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Why do some online businesses fail while others succeed?


It is estimated that approximately 80%-90% of e-commerce start-ups fail, meaning the e-commerce success rate is less than 20%. If you’re starting your own online business or already run one, that might send a shiver down your spine. But fear not! While you can learn a lot from a successful business, you can learn a lot more from failures.

While many factors contribute to making a start-up into a successful business, below is a list of some of the most common reasons why online start-ups fail:

– Lack of understanding/being relevant to target audience
– Poor product content
– Non-user-friendly website
– No clear return policy
– Complicated check-out process with too many options and add-ons
– Pricing and ads not aligned
– No good social media presence
– No proper SEO implementation
– Too much competition
– Not managing cashflow properly
– Poor leadership

However, the single biggest reason why most online businesses fail is because of poor, inconsistent online marketing, or a lack of a marketing strategy altogether. Narrowing down on a specific audience, but then failing to effectively market to them is a waste. How must potential customers know the product even exists if it’s never put in front of them? Startups especially need to increase their brand awareness and online search visibility to increase their reach, and ultimately their conversions.

On the flip side, successful online businesses have the following in common:

– A strong customer focus
– Superb customer service
– Speedy response time
– A responsive website
– Easy, secure payment method
– Enticing product photography and descriptions
– Understanding of conversion testing
– Ability to change course quickly

There are of course other factors that can determine an online business’ success as much as any brick-and-mortar business, such as strong leadership and a relentless persistence to never give up. Showing up every day, finding solutions to all the problems that are sure to arise, maintaining a ‘can-do’ attitude and showing your team the way forward can at the end of the day be the difference between failure and success. As the famous American baseball star, Babe Ruth, once said: “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up”.

Wishing you a successful Q3 and a relaxing winter holiday.

Onwards and upwards!

Daniel Gross

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