturated industry, as competing against countless bigger and more accomplished competitors isn't gonna get you many conversions.
Networking with and finding people who have similar interests is crucial in growing in the eCommerce space, and its as easy as shooting a DM! Continue to find people to hire that will help you further grow, outsourcing is a necessity when it comes to scaling your store to a long term brand.
When starting an online business Startup Capital is underrated.
New entrepreneurs should plan for marketing expenses and other unexpected costs that may come up. Costs can vary considerably from industry to industry, but in general, I recommend a starting budget of $1000-$2000 and then access to a minimum of $500 each month.
To answer your question, I think the most underrated thing that new entrepreneurs should pay more attention to is customer feedback. Most new entrepreneurs who want to launch an eCommerce store think that customer feedback is for after a customer has purchased, and while yes, that is very important, getting customer feedback before you've designed something or purchased stock can really help you to reduce the risk of the business. The last thing you want to happen is to invest in products and launch, only to find that none of your audience care. It's really important to focus on customer feedback at all stages of business.
To start any business you need the ability to never quit and to make sure you do your research into the best possible resources such as a great funnel building system and an autoresponder to make sure you know exactly when and where your traffic is coming from and what they're looking for. If you can't track who's visiting your website you're missing out on a ton of sales.
I think the most underrated thing new entrepreneurs should pay attention to in an E-Commerce business is their sales Tax needs and Business structure. I don't know if they really pay attention to what business structure they set up for themselves. It makes a huge difference on what type of business entity you form when it comes to your taxes.
The most underrated tips that i would give to ecommerce coaches and to any coach for that matter is to:
- approach their jobs with humility and love,
- focus on the uniqueness of their stories and use that for impact,
- continually engage with their audiences and never take anything for granted no matter how "seasoned" they are,
- last but not least, have fun!
Their brand and culture. A lot of the time, new entrepreneurs get caught up in designing their website, deciding on logo and colours, creating content, etc. Don't get me wrong, all of that is important. But the reason people will buy your product and become loyal customers over the competition is your reputation and your company's culture. People (your customers) want to be a part of a community; something bigger than a transaction. Spend the majority of your time in the beginning determining your differential factor, your community building assets, and your brand's mission and purpose.
I think the number one most underrated thing new entrepreneurs should pay attention to is explaining or demonstrating how the product or service can solve a customer's problem. Taking great pictures or making videos of the product is a step in the right direction, but adding an explanation or demonstration of solving the problem is how to maintain a customer's interest.
Harry aka Beast Of Ecom
New entrepreneurs should learn how to manage their expectations. It's easy to get blindsided by success stories and screenshots online because most people on social media never show their losses. This skews the perception making ecommerce seem easier than it is, and while it's very lucrative once you get things working, it ultimately takes hard work, action and solid determination to get there.
Most new entrepreneurs believe that in order to get started with eCommerce, they have to learn how to build an eCommerce platform, make their own products, pay for ads, join every social media platform and learn every marketing technique out there. This creates a feeling of overwhelm and stress instead of what you should feel; excitement and motivated. Instead, choose one mentor, one eCommerce business model, and be consistent in following that process.
That it is not passion or motivation that will make them successful in the world of business. It's discipline. We don't do things when we are happy or motivated to do them. We do it, because it needs to get done.
This is the biggest aspect lacking in new entreprenuers.
My biggest advice when starting an e-commerce business is Take. Marketing. Seriously. If people don't know about your product, people can't buy your product. You could have the best product in the world, but if no one knows about it you won't bring in any sales. That means creating quality listings (high quality photos, titles, descriptions, etc). Pay attention to your selling platform's algorithm. The reach of the internet and potential to bring in sales is endless, but only if you understand how to make the most of it.
It's impossible to fail if you never give up" the reason I say this is because so many people truly forget what's really possible and settle for less in life (I used to think the same way) and I then I realized in reality if you work hard enough and dedicate time/take risk anything is possible.
