Building a successful ecommerce business is tough. Everyone makes mistakes, and it is the mistakes which teach us the best lessons. But does that mean we have to make mistakes to learn things? There is a famous quote that says,
“Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.”
The world is growing faster than ever and at this pace, startups cannot afford to learn from their own mistakes. Most of the articles revolving around the topic ‘ecommerce mistakes’ talks about the exact same thing like poor description of products, not enough images, and faulty checkout process.
You get it, you have read about it and you have implemented it. But have you achieved your goal?
I have been consulting ecommerce businesses for almost three years now; most of them understand that they need good description, high-quality product image and a clear checkout process. There are even ready-made tools available to help you fix those mistakes.
In this article, I am going to talk about the most overlooked mistakes committed by ecommerce startups so that you can avoid them and focus on generating revenue. So, let’s take a look at them one by one.
Generic ‘About Us’ Page
If you are like most of the ecommerce startups, writing an about us page will make your head spin and your knees buckle. You might ask what is the importance of about us page on an ecommerce business? Isn’t ecommerce all about products?
If you don’t believe in the power of about us page, just go and dig into your analytics account. As an ecommerce business, you must understand that people buy from people and they want to know who is behind it before they make a purchase.
Although content and look of the about us page will differ from business to business, there are some best practices you should adopt while designing your about us content.
- Tell your story in an engaging way
- Show pictures of the people behind the store
- Use a Call to Action at the end of your content
- Show what people are saying about you to enhance the trust factor
- Show social icons so that people can connect with you
Poolspot Australia has a great about us page where they have told their honest story of how they got started; they have the pictures of people who are behind the store and every other element needed to make a good first impression.
If you do it right, your about us page can help you increase sales and make a personal connection with your audience. This connection is invaluable and will help you retain customers for a long-term.
Not Using Paid Ads
Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising. – Mark Twain
If you are a startup and no one knows about you, it is important to reach out to people and bring your product in front of them. The ‘If you build it, they will come’ mentality does not work and getting quality traffic through SEO takes time. If you wait for people to come, they will not.
I wrote an article on 56 ways to make your first ecommerce sale which discusses the channels from where you can get traffic and make your first sale. I have tested each and every one of them and the channel which performed the best is the paid ads. With paid ads, you get high-quality traffic almost immediately to your store. It even helps you test a product in the market and plan your next move.
Most of the ecommerce businesses want to get that free chunk of traffic to get their store started; I get it. It feels awesome. But that is not the way how it really works. Don’t be against the paid source of traffic, try and test each and every source and divert your resources on what works the best.
Too Dependent On Ads
There are people who avoid ads, the same way there are people who are too much dependent on ads. It is not safe to have all the eggs in one basket. Most of the ecommerce businesses who find success with ads invests all their resources into it. It may seem a profitable strategy, but it can backfire in the long term.
By Ads, I mean every source of paid ads available online.
There are 2 risks/disadvantages if ads are your only source of traffic.
- What if some bigger company enters into the market and it starts investing heavily on paid ads (because they can and I have experienced it). If a bigger company enters the market, it will try to get maximum share of ad traffic. If this happens, your company will have to take the blow. You cannot beat them and you will not have other channels to sell on.
- You will miss out on multiple opportunities if you don’t go multi-channel. You can reap benefits of investing in SEO and marketplaces in the long term if you have your resources and revenue invested in a variety of sources. Investment in multi-channels will open you up to multiple opportunities which were previously unexplored.
Not Having Enough Social Proofs
Social proofs are one of the most important signals which determine a decision to purchase. Most people who fail at this are not because of lack of trying but the lack of execution. This only happens when you adopt something forcefully.
Let’s take an example of Social media accounts. I have noticed a lot of businesses prominently featuring their social media accounts (because their designer told so) with no followers on them. This will create a negative impression instead of making people buy. If you cannot work on multiple social media channels, don’t tout it on your website. It just doesn’t make sense simply having an account and not updating it.
Another social proof where most people miss is the reviews. You know that a review can influence purchase decision and you have implemented it on your store. But do you have any reviews on them? This is exactly like having social media accounts but not working on it. Having the review option on your store will not get you reviews.
You must ask customers to submit reviews. Write a good email copy to catch user attention and ask them what they feel about their purchase. Once you have got the system working, test different email copies based on open rates and goal completion rate. Once you get enough reviews, you can highlight them on every page of your store to establish trust.
Single Payment Method
A business which is only having one payment method is considered outdated. It is one of the significant reasons which affect the checkout drop rate. Customers prefer to have a wide range of payment methods to complete their purchase.
As the mobile market is growing, digital wallets are growing. More and more people are moving towards digital wallets for their primary method of transaction. If you don’t adopt them, you will lose the customer. Varieties of payment methods are important because the choice of every customer is different. Direct Debit is most preferable in Germany compared to other methods, if you only provide credit card payment or PayPal, it is not going to work.
Same way Cash on Delivery is necessary for people who don’t trust the online banking system or the seller. Yes, there are people who do not like to share the payment details. For customers like this Cash on Delivery is the only way to go.
When considering customer experience, it is important for a store owner to offer a variety of payment options. Not only this helps in improving the customer experience but also increase sales and decrease checkout abandonment rate.
Lack of Patience
This is the worst mistake to commit. An ecommerce business takes time to grow. Too often new business owners expect the cash to start rolling in as soon as they open their ecommerce store. But that is not the case. Like offline businesses, online business es take time to grow, and it is possible that you might not hit your targets initially but that should not mean that you should close it down. Do what you are doing and stay motivated.
These were some of the common but relatively not discussed mistakes. I have seen ecommerce businesses make these mistakes repeatedly and then pay for them. If you find this article useful, please share it with your friends who are into ecommerce and are making these mistakes. If you have any questions, comment it down below or contact me personally, I will be happy to answer all your questions.
[The author of this post is Shetul Majithiya, of Emipro Technologies Pvt. Ltd.]