So, you’ve decided to break into the exciting world of ecommerce and bring your dream idea come to life… Congratulations! Running your own online store is an exciting experience and a great way to make money. But that’s not to say it’s without its difficulties. Ecommerce, like with any other industry, has its pitfalls, pitfalls that can snare fledgling business owners and sink virtual shopping sites before they even get started.
Don’t let this happen to you! Take a moment to read through these common obstacles and tips to overcome them.
Disregarding a Brand Identity
As any marketing professional will tell you, “successful brands don’t sell products, they sell personality.” Think about it, consumers can buy T-shirts anywhere. But selling apparel for “the vintage rocker in you” or tops for the “hipster fashionista” is something customers can only find on your e-store. Think of the customers you want to reach and develop a brand identity that appeals to them.
Choosing the Wrong Platform
Some novice ecommerce vendors choose to build their sites from scratch, only to find that programming is harder and more time consuming than they imagined. If you are researching how to build an ecommerce website, your best bet is to go with a platform provider that offers intuitive tools processing payments, managing inventory and organizing products. It’s just an easier and quicker way to get your site up and running.
Employing Bad Design Techniques
Customers want to shop on websites that are visually engaging and simple to navigate. Remember to always avoid low-quality images, cluttered interfaces and distracting popup or banner ads. Additionally, you’ll also want to ensure that your shopping cart button, contact page and search bar are easy to find.
Ignoring Free Marketing Advice
Some vendors sink big bucks into advertising agencies when they could take advantage of cost-effective marketing instead. The web is chalk full of free resources discussing social media campaigns, email marketing, search engine optimization and more. All it takes is a little dedication and experimentation. A perfect example of this is to hire a full time content writer who can guest blog and contribute to other relevant sites within your industry. This is simply one of the most effective ways to reach new audiences, rank higher in the search results and build a powerful backlink structure in the process.
Over or Understocking
Truth be told, stocking is a delicate balancing act that requires some guess work. Overstocking your store can be expensive, especially if your products have a limited shelf life. On the other hands, stocking too little will frustrate consumers who regularly visit your site only to find it bereft of anything they’re interested in buying. Do your best to keep popular products in stock and have a deals or coupon section on your site to move sluggish merchandise. If you currently have a newsletter, be sure to list such promotions for your audience to easily find.
Neglecting a Retention Strategy
It’s vital to focus on the lifetime value of your customers. Sure, every e-store will see their fair share of one-time shoppers for reasons outside of their control (e.g. buying a gift for a friend, but not interested in merchandise for themselves). But there are techniques to incentivize customer loyalty, such as encouraging visitors to follow social media pages or mailing lists, hosting contests, sharing coupon codes and more.
Limiting Your Payment Model
While most shoppers choose to pay via credit or debit card, more security-conscious consumers prefer diverse payment platforms such as PayPal or Bitcoin. Don’t lose out on these shoppers. Offer different ways to pay and also keep an eye on the competition to see what payment options they are currently using. Also, don’t be afraid to accept credit cards because of a small transaction fee. It’s much better to get a sale and have to pay a small fee, then missing out on losing a new customer because your site doesn’t accept their preferred form of payment.
Ignoring Customer Complaints
Since shoppers can’t try on or test products as they would in a brick and mortar, many rely on customer reviews to inform their purchasing decisions. If your store is flooded with negative comments and criticisms, do you think you’ll make many sales? Be sure to respond to customer complaints in a timely manner and remedy issues whenever possible. Not only will this turn disgruntled buyers into loyal shoppers, it will improve your reputation online.
Improve Your eCommerce and Content Marketing Efforts in 2017
Now that you are equipped with the knowledge necessary to avoid the common pitfalls that sink greenhorn vendors, it’s time to start your ecommerce adventure. Also, don’t forget to start a blog and create original content for your ecommerce site. It’s simply one of the best way to improve search rankings and also provide your audience with value outside of just seeing product names and images on your site.