The most underrated thing new entrepreneurs should pay attention to is hiring the right advertising/marketing person for the job. They should take their time in asking questions and getting proof of solid results. More importantly, make sure they’re honorable people to work with. I have many clients who have been burned by huge ads costs and retainer fees without getting a breakeven at least.
The #1 most underrated strategy when starting a new ecommerce business is starting a TikTok channel.
By simply producing short 30 second videos of the day to day operations of your business, you'll attract an organic audience of fans.
Even without a link to your site, people will find you naturally through Google. TikTok is extremely powerful for getting the word out and building your initial audience.
I would say the most important thing for new ecommerce store owners is to set up their social media accounts right away to start building an audience so that in the long run it will allow you to spend less money on advertising and also hire a good marketing agency to run some social and ad campaigns so you can start testing ad copy and graphics to see what works. If they are looking for a great marketing agency, I'll include my link below to our funnel for ecommerce store owners wanting to scale!
I think diversifying your online traffic is so underrated. A lot of new entrepreneurs just focus on one platform. The internet is a vast place and it is important to diversify your traffic channels so you can achieve more reach early on in your business.
I would Say the most unrated thing is really doing market research and product research before taking your business idea to the marketplace.
I think micro-influencers are one of the most overlooked methods of marketing for new and emerging e-commerce businesses. If you think about it, sending your product to micro-influencers is a win-win situation. They are also new and emerging so by working with them you grow their portfolio, give them free products, and they gain experience. And for a small business you gain exposure, and content that helps promote your brand. It's very hard scaling your content creation operations, especially when starting out. By sending to micro-influencers, you take the weight off your shoulders and gain variation in the content that you post on social media. Not only that but you can also later ask the influencers to leave you honest feedback on your product which will improve your website conversions.
In my opinion, the #1 thing that any new business owner should look at before launching a product or service is the cost per click associated with advertising that specific product/service. It is substantially easier to be profitable on new product launches if you can find something under 75 cents per click as opposed to trying to sell protein powder or any other supplement & running into a CPC of $4+.
Pay close attention to what your customers are doing on your website. Pay the same amount of attention to the items your customers are buying the most, as well as the item that gets the least amount of traffic. The way your customers interact on your website speaks volumes. This alone tells you what they want to purchase, and what they maybe don't have such a demand for. Buying or listing inventory on your website does not have to be a blind task, nor should it be. Watch your customers' traffic patterns, listen to them, and adjust accordingly.
Jon from Dropship Breakthru
Cashflow. Money metrics like revenue and profit get far more attention from new entrepreneurs but understanding cashflow with a focus on generating consistent positive cashflow tends not to be high on the list for new ecommerce entrepreneurs.
Finding positive cashflow as soon as possible and maintaining it is a major factor in determining if an ecommerce business will find ongoing success. Far too often we see entrepreneurs getting into a financial hole early on because they don't understand the cashflow of their business and the don't have a plan to be cashflow positive.
The importance of cashflow is one of the main reasons why we love high ticket dropshipping as one of the best ways for a new entrepreneur to get started in ecommerce. It's common to be cashflow positive very early on and this can be used as a springboard into developing and growing your own branded products with the safety net of consistent cashflow behind you.
In my opinion, the most underrated thing new entrepreneurs should focus on when building an e-commerce brand is serving their audience instead of selling. A lot of people make the mistake of trying to sell sell sell, but no one will buy from you if they don't know, like and trust you. Instead- focus on serving your audience, getting to know your ideal clients, and finding products that solve their everyday problems. This will help you see massive success- and prevent you from coming across as someone just out to get sales and take money.
Building a community prior to launching any product is key in being successful with e-commerce these days. Tiktok is the best place to do so and get feedback from your audience.
Testing product ideas prior to going to market or spending thousands on paid advertising is key. Tiktok is an amazing platform when it comes to gaining organic reach and it's still way under-utilized.
Dropshippers / Ecommerce brands who are currently tapping into TikTok traffic are one step ahead of everyone else.
