Why Businesses Fail
Whilst there are plenty of ecommerce success stories, to maximise the likelihood of becoming the next one it’s important to know what not to do and the relevant fixes.
Online sales in many markets are highly competitive due to the ease with which buyers can shop around, and there are a handful of common errors which can lead visitors to leave your website without placing an order. In this post I’m going to go through some of the most common errors to avoid, most of which have easy fixes.
1. Poor user experience
Succeeding in providing a great user experience depends firstly on making it as easy as possible for visitors to navigate your website and find the product they are looking for.
Your product categories should be clearly visible from the homepage with appealing category images and if you have a large number of products you should give visitors a choice of relevant search options, e.g. price, colour, reduced etc.
You should always label your product pages with accurate and descriptive titles to ensure visitors can access them directly from search engines, rather than having to drill down through your websites menus to find the product they want.
Once a visitor has landed on the product page, multiple high quality images of the different variants of that product will reassure them that they know exactly what they are purchasing. Present your potential customer with all the information they will need in order to make the purchase decision, as well as having a general FAQ’s page.
2. Failing to communicate trustworthiness
The most likely reason why a visitor may not take the decision to purchase from your website is a perceived lack of trust. Initially this will be communicated by the quality of your websites appearance. It is often worth getting a professional design in order to achieve a classy look and taking the time to get high quality images also goes a long way.
Beyond this you should include a human element to your website, for example a photo of yourself / staff or physical premises (if applicable) on your information page and always provide a phone number.
3. Lack of mobile website
According to Econsultancy 32% of consumers in the UK make at least one purchase per month via Smartphone. At present, conversion rates remain significantly lower than on desktop. This is because consumers will often use a smartphone to research a product when out and about but then abandon it temporarily and wait until they have a larger device to hand before completing the purchase.
That’s if you have a mobile optimised website. If you do not have a mobile optimised website it is highly unlikely anyone will wait for your product page to load, and if they do they are likely to leave with an amateurish impression of your business.
It’s best to future proof your website by ensuring your ecommerce provider includes a mobile optimised site as part of their service.
4. Lack of incentives
Besides convenience, the main motivation for consumers to shop online is to get the best price possible for the item they are looking to purchase. Beating the high street price is essential, however unless you have a truly unique product you will need to provide some sort of incentive to your prospective customer to get them to purchase from you over another online retailer selling the same or similar products.
Firstly, use of promotional banners on your website as this is a highly effective way of communicating your chosen call to action. Whilst sales and price reductions are a sure way to increase conversion rates, a low cost strategy over a long period of time is unlikely to be viable for many businesses.
Getting creative with your incentives can be a great way to increase your sales and particularly to encourage repeat purchases. Free shipping when a customer’s order reaches a given value is popular, as well as discounted bundles of related products and promotional codes for repeat customers.
5. Poor checkout experience
We’ve all had the experience of purchasing a product on a website only to find that before you are able to checkout you must fill in a lengthy form with your details. This is a common cause for cart abandonment as spontaneous shoppers may decide upon encountering such obstacles to come back later. Inevitably some will not.
Slow payment processing can lead customers to assume that your website has crashed and at best tarnishes the slick image you are trying to portray. Another important issue not to overlook is post purchase communications. Your customer should be clearly informed when their order has been placed and this should be followed up promptly with an automated invoice via email, including a thank you for their custom.
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