There is a lot of competition when it comes to selling products online in this day and age, and with so many vendors out there it really is a buyer’s market. This can make it difficult to find success especially if it’s your first time going down the ecommerce path.
You’re naturally going to make mistakes, as all business and website owners invariably do. But there are some mistakes you want to avoid making if you can to give you the best chance out there.
This article discusses a few of the biggest no-no’s when it comes to your online store and why you should be avoiding these things at all costs.
1. Focusing only on the short term
When managing any kind of business, it’s important to plan for the long term. What are your goals? Where do you want the business to be in 3 months, 6 months, 5 years from now? Obviously, it’s important to be realistic, but thinking positive and aiming high is imperative if you’re going to be successful.
It’s the same with your website; you should be planning for the best case scenario. Make sure you build a website that not only going to stand the test of time in terms of responsive design, but that has the infrastructure to support your business in the future. That means ensuring that you don’t have a cap on the number of products and have plenty of features that can be utilised including things like coupons and discount codes, an onsite blog, user review options and search capability.
Even if they aren’t relevant to your business just yet, you should consider a platform that makes them available for when you start to expand.
2. Low quality images
This is often overlooked by ecommerce website owners and it can be devastating to your bottom line. The appearance of most products is a big factor in determining a visitor’s decision to buy.
You’d always make sure your products are clean, presentable and look their best in a physical store, and it’s no different online.
It’s not just about having a big high quality image for each product; lighting, positioning and the background can all have an effect on your conversion rate. The number of images you provide should also be a consideration; including a view from all angles is a smart move.
Strongly consider hiring a professional photographer; high quality images can improve your conversion rate by up to 10%.
3. Limited payment options
If you’re regularly taking payments, you’ll be aware of the fact that different customers prefer different methods of payment; this can often have to do with their accounting practices and ultimately what may simply be more convenient for them. This is particularly the case when you’re offering B2B products, but also when your target market is the general public.
The solution is simple, yet is so often overlooked: provide as many options as you can. That includes at the very least PayPal, credit card payment, bank deposit and possibly check options.
Research suggests that 56% of website users expect numerous payment options when they’re checking out, so it really isn’t worth the risk.
When you’ve already essentially converted a visitor, got them through the checkout page and onto the final page to make the payment, the last thing you want is to lose them because their preferred payment option isn’t available.
4. A buggy website
Ecommerce websites can be complex systems with a lot of different moving parts; from time to time, a bug will appear. More often than not it will be a minor thing, but sometimes that is all it takes to lose a would-be customer.
The key here is that you should have an idea about how things are going on your website at all times. Test it every few days and ensure that everything is working properly from the home and product pages through to payment.
The majority of visitors won’t email you and inform you if there is some error that makes navigating the website or purchasing a product difficult, they’ll just move onto the next website.
It really is on you to keep on things and make sure the website is running smoothly and bug-free.
5. Providing insufficient info about the business
In the early days of world wide web, people were a lot more suspicious about the internet, particularly when it came to buying products, providing credit card details, personal information and the like. Today, a lot of that distrust is gone – but not all of it.
While users today aren’t going to be cynical about how safe it is to buy from your website, they may be cynical about how relatable your products and you yourself are as a provider. It’s important to give visitors a reason to see your as a genuine, respectable business, and that means providing information.
You’ll notice that even on ecommerce websites, the About page is one of the most visited pages on the website. This indicates that people like to have the option of getting a little information about a company when they browse a website. Yet so often ecommerce stores will not have About or Contact pages on the website.
This is a big mistake. To set yourself up as a legitimate brand, you need to provide information about the business; who you are, how long you’ve been in the game, your story, what kind of business you want to be, etc. The About page allows you to do just that while ensuring you gain the confidence of your website visitors.
Other elements that can help convey professionalism include a phone number, address, logo, a domain name email or an onsite chat option.
Getting the balance right and maintaining an online store that converts consistently is difficult, but it’s certainly achievable if you have put the work in. Part of what makes it difficult is the fact that you can have everything working well but make one costly mistake that leads to your downfall.
Luckily, if you avoid what we’ve discussed in this article, you’ve got every chance of making it work.