You cannot deny the rise of e-commerce in today’s world, which has been amply proven by the increase in online sales over the latest holiday season. According to the report from comScore, published on the 5th of January, the retail e-commerce spending from desktop devices reached the new height of $63.1 billion in the US alone. It beats the previous year by 12%. The continuous increase in the number of people who choose to shop online makes for one of the ‘hottest’ business fields of today. However, to succeed in e-commerce today, one must be aware of the mistakes that can bring your company down before you really get going.
Researching these potential pitfalls beforehand will allow you to build a better online business from the start. For an existing store, this information will help to analyze your current situation and find ways for improvement.
Please bear in mind that e-commerce is an extremely fast-paced industry, and digital marketing solutions to promote these businesses evolve all the time. If you want to stay one step ahead of the competitors, you need to follow the current trends and make regular adjustments to both your online shop and marketing strategy in general.
6 Biggest E-commerce Mistakes to Avoid in 2017
1. Complicated Checkout
One of the main reasons why people choose online shopping is that it is easy. Convenience and speed are getting more important for an average buyer with every passing day as our lives keep getting busier. Therefore, having an online shop with a difficult checkout process is a huge mistake.
What you need is to encourage people to buy faster, which means that they should be able to complete the deal within a couple of clicks at most. The One-Click Buy technology introduced by Amazon in 2000 revolutionized the e-commerce industry. They took the same principle to their mobile shopping app as well, and the industry experts of today believe that this is one of the primary reasons for Amazon’s leadership in this field. According to the Internet Retailer 2016 Online Shopping Report Survey, 54.8% of the so-called US ‘frequent shoppers’ (people making online purchases more than once a month) place 51% of their orders on Amazon.
Therefore, it seems obvious that any e-commerce business should seek inspiration from this giant to improve themselves. The overall convenience, as well as an easy checkout process, are the staples of Amazon.
You should discuss this with your e-commerce development team when working on the project for your website to ensure they help you simplify the buying process. Offer your customers an opportunity to buy with one click on both your mobile app and desktop website. It is true that the conversion rate for smartphones is rather low, only a little over 1% according to the Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly research. However, offering the buy-in-one-click feature is essential for increasing this rate.
2. Inefficient E-commerce Software
There is a great variety of e-commerce platforms, such as Shopify, Magento, LemonStand, etc. together with an even greater number of software solutions that can be used to optimize online shops hosted on these platforms. Choosing the right combination of software is vital for the success of this business.
This also has to do with convenience, as inefficient software combination can lead to the slower work of the shop as a whole or various operational failures. Bear in mind that you also must provide an efficient IT support for an e-commerce website so that the software and the site as a whole are updated to stay in the top working order at all times.
3. No Sufficient Guidance
People need guidance for more efficient shopping, so you must provide ample opportunities for it. A basic search feature that allows to look for a product by its name and the Contact Us form for further inquiries are not enough for a good e-commerce website to thrive today. You can give your customers the necessary assistance via more advanced tools, including:
These are simple programs that can be integrated into the website to help your customers narrow down their field of search. They can suggest products based on categories or other specifications and answer the most common questions customers usually have.
- FAQ pages
Your website should feature FAQ pages dedicated not only to products but also to your shipping, pricing, guarantees, and return policy. Be as detailed as possible to ensure customers can save time by finding the answers they need directly instead of contacting your office or call center. Add a new FAQ page for every special offer you introduce.
- Advanced search feature
Today you can have a search feature that gives suggestions while the customer is still typing their inquiry. It helps people find products faster as well as allows them to glimpse other suggestions that might catch their interest.
4. No Clear Shipping Schedule and Return Policy
Many online purchases are time-sensitive, meaning that the customers expect them to arrive at a specific time. If they cannot be sure if they will receive the products by the necessary date, they would turn to your competitors who offer a set delivery date. It is especially important during the holiday season.
To avoid such problems, you must have your delivery times up on the website in a clear view. It’s expected that same date delivery would be the rage of 2017, but not many e-commerce businesses can provide this service without adding an exorbitant amount to the shipping cost. According to the infographic published on ReadyCloud, 56% of shoppers abandon carts because of the added extra costs during the checkout process, so your goal must be to minimize these rates.
It might be best to offer flat rate shipping for bigger orders while giving the customers who buy a little chance to get the lowest available rate.
Every good e-commerce business must offer returns, and your return policy must be clear and simple. Have a page on your website dedicated to this specific topic so that your customers can find it easily. Make the return process itself as uncomplicated as possible as this will help to ease the stress on the dissatisfied buyer and help you retain their loyalty.
5. No Proper Guarantees
Despite the ever-increasing popularity of online shopping, there are still people who do not buy products over the Internet because they are afraid of insecure connections and other similar issues. Therefore, you must prove that your shop is safe in every sense of the word.
To do this, every page of your website needs to include:
- The SSL security certificate
It will show visitors that their digital interactions are protected with top-of-the-line encryption.
It will help customers to understand their rights and see how exactly you are going to use the information they share with you.
6. Littering the Website with Pop-Ups
Pop-ups can be very useful in drawing attention to new products or special offers you have on. However, they can also become a deterrent that will literally ‘scare away’ prospective buyers. The reason for this is that people often see them as annoying, so including too many of them can turn into a problem.
As there is no specific formula that shows the perfect number and type of pop-up messages on an e-commerce website, you should experiment with different approaches. Be sure to collect the data via analytical tools that would allow you to see which messages provoke a positive reaction.
Build an Efficient E-commerce Website Your Customers Would Love
E-commerce is an industry that values convenience, efficiency, and speed, so these are the main traits you must have in mind when designing your website and overall business policy. To build a successful online shop, you should make it secure, easy to navigate, and reliable. Using good software is a must, and you should keep your website simple and unburdened with excessive pop-up messages and ads.
Learn from the mistakes made by other businesses to take your chance to do well right from the moment you launch your website.