Moral of the story, don't sleep on Tiktok.
IMO the most underrated thing is people are focused to much on "what" other people are successfully selling instead of focusing on "how" they becoming successful.
Focus on the techniques and skillsets to building a business not just the "item".
In my opinion the most underrated business tip to be successful in e-commerce is consistency. Yes, I know it's not a hard skill but it's something that everyone who is successful in the industry has done. E-commerce is NOT a get rich quick scheme, it takes time and experience to build up the skillset necessary. Consume as much content as you possibly can, and jump right into it and make your own store! I failed multiple of my first stores before I became profitable, but I was able to learn from what worked and what didn't. So if your reading this, you are probably thinking of starting e-commerce or some sort of business in general. Take the leap and start that business!
I've been thinking a lot about this lately, and I think the number 1 thing people need to consider is how to be more consumer centric.
A lot of new entrepreneurs get too emotionally attached to their products.
They need to stand back and evaluate it in the buyers shoes.
Is this product actually good?
If no one is buying, why is that?
How is it compared to my competition?
Understanding who your customer is; what their biggest hopes, dreams, desires, needs, wants, fears, pain points and challenges are and understanding how you can help them. Ask yourself, "Who are you speaking/selling to? How are you going to speak to them and help solve their problems?". As Robert Collier said, you want to "enter the conversation already taking place in the customer's mind".
Focusing on increasing the conversion rate for your product pages/website.
Focus on building a community before a brand. The unicorn billion dollar company that has to grow at all cost is no longer a sustainable business model. We are looking for a brands that are truly innovative, created by an alluring figure that already has industry connects or something that is an undeniable need for a interested market. All that with a backing community is key!
It's completely underrated, but new entrepreneurs NEED to create a strong email marketing strategy! The power of email lies in automation and helping your brand create connections, build authority and grow sales while you SLEEP (without becoming a slave to a social media algorithm)!
To stand out from the crowd, focus on your client experience from start to end - and know that the clients journey does not end when the product or service is handed over.
After working with hundreds of entrepreneurs from around the world, respecting and maintaining client relationships after working together has helped me both stand out as an authority, and secure reoccurring revenue with long term client partnerships.
Niching down on their industry and tap into underrated traffic sources where big brands don't play. Way too often, new entrepreneurs model what big brands do - they stay generic and vague, leaving them in a super competitive, really expensive playfield where they just end up paying a ton of money to the social media giants without getting anything in return. Instead, they need to go against the stream and set up their own exclusive playfield.
One of the most overlooked pathways to success in E-commerce is strategic advertising. More often than not, people rely on product scalability alone but overtime, i have realised that with a dynamic advertising approach, you can make people buy what they don’t even need.
I believe the Number one thing entrepreneurs should pay attention to when starting is building a long term brand and not a short term pump and dumb brand, the real enjoyment of being an entrepreneur is the journey! So make it last.
Biggest thing I would say is for beginners to stick to 1 business model & strictly focus on that 1 thing. I see a lot of people getting into the online business world that want to try EVERYTHING because there’s so many opportunities out there. What tends to happen is they over stimulate themselves with all this info regarding so many different business models that they don’t actually grow and see financial success because they’re worried about too many things at once. Find a business model that you want to pursue, strictly focus on that 1 thing, and hustle. If you put all your focus into that 1 thing and it doesn’t end up working out, then search for other options. Just don’t put too much on your plate where you can’t actually grow & see the results you want to see.
James Browning aka BrowningEcom
One thing that people undervalue before jumping into eCommerce is finding out EXACTLY what it is your customers are looking for. Instead of reinventing the wheel, go for something that satisfies the exact customer demands.
I think the most underrated thing is the power of word of mouth. The most valuable asset that you have is your current students. If you treat them well and help them get results, then they'll tell everyone else about your course or product.
Focus on helping a specific group of people go from their current situation to a desirable result. Repeat those actions over & over again for as many people as possible. Having a true "North Star" of helping others will be your compass whenever you have to make business decisions, and in return, you'll be rewarded with wealth beyond imagination.
