The ecommerce industry is still young in relative terms, but let’s beat around the bush – it’s been around long enough to iron out many of the kinks that plagued the industry in its early days. Sadly, when you take a look at the vast majority of online retailers, it’s clear that many of these simple issues are still in existence.
So, if your ecommerce business is struggling to compete with your rivals, or make enough sales to survive, perhaps it’s time to go back to school. The chances are that you are making some standard errors that are causing immense problems for yourself and your ecommerce business – and we intend to fix them for you today. Read on to find out more.
Poor website performance
Load speed times, terrible bounce rates, poor conversions – all of them are apparent on many ecommerce sites to this day. With the modern consumer savvier about websites than ever before, there is no room at the table for poor performing sites – let alone reason for their existence. Great brands sell a lot of products because they get the basics right, and the basics in the case of an ecommerce business are its website – the auto dealer’s forecourt of the online retail world.
Put simply, if your business is not represented well online, no one will buy from you. Invest in a web designer to create a platform that your customers will actually use, and focus on their experience. Use your analytics to find out which pages are leaking customers, and improve them so you can plug those gaps. And bear in mind that a website is never truly finished – it’s an ongoing process that needs constant tweaks and updates as time goes by.
Poor product pages
There are many other ecommerce businesses out there who are killing it selling the exact same products as you. And part of the reason why is because they put a lot of effort into their product pages. First and foremost, your products need SEO if you want online consumers to find them. Once they are on the page, they want to see razor sharp images of that product, to see what they are really like. And they also want to read benefits-driven copy that sings from their screens, to compel them to make that purchase right away. Far too many product pages are filled with generic product descriptions and drab, boring copy, If you want to inspire someone to buy, you need to start making more of an effort.
However, even when you get all the above right, you will still struggle to make sales if your customer doesn’t know what to do next. It’s vital that you provide everything they need to check out straight away, or, perhaps, look at an alternative product that matches their needs. The best ecommerce businesses realize this and use algorithms to display similar products that visitors might be interested in. Fix all these product page issues, and you should see sales starting to improve almost immediately.
Poor checkout process
When you buy something online, how much time do you want to spend doing it? In super quick time and as easy as possible, right? Well, the chances are that your customers feel the same way. And that makes the fact that so many ecommerce businesses put as many roadblocks in the way of their clients so frustrating. Far too many checkout processes take a long time to go through, and there is simply no need. A name, address, and card number is pretty much all you need. And demanding a customer signs up for an account might only scare them away – save that stuff for later.
You also need to give customers payment options. While most people will want to pay by debit or credit card, others might want to use PayPal. And with 2017 set to be a big year for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, perhaps you ought to consider looking into the future of payments, too.
Poor partner choices
The vast majority of ecommerce businesses rely on other companies to provide a service to their customers. Take drop shipping, as the perfect example. Drop shipping is all about the third party you use to ship and create products. You are, essentially, acting as a middleman, selling the product direct to customers and taking a slice of the sales after your wholesale purchase costs and the shipping.
However, as any good drop shipping guide will tell you, you have to choose your suppliers and delivery agents with care. You have to ensure that you are happy with the companies you are dealing with. And, of course, that they can create or ship the products within the right timeframes to match your business needs. Also, because of the small margins involved, you’ll need to make sure you can get the best possible deal from both providers of the product and the shipping company, or you won’t attract custom in the first place – your prices will be too high.
While we’re on the subject, there are two aspects of delivery that your customers will hate. The first is obscure charges when they check out. You’ll need to make these clear and add them onto their bill at an earlier stage of a process. The simple fact is that if a customer thinks he’s buying a $40 item all the way through the buying process when they find out there’s $10 delivery on top, they aren’t going to be happy. It’s one of the biggest contributors to shopping cart abandonment out there, so make sure they are aware of the delivery costs right from the start.
The second issue is the way the products are delivered. As we mentioned above, you need to use a delivery company that you can rely on to deliver your products in a timely fashion. It doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be super quick, as some customers will be happy to wait for particular types of products, But you do need to deliver on time and when you say you will. Tracking systems can help, of course, but, ultimately, it’s choosing the best delivery service possible that counts.