Whether you’re an entrepreneur launching an exciting new product line or a student selling a few items to help pay for law school, the way you design and maintain your online store is essential to its success. If your merchandise hasn’t been selling as well as you’d hoped, it’s time to reexamine the way you’re doing business. Here are ecommerce mistakes you could be making.
Not creating buyer personas.
Every business needs a marketing strategy, and every strategy needs to be aimed at a target demographic. Buyer personas are profiles of your ideal customers. On his website, Neil Patel reports that companies who exceeded lead and revenue goals were twice as likely to use buyer personas than companies who failed to achieve their goals, and almost half the companies exceeding their goals updated their buyer personas frequently as their business strategies evolved.
In his article on Shopify, Richard Lazazzera identifies just a few of the categories you can use when creating a buyer persona, including location, age, gender, education level, profession, income, relationship status, and interests. Most importantly, you want to pinpoint what motivates this person to buy a product and what this person’s primary concerns are when considering a purchase.
For example, a graduate student making $15,000 per year is likely to be on a tight budget, so she’ll be likely to respond favorably to an email campaign offering a discount code. A middle-aged business executive with a three figure salary, on the other hand, may be less price sensitive, but he’ll want to hear about the high quality of the product.
Making your online store too difficult to navigate.
If you want customers to give you money, don’t make them run an obstacle course to do it.
According to the Baymard Institute, 35 percent of customers who abandon their online shopping carts do so because the site required them to create an account while another 27 percent become frustrated with the lengthy or complicated checkout process. EY Studios reports multiple or conflicting calls to action, attempts to upsell or cross-sell in the middle of checkout, and clunky page navigation are among the biggest conversion killers.
Always offer customers a guest checkout option rather than requiring them to fill out a lengthy form. Never ask them to enter the same information more than once; for example, let them check a box to populate the billing address field with the shipping address they’ve already entered. If it’s necessary to include multiple pages, display a progress bar, so they know how many more steps they need to complete.
Incomplete product information.
While retail customers can visually inspect products, reading labels and checking for quality, your online customers only have the information you provide. Therefore, it’s vital to include high-quality photos and complete specifications. In his article for CIO, Ralph Tkatchuk says customers “will not purchase a product they do not fully understand or connect with. For the best chances of success, companies should spend time crafting rich, detailed descriptions.”
Customers need to know the product’s benefits, how its features compare to other products you sell, and why it’s better than products your competitors offer. Within the Flow advises, “Give buyers details of size, shape, colour, storage, [and] technologies used…The product page must also offer details of returns policies, process in case of damaged goods, shipping details, delivery details and other important after sales information.” Don’t make customers add the item to their carts or commit to the purchase before they can view this information.
Lack of customer options.
On the Web Design Blog, Alastair Brian points out the benefits of offering multiple shipping options: “Every customer is likely to have different delivery expectations. Some may have an important event, like an anniversary or birthday, just around the corner so they will prioritize fast shipping to get the ordered gift on time. [Other] customers are always on the lookout for the most economical and discounted product. Providing further discount via free shipping serves as an excellent incentive for these customers to proceed with the cart checkout.”
If you are running a dropshipping business and partnering with suppliers overseas, make sure to stay informed on any new developments. While shipping items from China and Hong Kong used to take up to two months, a new service called ePacket can ship smaller packages in half that time. By using the epacket track feature, you and your customer can monitor the progress of the shipment, and you can collect data on shipping times for different locations and demographics.
Poor customer service.
In his article for Lead Crunch, Olin Hyde explains how building a trusting relationship in business involves demonstrating reliability, capability, and intimacy. Reliability measures how well you fulfill your commitments, capability measures how qualified you are to do your job, and intimacy measures how well you form close bonds and make others feel special and valued.
In order to trust you, your customers must have ways to contact you. Your “Contact Us” page should include a phone number, email support form, and several social network profiles that will be monitored constantly. By responding to complaints promptly and doing everything possible to resolve the issue, you demonstrate every customer’s satisfaction is important to you, which reinforces intimacy. Don’t risk an customer leaving an angry review on social media for all to see.
What are you selling online? Tell us in the comments about the ecommerce mistakes you’ve learned from.