eCommerce can be the key to your success. It makes selling worldwide incredibly easy, while keeping your overheads low. However, lots of organisations fail to get the most out of their potential, simply by making a few eCommerce mistakes that are so easy to avoid.
But don’t worry, this blog post will tell you exactly what to watch out for in order to avoid the eCommerce Trap!
1. Not Using Marketing Tools Effectively
Some people still follow the dream that when they open an eCommerce business, the order tap will immediately open up as they are inundated with visitors. However, this is just a dream. In reality, driving customers to your website is hard work.
And it all starts with having a good marketing plan in place, knowing who your target customers are, what products they want to buy online and how you can reach them.
One of the most effective, but also most underused marketing tools for eCommerce businesses is social media marketing. Being present and active on social media can help you to engage with your current and potential customers quickly and easily, and allows you to build a long-term relationship with them. From a customer-service perspective, you should respond to reviews and questions or offer product recommendations to further increase your customer engagement.
2. Not Making the Most of SEO
Search Engine Optimisation can be a very powerful tool and will bring you a constant flow of new traffic – if utilised properly. Unfortunately, as it takes a bit of effort, many SMEs simply ignore it or implement it very poorly.
For example, some basics that you should follow are:
- Use informative and user friendly headings on your site,
- Have short and topic-related URLs,
- Make sure your pictures have a relevant alternative text set up.
Having engaging and interesting content on your website, and therefore higher user engagement, can also increase your SEO rankings.
In addition, it is high time that you implement an HTTPS version of your website, as Google suppresses un-secured sites in their results.
3. Bad Design and Complicated Processes
Design is a very personal thing and you shouldn't sacrifice your brand and house-style in order to follow the latest trends. However, there are some basic tenets to consider, including:
- The structure for your website should ideally be flat, while still looking appealing, meaning that customers can quickly and easily find and buy what they were looking for.
- Keep your user interface simple and intuitive, minimise the number of required clicks and avoid putting any obstacles in the way of your customers’ shopping process.
- The check-out process must be as 'lean' as possible to avoid customers abandoning their shopping carts.
- Think about your registration process and whether you should be forcing your customers to create, or login to, an account before they can complete their purchase.
- Make sure all your information and product details are easy to find and that you have a powerful search tool in place that is adapted to your customers’ needs.
4. Incompatibility for Mobile Devices
With mobile commerce revenues growing dramatically, nobody can afford to ignore the fact that more and more shoppers purchase their products using a mobile device. Therefore, it is crucial that your eCommerce website is mobile-friendly.
This means it has to be even more intuitive and lean to provide an easy navigation, be ‘finger friendly’ and reduce loading times. Long loading times are one of the main reasons behind mobile customers leaving a website.
Keeping your design simple and your content brief will help, as well as using images optimised for mobile. You may even want to consider a completely separate design for mobile users.
5. Poor Product Information and Low Quality Images
One reason why some customers still prefer physical stores over online shops is that the store provides the opportunity to actually touch and feel the product, examine it from every angle and consume all of the available information on the packaging. Whilst an eCommerce store's product page cannot recreate that experience, you can provide the same, and in some cases greater, volume of information and imagery.
It is crucial that you provide detailed information about every product in your eCommerce shop. Making all of your product specifications available is a must, and adding detailed descriptions will further increase your chances of converting a browser into a customer. Extra detail is also something that Google and other search engines love and will help you to differentiate yourself from the competition.
It is also important to display more than one picture, so that your customers can see the product from different angles and in a different clour / finish. High quality images that have the option to zoom in are a must!
6. Insufficient Payment or Shipping Options
What if someone wants to buy from you, they go all the way through the process and at the end they find out they can’t pay with their credit card, because it is Visa instead of MasterCard? Your sale is lost – and likely future sales to that person as well.
To avoid that, it is key that you provide your customers with as many payment options as possible.
The same is true for shipping options. Different customers will prefer different shipping options – some will want the fastest delivery possible, others will be willing to wait a few days for a lower price. By not relying on one single carrier you can also reduce your risk: if one carrier has problems delivering on time, you can simply switch to another one.
7. Not Providing Contact Details
In a physical store, if people have a question, they can ask an assistant for help. However, in an online shop they do not necessarily have that option. Hence, it is fundamental that you provide sufficient contact details and ideally several contact methods on your website. Also, ensure that your contact details are easy to find and up-to-date.
Chat, Video Chat, Chat Bots and other elements that can enable you to interact immediately with your customers whilst they're on your site can also be useful tools to help you convert visitors into customers. But think about the logisitics of providing this kind of option and the expectation you're setting. Frustrating customers by not having a Live Chat representative available or having the 'busy' sign up won't help anyone.
Furthermore, don’t underestimate the power of an appealing ‘About’ page. It is usually one of the most frequently visited website pages, it can help you to tell your customers your story and make it easier to build a relationship with them.
Already sorted all of those eCommerce Mistakes? Your mission has only just begun...
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