The idea of setting up an ecommerce site and selling products online might sound like a simple one, and in theory, it is. In practice, however, it’s by no means straightforward. Achieving success as an ecommerce business is far from a given, with thousands of other sites providing competition, not least Amazon, which accounts for over 40% of online sales. To avoid falling into the pitfalls of common ecommerce mistakes, it’s important to undertake a few key steps during the site design and development stages…
Failing to define a target audience
The first common ecommerce mistake occurs before an online store even gets going. Too many site owners believe that having their products and a platform to sell them through is all they need. This approach overlooks the single most important part of the ecommerce equation – the customer.
Before you do anything with an ecommerce site, you need to understand who you’re looking to sell to. That means learning the demographic makeup of your target audience and their pain points – the problems they currently have which your products can solve. This supports tailoring everything about your site towards your audience, giving them a reason to choose you over larger and better known online retailers.
Neglecting the user experience
Having defined a target audience, you can start thinking about the site itself. It should be as attractive to prospective customers as possible, but this isn’t all about design. Being attractive to a customer also means being easy to navigate and to buy from. Too many new ecommerce sites neglect the user experience.
If a site visitor can’t find a product they’re looking for, they will look elsewhere. They’re not going to trawl around your pages in search of it. You have to make sure your site is as user-friendly as possible, introducing a site search feature and working to make pages load as quickly as possible.
Over-complicating the checkout process
This common ecommerce mistake goes hand in hand with neglecting the user experience. The checkout process needs to be simple and trustworthy, with as few obstacles as possible in the way of a customer giving you their money. The checkout process should involve a minimal number of steps, and shouldn’t force customers to set up an account before they can buy. That will only lead prospective clients to abandon their shopping carts. The checkout process isn’t the time for informal or friendly language, either; keep things slick and professional, so customers know the site is trustworthy.
Using poor quality product descriptions
The final common ecommerce mistake is a big one. A surprisingly large number of online stores use poor quality product descriptions, often copying and pasting basic details provided by a manufacturer or supplier. Others employ a handful of bullet points and leave it at that.
However, making no effort with product descriptions is like having a storefront and leaving the window displays blank. Your product descriptions are how you sell products to customers. They need to demonstrate that you understand a specific need or desire, before going on to explain how your products will meet these objectives. Top-class product descriptions can do wonders for an ecommerce site’s conversion rate.
There’s also another major issue surrounding copy-and-paste product descriptions. They’re no friend of Google or other search engines. Search engines like sites to contain original content, not material already logged elsewhere. When a site contains duplicate content, it becomes far more difficult for it to rise up through search engine rankings. That reduces traffic volumes, instigating a vicious circle which becomes difficult to escape from.