E-commerce can be a complex affair. Sure, you can setup a site, slap your products online and hope for the best. But if you want to build an incredible business on the web it’ll require more thought. Below are some of the common mistakes when developing and running an e-commerce website.
This offender often fails to make it into people’s list of e-commerce mistakes, but it’s one we see regularly. Since potential customers cannot touch or feel your products, it’s important to provide them with large, clear photos. Small, grainy photos (or no photos at all) won’t help to secure sales.
Good photography helps to inspire confidence in your products and makes it look like you genuinely have them in stock. Multiple photographs of a product from different angles or in different settings can also help to influence a customer’s purchasing decision.
Lack of product information
Products lacking detail will often lead to a customer seeking the information elsewhere. When faced with the task of populating a website with hundreds or thousands of products, it’s tempting to provide the bare minimum in terms of detail and specifications.
Going to town on product information means you have more chance of retaining a customer’s interest. It also has the advantage that your business will potentially look more knowledgeable about a particular product than your competitors do.
Poor customer service
A few years ago phone numbers were vanishing from e-commerce websites, replaced by email addresses, online enquiry forms and support ticket systems. Some of the top e-commerce sites are now reintroducing phone numbers and improving their customer service offering. FAQ pages and live help systems can also be used to assist customers, but are often overlooked when developing a new site.
Unclear delivery information
Not being clear about delivery charges is a big turn-off for customers when shopping online. Your delivery information should be clear and easily accessible, since it’s one of the most critical things in a customer’s mind when making a purchase.
If possible, you should also try and provide a breakdown of delivery charges on the basket page, before the customer proceeds to the checkout. A good deal of orders are abandoned at the checkout due to “surprise” delivery charges at the last moment.
Negative returns policy
It’s not uncommon for a returns policy to either be missing altogether, or for the policy to be presented in a negative way. Consider these two examples:
“Under the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 you have the right to a refund if the you change your mind within 7 working days after the day on which the item was delivered.”
“We want you to be delighted with your order, and if for any reason you change your mind within 14 days of receiving your goods, simply return them for a full, no-quibble refund. This does not affect your statutory rights.”
Which do you think comes across as positive and would help to secure more sales?
A slow site
Since e-commerce sites are usually dynamic and database driven, it’s important that their core workings are developed efficiently and hosted on a server that can deal with spikes in traffic. Sluggish load times will see visitors abandon a site for a faster alternative.
Poor or overly complex site design
Your website reflects your business and your brand, but also remember that it acts as a tool for customers to find information and place an order quickly and efficiently.
A badly designed site can be off putting, whilst an overly complex one can be overwhelming and difficult to navigate and understand.