I firmly believe the most underrated thing right now for beginners in eCommerce is TikTok. I've had countless friends go from 0 views & followers to viral & getting tons of sales overnight from posting organic content. I have also witnessed it first hand. It has never been easier to start eCommerce.
Sophia (The Electric Project)
Don't be scared to try out different directions in the beginning stages of your business, when your brand is not established yet. It gives you a great sense of the current market until you found the golden ticket: something that works perfectly for your business and audience. From there on you build and build until you have an established e-commerce business.
I would say the most underrated thing most entrepreneurs should pay attention to when starting a new ecommerce business is that it's okay to change up your online marketing strategies. A lot of people that I speak to think that they need to have a large online following in order to be successful and make sales, but one of the main things that I've learned is that when you build a strong relationship with the few people interested in your business from the beginning, that's how you can organically grow. Just because you have a large audience online doesn't guarantee that you will make a lot of sales, so I always say don't try to gain followers just build relationships.
I believe the most underrated thing they should pay attention to is the clues of success that well established businesses leave behind. Very successful businesses all do a few foundational things which, if you can understand before establishing your own business, you will have a better advantage from the beginning.
I think the most overlooked thing that new e-com entrepreneurs miss is the importance of the relationship they build with their suppliers. A good supplier will curate many profitable deals and the best deals go to the entrepreneurs who communicate quickly, don't back out on commitments, and are easy to work with. It only takes one great supplier relationship to completely change the trajectory of your online business.
Erik aka Incognito Money
I think a lot of people that are just getting started with ecommerce are going to have a problem with one thing. That is, finding a product that is profitable for them.
If you find a product that's profitable to run with paid ads, you simply won. Now how do you find one?
You test a lot of them, you see which work, which do NOT work, but you never stop until you find something that works.
Start small and simple, but get started. You don't need to build a mega brand from day 1, choose 1 product and nail that before branching out to a ton of products. A lot of products early on is expensive and confusing for your customer. Know your audience and ideal customer inside and out and know how your product can help them/ what problem does it solve.. Figure out what all your competitors are doing wrong, and make your product better. Really deeply understand why they would buy from you and not your competitor and try under all circumstances to make your product different or better. Simplicity scales and truly knowing your customers on a deep level is what will truly help you at the beginning to create traction in your e-commerce brand.
When your competitors are furiously burning a hole in their bank account chasing down new traffic and new customers, double down on the customers you already have. Existing customers not only make up 80% of your revenue, they are easier to convert into repeat customers, they will buy more frequently and their transaction value will be higher.
For any entrepreneur starting in the world of eCommerce, many think "this is going to be easy." I hate to break it to you, but it's not going to be easy. My number 1 recommendation would be to set realistic goals. Setting realistic goals & more importantly, expectations is an important part of starting your eCommerce business. If you set too high or low a target for yourself, then when things don't go according to plan - which they won’t, you're more likely going to feel discouraged, instead of looking at ways how can improve upon what went wrong. This, in my opinion, is why many eCommerce stores fail.
For me, the number one underrated thing people should pay attention to is;
Entrepreneurship is a mindset, the willingness and ability to be all in. Real entrepreneurs live and breath it 24/7.
Success With Sam
The number one thing every new entrepreneur should remember before starting an e-commerce business is the power of taking action. If there is one thing that I learned on my journey to building my e-commerce brand to over £1 Million in sales is the importance of taking massive action. Spending time to research strategies is important but you will only start seeing results in with your e-commerce business once you take the first step.
Dr. Vernita Glenn-White
The number one most underrated thing I believe new entrepreneurs should pay attention to in a new eCommerce business or any new business is personal development work. The strategies are usually laid out for us to follow but we often have limiting beliefs around selling, being social or visible, and sometimes in the actual belief of the product or service we're marketing based on past experiences that keep us from consistently following the strategies and plan to get to the level we desire. Our business growth will only go as far as our personal growth.
