As e-commerce slowly dominates the business realm, continuous technological advancements have brought a new dawn to the world of marketing. It’s no wonder many companies have started to sell online. It must be kept in mind however that e-commerce is not just buying and selling your products; it’s the new method of running a business.
This is why organizations have to pay full and equal attention to the maintenance and development of their e-commerce websites as they would on any other important aspect of their businesses.
The Mistakes Made
Getting involved with e-commerce can be one of the best educational experiences of an entrepreneur’s life. The things you learn by actually running a business are often things you won’t find in any college course.
Young business persons are always keen to take advantage of new opportunities that the internet has to offer, but if not done correctly, your online transactions can suffer from a wide range of issues that are usually not taken into account. Mentioned ahead is a list of 10 such e-commerce pitfalls and how you can possibly avoid them.
If you ask an experienced entrepreneur what the essential skill in business is, she would say it’s basic mathematics. When startups first branch out, most business owners don’t pay as much attention to math as they should; ending up in a niche that has good demand but not as much revenue or potential to make it worthwhile.
Putting it straightforwardly, corporate math is actually quite simple. In order to see how profitable your business can be, use this formula:
Profit = Demand x (Revenue – Expenses)
Let’s break this down. Assuming that altogether there are 20k million people searching for your product, similar to the shopify stores, and you are putting yourself in front of at least half of that lot; that is 10,000 potential buyers. In case your average order value is 100 dollars, having a net profit margin of 30%, your profit can be anything around $3000 – $6000.
The actual numbers can be, of course, greater or less. These values are only rough estimates, but whatever you get into, as long as you have done the math, you would know what your business is in for.
ASOS, an online fashion store, has been continuously offered as a great example of one of the best e-commerce practice (as well as customer, social service and more).
Make sure to do your research before choosing an e-commerce platform. Amad Ebrahimi, the founder of Merchant Maverick – a comparison site that reviews and rates credit card processors, shopping carts and mobile payment services – says that it’s not intelligible to just pick the first cart that ‘you think will suffice’. One needs to think about feature requirements, integration and functionality needs, as well as the system for design and customizability.
Ask yourself the question: is the ‘shopping cart’ easy for you to use without having to go through a big learning curve? Make sure to read some customer reviews to know what other people are saying. ‘Take the cart for a spin. Most e-commerce platforms offer free trials, so be sure to take advantage of them,’ Ebrahimi adds. He has worked on several such client sites, and it is not usually until the demo that users realize that a certain platform just might not be the correct fit.
According to Flavio Martins, the vice president of Operations at DigiCert, there are studies that show that up to 25 percent of users stop all online purchases because of web security vulnerability. Too many online retailers end up falling short of vivid trust indicators that users can use to assure protection by HTTPS. “A digital certificate provides authenticity of your website and an encrypted connection to protect sensitive data — and you can get one quickly and within budget,” he says.
New-in-the-industry e-commerce vendors usually outsource IT support, web hosting, and web security tasks. However, more than often the most significant hacks have come from stolen third party logins or services. So, when selecting a suitable service provider, organizations should make sure to demand strong security practices, preferably industry certified, ensuring that their service providers secure their own, personal data HTTPS.
Have you ever purchased a product the very first time you arrive on a website? I’m assuming not. A study reveals that out of the total number of browsers, 98% of them never buy when they first arrive on your site, with another 55% closing your domain under 15 seconds. It all, however, depends on the consumer’s intention.
In this particular situation, pop-ups can be very useful as it enables you to capture your visitors contact information such as an email address. If you successfully bag their online profile links or ID, you can easily entice them with exciting new offers delivered to their inbox just so that they could visit your website again.
Nothing has ever so boosted up the bounce rates on any e-commerce website than uploading wrong or bad product photographs and misguiding users as a consequence. It is completely acceptable if certain color combinations of your products might not exactly match their images uploaded on the online domain. However, as a website owner, you should check whether the image being used represents the right product/service or not.
For example, if it is a ‘plastic water container’, then the uploaded photograph should not be that of ‘steel planters’ because that would just be plain ridiculous.
Instead of just being technical glitches, these are serious issues that need to be dealt with at the earliest if you don’t want to add to the business-crippling bounce rate of your website.
While talking about brand images, choose large ones with altering angles that can give potential buyers a clear, distinct idea about the prints, colors and even the materials of the product.
