We have been building eCommerce websites for almost 17 years, so we have developed quite a lot of knowledge and skill in this area. We have analysed performance and worked out what wins sales, and what loses them. Here are just 9 of the common mistakes that many make, with our help, you can avoid making these as well.
1. LACK OF PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
Your customer needs to quickly and completely understand the product. It is essential to provide a description that covers all the selling points (the features and benefits) of the product including materials, colours, size, how and where it is manufactured. Each product page should be descriptive enough to compel a purchase, and this includes high quality images showing angles and areas of detail. Also, consider comparison information, more detailed pricing info and option explanation, and video demonstrations where possible.
2. NOT USING SOCIAL MEDIA EFFECTIVELY OR AT ALL
If you are selling online and not using social media effectively, you are missing out on sales. Visual social media acts like a catalogue of products that users can share with their networks. Twitter and Facebook also provide great promotional channels. However, you need to be strategic (see point 4) and use the right voice and presentation for the particular channel. Make sure there are social share buttons on all product pages.
3. NO REVIEWS
Trust factors are essential in online retailing. Consumers value the opinion of complete strangers more than the product description on your site. Consumers are using the web to compare suppliers, and reviews are often the deal breaker. Put simply, products that are highly reviewed sell better, as they are an assurance to the purchaser that they are making the right choice. You can use your email marketing to remind and reward customers for product reviews, we have a few techniques and tools for this, so get in touch for more information.
4. NOT USING EMAIL MARKETING (OR USING IT TOO MUCH)
Not following up with customers or chasing cart abandoners is lethal. Email is one of the largest drives of revenue in online sales. It is personal and opt-ins give you the opportunity to directly target offers, incentives, build loyalty, and increase your relationship with your customer. However, don’t over do it, particularly in terms of frequency of emails and generic offerings. Make them meaningful, exclusive, and valuable. Reward loyalty and reviews.
5. LACK OF EFFICIENT SHIPPING OPTIONS
People like choice. It is important to offer more than one delivery option in terms of delivery times and price. One option doesn’t show what better service you can deliver. Also, a diversity of shipping providers gives you operational flexibility should one fall over. Strongly consider free shipping where possible. Sales will increase as free shipping is a decisive factor in online comparison.
6. LACK OF STRATEGY
Like with all marketing and operational efforts in business, strategy is important. You need to consider your budget, time frame, your market and buyer persona. This frames the development process and governs design, user-experience considerations, product presentation and up-selling. A strategy will control your efforts so you don’t waste time money and energy. A marketing plan with particular regard to social media and email are also key, as are policies, and customer service processes. We help with this in the planning phase.
7. COMPLICATED CHECKOUT
A complicated checkout is a sales killer. Cart abandonment is already reasonably common so it is important that you provide a quick and easy checkout minimising clicks and restricting it to a one-page process. Don’t ask for too much information at this stage, you can gather more data later with after-sales strategies.
Don’t force every buyer to create an account, so have a guest checkout option as default. Consider your payment options as well, as you may need to borrow the reputation of eWay, Paypal, or Stripe if you are a small business in particular. We have been using a visualisation tool that records site navigation, this is useful to see where the potential customer leaves the process before completing a sale.
8. DESKTOP ONLY DESIGN
I can’t stress enough the importance of an optimised mobile experience. Retail sites have a very high visitation and purchase rate on mobile devices, including tablets. If it isn’t designed and developed with a mobile-first approach your mobile experience will be poor and you may lose the potential customer for life. Consumers begin their digital shopping process on a mobile most likely, they browse and compare, so it is essential you don’t put your products out of reach by not having a site that is responsive.
Even if it is responsive, it is important that it is optimised for the mobile user-experience. You need control here, as the platform ecommerce applications such as BigCommerce & Shopify may not allow you the design and layout control you will need. Which brings us to the last point.
9. WRONG PLATFORM
Make sure the platform is right for your business. You need control and you need to own it to prevent completely re-building in the future. Platform applications such as Shopify, BigCommerce, Weebly, control the system and if they make changes that don’t suit you, you are stuck. They often don’t allow complete control over the shopping experience both from a customer point of view and in regard to management and fulfilment. This means if you require a condition in purchase or fulfilment such as deliver time cut-offs, you won’t be able to handle the sale if the system doesn’t accommodate it.
You don’t want to have to make operational and design sacrifices in this important marketing tool and revenue channel for your business, so ensure your site accommodates your operational requirements, and the mobile, design, and user-experience expected by your customers.
If you have an eCommerce site, or are planning one, we hope that these 9 issues alert you to improvements you can make and some guidelines in your planning to ensure the best chance of eCommerce success. We can help you achieve your online sales goals with a review of your existing store, or to develop a new one for your business. Contact us to arrange a free consultation.