When you’re running an online store, you can’t afford to make mistakes. eCommerce stores often have thin profit margins and face stiff competition on the internet.
One small mistake can spell doom for your online store. By taking a methodical approach, you can detect areas of weakness in your online store and find effective solutions to increase your brand recognition, elevate your conversions, and improve both sales and revenue.
The good news is that many eCommerce store owners make the same mistakes, and these issues have simple solutions. Below are 15 eCommerce mistakes that you’re probably making in 2021 — and most important — how you can fix them.
1. Not Doing Enough Research
Unfortunately, a lot of people start online stores because they strongly believe in the products they sell. But many store owners haven’t conducted market research to gauge their target audience.
Thus, they don’t know the demand for their product in the marketplace. They don’t even know their target audience’s demographics, motivations, and other important qualities. Without this information, creating a buyer persona (or a visualization of your ideal customer) can become downright impossible.
In turn, having a buyer persona is critical to the success of any marketing strategy. All in all, if you haven’t taken the time to research every intricate detail about your market and target audience, your online store will be set up to fail.
As they say, failing to plan is like planning to fail.
2. Overuse of Popups
There is nothing more impactful than a website popup, especially for online stores. These popups help capture your audience’s attention rather immediately, and it can help introduce a new offer or promotion.
Likewise, there is also nothing more annoying than having continual popups every time a person visits a new website page. Popups should be used sparingly on your website.
For things like main category pages, you’re free to introduce new offers. You can also use an exit intent popup to stop users in their tracks before they leave your website without converting.
But on any other website page, you should avoid using popups to reduce website friction.
3. Poor Navigation
If you sell dozens and even hundreds of different products, seamless navigation is key. Jumbling your category pages and an inconsistent navigation bar won’t help sell products.
Some online stores even make the mistake of leaving out certain category pages from the top navigation bar and adding to the footer of the website, which can escape your audience’s view entirely.
The eCommerce pet supplies company, Chewy, sells thousands of products. Yet, their navigation menu is uncluttered and easy to access:
As you can see, Chewy uses an empirical menu. On the far left side, you can select the pet you have. As the menu expands to the right, you can choose between food, treats, and supplies.
This simple design is bound to keep users on the website and lead them to the products they’re looking for.
4. Communication Gap
When people express an interest in your product, this interest will dwindle with each passing second. Suppose they have a question about shipping or product dimensions — how will they be able to reach you?
Expecting potential customers to call a phone and wait several minutes for a support agent isn’t going to work. Instead, a live chat button feature will work wonders for your website:
Millennials, in particular, value vivid and efficient customer experiences. With live chat and support options, you won’t disappoint them.
5. Not Adapting an Engaging Website Design
Does your website look like it’s stuck in the late 90s? If so, then you may need a complete website overhaul. Consumers are very judgemental about a website’s design. With the sheer amount of competition you’re facing in the online retail industry, you can’t afford for your website to set a poor first impression.
Therefore, an eCommerce website should be engaging, responsive on both desktop and mobile devices. An engaging website immediately captures an audience’s attention, and keeps their eyes glued to the design until they’re ready to convert.
An engaging website will also feature two completely dynamic versions on desktop and mobile devices. Since mobile devices are smaller than laptops and PCs, their experiences must appear different while offering the same features.
6. Having No SEO Strategy
Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t only for local businesses. Corporate enterprises and eCommerce stores alike must also rely on implementing effective SEO strategies to attract potential customers from the internet.
Most people use the internet to research a product before buying. If you’re committed to creating high-quality content for your store, you can attract new eyes to your products. Therefore, strive to create buying guides and other helpful content for your audience that can inform them about your product and stimulate a purchase in the future.
For example, if you’re selling bikes, you can create a buying guide on the keyword “road bike buying guide”:
7. Not Optimizing Your Site for Mobile Devices
In the last decade, mobile-friendliness was a huge issue. In 2016, mobile internet traffic surpassed desktop. This simply meant that more people were using their smartphones and tablets to surf the web rather than logging on to a PC or laptop.
As a result, Google and Bing began to demand that websites adjust their experiences to align with mobile devices. Believe it or not, but millions of websites are still not mobile-friendly.
Google has maintained over the years that they plan to penalize websites that don’t follow suit. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, chances are that your competitors are taking advantage.
There could be several technical issues that are preventing your website from becoming useful on mobile devices. Hiring an eCommerce web agency can help you overcome this dilemma.
8. Lack of Payment Options
How many payment options does your website support? Many eCommerce websites support recognizable payment gateways, such as PayPal and Stripe. However, if you’re dealing with worldwide customers, your arsenal of payment options needs to become more versatile.
