Having an online store or e-commerce website can be challenging, especially for those who are new to it and still navigating the waters. If you’re an experienced e-commerce seller: are you struggling with getting traffic to your store? Or, do you have a high number of visitors to your website but poor conversion? You might be pulling your hair out not knowing which way to turn. Whatever it is, we’ve listed below mistakes to avoid when selling online.
1. Neglecting to do market research – When launching a new product or service, it is vital that you conduct market research in order to accurately understand your market, potential customers and where to find them. You need to know their interests, habits, demographic, age group etc. When you know your potential customers, you can easily target them when running paid campaigns on Facebook or Google. You can reach them and provide products or services that solve a problem and can actually make a difference to their lives.
2. Not having a marketing budget – How will you advertise your e-commerce store? Will you rely on organic traffic (SEO, social media automation, content marketing etc.) or paid traffic (Facebook ads, Google AdWords etc.)? If you had a physical store, then you would think of ways to bring people into your store. Similarly, having an e-commerce store alone won’t magically bring visitors – you need to invest in marketing. Sometimes you need to spend money to make money.
3. Poor site navigation and slow page loading time – How is your website looking? Is it working for, or against you? Is it easy for shoppers to find what their looking for? Your site layout, menu, pages, categories and sub-categories must be designed to make it simple and uncomplicated for potential customers to understand you and your brand. Over 80% of users access websites on their mobiles – it is vital that your site loads quickly. Your online store might be the first impression you make to visitors, so it’s worth investing in a sleek, professionally-designed e-commerce store.
4. Poor product description – Are your products or services poorly described? It’s clear that most people won’t purchase what they don’t understand. Make sure your descriptions are detailed, accurate and honest. If you have variants e.g. colours, sizes, weights etc. then outline that on each product page. If you struggle with writing product descriptions then consider getting a content writer or copywriter. Having professionally written copy on your site can make a lot of difference.
5. Not utilising social media – Social media can do wonders for your brand and e-commerce store. Instagram alone has over a billion users globally. Depending on the niche you’re in and your target demographic, you’ll find at least 1 platform that can work for you. Make sure your social media profiles and pages are integrated with your e-commerce store. Use social media to advertise your products/services, to connect with customers, to teach/offer tips and promote your brand. Remember that your profiles must have a ‘look and uniformity’ that fits in with your overall brand.
6. Hidden shipping costs – One of the main reasons customers abandon carts online is because of unexpected shipping costs. If you offer free shipping, then let this be your Unique Selling Point (USP) – who doesn’t like free shipping? Make it very clear on (i) the home page and (ii) your product page. If you don’t offer free shipping, could you consider including it in the retail price and ‘bumping’ up the price? Whatever you do, have a separate shipping policy that clearly states shipping times and duration so the customer is fully informed before purchase.
7. Complicated return policies – Similar to shipping costs, your return policy must be clear and simple. If you want customers to contact you before initiating returns, then make this clear in the policy. If there’s process for returns, specific physical address, time-limit etc. for returns, then outline that too. Complicating this process is off-putting and it means customers will not buy from you again.
8. Poor customer service – Truthfully, this is applicable in any business: you need to provide excellent customer service at all times. How do you handle complaints? Are you delivering a little extra? Do you offer incentives and loyalty programs? Do you follow-up with customers post-purchase and do you offer any after-sales support? Commit to mastering customer service and see the difference it will make in your e-commerce journey.