11 Critical E-Commerce Mistakes You Must Avoid
Creating a Great First Impression Right Away
Have you ever been on an e-commerce site that just didn’t feel right? Maybe it was the lack of a stated return policy, or the checkout process was awkward. Or perhaps you didn’t like the lack of product reviews and low quality product images. Whatever the reason, critical e-commerce mistakes most likely caused you to leave the site as quickly as possible.
Creating a great first impression is always important. But on an e-commerce site it is absolutely essential! Remember, you are asking consumers for their credit card info and other personal data. If they have any reason to doubt your integrity they will go somewhere they feel safer. Therefore you must avoid making critical e-commerce mistakes right from the start.
Critical e-commerce mistakes can range from major blunders like a complicated and lengthy checkout process to common oversights such as bad product images. The main thing to remember is that if you give potential customers any reason to avoid doing business with you they will. If you want to build a trusted online business and increase sales you must avoid making these critical e-commerce mistakes.
11 Critical E-Commerce Mistakes
1 – Not Establishing Trust
2 – Hiding Contact Info
An easy way to lose the trust of your potential shoppers is hiding your contact info. Customers always want to know whom they are dealing with. This is especially true if you are asking them for money. One of our critical e-commerce mistakes is not listing all of your relevant contact info. Showing your consumers that they can contact you if they get stuck is essential for providing the best possible user experience.
3 – Long Checkout Process
Creating a difficult and lengthy checkout process is one of the most critical e-commerce mistakes you can make. The ideal e-commerce checkout process should be simple, and as short as possible. Limit your checkout process to collecting billing and shipping information, confirm product details, and a payment page. And allow repeat customers to store their information for future use!
4 – Confusing Shopping Cart
An essential part of your checkout process is your shopping cart. This is where you are asking consumers for their money, so pay attention here! Consumers will only pay you money if they are absolutely clear about what they are buying. Your shopping cart needs to clearly state the product name, photo, description, size and color, and final cost. Allow your consumers to make changes before checkout!
5 – Hidden Fees and Charges
Nothing is as annoying to consumers as completing a purchase only to find out that there were “hidden” handling fees and service charges. Most likely you cancelled a transaction if that happened to you. Well, your consumers feel the same way! Not disclosing any applicable fees, charges, taxes, or any related info up-front is one of our critical e-commerce mistakes.
6 – Not Being Mobile-Friendly
Not only is being mobile-friendly a Google requirement; your mobile consumers expect it as well. Modern shoppers love to buy things online, and they love shopping on mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. Ignoring mobile devices is another one of our critical e-commerce mistakes. So be sure to offer your visitors an engaging, mobile-friendly experience on your e-commerce site, before they go somewhere else.
7 – Bad Photography
Having large and high-quality photos is an essential aspect of having an e-commerce site. Product images serve two important functions: they allow your site visitors to quickly gather required information; and by focusing on visual clues they can make immediate assessments regarding the quality and value of your products. Providing additional product views and details is especially helpful.
8 – No Product Reviews
Having product reviews benefits both you and your consumers. Missing opportunities to promote your e-commerce business through product reviews is therefore one of our critical e-commerce mistakes. Not only should you allow product reviews; you should ask for them at every opportunity, and be sure to share them on your social media channels. People trust recommendations from friends and peers more than any product description.
9 – Ignoring Your Competitors
You don’t have to stalk your competitors; that may actually get you into trouble. But it definitely helps if you keep an eye on your online and brick-and-mortar competition. Take a look at their product and pricing strategies, and determine where you can effectively compete against them. Remember that the actual cost of the item is only one determining factor. Maybe you should focus on beating your competitors on quality, service, or location.
10 – Depending on Promotions
Having short-term promotions on your e-commerce site is a good way to increase sales during a slow season, or to introduce a new product. But they should not be considered long-term strategies. If your e-commerce site is not performing well you need to focus on improving the overall user experience instead of relying on discounts and promotions.
11 – No Performance Monitoring
Retail store owners at least check the daily receipts and keep an eye on the average number of daily customers. Yet many online sellers fail to do the same, which makes this the last of our critical e-commerce mistakes. If you have an e-commerce site you need to monitor things like overall site traffic, traffic and referral sources, shopping cart and checkout abandonment, average order amount and revenue on a daily basis. Other metrics such as your PPC performance and AdWords campaigns should be monitored weekly.
Fixing Critical E-Commerce Mistakes
Now that you know more about critical e-commerce mistakes to avoid you are prepared to deal with them once and for all! The first step is to see if you made any of them on your own e-commerce site. Take a good look and identify any shortcomings on your site. Then sort them according to how long it will take to correct them.
Mistakes You Can Fix Yourself
Start with the easy ones first. If you are not allowing product reviews change that, and then ask recent customers for reviews. Make sure your contact info is prominently displayed on each page. Update any outdated or missing info. List your exchange and return policy prominently. And evaluate the effectiveness of any running special promotions. Eliminate ones that have outlived their usefulness.
Where You Need Professional Help
Other critical e-commerce mistakes will take longer to fix, and most likely you will need some professional help. Those include simplifying your checkout process or getting better quality product images. Remember that you are making an investment into your online business; the extra effort and cost will be worth it in the long run.
In some cases the extent of critical e-commerce mistakes make it more effective to start from scratch. This is especially true if your critical e-commerce mistakes involve your checkout, shipping, and payment process, including your shopping cart. Another reason to start fresh is if your e-commerce site does not meet the requirements of Google’s Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Update of February 2015.
Some of you may be new to e-commerce, and maybe you don’t have an e-commerce site up and running yet. Great, that means you did not make any of these critical e-commerce mistakes already. And now you can avoid making them altogether.
If you are still working on your new e-commerce site you may want to check out How to Establish a Successful Business Website, learn about Simple Business Website Engagement Strategies, and avoid Common Website Design Problems as well.
Remember, building an effective e-commerce site is one of the most challenging tasks for an online entrepreneur. You may even be tempted to try a free or low-cost option and build your own online store. While I admire your pluck and enthusiasm I definitely do not recommend it. You are making an investment in your business. Shouldn’t you let a professional at least help you with that?
Still Not Sure About Avoiding Critical E-Commerce Mistakes?
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Since e-commerce websites attract consumers it is vital that your e-commerce store is all it can be. Contact us to learn more about our e-commerce services, and how our team can help you avoid making critical e-commerce mistakes yourself. Why not get started by requesting a FREE website audit or FREE SEO report? That will show you exactly where you need to improve your online presence.
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