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SEO

Poor marketing to blame for eCommerce business failures

The majority of eCommerce startups are set to fail within their first 120 days of operation, with marketing deficiencies among the most common causes, new research has revealed.

A survey of 1,253 owners of failed startups in the UK, carried out by Marketingsignals.com, revealed the top ten reasons why e-commerce start-up businesses are failing.

According to sources (including Forbes and Huff Post), 90% of e-commerce startup businesses end in failure within the first 120 days. The Marketingsignals research found that the two main reasons for failure are poor online marketing performance coupled with an overall lack of search engine visibility.

Of those companies who were surveyed, a staggering 37% said that their failure could be attributed to an inability to compete or deliver online marketing, with 35% saying a lack of online visibility was the main factor.

Further research found that the same proportion of respondents (35%) felt failure was down to them being too small to compete or there being no market for their products/services, whilst 32% reported that it was due to them running out of cash.

Completing the top five reasons for failure were price and costing issues, with 29% of failed startup owners claiming this was the reason why they folded.

When further quizzed on the reasons why their online startup business failed, 23% said that it was due to being outcompeted, whilst 19% blamed retail giants such as Amazon for dominating a large share of the consumer online retail market.

16% felt that their business collapsed due to their lack of customer service, whilst 14% felt it was due to the poor team they’d built around themselves.

Completing the top ten reasons why e-commerce startups fail was product mistiming, with 11% of startup owners claiming that the reason why their business failed was due to ‘right product, wrong time’.

Gareth Hoyle, managing director at Marketingsignals, said: “It’s clear to see that having an online presence and being visible on search engines is a key area e-commerce startups need to focus on to ensure they succeed.

“As nine in ten online startups fail within their first 120 days of businesses, it’s incredibly important that business owners put provisions firmly in place well before launching – this must include a bulletproof search visibility and online marketing strategy, as well as ensuring there is a market for their product offering.

“A targeted, strategic approach to digital marketing is vital to the success of any online business in this day and age, only more so for small businesses who are just starting out. Many tools can be used to increase their brand awareness and search visibility in their first few days and weeks, where consumer trust and loyalty hasn’t yet been established.”

The top ten reasons why e-commerce startups end in failure:

  1. Poor online marketing – 37%
  1. Lack of online search visibility – 35%
  1. Little to no market for their products or services – 35%
  1. Running out of cash – 32%
  1. Price and costing issues – 29%
  1. Got outcompeted – 23%
  1. Retail giants dominating a large share of the market – 19%
  1. Lack customer service – 16%
  1. Poor team around them – 14%
  1. Product mistiming – 11%

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Forum Insight: Savvy SEO tips for start-ups that won’t break the bank…

With 50 per cent of new businesses failing within five years, recent research has revealed that many small businesses are missing out on opportunities to market online due to a lack of digital knowledge.

The research from 123 Reg found that 73 per cent said they did not advertise online and 42 per cent reported having no digital presence. SEO and other terminology also stumped 48 per cent of business owners surveyed, and only 53 per cent said their websites were easily readable via a mobile device.

“Being digitally savvy is especially important for start-ups. It can be the difference between your business being seen in the right places by the right people, and even small changes can have a huge impact,” comments Alex Minchin, founder and director of SEO agency Zest Digital.

Here, Alex shares three instantly achievable tips for small businesses looking to get started with SEO:

  1. Sign up to Google Analytics and Google Search Console and add the necessary code to your website: These are two free tools that will enable you to measure performance, even if you don’t understand it all immediately. You cannot improve something that you’re not measuring, and these tools will measure things such as; the number of visitors landing on your website, the best performing content, keywords driving traffic, any broken links or pages, and the links from other websites that are pointing back to your website.
  2. Start local: Most searches in the micro and small business world include local modifiers such as your city or county, e.g. “Plumbers in Croydon”. An easy way to start to build some gravitas towards your website is to feature on business directories. This creates ‘citations’ (mentions) of your business name and confirms your address and other details, in addition to pointing a link back to your website. It’s crucial to make sure your information is kept consistent, so finalise your details and use the same information as a template for all directories. These things will help to increase the strength and trust of your website. Just be sure to focus on reputable directories such as Touch Local, 192, Freeindex, and Opendi for example.
  3. Focus on the real basics and design each META title and description for each of the key pages on your website as a minimum: The title tag and descriptor underneath the search result is considered as a ranking factor by Google, and can positively influence your rankings for a particular keyword. Your title should include your keyword and brand name as a minimum, but try to be as creative as possible with the character limit (55 is the defacto) that you have available.  In the META description, it’s more important to include your value proposition and key information, for example “free delivery on all orders”, or “free quotation”. Remember, you’re trying to stand out to win a greater share of the clicks against the other websites competing for the same keyword so details and USPs are key.

“It’s widely reported that somewhere around 90 per cent of all purchasing decisions begin with a search engine and a search query. SEO can therefore play a huge part in the marketing strategy of a small business.

Alex continues. “Sharing your expertise through content and delivering value to your target market is the name of the game, and it’s a playground that, whilst dominated by some larger brands, isn’t policed by them. It’s entirely possible for a small business to compete and win on this channel, and doesn’t have to involve a huge cost in doing so.”