Back in June, we published an article on ecommerce advice from female startups, detailing their successful business strategies. As this article proved to be quite useful and well received, we decided to follow it up with some more ecommerce advice, more specifically, mistakes that ecommerce startup entrepreneurs make but should avoid.
Although the market is ripe and the competitive advantages are high, ecommerce sites launch and crash all of the time. Sometimes the knowing what not to do is just as important to success as knowing what to do.
Think Speed and Accessibility
Yes, to a certain extent you want an attractive, engaging site that will draw people in. However, in the end, speed, accessibility, and functionality are going to be the determining factors for converting browsers into buyers. First and foremost, your site absolutely must be responsive and cater to mobile; since the majority of your organic searches will originate from mobile, it must be fully functional and accessible from conventional mobile platforms. It also needs to load quickly – the general industry standard is in three seconds or less – otherwise your web traffic will just move on to the next site.
The site layout and easy navigation is also crucial. The shopping experience needs to be as user friendly as possible, including easy access to the shopping cart and a checkout process that is also simple and efficient. If your customers find themselves confused at any point, they will abandon their purchase. You need to think ahead to any possible snags or issues so that you can prevent this from happening.
So DON’T get caught up in just making your site look good and DO invest in how your site functions..
One of the reasons that ecommerce is so popular, along with being extremely practical and easy, is because it offers almost unlimited options. If you want to convert browsers into paying customers, don’t limit their options. This goes for product availability, sizes, shipping options, and payment options. Although it is good to include the major credit card companies as possibilities, keep in mind that there are a lot of other great options available for online payment that people feel more comfortable using. The last thing you want is for someone to leave your site and not come back simply because something wasn’t available in their size or they couldn’t pay with their preferred method of payment.
DON’T limit your customers’ options and DO think ahead to all possible customer needs and desires and how you can meet them.
Think Customer Service
Remember that your customers are your greatest asset, so never make the mistake of thinking that success ends at the sale. The first two points draw on this, as they are all about designing with the customer in mind. However, you need to do more than design a good online shop in order to keep these customers; you need to develop a relationship and ensure a fully satisfactory shopping experience. This is time consuming, but is ultimately worth it. Since you are far more likely to make a sale to a returning customer than you are to a new browser, it is a much better investment to invest in customer retention than acquisition.
Put as much effort as you can into personalising the customer experience. Show your customers that you are thankful for their business by following up after a sale and by offering them perks to secure repeat business. It is also good to ask them to take the time to write a review for your site, which can add authority to your site and encourage new business. You are more likely to ensure that customers write reviews if they are given a perk for doing so, like a discount on their next purchase.
DON’T let the shopping experience end at the sale. DO invest in customer retention strategies.
Ultimately, the customers and their experience are always the bottom line to any successful ecommerce business. As long as you keep this in mind, which will allow you to avoid the common mistakes listed above, you should be on the road to success.
Image: ecommerce via Shutterstock