I think many new entrepreneurs focus on the lifestyle and the infinite earning potential when they initially get into business but the problem is, if your ideal customer doesn't know where or how you can help them, you'll end up on the unsuccessful side of entrepreneurship. Instead, focus on communicating your value and solutions. When you focus on solving a problem and can clearly communicate the solution to the person that your business helps, the lifestyle and earnings will fall into place.
Identify what someone is struggling with. Clearly communicate the struggle and the solution in their exact language. How does your business help and why do they need you? Where do they congregate and how will you get your business in front of them to make the pitch or impression? Some say this falls into marketing and sales, but I just consider it to be effective communication.
The most underrated thing that new e-commerce entrepreneurs don't do is setting their goals on what they're looking for.
If they're someone new and looking for quick money, and don't have large upfront capital; they should be looking at a model such as dropshipping.
For someone that is looking for the long-term, who is more patient and understanding because it may take 1-2 years to get the ball rolling, and has a large capital such as $10,000-30,000; then they should look into building a brand.
So the problem is most people aren't really picking a path based on their situation. They just go on Youtube and copy what other people do. But my biggest recommendation is to,
- your situation
- your budget
- if it's short-term or long-term
- what you want to do and enjoy doing
And pick up a biz model that follows your answers.
Entrepreneurs should be paying attention to their brands, their names and logos. Particularly in instances where they have not trademarked or secured their intellectual property yet. In my law practice, I’ve seen many companies launch and spend a significant portion of their budget on marketing and branding only to discover (usually by a stern cease and desist letter) that they were unknowingly infringing on another company’s trademark. This can be devastating and can be easily avoided by having a trademark clearance search done by a lawyer, at a minimum. One of the best ways to secure your branding is through the trademark process and there are options to start that process long before you launch.
When it comes to starting a new eCommerce business, I believe the power of tik tok is one of the most underappreciated aspects that they need to pay attention to. If they're trying to launch a brand, I would strongly advise them to create a tik tok account for their brand, and post as frequently as possible. I've seen brands make thousands of sales from a single post. All you have to do is keep an eye out for new tik tok video trends, and create videos for the brand. As easy as it sounds, it sometimes gets hard to make videos everyday. So instead of relying on motivation for making the videos, you have to rely on consistency. Because motivation eventually fades away, but if you're consistent, and keep at it, you're sure to get at least one viral video.
New entrepreneurs need to get comfortable becoming the face of their brand when they go to market their business. People want to buy from other people who have values that align with their own. You don't even need fancy equipment. Grab your phone and create a new Tiktok video with you talking to the camera. Becoming that familiar face that people see in their feeds helps to build trust and customer loyalty over time.
The number one most underrated thing new entrepreneurs should pay attention to when starting a new ecommerce business is sales. It's not creating a fancy store, spending $1000's on ads right away or trying to perfect the product right from the get-go. Get your product out there, gather real feedback from people who have paid for your product and use that to fuel your paid advertising. The insight you'll get early on is priceless.
The number of skills required to be successful at e-commerce, one has to stack skills across different disciplines. Most are never ready for this reality.
I mean, design, customer service, client outreach, fulfilment of items, quality control, accounting, inventory management....just to mention a few.
I think new entrepreneurs looking to get into e-commerce should be looking at free organic TikTok marketing. You can make thousands if not millions of dollars without spending a dollar on advertising with TikTok. TikTok allows you to get millions of views even if you have no followers so it's great for beginners getting into Ecom.
Underrated but obvious is cash flow. It's not sexy and it's not going to grow your business 10x, but it's the one thing that can make sure your business can survive through the turbulences of the space. Most founders confuse cash flow with profit, and panic when they finally run out of money when all the bills are due. Having positive cash flow is prerequisite to scaling the business yet it's not something on people's mind when they start, so I'd say it's pretty underrated.
The customer is the most important part, if you can exceed their expectations you will grow even further...