1. Not understanding your niche and competitive advantage
“I want to target everyone in Myanmar to purchase from my online shop so that I can maximize my sales.”
This is a common sentiment in Myanmar we encounter quite often when talking to clients, regardless of whether they already have an eCommerce or are planning to start one. Contrary to popular belief, casting a wide net to serve a large audience actually limits the reach of your eCommerce. Why is this the case?
Here is the problem. It is just not feasible or realistic to cater to everyone’s various preferences and needs. In trying to do so, your eCommerce runs the high risk of becoming a jack-of-all-trades platform with no specialty – no competitive advantage. In addition, there are most likely competitors who are cheaper, more well-known, or using a larger marketing budget to grab your customers’ attention.
Ask yourself – what makes my eCommerce website different, why should people buy from my eCommerce, and who is going to buy from my eCommerce website? If you have clear answers to all three of these questions, you are on the right track to having a well-defined competitive advantage and target audience. Your online shop needs to provide customers with a strong reason to only buy from you and keep coming back for more. Providing products and services unique to your online shop that other marketplaces cannot replicate easily is your competitive advantage.
If your online business is unsure about its competitive advantage or target audience, consider what strengths your business have that makes you stand out from your competition. Your advantage can be anything – from having products that no one else in the market has, or the ability to be more operationally efficient than others. In addition, it is vital to conduct market research to make sure that:
- Your target audience has a need for your products and services to address their pain points
- You are communicating your products and services in ways that are relevant to your target audience
- You develop a marketing strategy that focuses on addressing the needs of your target customer
Having a clearly defined competitive advantage and niche is can make or break your online shop in both the short- and long-run. It ensures that your business stands out in a specific field of expertise and serves customers who are in need of your specialized products or services.
Remember – when you are talking to everyone, you are talking to no one.
2. Underestimating the amount of planning and resources required
Starting an online shop is an exciting opportunity to open up new possibilities for your business. However, it’s also important for business owners to avoid making the mistake of committing to ecommerce without having a plan or the necessary resources in place. Running an online shop is not an easy – there needs to be a good deal of planning and processes behind the scenes to ensure that your platform is operational. For example, a common mistake many new ecommerce businesses in Myanmar make is stocking up inventory before understanding who the target market is and what the demand will be, ending up with a space full of products and no one to buy it.
Often times, business owners who want to start an online shop underestimate the amount of planning and resources that need to go into making the online shop a successful one. The reality is that having an online shop means rethinking your entire business model to accommodate for and synergize with your new ecommerce platform. With having an online shop, it is important to have a strategy to reach your objective as well as a plan to ensure proper resource allocation and execution. This means you will have to think about the following aspects of your business:
- What is your strategy?
- What is my competitive advantage? What makes my business unique?
- Who are my target customers?
- How do my products or services solve my target customers’ pain points?
- How will your business execute the strategy?
- Sales and Marketing
3. Neglecting the importance of customer service
It is also important for businesses to avoid undermining the benefits proper customer service will bring to your eCommerce. Having an online shop does not mean you should neglect good customer service practices. If anything, having an online store means you should enforce a high standard of customer service.
For any business to be sustainable, customers need to keep coming back to purchase your products – a great experience with your eCommerce can do just that. It is vital that you are always available for your customers’ questions and concerns. A helpful customer service experience positively impacts the relationship with your customers. It makes your brand reliable, dependable, and trustworthy.
This is also why the ability for customers to leave reviews on your website is essential. Public feedback (in the form of reviews) further enforces the credibility of your brand and can indirectly lead to more sales as a result.