Creating a website to sell your products online is a no brainer. Ecommerce sales have been rising for years and an online store can be a lot more lucrative and cost effective than a traditional brick and mortar store. However, just like a traditional store, simply creating an ecommerce website will not guarantee sales. Online shopping is all about giving your visitors a satisfying experience, and users expect a seamless and trouble free shopping experience when they go to make their purchase online. We have seen many people jump into the world of ecommerce without the proper planning and thought process. Here are the top 11 ecommerce mistakes that could be killing your business:
- Not having a content plan
Content is a necessity if you are going to provide extra valuable information to your customers. Your content also needs to reflect what your customers are looking for what they and expect. It’s not just content for your products but care guides, size charts, anything that is related to your product range. Define your buyer personas and create a content strategy around their pain points, requirements and expectations. Put in the extra work and your website will prove to be a valuable resource for your clients – this will not go unnoticed by the search engines either.
- Poor product photography
This point is self-explanatory and obvious, however I have come across so many websites that fail miserably on this front. Sure, sourcing decent product images can be time consuming. You may even need to pay for a photographer but it’s simple, if your products do not look appealing and professional, nobody is going to want to buy them!
- Not knowing who your ideal customer is
Knowing who your customers are and who you are selling to is essential. Your ecommerce website should be designed depending on your buyer age group, demographics and buying habits. The functionality you create around the buying process should also be influenced by your buyers’ expectations. Create your buyer personas before launching your new ecommerce venture. If your store is already up and running, work on your buyer personas and see what is feasible to change/adapt.
- No search engine optimisation strategy
Search engine optimisation should actually be used as part of a broader set within your marketing strategy. If you do not pay attention to your on-site optimisation elements, content creation and off-site online marketing then how do you expect people to find your ecommerce business. You wouldn’t open a store in a back street and not put up any signs outside or around the vicinity. You would create a diversion forcing high street footfall to have to pass right outside your shop. Sit back and do nothing, your ecommerce business will never succeed.
- Lack of social media presence
Social media will provide you with valuable channels to promote your ecommerce business and individual products. It will also help to create a community of your buyers and it can also be used to answer any questions, provide support / customer service and increase your brand awareness. Don’t just try and commit to every social media platform under the sun. Find out what your buyers use and focus on those channels. Twitter and Facebook are great to use as channels to promote, Pinterest and Instagram can be used to encourage your customers to share their favourite products with their followers. Integrate social sharing in your products.
- Not researching PPC spend
When your online ecommerce business is not doing so well and the sales are not pouring in as expected, it is very easy to get talked into running a Pay Per Click campaign. PPC campaigns can provide you with instant traffic to your site however you must ensure that the traffic is targeted and they convert to sales. If you manage a PPC campaign yourself, it is very easy to overspend and not monitor results. If you employ an expert, you will need to add their fees on top of your PPC spend. Don’t forget that all this will eat into your profits so if you are selling low value items, can you really spend £1 per click for a conversion that will yield you £1.50 profit?
- Not having a mobile friendly website
In this day and age there is no excuse to have a website, especially an ecommerce website, that is not optimised for mobile devices. With constantly increasing mobile usage site visitors will expect a user friendly experience on any device regardless if they are making a purchase, researching your products or checking the status of your order.
- Forcing your users to register
This is a barrier that should be avoided. Sure a login facility for your customers is beneficial to you and them, however you should never force them to register before making their purchase. The option to register along with any benefits should be visible during the checkout process, should the customer decide to make their purchase without registering they should be allowed to do so. Remind them at the end of the process all they have to do is enter a password in order to register, but whatever you do, don’t force them to register before they have carried out the transaction.
- Complex checkout process
Make things as easy as possible for your customers to carry out their purchase. Having a complicated checkout process with form after form, errors or broken links will result in your potential customers abandoning their cart. You have done all the hard work getting the customer onto your ecommerce website, helping them find the right product and providing the value they believe they deserve. Don’t lose them at the last minute because you have overcomplicated your checkout process!
- Lack of shipping options
Not providing your users with competitive or enough shipping options will put them off. Like myself, most users will opt for the fastest delivery available as they are waiting in anticipation for their purchase to arrive as soon as they have completed the checkout process, but for non-urgent items, if the savings are attractive waiting a few extra days is no big deal.
- Lack of customer service
Even though you are not selling to your customer face to face they will want to feel confident that, should they have any issues or complications, you will be there to help. Your customer service number should be prominently placed, your business address or trading address should be available and if feasible an online live chat facility. These will all instil confidence in a customer. Make sure your returns/refunds policy and shipping information is easily accessible. Do it better than your competitors – there’s another reason why they will purchase from you!
These are just some of the ecommerce mistakes we have found that can ruin your online shoppers’ experience. If your ecommerce website has some of these mistakes at present, don’t panic. Take time to go through each point and sort it out. Make sure you give your users the best online experience and once they have purchased, make sure you give them a good customer service experience. They will thank you for it by becoming a repeat customer. Are there any other mistakes that turn away potential customers from making a purchase decision? Share them with us.