And in such big task, anyone is prone to do some mistakes. It could be before building it, during the procedure or could be after the website is up and running to make some serious sale.
Here, we have gathered some common mistakes performed by an average eCommerce website owner. Check out them to know if you are a victim, too.
1. Choosing Bad Domain
People will recall you by your website’s name. Ultimately, that will be the trademark, impression or the word which will circle around in the community if you are providing good services. All the marketing efforts and progression you will have lastly furthers the brand-name or the domain name. Both are normally the same.
Now, the domain name with such importance couldn’t be wrong or you should try to make it right to the very small detail. Everything which will branch out is going to stand on your domain name and it will also decide your website’s persona. It also impacts on your marketing strategies greatly.
Have you ever come across a successful eCommerce website with a long, complicated name?
Here is a simple example: amazon is running a good business, so does the barns and noble. Both of their domains are,
Now tell me, which one would you prefer to enter in your browser first? Or, another question: which one would you remember quickly?
Simple and small things like this matters big.
2. Poor Website Structure
There are many ways to make a bad website. Not just in appearance or aesthetic way, but there are many things in the background which could result your website in a poorly built structure and it could cost you from poor user experience to a total disastrous outcome.
Here are some ways described for making a poor website:
- Bad Platform Choice
- Considering static or dynamic over Responsive Design
- Incompatibility on different browsers and screen-sizes
- Sluggish website
Choosing a right platform is important. There are basically three things to consider: Development Platform, Content Management System and Templated website builders.
Development Platforms are the technical languages by which your website’s base structure will be written. There are many development platforms (ASP, PHP, etc.) so you need to choose wisely according to your present and the possible future needs.
Also, the type of website you choose affects greatly. There are three major types of website right now: Static, Dynamic and Responsive. Static and Dynamic websites are used when site has the very basic needs. Though, today more and more website-owners and also developers are preferring Responsive design. Reasons are many. Responsive designs fit automatically according to the screen-sizes (no matter if its 400*800 on mobile display or it is a 4k resolution monitor). The website also work fluently on different web-browsers. There are many other positive traits of a responsive design.
So, you better figure out which type you do and will require as the cost of developing also varies and you don’t want to throw extra money if it isn’t going to be fruitful for you.
Maybe it is said by Einstein or maybe people have chosen his name to give this quote some importance, but it is quite good when you understand it:
“Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.”
This suites perfectly for the current eCommerce times. People like the K.I.S.S. concept very much. Any good website you see, will have simplicity at its core.
Things which scares away the customers are:
- Awkward navigation
- Perplexing placement of objects
- Scary checkout method (Lengthy forms to fill up or asking too many questions)
- Obstacles to shopping (requiring ID/password even to add products in the basket)
In some cases, websites even put the ID/password option at the landing page instead of the displaying the products they are selling. These are some of the big reasons a visitor would leave your website.
Firstly, they are at your website to buy stuff. If you can easily get them do that directly, then you can impress them by your design or could ask for their personal information later. Let them buy first or at least present yourself as without any shopping obstacles. That would be more than enough.
4. Poor Representation of Products
There are three main ways to make a bad product page:
- Bad imagery of the products
- Poor Description
- Irrelevant offers
According to many researches, visitors gets converted into consumers on those websites where the description of the product is explicit, the imagery of the product is excellent with multiple view angles and detailed close-ups (you can consider 360 degree view too). The simplest with enough minimal details would work the best.
Also, the offers you provide on any product page should be relevant. If a person has just bought a high-end mobile phone from your website, then next relevant purchase would be the mobile cases, external batteries or headphones. Not another mobile phone. If he is looking for a phone for the first time, then the product page should be filled with other mobile phone options.
It is similar to the real world buying. Let’s say, a person is buying a mug from a regular store, then firstly he will pick it up first, look it from all sides, check out the shelves for other options, would like to know the price range and good qualities from the owner and finally, after gauging and calculating all the options he has including his budget, he would decide whether to buy that product from your store or not. But, if you kill his desire to buy something at the doorstep by bad smell in your shop or products being scattered around on your floor or the salesman not behaving appropriate to the customer, the customer will leave at the moment.
That’s what poor representation of the product does to an online buyer. The visitor, who might have become your customer, would just leave your website and would search for another online retailer with better viewing angles and description.
So, the goal should be attaining the trust of your prospective consumers by giving them the real-world purchasing experience online.
5. Not adding the customer review section
Many new start-ups eCommerce site haven’t understood the importance of the customer review section. It is one of the most vital points in the customer’s process of deciding to purchase a thing from your site or not.
Again, a real world example is good to understand this point. Let’s say, you are considering to buy a car. A good $30 K car.
The car you are somewhat interested in appears nicely in advertisements on TV with shiny stars driving in it. It also appears on the hoardings and the newspapers daily. They shows the car on the front page and after your hundreds of search inquiries on Google, you see that car’s advertisement on every webpage you visit.
Now, after seeing this much bombardment of advertisements, would you just go and book a car for you blindly believing the dealer and the shiny advertisements?
No. That’s not how you buy a car. After all the efforts by the car-company to gain your attention, you would like to know what your peers think about it. It would be even better to get an opinion from someone who already owns the car you want to buy. That kind of reviews would be the most trust-worthy than the company and dealer’s advertisements. Because those reviews are based on the real-world performance of the car. After knowing them, you would decide if the car suffices your expectations. Now, your decision about buying the car will be much more clear.
