Small to medium e-commerce stores can find it hard to compete against more well-known stores, especially when consumers are used to such high standards of online shopping. For this reason, it’s essential for every online store to iron out design and functionality problems in order to maximise sales.
1. FAILING TO ADAPT
Many e-commerce entrepreneurs make the mistake of building a site, then barely changing it. By regularly altering your product mix, uploading new content, and publicising regular deals, visitors will have a reason to revisit your store. It will also improve your site’s SEO performance. Consider including a blog, and always take advantage of holiday periods with special deals.
2. NO PRODUCT LINKS ON THE HOMEPAGE
Does your homepage promote your business more than your products? While it’s important to reassure visitors by revealing more about your business, save this information for the “About” page. The homepage is a valuable space to promote your current special offers and most popular products. Help customers find your best deals with clear links to multiple sections of your store.
3. AN OUT-OF-DATE SSL/TLS CERTIFICATE
4 . POOR BROWSER COMPATIBILITY
If you don’t have the necessary technical knowledge, work with your webmaster to make your site as compatible as possible with all internet browsers. If it isn’t fully compatible, many visitors will encounter usability issues which could seriously harm your reputation and damage sales.
5. NO SITE MAP
Most punters understand the importance of user-friendly navigation. However, not every e-commerce site includes a site map. Many potential customers are going to want to know the basic structure of your site to quickly find what they’re looking for. Not only will a site map improve site usability, it will also improve your website’s natural search (SEO) performance.
6. IGNORING THE POTENTIAL OF VIDEO
The marketing potential of video cannot be ignored. Video search engines like YouTube, Vimeo and DailyMotion can be the perfect marketing vehicle for many product sold online. Store videos can help prospects see the full potential of your products. And by linking to your videos from various online platforms, you can increase brand awareness and create viral ads linked to your store.
7. INFERIOR CUSTOMER SERVICE
You won’t get loyal customers without good customer service, and loyal customers lead to repeat sales. Focus on exceeding customers’ expectations. Answer email enquiries promptly, confirm orders immediately, and send out emails when products are shipped. Customers who would rather not give their credit card details online also need to know they can order by phone.
8. BORING PRODUCT DESCRIPTIONS
Describe exactly how a customer will benefit from owning a product – don’t just list the technical features (benefits rather than features). Make each product page rank higher in the search results pages by offering original descriptions of each product. Don’t just copy text that provided by your suppliers. A little time spent on writing inspirational product copy will bring your products to life, and should stimulate sales. More on this here
9. A DIFFICULT CHECKOUT PROCESS
A complicated checkout procedure will inevitably harm sales. People who’re less familiar with e-commerce sites will naturally make mistakes that lead to shopping cart abandonment
. Avoid long forms, offer multiple payment options, and offer visitors the option to checkout without registering.
10. HIDDEN CONTACT DETAILS
Unless you’re a well-known company, visitors will often look for your contact information before they do anything else. If your contact details don’t appear on every page, you could be driving away potential customers. At least consider including a “Contact Us” page. If you don’t have a dedicated phone number, try a service like Google Voice that includes voicemail. And if you work from home, you could provide a physical address or UPS/DHL/PayPal store address.
IN A NUTSHELL…
Making the online shopping experience as effortless and enjoyable as possible must be the priority for every online store. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can make sure you have the best chance of retaining customers and maximising sales.
10 Tips for a Successful Small Business Website [Checklist]
With the inevitable demise
of traditional “Brick and Mortar” stores, it’s becoming more important for small businesses to build profitable websites that both maintain existing customers and convert new visitors into repeat customers. If you’re a small business owner, these 10 tips will help you build an effective and profitable small business website.
1. Build website around customers’ activities, not company structure
Don’t just make your site an online copy of your company brochure. Think about what your different types of customers want to achieve, and structure your site to help them do this as easily and painlessly as possible.
2. Communicate vision and goals
What does your business exist for? What do you love about what you do? Share that message on your site with passion and enthusiasm! Get personal, you want your customers to feel that they know you and share your values.
3. Be clear about purpose of website
Your website should have a clear purpose aligned with your business goals. What do you want your customers to do when using your site? Purchase your products online? Telephone you? Make it easy for them to find the information they need to do this, and then give them a specific call to action.
4. Add rich, deep and relevant content
Again it’s key to keep your customers’ needs in mind when creating effective web content
. If you’re an accountant they’re probably not interested in 50 blog posts a day, or how often you tweet on Twitter. They just want to know if you can manage their books, and how you can save them money.
5. Ensure website is well presented, professional and eye catching
Your website design
should be appealing, memorable, and professional. Make sure your header and logo are eye catching, and then use aspects of the same overall look and feel in your business cards, flyers, banners, etc.
6. Test your website to ensure it’s technically sound
There is nothing more annoying than trying to use a website to buy something only for it to crash part way through the process. Ensure your website is developed by experts, hosted on reputable infrastructure and tested thoroughly before launch.
7. Take steps to protect customers’ privacy and security
You will lose customers if they are suddenly bombarded by spam, junk mail or telephone calls or if they are subject to credit card fraud after giving their details to you via your website. Ensure your web developers are using best practices for security and privacy on any web forms that collect or display customer details.
8. Ensure website is easy to maintain and update
Once your website is complete you’ll want to keep it fresh with updates about your business, changes to your products and services, and any offers. Ensure that your website will be easy to update once it is live.
9. Lay foundations for measurable performance
In the words of Peter Drucker
, ‘what gets measured gets managed’. You want to know how customers are finding and using your website and how well your site is working for you towards your business goals. Analytics
can give you factual data to measure this.
10. Make website search engine friendly
There’s no point having a website if nobody can find it. Ensure your website is optimised for search engines using key words and phrases that are clearly on topic and frequently searched for by your customer base.
In a Nutshell…
Customer focus is critical, and you are the expert on your customers. If you use your knowledge along with the technical expertise needed to create a fast, reliable, and secure website, you will stand out from the crowd and really enhance your business with your online presence.