Top 10 E-Commerce Mistakes
Over the years, we’ve built many e-commerce websites for clients. Some have been huge successes, and a few have been spectacular failures despite our best efforts to help them. Most perform well, but there’s always room for improvement. In this article I am going to lay out the 10 most common mistakes I’ve seen made by clients trying to build a successful e-commerce presence.
Thinking The Journey Ends When The Site Is Launched
This is a common one. The site looks great. It’s filled with categories and products. The payment gateway is plumbed in. We’re done… right? Actually, the journey has just begun. Now you need to promote, update content, fulfil orders, check metrics, find opportunities. Rinse and repeat for as long as the website is up and running. This brings us on to:
Underestimating The Work Required
If you open a store in a shopping mall, you’ll need to keep the shop front up to date, manage promotional activities,manage your stock, and look after all the minutiae of running a business. An e-commerce store can be easier to run than a bricks-and-mortar store, but the basic principles are the same. It takes a long time to populate hundreds of products, to manage social media and digital advertising campaigns, to fulfil orders and to analyse all available metrics so that you can grow.
Sourcing images for your products can be difficult. Suppliers may have low resolution images in odd dimensions, or may simply not have images at all. In this case, you’ll need to set up a mini studio with lighting, backdrop, etc. and snap each image in a consistent way. Then you’ll need to process and homogenise those images to make them ready for the site.
Similarly with text, you may find that you need to write it yourself. You need to extol the virtues of your product in a way that captivates the reader, and give them enough information to encourage them to buy. It takes time.
Poor Onsite SEO
I’ve often seen beautifully written content which is largely irrelevant to the page where it resides. When writing content, write for a human, but with your primary keywords for that page in mind. Many optimise their products, but forget to optimise the categories.
Poor User Experience
Ignoring The Metrics
Google Analytics will tell you where your visitors are, who they are, and what they searched for to find you. It will show you conversion rates, best sellers, cart abandonment rates, and a myriad of other data you can leverage to boost revenues. If you run an Adwords campaign, the dashboard will show you cost per click, clickthrough rates, keyword quality, ad quality and more. If you’re not checking this information frequently and adapting your campaign, then you are wasting money.
Not Understanding The Market
The best e-commerce site in the world will sink without a trace if it doesn’t offer the right product at the right price. Smaller retailers need a unique selling point to take on the e-commerce giants. Generally this is done by finding an underexploited niche, or adding value in some way. If you go up against Amazon with the same product, and you’re not cheaper, you’re going to have a bad time.
Ignoring Proven Methods To Increase Converrsions and ATVs
Many e-shops meekly set out their stall, as if they were ashamed of their product range. If calls-to-action didn’t work, the big players wouldn’t still be using them. Shouty buttons “Buy Now!!”, “Treat Yourself!”, “Limited Stock!” may seem a little obnoxious, but use them you’ll see the effect on your conversion rates. Do what you can to get visitors to sign up for mailing lists, then send them personalised offers, and send them reminder emails when they forget to complete a transaction. Use cross sells, link sells and upsells to increase your average transaction values.
Poor Customer Service
Time and time again, we see lost sales due to poor customer service. If you get an inquiry, you need to service it quickly, politely and thoroughly. If you are on social media platforms, expect that customers will use those as customer service portals. When a customer places an order and has a legitimate issue, you need to put it right, fast. We’ve seen Facebook witch hunts transform into viral marketing campaigns when a business pulls out all the stops to right a wrong.
Fearing The Tech
E-commerce systems are complex. There’s no getting away from it. You need to know your system well. Know how to evaluate a suspected fraudulent transaction. Understand how to update the sliders on your home page. Know how stock management and shipping calculations work. If your web development company didn’t do a good job on training, go back to them and get re-trained properly, or hire someone like us to project manage for you.