How Not to Fail in Ecommerce Business

Failing is an integral part of doing business, and there is nothing wrong with it. But, if you “continue” to fail in your ecommerce businesses, you are doing something wrong – over and over again!

Businesses are all about taking risks.

When doing business – you think, you analyse, you get in and execute. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you fail. If someone has the secret for a perfect ecommerce business which will never fail you, that person won’t be giving away that information anyway.

In reality, at one point or another, you will fail when doing ecommerce business. But, what we have to think about is, how to get over your failures. How to fail small and win big. So, at the end of the day, you will always win.

Three Route Causes for Ecommerce Business Failures

People can fail in many different ways. With my years of ecommerce experiences, I can think of three most common causes for ecommerce failures.

  1. Not choosing the right niche
  2. Poor marketing strategies
  3. Not having a business mindset

I have failed a lot, all thanks to the above three causes. But, I am glad that I failed at the beginning. If you fail at the beginning, it will not hurt you a lot.

Small kids fall all the time. They just do not care. They cry sometimes, but that will never stop them walking.

Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger


Every time I fail, I learnt a new thing. That made me even stronger. I have failed so many times by not choosing the right niche for ecommerce. I learnt. I did fail again doing the same. I learnt another way of not doing that right. Now I know 100+ ways to fail when selecting a niche.

Now, my investments are much larger than the time I started. Since I know different ways I could fail, my risk analysis is my better now, and my money is safer than in the beginning.

You cannot buy this knowledge from anywhere. You have to roll up your sleeves and get into the real world of trading.

How to Select the Perfect Niche?

There is no such thing as “the perfect niche”. But, there is this thing called “the right niche”.

The right niche does not need to be perfect. It can fail you sometimes. But, the chances of failures are much smaller than what you could gain.

You can be in different ecommerce business models. Some of you might be dropshipping, some might be selling the products you manufacture, and some might be selling services.

Whatever you do in ecommerce, before you select a niche, there is one consideration in common.

You have to understand the demand for your niche

This is a no-brainer. You need customers to sell your products. You will not get a dime for just maintaining a product listing. You have to sell. To sell, you need customers.

I know some people who have started creating ecommerce brands, just because they love that product or niche. To be frank, your love for a particular niche has nothing to do with building a successful business.

There are certain brands that built on personal interests and became successful. But, the real reason behind that success is not the owner’s passion for that product. The real reason is that there is a market out there for that product.

Now let us see how to analyse the demand for a particular niche.

Step 1 – Confirm the trend pattern

Whenever you think of analysing the demand or trend for something, you can use google trends to identify the trend pattern.

Trends patterns are extremely important when analysing the demand for a product. There can be certain products, which can become an online hit overnight, and vanishes the next day. These are just pulses of demands.

I know people who can juice these pulses and bag up some dollars. But, you need to be pro e-commerce seller to do that. Honestly, I do not like to tap into the pulse demands. It is too fast for me. Its opportunity window is tiny for my personal marketing strategies to work.

That doesn’t mean you cannot get into a pulse demand too. But, I don’t have a good experience doing that, and won’t be able to guide you.

I am more into the sustainable e-commerce niches. Evergreen niches and seasonal niches will not fail you often. Your chances of creating a successful business are higher with such trends.

Let us get back to the analyzing part. Google offers a great tool to check search trends free. You can use the Google trends tool to get an idea of the shape of a trend. It is easy to use. All you have to do is type in your niche, select your target country, pick a time-frame. I usually check data for the past three years.

Step 2 – Confirm the demand volume

In the previous step, we got an idea for the trend pattern. But, that does not give us a clue about the search volume. Usually, I use the Google keyword planner to get an idea of the monthly search volume.

The information I get from the results of the keyword planner is useful in two different steps.

  1. It helps me to confirm the volume of the interest
  2. It helps me to get an idea about the real search terms people use, to plan my SEO with product descriptions.

Step 3 – Learn the Microtrends

This third step is an additional safety precaution, and to get an idea about the new microtrends in a particular niche.

What I usually do is, I sit in front of my laptop and spend around 2-3 hours searching google for the niche I am going to pick.

This enables me to get an overall idea about the market direction and expose me to the marketing strategies used by competitors.


Also, this step gives you some great insights before you pick a selling price for your products.

During these three hours, I note down every key point I come across about that niche. This data is a gold mine when you start creating your game plan for your business.

What I need to stress here is, do not just jump into a niche. Invest adequate time to think.

Sometimes you might feel like “this is a clean cut road for profits; there is no chance of failing”.

But, if you think for another few minutes, you might see where you could probably fail in this e-commerce business. So, you could avoid taking up that path.

But then again, do not over think! Overthinking will set you back and slow you down. Think consciously.

Marketing is the King

One of my friends has recently started a new business. Nothing related to e-commerce. It is a manufacturing business. He asked me for advice to boost his business.

I gave my best advice, and that was “learn marketing”.

When the genie in the lamp grants you three wishes, what if you use the first wish to get more wishes? My advice was something similar to that.

But my friend didn’t get it. He was disappointed. He smiled and told me he has a master’s degree in production engineering, and he knows what he does. And, he added that he has a marketing team to handle marketing.

Sure, he does have a marketing team. But, this business we were talking about is his own business. As the leader and the chief decision maker, he should know the marketing aspects as well. This overall picture could help him to refine his processes and guide the business in the right direction.

A marketing team can support, but they are just paid-employees. You cannot expect them to do 110{0c9eaed65e39ec280a4f7a28d16f27c0a279cd1ff8c940ccbc196d3de05b887b}.

The same theory applies to the e-commerce business owners. You might have a supportive role in marketing. Or, you might have outsourced your marketing. But, if you don’t want to fail, at least not often, it is essential for you to learn marketing.

E-commerce marketing is not about running an ad campaign and getting visitors to your site.

If you need to create a successful e-commerce business, you must learn how to handle marketing for your business. Try to build your business around a proven e-commerce marketing strategy from the beginning.

Learn marketing even before you start. This will help you to guide your whole e-commerce business journey in the right direction. You can be a knowledgeable person. You might know how to build awesome websites. But, that is not the point. You must learn marketing.

This marketing knowledge can help you to choose the right domain name, choose the right niche, and choose the right platform and even site colors.

Think like a Businessman/ Businesswoman

This is important. People get into e-commerce without the right business mindset.

Be arrogant, build-up your ego. Always think that you are next in the line after Jeff Bezos. Think big!

This will enable you to make up your mind to take forward decisions. You must break this barrier. If you are used to working 9-5, taking orders from your boss, this can be hard for you.

When you start an ecommerce business, you are your own boss, and you have to make a decision like a businessperson.


If you are set back in decision-making, you are going to leave some money on the table. This avoids you from winning big. So, when you fail, you won’t have enough “wins” to cover up.

Do not be afraid of making bold decisions. You have already done your research. Stay confident and think courageously. If you fail, you learn. You learnt a method how not to do something.

Always start with a goal. Think of an influencer. Try to overtake that person in your own way.

If failing is a part of that journey, so be it. The end goal is the ultimate win.

Original article by Oshadee Amarakoon

This post was curated with edits by Gordon Fletcher, Principal Consultant(Engineering & Mobile Technology)  at Compumagick Associates can be reached at, @compumagick