As the Ugandan market shifts the internet space, more ecommerce businesses are being launched every day. While it is a good thing having many online stores which would steer healthy competition and offer better incentives to customers, not paying attention to some factors has hindered the success of many players in the ecommerce business.

There is a baseline that should be met by new ecommerce businesses. Starting your online business without paying attention to these factors would be a big mistake that would put you out of business as soon as you launch.

Also read; The Insider Guide To Starting An Online Business In Uganda

Mistakes New Ecommerce Businesses In Uganda Are Making

Below I discuss the five big mistakes new ecommerce businesses in Uganda are making or anywhere else in the world:

1. Not Investing In A Good Web Design.

Bad websites are very common with starting ecommerce businesses. They never want to invest in high quality websites. A good website is very crucial for any online business. Nobody wants to use a website that stinks; poorly designed, doesn’t display well in mobile devices and above all full of bugs.

Invest in a custom web design that works just exactly as your business idea or go for a widely tested theme which requires only minor customizations. Test your website and make sure it is working correctly before you launch your business.

Like I have always said on this blog, a bad website can hurt your business. When hiring web designer, hire someone who understands the concept of web design, not someone who simply knows how to install a wordpress theme on a domain.

Great websites are not cheap. Beware of fake web designers in Kampala who hide behind the concept of cheap web design but at the end deliver crap.

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2. Launching With An Empty Online Store.

What would you do if you visited Uganda’s most expensive hotel, upon entry you find out that there’s no furniture, beddings and other facilities? I bet you would immediately leave to find another hotel that is fully furnished.

Many new ecommerce businesses in Uganda launch with little or no products listed on their websites at all. If your online store is going to sell just a handful of products, then it should be designed to look like it only sells those few products.

Imagine you open up a small online electronics shop and build a website like that for Jumia or Amazon. It would be a total no-brainer!

Remember first impression is everything. When you launch your online store that is empty or low-stocked, and then start using various marketing strategies to get visitors, upon visiting it, they will immediately leave and probably will never return.

Without having the right resources in the basic volume for the right types of customers, you would be throwing your energies to the wind.

Read; How To Start An Online Boutique In Uganda

3. Immediately Spending A Lot Of Money On Ads:

Many new online business owners are making this huge mistake. When they see big brands spending heavily on both online and offline advertising, they think they should do the same. They use the small capital they have and flush it on advertising campaigns which in most cases don’t work.

It is absolutely stupid to do such a thing. Your startup capital is probably low or moderate. Blindly spending most of it on ads will render you cashless in no time.

Okay your argument maybe that you are not spending it blindly, but you will still need to understand the behavior of your target customers ie which customers react to ads and how. Doing such experimental advertising on a small budget could cost you more than half your entire capital, if not everything.

This also kills your creativity and potential to solve problems. When you use money to solve every problem in a new business, you can either take forever to turn cashflow positive or your business might never live to see its third anniversary.

Lastly, spending blindly on advertising would portray you as reckless to investors and they would never invest your business for fear that you could squander all their monies.

Before you start spending a lot of money on adverts, make sure that you have stocked the right products for sale on your website. Do your best to give customers a seamless shopping experience.

Read; How To Monetize A Blog (Website) In Uganda [In-depth Guide]

4. Not Gathering Enough Data On Time.

Another big mistake new ecommerce businesses in Uganda are making is not gathering data about their business from day one. Many don’t know how many people visit their website daily, daily pages views, unique visitors, what pages get most visitors, which items are purchased most, which items inquired most and which ones are abandoned in carts. They also don’t know what their daily operational costs are, what customers say about their business, and a lot more!

Data is very essential for the survival of any business. Operating your business without collecting and analyzing data is like walking blindly. You can’t know where you are heading. The only thing you have is your feelings and instincts. The bad thing about basing your business decisions on hope or feelings is that hope is never a business strategy, it only leads you to endless frustrations and disappointments. You need to lay strategies you can control what comes next, which of course is the best action any new business should take.

Without the right data, your business is doomed and could crash anytime. There’s no way you can improve your business growth strategies without monitoring your progress. Keep track of your business activity by using free web analytics tools like Kissmetrics and Google Analytics, and this should be done starting from the day you launch your business. Having a good understanding of your business data will lead you in the right direction.

5. Poor Customer Service.

New ecommerce business in Uganda never put good customer care at a fore front. Many do not have channels customers would reach them for support while others take ages to respond to client inquiries. Recently I was inquiring about services of a certain online fashion store, i sent them a message on facebook, they read it but never responded. I proceeded to another store who responded to my inquiry faster and i ended up buying from them.

According to a Harvard Business Review study, good customer service interactions are 4 times more likely to prevent losing a new customer than keep a loyal one. The main aim of customer service is to wow the customer with some big moment. This makes them earn your trust.

What customers want is their issues to be solved in a fast and polite manner with a simple call or an online message. Your customer service should not be limited to one channel rather be multichannel. You can offer email, phone, social media and live support.

What are your thoughts on these 5 big mistakes new e-commerce businesses in Uganda are making? Let me know by leaving a comment below.


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Mun Gerald is the founder of ICT Guy blog and a seasoned technology expert with over 4 years of experience in the field. With a degree in Information Systems and Technology and a range of industry certifications including CSDP, CCT, CCNA, MTA, and AWS, he has built a reputation as a self-taught digital entrepreneur and a go-to source for all things technology. He has expertise in a variety of areas including consulting, design, support, coaching, analysis, e-commerce, web development, digital marketing, SEO, and content development. His ultimate goal is to create a world-class technology hub in Uganda where Ugandan technologists can come together to share knowledge, experiences, and relationships in order to drive innovation in the field.


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