stores failure common mistakes
June 21, 2023 Last Updated

Why E-commerce Stores Fail: Examples & Lessons Learned from Shopify Flops

Article at-a-glance: 

- Many e-commerce stores fail because of common mistakes and problems faced by owners.

- There are several fatal flaws behind e-commerce store failures, including a failure to focus on a single niche, poor store design, a "get rich quick" mentality, and poor product selection.

- Additional reasons for failure include a lack of mobile-friendly design and poor customer service.

- Inadequate inventory management and relying too heavily on platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce can limit control and hinder flexibility and thus can also lead to store failures.

- To achieve explosive growth and success in e-commerce, it is essential to arm yourself with knowledge, adopt a strategic mindset, and implement a content marketing strategy.

The internet is full of myths, leading to numerous businesses failing due to misleading information. This often leads to significant financial losses.

The goal of this article is to prevent you from making as many of these mistakes as possible by providing you with the foundation and direction you need for online commerce.

From there, you can build upon it, tailoring your path to success according to your own unique growth journey. It’s time to bust those myths and get you on track to mastering the world of online business

Here’s what you should know.

The Fatal Flaws Behind E-Commerce Store Failures

The average Shopify store lasted only 143 days in 2021 (via The Globe and Mail). These days, failure is still common among e-commerce store owners.

The success rates for traditional e-commerce and dropshipping businesses are quite similar, with around 90% of people failing in both ventures.

There are several fatal mistakes that contribute to e-commerce store failures. Here is what you should know about the most critical mistakes that ecommerce businesses make and how you can avoid them:

1. Not Focusing on a Single Niche or Choosing the Wrong One

If you do not pick a niche or go into an online store without one, you are bound to fail. Before embarking on this exhilarating journey, diligent research of your chosen niche is your guiding light to avoid disappointment.

Explore your chosen niche in depth and take advantage of every opportunity you can. Only then can you achieve e-commerce success.

Without a narrow focus, you’ll drift aimlessly in a sea of mediocrity. You can become the undisputed authority in the field of your products if you niche down and rise above the noise.

2. Poor Store Design

Having worked extensively with various e-commerce businesses, I have seen the impact that a well-designed store can have on capturing and retaining customers, ultimately leading to higher conversion rates and sustainable growth.

It’s true, the design of a store determines its success or failure. In the event of a poor design choice, there will be a lack of traffic, ultimately leading to failure.

To enhance your Shopify store, I’d suggest you consider these design tactics:

  • Choose the right theme to create a memorable customer experience
  • Make sure there isn’t too much clutter that overwhelms visitors
  • Optimize page loading speeds to keep customers on the site
  • Use visuals that are aligned with the store’s design
  • Adopt a smart pop-up strategy without being too intrusive
  • Highlight important details with color
  • Enhance visual appeal with high-quality images
  • Provide relevant and concise information on each page
  • Make browsing and shopping easier.

You can avoid failing stores by implementing these strategies.

3. Starting a Business with the “Get Rich Quick Mentality”

“Get rich quick” mentality and following self-proclaimed fake gurus are common mistakes that can spell doom for Shopify and BigCommerce store owners. This mindset revolves around the desire to accumulate substantial wealth quickly.

Store owners are often blinded to the hard work and dedication needed for success in e-commerce.

Store owners are often blinded to the hard work and dedication needed for success in e-commerce.

You can steer your online store towards sustainable success by acknowledging the risks associated with fake gurus and adopting a realistic, diligent approach.

Known for their user-friendly interfaces, platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce and Ecwid are attractive to aspiring entrepreneurs. It’s tempting to launch your store and expect sales to pour in effortlessly and profits to come swiftly.

Store owners often neglect proper planning and execution due to unrealistic expectations.

Those who seek instant success may fall victim to shortcuts and quick fixes peddled by fake gurus.