That’s just the case in online business. If people are getting other buyers’ reviews on the product they are about to purchase, no matter how small or inexpensive the product is, they would read it with much more attention than they would read the actual product page. There they find the answers for the ‘real world performances’ or ‘experiences’ of the product.
So, customer review section is a thing you just can’t exclude.
6. Shipping cost in the era of free-shipping
Though, most of the new eCommerce websites are providing free shipping, there are still new entrepreneurs who are costing their customers for shipping. No matter how well built your website is or how good your every product page looks, customer would just stride away to another website with free shipping. That’s an expense you will have to bear in the online business.
It’s understandable (and also the customer will understand) if the total amount of the order is really, really low which will be a total financial loss for you to deliver that product. In that case, you can put a minimum limit of total order amount for purchase to be delivered free of cost (or else you can charge the shipping cost if the consumer is still persistent to buy below the limit).
But, don’t keep the minimum order amount too high. It should be a fine line between an average customers’ buying capacity (according to your website’s product types) and your profitable margin.
At first, keep the focus on gaining trust of the customers, than gaining their money. If they trust you, they will surely come back for another product without a hiccup. Otherwise, your competitor is just one click away for them.
7. Poor or no business plan/marketing strategy at all
This is really bad. Not having a full thought-out business plan or an outline of marketing strategy is like making a unique product and keeping it in your garage out of everyone’s sight. Then you expect your customers to come to you for the thing about which they don’t know exists.
Would Steve Jobs or Bill Gates have become this rich and famous if they kept their brilliant products hidden in their garages without telling anyone about them?
We are living in a time of heavy marketing. Even the poorest movies make enough money in the first weekend of its release through extensive marketing before other people realize about its quality.
We aren’t talking about creating poor product and marketing them extensively. That isn’t the way you want to operate. That isn’t the way, you can stay in the industry of online selling for long time.
It’s about creating a robust eCommerce website with all the best products, after-sale services and transparent terms and conditions and then letting people know about it. Brag if you need to. But, at the end, when people visit your website, the quality of your website, the trust you build and the excellent flawless services you provide will be the main reasons if anyone buys from your store.
So, when you decide to build an online reselling website and are grave-serious about running the business, you should also plan out your business with a firm, effective marketing strategy.
One more thing to note is to not go for the shortcuts. Options like spam mailing would gain you some quick visits to your site, but will also label you as an untrustworthy website. Instead, go for genuine options like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), various types of online (advertising on other websites, active presence on social media, winning awards, mobile apps, multichannel marketing, affiliate marketing, etc.) and offline (flyers, competitions, sponsoring, gifts, TV advertisements, hoardings, print-media, etc.) marketing. And generating back-links or such other options which get you in the talk of your prospective customers in positive ways.
8. Not keeping up with new technologies, trends and ideas
There are multiple trends, ideas and technologies people come up with to further the marketing efforts proficiently, to make things better in multiple ways or to create a whole new level of structure for successful business.
You need to follow them all, some or at least stay aware of the most of them. This way, you could eventually chose the appropriate ones for your marketing strategy which could uplift your sale significantly.
Few of such idea which are or already have become norm in the eCommerce industry are:
- Marketing intelligence gathering
- Algorithmic recommendations
- location based services
Here is our article on 8 new eCommerce trends to become mainstream in 2014. It consists such new ideas and technologies which could get popular among the eCommerce website owners in near future.
9. Poor customer service
This is another thing which customer fear the most in an online purchase. What if their product comes broken, defected or isn’t the product at all which they ordered at the first place. They are scared of a lot of reasons as they have already paid for it and generally wants the right product instead of the full cash-back (because it will cost them another effort of purchasing).
For products bought from a brick-and-mortar store, they could just go back and replace it or will get their cash-back instantly. They trust it. They know that they could go that place at any time.
But, how could they grab the neck of an online website, if they get the wrong product? A website could go careless to pick up the phone or doesn’t reply to anything.
So, you are required to go two step ahead than the physical stores. You need to provide them excellent after sale services such as toll free customer care number which works 24×7 (and other communication options such as email address, address of the company’s sales department), guaranteed replacement for wrong/defected product, multiple appropriate payment options (for instance, Cash-on-Delivery payment option is very popular in developing countries like India), etc.
You need to take care of your customers also after selling the product. It will make sure their return for another purchase.
10. Vague terms and policies
Though, not everyone reads the terms and policies of the eCommerce websites, they will, when they find a need to get clear about something in legal terms. It generally happens when they are doing some big purchase like expensive mobile phone, TV, Camera or computers. When a question arouses in their mind and they want a clear answer for that, they would either call the customer care, or would go on the site in the FAQ or Terms and Policies section.
There you need to be explicitly clear about the every terms, conditions and probable scenarios which could occur. It will help them to decide about their purchase and will also get some sense of your reliability and trustworthiness.
Whether it is return policy, replacement policy or the whole store policy, just make them clear-cut and unambiguous.
These are some of the mistakes which any eCommerce site owner could make. So, if you are one of them, or are going to be, keep them in mind to lessen your troubles.
After doing everything right, there is an inevitable need of testing your final website. Before publishing it, check every functionality yourself and also encourage some of your friends and acquaintances to see what they like/dislike about it.
If buyers don’t have a smooth, polished experience, they will quickly judge you as an amateur entrepreneur and you would might lose their trust which is the single greatest loss in online selling business. You lose trust, you lose business and doesn’t matter how much accurate your website’s presentation is.