If you own an e-commerce business, certain practices can take your store from good to better.
For example, did you know that more than half of website visitors abandon a site that takes too long to load? Google suggests that your web pages take no more than three seconds to load. Otherwise, you risk losing valuable site traffic (and conversions, too).
Before anything else, ensure that you’re offering your target audience (your customers and potential customers) a great user experience. This includes ensuring that your web pages load quickly and have no bugs or blank images so your customers can easily find what they need.
From an e-commerce perspective, there are some common mistakes that you’ll want to avoid.
Knowing what they are and steering clear of them can help you increase site traffic and drive conversions.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
Mistake #1: Undefined Target Audience
The biggest mistake a business owner can make is not defining who the target consumer is and not understanding what they need — crucial in e-commerce.
Unlike a physical store where you can simply lay out your products and see which products garner the most interest, a digital store works differently. Competition is everywhere, and everyone is contending for the audiences’ attention.
Before launching your e-commerce store, research the following about your target audience.
- Their needs and wants that your product or service will address
- Specific problems that your product or service can solve
- The type of communication or language your target audience uses
- The digital channels they frequently visit
Once you’ve done your research, it’s easier to present your brand in a way that is attractive to your consumer.
Mistake #2: Wrong Platform
The e-commerce platform you use can either boost or hurt your sales. Why? The platform determines how the following actions are performed:
- Showcasing your products or services
- Facilitating the purchase process
- Attracting users to browse
When choosing an e-commerce platform, consider the following:
- The products or services you offer
- The tools you’re currently using (for integration purposes)
- The website design you envision
- The kind of user experience you aim to provide
- The level of customization you need
These are important because the wrong platform can lead to costly losses.
If, for example, your inventory or payment tool doesn’t integrate with the platform, then you’ll lose precious time trying to sort that out. When a platform isn’t customizable per your requirements, you cannot add specific functions essential to your store.
Choosing the right platform requires foresight and research. Don’t easily commit to a platform simply because it’s cheap or widely used. It must be tailored to your needs; else, you might find yourself needing to switch platforms down the road and losing revenue during the downtime.
A digital e-commerce expert can help you select the best platform for your needs to avoid this costly mistake.
Mistake #3: Poor UX
UX (user experience) is a subtle and often-overlooked aspect of website building.
Good UX doesn’t only mean the bells and whistles. What users need is navigation ease, quick loading time, and secure payment transactions.
When building your website, think of the experience you’d want as a customer. What’s your favourite thing about online shopping? Is it the ease of finding products or services just by searching for a keyword? Is it the helpful suggestions about related products or services that pop up on the screen? Whatever it is, make sure that your site’s UX provides users with those and a smooth, hassle-free transaction. Make them want to purchase from you and even return and remain loyal customers.
Research shows that 78% of customers retract a potential purchase due to poor customer experience.
In e-commerce, your website is one of your biggest tools, so make sure your customer’s experience is the best it can be.
If your e-commerce store relies on organic traffic to bring in leads, then your website’s content should be written with SEO (search engine optimization) in mind. SEO ensures that search engines such as Google can easily find your website among millions of other sites.
When your website is SEO-friendly, meaning you’ve incorporated keywords that your target market uses, search engines will show your website among the top results on your target audience’s SERPs (search results pages). To achieve this, begin with keyword research.
Mistake #5: Poor Customer Service
Great customer service increases the chances of customers returning to your store for a repeat purchase. Meanwhile, poor customer service hurts your business. A whopping 96% of customers worldwide consider customer service a crucial deciding factor in brand loyalty.
Customer service is even more important in e-commerce because most of the time, you don’t get second chances with a disappointed customer.
Statistics show that 83% of online shoppers abandoned their carts owing to poor customer service. Moreover, almost 90% of the shoppers stop shopping or cut ties with a brand due to a negative experience.
Customer service in e-commerce entails being available to answer customers’ queries. Hence, it’s imperative to have multiple channels through which they can reach you.
Invest in a customer support team to assist you in answering customer queries quickly. You can also check out the following tools and platforms to see if they can help you:
- AI chatbots for basic customer assistance
- Facebook Messenger for automated chats
- 24/7 live chats through your e-commerce site
- A dedicated email address
- A phone hotline
- An SMS hotline
By avoiding common mistakes, you can accelerate the growth of your e-commerce store and can gain an edge over competitors. Choosing the right tools will save you time and money in the long run.
In e-commerce, positive customer experiences can tip the scales in your favour. When your customers have a smooth shopping experience, they will come back and eventually bring in more new customers through word of mouth.
The bottom line is that investing in a solid foundation for your e-commerce store is essential. It can be the key to your success. Consult an expert to ensure you are on track, then watch your customers increase and your sales rise.