To avoid this trap, it is crucial to abandon the allure of get rich quick schemes and instead build your business on solid foundations. Put in a lot of effort to learn and implement effective strategies, seek information and guidance from reliable sources, and surround yourself with like-minded individuals.

You’re not only competing with small e-commerce sites. You’re also facing major e-commerce retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and Alibaba as well.

While it’s possible to build a thriving e-commerce store against these odds, it’s not for the faint of heart. It requires solid planning, superior marketing and ecommerce branding, and a lot of determination.

4. Poor Product Selection

Poor product selection is another leading cause of Shopify store failures.

It is possible for product offerings to fall short of market demand due to inadequate research and understanding of customer needs.

An example would be a store selling outdated phone models without taking into account the preferences of tech-savvy consumers seeking the latest features.

Also, pricing mistakes, such as setting too high or too low prices, can harm revenues and undermine a business’s viability.

Additionally, offering low-quality items that don’t meet customer expectations and failing to differentiate products from competitors can lead to declining sales and negative reviews. It is also possible to fail if you target the wrong niche, where the products are not aligned with the interests and desires of the intended audience.

You can avoid the risks of poor product selection by carefully selecting products based on thorough research, understanding customers’ preferences, and delivering unique value.

5. Failing to Get Website Traffic

No matter how slick your website design is and how great your products are, if your online store is a ghost town, your dreams of success will never come true.

A recurring theme among failed e-commerce shops is their failure to invest in content marketing and drive steady traffic.

You will never be able to attract organic and consistent visitors to your store without an effective content strategy. There is a silver lining in the chaos, however. You can achieve unimaginable levels of profitability by embracing the power of a strategic content marketing approach.

And the best part?

In comparison to other marketing strategies, it’s a long-term investment that provides unmatched cost-effectiveness.

6. Not Building a Mobile-Friendly Site

It is a common mistake for online store owners to neglect mobile-friendly design. By ignoring the need for a mobile-friendly website, you can limit accessibility and success.

The number of internet users worldwide who rely solely on smartphones is predicted to rise to 72% by 2025. There is an increase in mobile usage, accounting for more than half of all internet traffic.

When stores neglect mobile optimization, their user experiences are less than optimal, which can result in decreased sales and lower customer satisfaction.

Search engines like Google also give preference to mobile-friendly sites, increasing their visibility and traffic. Mobile-friendly designs can also increase your conversion rates, since customers are more likely to make purchases on sites that are easy to navigate.

7. Poor Customer Service

My extensive e-commerce experience has taught me that customer service and creating exceptional experiences are crucial to long-term success and brand loyalty.

Meanwhile, the consequences of poor customer service can be far-reaching, ranging from dissatisfied customers to lost business to negative public relations.

To avoid such pitfalls, you should consider measuring customer satisfaction with NPS (Net Promoter Score): gather and analyze customer feedback so that you can promptly address complaints and exceed expectations.

Other things that improve customer service are offering multi-channel support, creating helpful documentation to reduce inquiries.

You should also streamline the returns process, train customer service teams to listen actively, and prioritize transparency and education.

Despite not being unique to Shopify and BigCommerce stores, customer experience issues continue to contribute significantly to e-commerce failures. So, I’d recommend you consider providing exceptional customer service and 24/7 availability with multiple contact options.

8. Failure to Move Beyond Shopify

E-commerce stores face insurmountable challenges because they rely heavily on platforms such as Shopify and BigCommerce. Although these hosted solutions offer convenience, they come with a price.

If you rely too heavily on these platforms, you surrender a significant degree of control. It can also be tough to migrate your store to a different e-commerce platform once you’ve started using them.

You may soon realize how challenging it is to dismantle your existing store and rebuild it, complete with your extensive product catalog.

To thrive and remain agile in a rapidly evolving digital landscape, you might need to explore other more flexible and autonomous e-commerce platforms. Free yourself from the limitations of these hosted solutions so you can adapt, scale, and thrive in your e-commerce business.

