E-commerce sure has come a long way since the days when it was the plucky upstart nipping at the heels of regular, analog commerce. The world has seen it challenge traditional commerce, contribute to the phenomenon of the retail apocalypse, and grow into a brand of commerce where more than $5.5 trillion in sales is expected to occur in 2022 alone, according to an Insider report. Even though e-commerce growth rates have been slowing down since 2020, and are expected to dip into the single digits by 2025, it’s still a booming industry with plenty of opportunities to make money—at least for those willing to avoid the common pitfalls.

“If this were an easy industry to succeed in, everyone would be doing it,” says Andres Corona. The Venezuela-born entrepreneur has worked in e-commerce both on his own and on behalf of clients of MidoCommerce, his account automation service. If someone knows what’s the reason some 90% of e-commerce businesses fail after as little as 120 days in business, it’s the man who routinely guides businesses away from doom. Here are some things he found the businesses who didn’t make it had in common.

Poor Market Research

There’s been plenty of talk over the years about the reasons why so many startups, not only in e-commerce, fail within the first five years of their launch. One of the main reasons why this happens is the lack of market demand for their product or service; they’re selling things no one wants to buy.

Establishing that there’s a demand for the product or service is the top priority of any business before they launch. They can also start by looking at where the demand is, and then find the product that will fulfill the need.

“Relying on guts, luck, or letting enthusiasm drive you to make decisions aren’t good stand-ins for research,” says Andres. “We teach it to people who buy our course, and we do it for the people who buy our e-commerce automation service. Either way, the research has to happen.”

Failure to Invest in Visibility

When an e-commerce business chooses a product for which there is a demand, the next logical step would be to tell the world about it. There are all too many different ways to increase the visibility of a product or a service these days, and businesses have to make sure they’re using the method that works best for their product and their target market. If they don’t, they might as well close up shop.

On Amazon, where Andres Corona operates, the best way to be visible is to have a good product. “You don’t need to do any advertising of your products on Amazon because Amazon is a platform that will help your listing show up,” he explains. “It won’t happen on its own, though; you still have to do great product research and make sure to publish good products.”

The one point when Andres would advise his clients to advertise on Amazon would be if they wanted to develop a brand on the platform and skyrocket it to enormous success. In that case, however, advertising would be only a part of the overall branding strategy, which would suddenly include things like organic customer reach, loyalty-building, and competitive research.

Not Sticking With It

To succeed in business, people need to really want it. Success might happen by chance, too, but more often than not it’s a person’s drive that moves things forward and steers a business toward positive results. Without that drive, however, people can’t do what it takes to achieve greatness, and they can easily just give up or, even worse, go into it half-heartedly.

“I think the biggest mistake I see people make is this lack of consistency, like they fail to show up for themselves and the business every day,” Andres Corona says. “For example, finding a good supplier and negotiating a good price is key in this business. Some people will, however, just call one or two suppliers and stop at that. You can’t do that. You have to keep going, and you have to stay consistently present for everything that has to do with the business.”

It's a real shame, Andres adds, because staying consistently on point during the early period pays dividends in the freedom people get later on. “When you can work from your laptop, you have the flexibility to work from anywhere in the world,” Andres Corona explains. “Investing the hours early on means more success, which in turn translates to more time you get to spend with your loved ones. That’s what people who fail to commit early end up missing, so we try our hardest to help them avoid that scenario.”