While it may require a smaller upfront investment than most traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, e-commerce can be an astoundingly frustrating and unpredictable way to earn a living. The pace at which the online marketplace shifts and evolves means business owners must continually adapt their sites to remain relevant.
The rules of marketing always change, user demands are capricious, and the web technology itself advances at a rate that makes it impossible for the average entrepreneur to keep up. With so much to keep track of, it is inevitable that e-commerce sites will make mistakes.
Fortunately, however, most of these errors are easily fixed, and doing so makes an enormous impact on a business’ bottom line. If you are making these mistakes, you are no doubt losing sales.
Uncrossed t’s and Undotted i’s
Websites all-too-often undermine themselves with sloppy spelling and poor grammar. Nothing screams incompetence more loudly than a site that wasn’t proofread, and visitors are likely to wonder how you’ll manage to ship them the products when you can’t spell shipping correctly. Spend time parsing down the language on your site so it reads as smoothly and lucidly as possible. If you lack the language skills to write well-polished prose, invest in a copywriter.
Links are the circulatory system of your site. If they stop working, traffic decreases, and parts of your website quickly die. Plus, in an online landscape where users have countless options, if your site seems broken, it won’t be long before visitors simply click away toward one that works.
Security is essential to online sales. Most consumers are wary about using their credit cards online, and thoroughly check sites before giving up their card details. With so many scams on the web today, it is imperative that legitimate e-commerce sites establish themselves as trustworthy, secure, and reliable.
Another aspect of e-commerce where many businesses often stumble is site design. A well-designed webpage is intuitive, easy to use, sleek, and conveys information effectively. A poorly designed site frustrates potential customers and reflects terribly on the product or service being sold.
Branding is about aesthetics, and e-commerce sites rely heavily on branding as the foundation of their marketing campaigns. So sites with inconsistent elements and a lack of visual unity are sites that effectively destroy a brand. Every aspect of the site should harmonize to convey the image that best reflects whatever you sell.
Information is more than a matter of words and description. In fact, e-commerce is primarily driven by images. Be sure to make yours high resolution, evocative, and expressive.
A targeted audience is the key to Internet sales. Without a clearly defined customer base, your marketing efforts will be inefficient and ineffective. Remember, it is always better to bring one person to your site who actually has an interest in the product than 100 who couldn’t care less.
Snails Pace Site Speed
The facts are clear: slow sites are unpopular. An increase of as little as 1/10th of a second in load time can translate to a decline of 30% or more in overall traffic. These days, if a page takes too long to load, users simply click away.
Awkward and Inconvenient
Put your links in convenient places, design the layout to direct visitors to the aspects of the site they are most likely to use, and make it as sleek and intuitive as possible. People are impatient. A confusing site is a site that doesn’t sell.
Lack of Scalability
What happens if your hard work finally pays off, your marketing goes viral, and a flood of visitors come pouring into your site? If it crashes, you’ve probably just lost the most valuable opportunity you’ll ever get. If it is scalable enough to handle the windfall, you’ve probably just become very rich.
E-commerce entrepreneurs must realize, above all, that their site is their sales pitch. Visitors have neither the opportunity to see the product firsthand nor speak directly with someone at the company. They can only assess the quality of the site to determine the quality of the product or service being sold.
So every nuance of the website needs to convey competence, quality, and value. When site operators gloss over minor aspects of the page, they show up in the eyes of the consumer as glaring ineptitudes, which call into question the legitimacy of the whole organisation. So the key to e-commerce success is attention to detail. To invest in future sales, business owners must invest in their sites.
Image Credit:Andy Panda 23