7 E-Commerce Mistakes You Can’t Afford To Make

Joe Hollerup
By Joe Hollerup

It seems like there’s a lot less to worry about when running an e-commerce business versus running an actual store. You don’t have to pay rent, there’s no floor to sweep, and no parking to validate. Often times people make the mistake of being too passive when it comes to their online store. The truth is, that nowadays customers expect a high caliber online customer experience. Big companies like Amazon and Walmart have set the standard for online shopping and in order to be competitive in the world of web based retail even the smallest e-commerce site has to strive for that standard.

Here are some common mistakes to avoid while managing your e-commerce site.

1. An Outlet For Customer Service.

Without someone to talk to in person, customers don’t really have anyone to ask questions. Unanswered questions often demotivate consumers to buy. They could be one click away from hitting “confirm purchase”, but if they don’t have an answer to a crucial product question, they may abandon the entire sale.

Marketers are quickly starting to agree that setting up a live chat function is absolutely necessary. Having quick answers keeps customers motivated throughout the buying journey. Additionally, make your company phone number and address very visible or easy to find. Not being able to find company content information is very off-putting for most customers.

2. Visible Customer Reviews.

You may be inclined to hide all of your customer feedback and reviews for fear of having negative reviews in the public eye. However, customers look to their peers for insight. Consumers don’t really buy into the carefully worded product descriptions written by the company — they prefer to know what real people like them are experiencing. Again, companies like Amazon have set the standard for public reviews. Note: It’s sometimes advisable to hold off on publishing reviews to early, you want to wait until you know that you have enough positive reviews to outweigh the bad. 

Related: E-Commerce Best Practices: Make it Pretty. Make it Easy. Make it Current.

3. Detailed Product Descriptions.

When you buy shoes in person, you have the luxury of holding them, trying them on, adjusting the laces, etc. But when you shop online, all you have is words and pictures. It’s important to be as descriptive as possible. So depending on what your specific product is, you’ll want to make sure to incorporate dimensions, adaptability, ingredients, materials, and pretty much anything and everything you can think of.

The visual component of your product has to be just as detailed. This means using high resolution pictures with multiple angles. And for some added interactivity, consider using a 3D or high level zoom function on each picture.

4. Have A Marketing Plan In Place.

Many people rush to set up their store and just wait for customers to find them organically or through word of mouth and they don’t consider setting up a marketing plan until sales are slow. The problem with this is without a marketing strategy you’re not building strong customer relationships and brand loyalty. Marketing strategies vary from company to company. Some may benefit most from social media heavy campaigns while others get better results with a pay-per click campaign. Do some research within your specific industry to determine the best plan for you.

5. Things Are Just Too Complicated.

As an online business owner, you probably cringe at the thought of an abandon cart. Customers are mere clicks away from purchasing and all of sudden, they bounce. Abandon carts isn’t something that’s curable, it’s going to happen one or another. But almost always the best way to reduce abandoned carts is by simplifying the process. If you’ve ever shopped on Amazon then you’ve probably seen their one click check-out feature.

This is a streamlined way to keep customers motivated towards completing the purchase. Less steps means less opportunity to think about why they shouldn’t make this purchase. Additionally, if your checkout process is too complicated, customers may become frustrated and give up all together. Try keeping your check-out process to one screen.

Your overall website should be simple and intuitive as well. Headings and drop down menus shouldn’t be a puzzle. Navigation should not be a conscious thought for the user, it should just happen naturally. That way they can focus on the product itself, not how to find the product.

Related: Your A-Z Guide on Running a Successful E-Commerce Business

6. No Social Media Presence.

There’s no way around it, you need a social media strategy if you want to be a competitive business. Don’t take my word for it though, look at the numbers. 70% of Instagram users regularly engage with brands that they follow. In fact, Instagram is quickly become the leader in customer/brand interaction. So how do you take advantage of this channel? If it’s in your budget, Advertising with Facebook and Instagram is an excellent way to capitalize on the user data they own. You can target a very specific audience to market your product towards online.

Note: video content is 40 times more likely to lead a customer to take action. If producing quality product videos and paid advertising isn’t in your budget, then the best way to grow your brand on social media is through contests, customer conversations, creating hashtags, tutorials, sharing customer experiences and by engaging with your business peers in the same industry.

7. Find A Gap In The Market.

It wouldn’t make much sense to start and E-commerce store that sells a wide range of domestic household products. You wouldn’t even be a blip on Amazon’s radar. It’s very tough to compete against big e-commerce stores, their systems have been in place for a while and their resources are infinite. As an online business you want to offer something that not many other people are offering.

It doesn’t have to just be a unique product either, you could have comprehensive information about a specific product or industry that no one else has. In other words, position yourself as an expert and offer information that other businesses are not. Customers will be more inclined to buy from a trustworthy expert who provides unique value.

 

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Joe is the Creative Manager at Power Digital that enjoys the challenge of balancing marketing, branding, and creative to bring a different perspective to any and all campaigns. He is focused on utilizing creative in a strategic way to support all marketing channels including (but not limited to) content marketing, social media, and email.