The Perils of Rapid Growth Without a Clear Vision

Fab, an e-commerce company born from a dating site, rose to fame in just six months, surpassing Facebook's record for subscribers. Its remarkable rise crumbled when it lost sight of its core values and profitability. 

Its European site abandoned its diverse line of design products in 2014, opting to sell only customized furniture, putting its prospects of becoming a global brand at risk. 

The failure of Fab serves as a cautionary tale about the perils of rapid growth without a clear vision. 

Inability to sustain success was due to deviating from the company's founding principles that caused a lack of profitability. By avoiding the allure of rapid expansion, Fab's downfall exemplifies the importance of preserving core values.

A brand must stay true to its identity, avoid unnecessary pivots, and consistently deliver value to clients. In the competitive online marketplace, e-commerce stores can strive for sustainable success by avoiding the pitfalls of rapid expansion without a solid foundation.

9. Lack of Marketing Strategy

My experience has shown me the consequences of neglecting or not having at all a well-crafted marketing strategy, making it an integral part of Shopify’s success.

Without a solid marketing plan, building a strong online presence and engaging the intended audience become an uphill battle that limits traffic and sales potential.

Without a well-crafted marketing plan, acquiring customers becomes a challenge.

So, develop a robust marketing plan to overcome these challenges: with our expertise, we can help your ecommerce brand increase its promotional efforts, particularly during holidays and special occasions, so you can captivate your target audience, drive sales, and establish a thriving e-commerce presence.

To witness the transformative power of our content marketing services in driving the growth of an e-commerce furniture store, delve into this compelling case study that showcases the remarkable results (including 417.8% increase in organic traffic) achieved through strategic content creation and promotion.

Or check out the impressive success of Home Robots eCom Shopify Store, which has experienced a 195% rise in organic traffic thanks to hyper-targeted content and strategic backlinks published by our industry-leading platform, AmpiFire.

10. Poor Inventory Management

The excitement of starting a Shopify business may cause an aspiring store owner to underestimate the importance of effective inventory management.

Without proper management, stock can get lost, damaged, or expired before selling. That is why it is critical to have a system in place to track inventory and manage it effectively.

Those without the discipline to track stock levels diligently are soon overwhelmed. During a peak sales period, they run out of their best-selling product unknowingly, leaving potential customers disappointed and revenue slipping away.

Moreover, they make mistakes in pricing their products due to a lack of mathematical expertise. As a result, they set prices that are far too high, deterring price-conscious customers and limiting sales.

Their financial projections are inaccurate and wishful. So, you should be careful and avoid misguided assumptions that could lead to losing money and customers.

11. Failure to Convert Traffic

Inability to convert visitors into buyers is another primary reason why 99% of Shopify stores fail within the first year. It is not enough to drive traffic to a website. To succeed, you need effective conversion strategies:

  1. Make your offer irresistible by highlighting its unique value.
  2. Lead visitors through the buying process with high-converting sales funnels.
  3. Address customer objections and pain points in your sales copy.
  4. Build trust by using social proof, including testimonials.
  5. Make sure visitors know what to do by using clear, prominent calls to action.
  6. Optimize and test elements continuously to increase conversions.

You should adapt these strategies to your particular business environment.

How To Enjoy an Explosive Growth for Your E-Commerce Store?

When it comes to dominating the e-commerce landscape, Shopify and BigCommerce are powerful platforms, but tread with caution. To avoid the common pitfalls and setbacks that plague countless stores, you must arm yourself with knowledge.

Launching an e-commerce store may seem like a treacherous journey, but don’t let the statistics deter you. Instead, adopt a strategic mindset that will propel you towards resounding success like those of our clients. Craft a meticulously planned business blueprint and ensure your content marketing strategy is not just a fleeting trend, but an everlasting force that propels you to new heights.

Want to get targeted traffic for your e-commerce business?  Waste no time and seize this opportunity to book an appointment now. Discover firsthand the unparalleled power that AmpiFire holds, ready to unleash upon your business and go in the direction of an unrivaled success and prosperity. 



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