When running an online business, it’s important that several factors are considered. While many may assume that you can simply upload a store and reap the rewards, there is a lot more to factor in when making an impression online. This could be anything from sorting internal logistics to building a responsive, visually-appealing ecommerce store.
The following 9 mistakes can often undo any hard work you’ve done, and see you falling behind the competition.
Choosing The Wrong Platform
When starting an ecommerce site, you will often be fronted by a number of companies who believe their platform is for you. Regardless of how good these platforms are, choosing the wrong one could be detrimental. But, how do we know which is right for us? Fortunately, there are many platforms to use, and there is no preferable one, a business just needs to ensure that a platform is suited to their needs. Evidently, there can be a number of factors to consider, but the following are among the most popular, and should give you an idea of what features are available at your disposal, thus allowing you to make a well-informed decision in relation to the platform you choose.
- WooCommerce – a free and intuitive ecommerce plugin for WordPress
- Shopify – a platform specifically designed to build online businesses
- Magento – the most advanced & flexible ecommerce solution
This is only a snapshot of what’s available.
Many of the platforms on offer will have a showcase of high-profile brands behind their backs. For instance, while large businesses like Coca-Cola and Burger King are using Magento as their CMS, medium-sized ecommerce stores may find WooCommerce and Shopify as their optimal option. It all comes down to your needs. Nevertheless, make sure you carry out a thorough research and choose a platform that fulfils your requirements.
Your Online Store Isn’t Secure
It’s no secret that more and more people are keen for their details to remain secure, but what many may not know is that an astonishing 25 percent of consumers are likely to stop a purchase if they pick up on the fact that a site isn’t secure. As such, it is in your best interest to persuade a customer that your store is safe, and you do not store and/or share any sensitive information.
A wise investment in a proper SSL certificate not only encrypts data for shoppers on your site, but also ensures that more customers complete a transaction, which is the ultimate goal of your business.
Not Accounting for Mobile Users
It is a well-known fact that mobile search has surpassed the 50% mark and now accounts for nearly 60% of all search queries, and according to HubSpot, around 34% of all online retail purchases now happen on mobile devices.
Furthermore, the recent move by Google to prioritise mobile-indexing over the desktop is a clear indication that the whole market is moving towards the mobile-first web.
So, what’s the takeaway?
In order for your ecommerce business to thrive in the world of competitive online selling, your store has to be responsive and accessible by those who are using smartphone and tablets to shop.
Not Having the ‘Trust Factor’
Many stores fail to gain traction because they do not give customers that peace-of-mind. Hence, many shoppers will opt for an online store that does. Rectifying such matters can be done quickly, and can certainly help win over customers who may still be on that side of a bridge.
It’s in your best interest to present your business as a credible institution that cares about its clients and is keen on providing the best service possible.
Bad Search Capability
When shoppers look to make a purchase online, they want to find a store that is capable of finding items quickly. While your store may have the items the shopper is looking for, if your search algorithm isn’t reliable and isn’t functioning properly, it’s unlikely that they will ever know.
How important is search? Well, when you consider that users who search for a product are more likely to make a purchase, then it stands to reason as to why an effective search feature is vital. Apart from having a decent search function, it’s imperative to offer an intuitive navigation, listing relevant categories and sections.
Lack Of Personalisation
The vast majority of ecommerce websites are still very generic with little or no personalization at all. In the world where every second counts, users expect your site to give them what they want at the time they want it.
This kind of personalisation goes far beyond the standard “spray and pray” retargeting ads and suggested products carousels.
Here are some thriving trends that will give you a head start in creating a “personal” business:
- With tools like Unbounce and Optimizely, you are now able to create highly convertible & personal landing pages.
- Based on the navigation, search, and purchase behaviour, you are now able to show specific landing pages with products specifically tailored to your customer’s interest.
- Real-time, contextual messaging will become a standard practice for ecommerce owners as a way to push the potential buyer to complete a purchase. For example, Alex, who’s trying to figure out the right jeans size for over 5 minutes can now receive a real-time support message from a real person, guiding to the right size.
Not Making Use of Social Media
Social media platforms can quickly become the front page of the Internet for many online users, so those who aren’t utilising it may find that they are not getting the traction they want. Similarly, you should only use platforms that accommodate relevant audiences to your business, or you could find your efforts wasted.
For example, if you have goods that are marketed to design-oriented individuals, then it can be a worthwhile idea to look at the visual-based social networks such as Instagram and Pinterest. Similarly, those offering a service or niche product may find more traction on the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
No Content Marketing Plan
Everyone loves content, which is why so many businesses make a substantial investment of time when it comes to connecting with their audience. Whether it’s evergreen content focusing on their niche, or a series of articles that helps you get the most from the product in question, when done right, content marketing can bring forward several benefits in relation to search rankings, conversions rates, traffic and brand recognition.
Not Measuring Performance
For everything an ecommerce store does right, there could also be a number of things being done in the wrong way. This is expected of any company, as it’s what helps it grow, as long as you are aware of what improvements are needed. However, simply not monitoring the performance of an ecommerce store means that you could lose more potential customers as a result.
As such, tools such as Google Analytics should be used to give you a breakdown as to where your ecommerce store is thriving, what pages are bringing the most leads, what pages bring in the most traffic, and pick up on areas that need improvement. Every website will need tweaks and improvements over time, but knowing where you’re going wrong will only make the process more straightforward.
Ecommerce stores are plentiful within the online sphere, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for more. But, to gain recognition, an ecommerce store has to be tailored in the right way. It can be compared to a bricks and mortar store. More people are likely to visit if it has a credible reputation, is easy to find and has an attractive storefront.
Those who have an unsavoury work ethic and vague information in relation to returns can find they are passed by for a business that is more upfront about its working practices. Trust is a vital commodity with the online community, and without it, a business is unlikely to prosper.
[The author of this post is Devesh Sharma, Founder of WPKube.]