8 common mistakes to avoid when running an ecommerce site

Launching an ecommerce site can be an exciting time – your products are ready to go, your site is slick, working well, looking good and you’ve got the perfect payment gateway just waiting for the first transaction.

What can possibly go wrong?

Well, it turns out quite a lot can actually, but, instead of finding these pitfalls yourself, we’ve talked to people who’ve launched ecommerce sites about what they’ve done, the mistakes they’ve made and what they’ve learned – in the hope that you can make your way through the minefield with no problems! You can also get eCom success academy here which is a great tutorial for ecommerce site owners of levels!

  1. No business plan

Going to market if you haven’t got a business plan is one of the last things you want to be doing.

If you’re on the edge of making the move and you don’t have solid answers to some fundamental questions you stand a distinct chance of tripping and falling right out of the gate.

Think about the market you’re looking to break into. Do you know who else is offering a similar product? Who’s buying it? Are you improving on it? Do you have a unique selling point? Are you going in cheaper or better than your competitor?

There’s more to ask – but unless you know exactly where you sit in the market place you’re gambling a lot with nothing but luck backing you up.

  1. No marketing strategy

Okay, you might think this is the same as point 1 – but it’s not, marketing isn’t just the stuff that’s going to get you to market – it’s knowing and doing the stuff that’s going to keep you there.

Lucky for you there’s a host of marketing strategies online – so, check some out.

You’re going to want to look for something that covers, at the very least; social media, Google search engine optimisation and pay per click advertising – as well as possible affiliate schemes that could work for your industry.

Oh, and the only way you’ll know if what you’re doing is effective? You’re going to want to get a feel for a tool like Google Analytics – otherwise you’re going to be guessing at whether or not your marketing is working – and where it needs tweaking. 

  1. You’re not mobile friendly

People shop from their desktops and laptops right?

Wrong! Each passing year sees the number of people shopping directly from their mobile device rocketing skyward. If you’re not optimised for mobile then believe us, there are far greater numbers of people who’ll be jabbing that back button instead of pinching to zoom in on awkward forms to enter credit card numbers.

It might cost you in the short term, but the long-term benefits are vast – and growing year on year.

  1. Badly thought through site design

There’s a well-established belief in website user experience that if you force people to think about how they should be using your site, you’re going to lose them.

Intuitive design has never been as important as it is when you’re directly taking money from people. Make it hard for them and they simply won’t part with the cash.

There’s far more to design than we can cover here (or in another 10 articles like this!) – so if you’re not sure, find someone with ecommerce user interface experience. Again, it’s likely to cost you, but if it leads to increased conversions on your site – it’s money well spent.

  1. Poor or lacking images

You’d be mad to think that people are going to part with hard earned money on a product that they really can’t get a feel for from the pictures that you have on your site – it’s just not going to happen.

Shopping is all about the eyes – so yours or your photographer’s camera is going to have to become your customers eyes.

Make sure you have good lighting, lots of angles, close-ups where appropriate and all the size and colour options listed and shot.

You might scrape a few sales without decent images – but you can expect some of them coming back when they see your product in the light of day!

  1. Poorly written product descriptions

If you’ve seen Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jordan Belfort in the Wolf of Wall Street you know that no one’s going to buy your pen if you don’t create a need.

Your product is no different to the pen. Create a need, explain how the product will fulfil that need then set a price.

Now, because you’re not face to face Leo, you’re going to need to weave some great words that he and the rest of your customers are going to read. This is where a good copywriter comes into their own. A customer wants to know what your product is, what is does and what it’s going to offer them – nail those words and your shelves will start emptying…

  1. No customer service

Just because you’re online doesn’t mean people aren’t going to need to talk to you about your product, your service, their issues, postage… and so forth.

If you’ve shopped online and sought service – there’s nothing worse than a generic response from a support@ email address that just doesn’t answer your question.

Even if it doesn’t get used, letting people know you’ve got support in place boosts confidence – so to begin with get sharp at replying to service emails – and in the future, think about live chat or developing a chatbot that can take the pressure off you.

  1. Checking out is hard!

You don’t get to the check-out in the supermarket and have to jump over a pool of piranha before completing a detailed questionnaire and entering your card details 3 times – so don’t make people do it on your site.

Once again, you’re in the situation where if you make something hard you’re going to be losing people – abandoning their basket tantalisingly close to the money hitting your account.

Get people to use your site before you go out there into the unforgiving world. Understand points that exist where using your site is a struggle – this information is gold, because doing something about it can literally put money in your pocket.

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