E-commerce common pitfalls
E-commerce continues to do well on a global scale. U.S. e-commerce is expected to earn $440 billion in sales by 2017, so it is important to establish a market share now. Even the smallest businesses can succeed as long as they avoid the most common mistakes. Here are seven common pitfalls and how you can avoid them.
1. Failed Transactions
One of the most common errors that eCommerce sites make is creating a clunky, poorly designed checkout process. Shopping carts need to be easy to use from the get-go or customers are liable to dump their products on their way to the next store, which is literally a second away. Configuration errors need to be tested for and code must be checked as many times as it takes to keep profits rolling in because a single error can leave you without income for days.
2. Following Up
One of the core marketing strategies that eCommerce stores forget to implement is following up with their customers to make sure they are satisfied. You need to assess and reassess the way your store is run, but this does not have to be a labor-intensive process. Online surveys can be used to monitor your buyer experience. Did the site load fast enough? Was the checkout process easy enough to use? Is payment perceived to be secure enough? Making sure your customers know you will correct your mistakes earns their loyalty.
3. Failing to Optimize
Search engine optimization should be a core part of your website, but you need to know how your customers are searching for your products before you can build a good SEO strategy. Your site should prioritize optimization for searches before you focus on optimizing for conversion, otherwise your customers will never find the items they are seeking.
4. Being Invisible
In brick-and-mortar stores, friendly service representatives are always on hand to help customers. In eCommerce stores, the same level of service should be provided. Customer service email addresses and even live chat rooms are useful, but this only works in your favor if they are easy to find. Make sure your email address is prominently displayed on every single page of your site so that the moment your customers need help, it’s only one click away.
The platform you use to power your site will help you avoid major bugs and errors. Hosted platforms tend to be stable and offer dedicated support, so there is less of a chance that your site will go down. Hosts should ideally be offering an uptime of 99 percent, and they should be able to prove this to you based on their history. Despite how easy it is to use a design template, many major eCommerce merchants choose unattractive, unstable ones that have poor usability.
6. Poor Product Descriptions
Your product descriptions should not only be useful to buyers but also to your search engine ranking. They should inform your buyers and help them with their selection process, which is why buyer’s guides are such a major part of the world’s largest eCommerce sites. You have free reign of your own website space, so do what is necessary to sell your products. Images should also be optimized. Keywords should be in their file names and captions. Even your “buy” button is an opportunity to optimize. Use calls to action and polished product descriptions.
7. Not Knowing the Competition
Your competitors offer you the chance to research your demographic, so find out what they buy and which sites they use. This helps you find a way to gain a competitive advantage.