There are a lot of different factors that lead to e-commerce success and failure. The concept for the businesses, the products being sold, how customers respond to a pricing strategies, the competition, and even the overall economy can affect your ability to sell over the Internet.

That means even the smartest people with the best ideas have to be careful about the way they plan and promote their websites. It also means online stores with obvious errors are going to struggle to turn any kind of profit at all, and may in fact be doomed from the start.

This is something we have sadly seen again and again. Some ventures just don’t get off the ground because the entrepreneurs behind them make obvious mistakes. To help you avoid that same fate, here are seven signs your new e-commerce site is virtually bound to fail…

#1 You Can’t Identify Your Best Customers

If you don’t know who your online store will sell to, then you’re going to have a very difficult time putting together a cohesive marketing plan. Search engine optimization, social media marketing, and pay-per-click advertising are all built on the notion that you have a well-defined audience to sell to. Without that, you’ll be flailing.

#2 You Have a Strange Domain Name

Your domain name is the online address for your e-commerce site. If it’s too long, complicated, or hard to spell and remember, customers may not find their way back after a first visit. A lot of businesses opt for bizarre domain names because they are freely available, but don’t go too far outside the box because it could hurt your sales later.

#3 You’re Doomed by Bad hosting

Bargain-basement hosting packages cause websites to load slowly, and rank poorly on search engines. They can also be more vulnerable to hacking and spam. Spend an extra few dollars a day to get premium hosting and give your shoppers the fast, reliable experience they’re looking for.

#4 Your E-commerce Site Was Created From a Generic template

As you may have noticed, there more e-commerce sites online than ever before. That means you have to stand out in a crowded market if you want customers to pay attention. If your website is built from a generic template that looks like it could be for any online store, you’re going to have a hard time making a positive first impression on buyers.

#5 Your Online Store Lacks Trust Indicators

Unless you are major retailer like Amazon.com or Best Buy, many first-time customers are going to arrive at your website not knowing who you are. That’s why it’s important to show them they’re safe, with money-back guarantees, reviews from previous customers, and third-party verification tools that show them your online store is a safe place to do business.

#6 You are Missing Lead Capture Features

Most visitors to your website aren’t going to buy something on their initial visit. So, it’s imperative you have some sort of lead capture system in place that allows you to follow-up with prospects via email, social media, and retargeting ads to get a second chance at winning a new customer.

#7 Your Online Store Never Changes

Individual industries and markets are always changing, as are web design and e-commerce as a whole. So, if your online store isn’t evolving, you probably aren’t keeping up with the competition. Plus, your site should keep growing and changing so you can increase conversions and profit margins using the data you get from web analytics. Most online retailers are either getting better or going out of business slowly, so plan on changing your store and adjusting your approach from time to time.

Selling products online can be difficult enough when you get the main ingredients for an e-commerce site right. Don’t sabotage your future success by cutting corners and ignoring the obvious. Fundamental mistakes will catch up with you sooner or later, and then you’ll be left wondering why you didn’t take the right steps to help your online store succeed from the beginning.

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