The more payment options you include, the more people you can accommodate. This can improve your sales and revenue, while creating new horizons for customers you can reach in other countries.
If you only serve domestic customers, make sure you take all types of credit and debit cards (Visa, Mastercard, AMEX, etc). Adding an option to take PayPal payments is best if you plan to serve customers overseas.
Though, you may want to check PayPal’s list of accepted countries first.
9. Ineffective CTAs
A call-to-action (CTA) is a significant aspect of a website, directing website users to convert. A CTA can either text that prompts people to purchase, or it can be a button that encourages someone to add an item to their cart:
Crafting the perfect CTA will significantly impact the sales output of your eCommerce store. Therefore, you should follow these best practices when creating an effective CTA:
- Keep your CTAs concise.
- Use bright colors to quickly grab your audience’s attention.
- Perform A/B tests (split tests) to try different phrases (buy now, add to cart, etc).
- Position your CTAs in a direct line of sight.
10. Not Performing Experiments or A/B Testing
If you’re experienced in running an online store, you may have heard of a term called “conversion rate optimization”, or CRO. This is simply the practice of fine tuning your website to achieve more conversions.
A major part of CRO is experimentation. By adjusting small parts of your website, you can make a large impact on your conversion rate. This is why experimentation is important for the success of your online store.
Suppose your CTA buttons aren’t working or your navigation menu isn’t in the right position. Through A/B testing, you can compare two different variables and make the necessary improvements when you have results.
11. Lack of Detailed Product Information
There is a great degree of uncertainty when doing business online. If you’re purchasing clothes from an online retailer, you may wonder in the back of your mind if they’ll fit properly.
On the other hand, if you’re ordering a sensitive item, like a car part, you’ll want to make sure it’s the right variety. Otherwise, you’re going to waste your time and money. For this reason, you should provide as much product information as possible to accommodate your target audience.
The more information you provide, the less of a mental burden your audience will have. And, they’ll be less hesitant to hit the purchase button when you want them to.
12. Incomplete Contact Information
How will your customers reach you after they’ve made a purchase? This question is important because people need to be able to trust your brand, before and after they buy something.
If a customer received the wrong product, or the item was damaged upon arrival, they should be able to contact you directly. Some online stores only have an email address to handle product disputes, and this is simply not enough.
Having a dedicated phone number or chat option can provide customers with a real person to communicate with in the midst of a dispute. This way, your customers won’t become annoyed with your store and take to online reviews and forums to express your dissatisfaction.
Remember, it takes a long time to build a reputation, but only a few minutes to destroy it.
13. Not Analyzing Data Effectively
If you have been running an SEO strategy and haven’t been seeing any results, then chances are that you’re not properly analyzing the data you’ve been receiving. For example, let’s say that your store’s traffic has been dwindling for some time.
The first thing anyone will notice is that their website was performing fine, and then a sudden traffic drop happened. By analyzing this data, you’ll realize that SEO isn’t the culprit for the issue.
This store has received 62.49% new visits, meaning they’re performing pretty well. Now, the 80.06% bounce rate is very high, meaning that people are visiting the website but leaving suddenly!
This is evidenced by the short avg. visit duration. People aren’t staying on this store’s website for more than 1 minutes and 30 seconds. When you dig deep and analyze your data properly, you can make accurate conclusions that will save you a lot of time and money.
14. Lack of an Effective Policy
Refund and cancellation policies are important aspects of any online store. It’s important to maintain transparency with your audience. On your product pages, make it clear where your store stands regarding refund issues and order cancellations.
One of the worst things that can damage your reputation is not being clear on your policies and angering your target audience.
15. Overlooking Website’s Security Issues
Website security is important for any online store. When you’re handling sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card information, you’re obligated by law to keep this information secure.
Most online stores maintain a basic level of website security known as an SSL certificate. This prevents criminals from hacking your website and exposing this information for profit, intimidation, and blackmail.
Of course, you’ll need to personally go through extreme lengths to keep sensitive data safe on your website. If websites like Facebook can be hacked and compromised, then you can’t rest too easy.
Educate yourself on the issues of cyberattacks, and make sure you are heavily invested in cybersecurity that will insure you in case a breach takes place. If you don’t have this insurance, your brand’s reputation can take a nosedive.
Take Your Online Store to the Next Level
As you can see, there are many areas you can improve with your online store that can make a dramatic effect on your sales and revenue. Fortunately, you don’t have to be alone in making these changes.
At YourStore, we help online stores maximize their growth with SEO and CRO services. Do you want to learn more about how we can help you? Click here to take a look at all of the amazing results we have achieved for past clients.