According to Americommerce, online shopping is set to surpass brick-and-mortar stores in the next few years. Competition is high and you want your online store to attract customers and motivate them to make bigger and more frequent purchases. However, there are many pitfalls that can arise when you are designing your website.
Are items easy to find in your store? Do you offer high-quality images? Do you communicate with your customers? These are just a few of the things you need to do if you want to see your sales increase. Check out these 10 common pitfalls and tips you can follow to avoid them:
Hard-to-Use Navigation and Design
You want your customers to click as few times as possible to find the item they want. Pairing a clean website design with an easy-to-read font choice and attractive color scheme makes your customers want to stay. Be sure your links are eye-catching to entice more clicks. If you need some real life examples of how to create a seamless e-commerce site and sales process, just check out any major shopping sites like Amazon, Target or eBay. All of their businesses rely on millions of transactions to take place daily — which means they are likely going to have a full-proof formula and design in place.
Poor Search Engine
According to reports published in Wired, only 50 percent of site searches provide customers with what they want and those with no results are 33 percent more likely to leave without making a purchase. Don’t fall into this trap. Choose an enterprise e-commerce platform that comes with a built-in search engine so that your customers can find their items quickly and easily. This is especially true for any online store that has hundreds of products for sale. No one wants to search through an endless amount of pages to try and find what they are looking for. Provide a search box to your audience, and make sure it works perfectly.
Would you buy something you couldn’t even see? Make sure your images are clear and shot in good lighting so customers can fully see the product before they decide to buy. You want to include several different angles and all of the color options for the best results.
In addition to having high-quality images on your site, you should also think about incorporate custom videos as well. Having customer testimonials and product review videos are both excellent ways to not only provide an extra added value to your audience, it’s also a great way to increase conversions as well.
Inadequate Product Descriptions
Write quality product descriptions that include major features and benefits. Describe the materials used, location it was manufactured at and how to assemble the product, if applicable. For shoes and apparel, describe how the items fits and include a size chart. When writing the descriptions for your product, make sure they are written for the actual customer and not for Google or your search rankings. Of course, you should be adding your target keywords and product titles in the description, but you don’t want your audience to feel like they are reading improper grammar or something written for a robot.
Lousy Customer Service
No matter how great your product is, it’s inevitable that some customers will want to return or exchange it. Place your return/refund policy in a prominent location that is quick to find. Offer several customer support options, such as phone call, chat and email, so customers can reach you quickly using the method they prefer. The reputation of your brand and business will rely on the customer support that you provide to your customers. Never forgot… the majority of your happy customers will leave a review or ranking for your site, however… just one unhappy customer can cause a whole mess of negative press and online reviews. This is why it’s so important to make sure you cater equally to everyone!
No Social Media Activity
Be sure to include social media buttons on all your pages so customers can connect with your brand and share notifications about their purchases with friends and family. Include major sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Create your own pages on these sites to post new items, upcoming sales and to answer customer questions. While social media continues to be an important component for all online businesses and brands, it’s important to realize that everyone has their own personal preference when it comes to which social network they are using. For this reason, every e-commerce site and brand should have unique social profile accounts on all of the major networks, while also creating unique content and images for each. Be sure to check out this social media image sizes infographic to learn more about each social network and their specific image sizes.
Lengthy Shipping Times
Offer several shipping options covering a variety of price points, including express one-day shipping and international shipping. That way, customers can choose the one they want based on their budget and needs. This is especially helpful around the holiday season since consumers will likely switch to a competitor if they are worried your product won’t get to them in time. If your business or brand is focused on getting the highest quality feedback and ratings possible, it’s important to make sure the shipping and ordering process is as seamless as possible. A great way to take advantage of this, while also increasing order size, is to always offer free shipping on all orders or once a specific cart amount has been hit. Most customers hate the idea of paying for shipping, do what you can to make this process as low as possible.
No Mobile Application
Mobile is on the rise and these numbers are only going to keep increasing as new audiences from around the world get their hands on mobile technology at cheaper prices. It’s also been reported that site traffic and online sales are now fueled more through mobile viewing and purchases, versus that of desktop usage. This means it’s extremely important for ecommerce sites to make sure they have a mobile application to easy viewing and purchasing on the go. Offer an easy-to-use mobile app in both iOS and Android so customers can choose to shop on their phone or tablet if they prefer. Include links to download the app on your website.
Everyone wants to save as much money as possible when it comes to buying pretty much anything. This is especially true with online shopping, as it’s so easy to compare prices between sites and also search for coupons online. With this in mind, it’s important for your site or offer very competitive prices in order to secure new sales from your audience. Compare your products to other ecommerce competitors to see where your prices fall on the expense scale. Offer deals and promotions, such as free shipping, to entice customers to your store. Create special offers for repeat customers.
Complicated Check-Out Process
Count the number of clicks it takes to purchase an item for your store. Determine ways to reduce this number, such as offering a “guest” option and having customers enter all their information on one page.
There are many common pitfalls that ecommerce stores may fall into when they develop their website, which can result in lost sales. By avoiding the above 10, you will create a simple website that customers will want to return to when shopping online.
How to Find the Most Success with Your eCommerce Site
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to stand out from the crowd and increase conversions with your own ecommerce site. The most important thing for you to remember is that it’s not just about going live with your site and getting your products out there, it’s the promotion and marketing that is going to make the biggest different. If you already have a site live, be sure to run through the list again and see which methods you currently have in place, and those you might be missing out on.
Lastly… one of the best ways to have your ecommerce site provide more value and rank more often in the search results is to add a blog to your site. If you don’t currently have a blog or would like to learn more about how to make your content work better for your site and your audience, be sure to read through our blogging resource guide.