5 Little Ecommerce Mistakes That Stop You Making Sales
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Almost everyone seems to be trying their hand at online sales these days, whether they are launching a brand enterprise, or branching out into ecommerce from a bricks and mortar business. The fact is, setting up and maintaining an online business is more accessible now than ever before. In fact, by 2022, e-commerce is expected to comprise 13.9 percent of all retail sales in Western Europe.
However, this is not to say that it’s a piece of cake to make your online business a success. As with any such venture, careful consideration, planning, and dedication are essential if you want to stand out from the crowd.
Even then, there are a few critical oversights that could cost you a lot of time and revenue if you aren’t aware of them. Here are a few of the most common mistakes that hold back otherwise successful ecommerce businesses.
1. Not Planning Ahead
When you are excited about a new business idea, it can be tempting to simply dive right in, and see how things go. Yet, while passion and determination can take you far, having a structured business plan enables you to focus that energy in the most efficient fashion.
Without a strategy, you could find yourself taking on too many challenges at once, or even going around in circles, losing track of what you have and haven’t tried. In addition, setting a clear schedule for each stage of your business plan helps you avoid abandoning something before giving it a fair chance, or spending too long on something that simply isn’t working.
Set out your long and short-term goals, your budgets for each step, and the actions you intend to take to achieve your aims. This will enable you to prioritise tasks, and make effective decisions, so everything you do is ultimately building towards accomplishing your long-term vision. Here are some other essential business plan tips, including how to forecast your financials.
2. Poor Web Design
It’s no secret that a successful ecommerce business needs a great website. However, this is not just a case of making your site look good. While aesthetics are extremely important, every part of your web design needs to serve a purpose, from the mobile user experience, to your menu navigation. Remember that customers are on your website in order to make a purchase: product discovery and the shopping cart experience must be as easy as possible.
Customers are far more likely to explore a website that is laid out well, and simple to navigate. Ensure that they can easily find your location, contact details, and a clear “About” section describing who you are and what your business does. A well-structured layout, with a clear site map also makes it easier for search engine crawlers to index your website.
Another serious mistake would be to neglect your SEO strategy. However engaging your website might be, you will struggle to make sales if no one can find it in the first place. Take the time to plan your content, research keywords for your industry, and pay careful attention to your page rankings
3. Not Knowing Your Customers
In order to effectively engage with your chosen audience, you need to know who they are. Every detail you can gather, from their age range to their hobbies, will help you figure out how best to reach them, and with what sort of content.
Your brand’s voice needs to appeal to your chosen audience, or you will struggle to keep them interested. Take a look at your competitors, both to get a sense of what is working for them, and to make sure that you don’t come across as a copycat site.
Consider including sections for customer testimonials or reviews, but be careful not to fall into the trap of generating negative social proof. For example, it’s great to have review sections for every product if they are full of reviews. However, empty review sections can do more harm than good, as they give the impression that no one has bought that item.
Another mistake is to simply give up on lost customers. Develop a re-engagement strategy to reach out to former site visitors, and encourage them to reconnect with your business.
4. Ineffective Use of Business Tools
There are a huge range of tools available to make the life of the online entrepreneur a little bit easier. For example, you should embrace an effective Content Management System, such as WooCommerce or Magento, to help streamline your content, and optimise your SEO, or use a hosted platform like Shopify to maximise your access to technical and developmental support.
There are also countless plugins and applications to help you manage every aspect of running your online store, from content scheduling, to social media integration, and the interpretation of business analytics. Embrace business tools in order to keep costs down and increase overall efficiency.
Naturally, using too many can be just as harmful as using none at all, as costs can mount up, and you may find that some functions overlap or are of no benefit to you. Take the time to research the functionality of each tool, and refer back to your business plan to determine which choices are right for you.
The final mistake, and one that is made by too many businesses who get off to a good start, is to assume that your work is done. Customers need to be kept interested in your brand, and engaged by your website if you want them to keep coming back.
Your site, and your marketing strategy, will need to continuously evolve over time to keep up with changing trends and the growth of your business.
Regular, valuable content will keep your audience engaged, and give them a reason to keep returning to your site. It will also help to boost your SEO, as it make search engine crawlers more likely to consider your website to be active and relevant.
Many of these points may seem like minor matters at first glance, but each one can have a serious impact on your business success. Fortunately, they are all straightforward to remedy, once you know what to look out for. Keep this checklist in mind, and remember to review your business data regularly, so you are able to react swiftly and effectively to changes in trends and sales figures. Over time, you will develop a more comprehensive knowledge of how best to reach and engage with your customers, and as your business grows, you will have a firm, well-structured foundation upon which to build your future endeavours.
Victoria Greene writes her own blog at victoriaecommerce. She is a branding consultant and freelance writer who loves to share content tips with other businesses looking to improve their online brands.
Victoria helps brands connect with their audience and we are happy to have her write articles as a feature writer. Her writing is crisp and well researched, backed up back solid facts, offering some great advice and adding some thought provoking questions. Based in the Windy City you can read more on Victorias Blog and then get in touch with her directly.