How to Avoid Sales Mistakes
Entrepreneurship

E-Commerce Businesses: Sales Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

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3. Delayed Payment From Other Stores

Sometimes, it is just as difficult to get paid by a store as it is to get an order.

When I was selling goods with Matthew Burnett, we grew to over 30 stores in less than a year. In working with other sales representatives, it became increasingly difficult to manage all of the outstanding invoices — especially from the stores that refused to pay or delayed payment. This can be the case even when you are working large retailers.

Here are some lessons learned about how to make sure you get paid:

  • Establish terms. When you’re starting out, it’s easy to overlook the very important step of establishing payment terms. However, a well-written contract that confirms when and how you would like to be paid can save your brand a lot of hardship.
  • Don’t hesitate to bill the store. Send your invoice ASAP! Also, make sure your invoice includes all the information the store needs to reach you with any billing questions. Specify the point of contact for accounts payable.
  • Be persistent. Despite your best efforts, stores still might not pay you for your goods. If this happens, it is critical to be persistent in collecting your payment. Send emails and call your contact directly until they make good on their payment.

4. Spreading Inventory Too Thin

If you are just starting out, it might be a good idea to test the market with consignment, but having too many stores can be time consuming and end in a huge loss if you are tying to increase inventory in the wrong places.

A good way to avoid spreading your time and inventory too thin is to visit the consignment shops beforehand. Check out which other brands the store is carrying. Does your product seem like a good fit with the rest of the merchandise in their shop? Are the customers who frequent the boutique your target customers? Do you feel the store’s rate of consignment is fair?

If so, great — get selling! If not, maybe you should reconsider doing consignment with this store. It is much more cost-effective in terms of time and money to find a handful of shops that are a great fit, rather than putting your product in too many stores at once.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.


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