When people are buying online, they are obviously giving up on the tactile ability to pick up, hold and feel a product in order to inspect it. According to Rick Wilson, President of Miva Merchant, a provider of ECommerce software and hosting, this is exactly the reason why it is essential to put up great product photos, showing multiple angles and zoom in options for smartphones, tablets, and computers.
It goes without a second thought that a substantial amount of traffic to e-commerce websites comes from mobile users. According to a recent survey, almost 80 percent of global users thoroughly utilize their mobile devices to carry out internet activities, which also includes making purchases on e-commerce websites.
Hence, it becomes inevitable for any online retail shop to have a mobile friendly version of their website, offering users an unforgettable shopping experience. Always go for the intuitive and minimalist interface with easy, back-and-forth navigation, paving the pathway for greater consumer transactions on smaller screens and tablets.
The phrase ‘opportunity cost’ is an economic concept that highlights the pursuit of an opportunity at the cost of something else, for example valuable money and time. In a nutshell, the cost of opportunity is every other opportunity you already have at your disposal.
If you’re in the process of bootstrapping your online retailing, then chances are you did everything yourself; setting up the website, tinkering with it, uploading products photos, writing the description and doing all the marketing – a one man/woman show.
While taking everything into personal control is great, it is also severely time and energy consuming. These are the hours you can potentially use doing something else; for instance, spending time with family, building contacts or coming up with new business ideas.
Menial tasks have two main categories: necessary and unnecessary.
You may want to try and automate all trivial business activities. It will cost you a bit of the saving, but the head and heartache that you will save far outweigh the big bucks you will spend. And if you don’t already know, you can easily find relevant-to-task people on Fiverr that will willingly do inventory uploading and enter data tasks for you at a reasonable price.
Unnecessary menial tasks automatically shift to the chopping block. Things like messing with the image pixels, spending too many hours tinkering with site’s logo, getting involved in the unnecessary detail about the color of the button, or some other minute change are all included in the unnecessary realm of online business work.
No doubt, online shopping is all about giving consumers a highly satisfactory experience, for them to keep coming back for more purchases. Users usually expect a seamless experience when they arrive at a brilliantly marketed website to buy a product. One of the ways to monitor and ensure this commercial aspect is to make your site menus innovative.
Design the pages in such a way that your clients find it easy to browse through multiple pages with minimum number of clicks. Breadcrumb navigation, for example, is quite a talk-of-the-town these days, working exceptionally well with online retail shops and their design; it shows hierarchy, reduces clutter, is visually appealing and easy to backtrack. Once you incorporate it on your website, you will have no problems in acquiring and retaining new customers.
You’re probably making one of the greatest business mistakes if you don’t use social media for what it’s worth to target buyers. However, promoting any business online is a serious task, as you have to be extra careful about overselling your products and services. Thus, your company has to be sure to carry out social media tasks responsibly, maintaining brand loyalty in the eyes of the fans, customers, and followers.
Online shoppers or users get the biggest shock of their lives when they view added delivery charges and shipping costs during the final check out. This is one of the main reasons why they tend to abandon a shopping cart just before making their first purchase. Be careful. Don’t do this. Make it a point to always display shipping charges on the brand’s main page or include the cost in the product cost itself. This will save consumers from some of the ugly surprises during checkout.
Apart from the obvious shipping charges, it is a must for any online store to display other important information such as Shipping and Return policies, Customer Care contact, Exchange options, to name a few, on their main browser pages. Most websites usually have this information situated at the extreme bottom fold of their domain.
Alternatively, they can also be placed under the FAQs link. Always remember that when customers don’t get access to this information and other essential bits they need, they will see red and leave an unwavering negative impression of your website. Just avoid this mistake at all costs.
AO.com displays its free delivery information very prominently and effectively for it to not go unnoticed by the customers, as Graham Charlton mentions in 13 best practice lessons from AO.com. It shows free delivery at the top of every page, with offered deliveries so that users can have items shipped easily within a nominated time slot.
The problems talked about in this article are only some of the e-commerce mistakes that annoy online shoppers. If your company domain still has these grey areas , it is time for you to pull together and sort it out. Customer satisfaction is of the utmost importance if your business is to last long. Give users the best experience by eliminating these follies from the root and you will eventually see a steady improvement in your client conversion rates.