Avoid Making These 8 eCommerce Mistakes!
Congratulations, you have succeeded in bringing a few hundred visitors to your site this past month but let me guess, zero sales right? I know that it can be tough to work day and night trying to drive quality visitors to your site, but getting the right traffic, and enough of it is only one piece of the puzzle.
In this post I will focus on another piece of the puzzle that is often overlooked, your store’s appeal factor. The reality is that it is easier than ever before to shop online with more options than any one person could ever handle. The bottom line is that if your store does not appeal to visitors it will never succeed. Below are my 8 main reasons why your site is pushing away customers and what you can do about it.
1. Your site loads too slowly
The speed that your site loads at is a very important factor when it comes to engagement with your site. Sites that have a high load time generally have a high bounce rate and low time on site and pages viewed per visit.
There are a number of services and tools out there that can be used to identify the resources that are taking a long time to load. My favorite is Firebug for Firefox. Firebug shows you all the resources that are loaded when your site loads and how long each one takes. According to Kissmetrics, 47% of consumers expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less.
2. Your customers can’t find what they are looking for
Poor navigation is very common among eCommerce sites, and it ends up costing stores a lot of money because visitors simply can’t find what they are looking for or get lost which ends up in frustration. If you are running an online store that sells more than a dozen products then you should provide a number of ways for your visitors to find the product they are looking for. I recommend using categories and additional menus when possible so that visitors can jump from product to product and category to category. I also recommend providing a search box in the header of your site so that visitors can quickly search for a category or product. Using search also gives you insights into what your visitors want and are having trouble finding.
One major factor which prevents eCommerce sites from making sales is trust. There are so many options out there that if your visitor doesn’t feel comfortable and thinks there is any risk in doing business with you, he or she will simply go back to Google and look for an alternative. You need to focus on building trust with your visitors within the first few seconds of them arriving on your site.
There are a number of things you can do to create trust among your visitors:
- Make sure your site is perceived as both beautiful and professional (more on design later).
- Generate product reviews and display them both on your site and on your social media profiles. I highly recommend Yotpo as it generates more reviews than any other service out there and supports over 20 eCommerce platforms.
- Display badges in the footer of your site that represent the different payment solutions you are using, the level of security that your store offers and any other business organizations or guilds that you belong to.
- Show off the fact that you are active on social media and have social profiles on a number of social networks.
- Ask visitors to join a members club with special promotions and other giveaways.
4. Your products aren’t the focus
Too many eCommerce sites try and do too much and don’t focus enough on their products. Your design should put your products front and center with professional looking images that aren’t too small or too large. Your homepage should showcase your more popular products and within one click take the visitor to the product page where they can learn more about the product, see more images of it and finally add it to their shopping cart.
Make sure that you are providing enough additional information and resources around for your products. Certain products like electronic devices, high end equipment, health products and many others require a lot of information on their product pages so that potential customers can be convinced to buy it. There is a certain type of consumer that researches a number of options and if you don’t provide enough information, this type of consumer will just skip you and even worse, regard you as an inferior shopping destination.
5. You provide no way for your customers to get assistance
How frustrating is to walk into a store and when you need help there isn’t anyone around to give you a hand. When it comes to eCommerce this frustration is real.
There are a number of ways that you can provide your potential customers with assistance and find out flaws in your site:
- Use a live chat service like LivePerson or Olark to help customers in need in real time. Using a chat solution can instantly boost your conversion rate.
- Publish an FAQ on your site which provides answers to commonly asked questions. If you are using a live chat solution then provide a button on this page for follow up questions.
- Use UserVoice or Woofoo to collect feedback from your customers. Use this feedback to improve your site and create an FAQ page.
- Ask 10 friends to make a purchase on your site and ask them to write down their frustrations. Use this feedback to improve your sales funnel.
6. Your eCommerce site is poorly designed
The design of your site will have a massive impact on how it is perceived and how it converts. The average Internet consumer is savvy enough to find an alternative to your site so if your site’s design doesn’t appeal then they will simply leave. Thankfully most hosted platforms have professional looking themes which can be customized to a look and feel that matches your brand.
I recommend looking at the layouts of some of the bigger sites in your space to get an idea of the general direction your design should go in. Most of these larger sites have used multiple designs and by now know what works so you can use this to your advantage.
A second option is to invest in a professional theme (usually costs less than $200) or even a design studio who can do your entire branding and website design.
7. You have too much stimulation on your site
Less is more when it comes to design. Too many sites provide too much information, visuals, videos and other media on their key pages (homepage and product pages). Too much stimulation is overwhelming to visitors and they will simply leave your site. You want to make things simply for them and have a well thought out path that you want them to follow. You can provide a lot more info and media below the fold on product pages as this is where visitors will want to find out more about your products and it will actually work against you not to provide this information. Focus on keeping your homepage and category pages simple and focused and this will lead to more visitors entering in your sales funnel and actually end up making sales.
8. Your products are priced too low or too high
The one factor which is the biggest determining factor for the number of sales of a product is its price. The price of your products need to fit the market’s prices because consumers have more access to information than ever before and will know if your prices are outside of the norm. Spend time each month plotting the prices of your competitor’s products on spatter graph to help you determine your prices.
With that being said it is still important to experiment once in a while and see how you can increase your average purchase price. Some businesses have had huge success with bundling or actually increasing their prices. Sometimes having too low a price can work against you because it makes your products seem cheap. Try and find the sweet spot for all your products.
Running a successful eCommerce site isn’t easy but there are many things that you can do to make your site more appealing and seem more trustworthy. I hope that you have learnt a few tips from this article. I would love to hear your feedback so feel free to comment below.