According to the latest statistics, more than half of American consumers prefer to shop online. Ninety percent of Americans who have Internet access have made at least one online purchase, with nearly 80% of American consumers making online purchases during the past month.
The growth in online sales approaches 25% per year, but almost half of all American small businesses do not have websites, much less eCommerce platforms.
Building a successful business is never easy, but launching an online store can be double the trouble. Unfortunately, moving beyond the infamous "if you build it they will come" mentality is only the first step. There's still a dozen of perilous traps in front of you, so keep your eyes open and tread carefully.
The website is not mobile friendly
Here's one game-changing stat to begin with: by the end of this year, the number of mobile shoppers will finally surpass the number of those who pay for their products and services via personal computers. The good news is, there's still some time to make your online store enticing and convenient for both.
With the number of multi-channel shoppers being on the rise as well, eCommerce sites that are not optimized for different devices will soon start facing a dizzying surge in cart abandonment rates. Even if yours don't, you'll still be missing out on major opportunities for faster conversions and increased growth.
The website is not SEO optimized
Can you list the top 10 keywords that can drive more traffic to your site? If not, then you're among hundreds of those who are risking their success by not taking SEO practices seriously enough. Being optimized for search across all devices is not only advantageous and smart, it's pretty much necessary.
How else will prospective customers find you on search engines if they're still unfamiliar with who you are? Nobody has the patience to comb through zillions of results, especially not if they can find a suitable solution on the first page. You have to make your presence count, and SEO is the best way to do that.
There is no blog on the website
One way to improve your visibility on search engines is to include a blog on your website. Content is still king, you see. It speaks directly to customers and keeps the dialogue open.
Naturally, such content has to be original and unique, regularly updated, helpful and entertaining at the same time. Your blog should be exciting enough to drive more traffic to your site, and relevant enough to spur further interest in your products. The more often you publish, the more links you can build.
The refund policy is too restrictive
Most customers will review your returns policy before they make the final purchasing decision. If they find it too restrictive, they'll simply abandon their cart and bounce. A successful eCommerce shop should over-deliver to their customers, not scare them off.
First, ensure that your refund policy is compliant with the law, then start tailoring it according to your customers' expectations. Free returns can significantly boost consumer spending, while a longer returns period usually gives them some time to get used to the product until they eventually decide to keep it.
There's no option to leave reviews
Would you trust a company that doesn't have any customer success stories to share? Even better, would you decide to buy from a site that has tons and tons of great reviews, but not a single one that's bad? Aren't both a little suspicious? Public customer feedback is critical for success, be it positive or not.
Prospective buyers want to trust you because they need a solution you can provide, so don't make it harder for them. Even if you've received a couple of bad reviews in the past, don't hide them from your future customers and they'll feel more comfortable knowing that your company keeps an open dialogue and doesn't hide anything.
The store has no social following
When it comes to eCommerce marketing, the "less is more" approach rarely works. You'll need to make yourself available on all devices, approach your customers across all channels, and build their trust on all fronts. Your website's blog may be your home base, but social media is your fishing pool.
The bigger the following, the faster the conversions. Just like with reviews, a potential buyer wants to make sure that your store is actively gaining traction and receiving social media mentions. By convincing them that you're not a hoax, user-generated content will do wonders for their purchase confidence.
Shipping fees are high or unexpected
Nothing can agitate a prospective customer as much as false advertising supported by the fine print. It's the business equivalent of being offered a delicious cookie, only to find out that it's made of rice. Hidden fees don't only over-promise and under-deliver, but they also scam, trick, and extort money.
At least that's how buyers experience them. Unexpected fees that don't pop up until the customer arrives to the checkout point are one of the leading reasons for cart abandonment. Even if customers choose to make a purchase anyway, they'll hardly return to your store or recommend it to anyone else.
The store's email address is generic
What a generic email address says to your customers is that you're either too lazy to set up a proper domain name, or that you're a rookie who doesn't even know how to do that. Either way, @gmail.com and @hotmail.com type of emails make you look pretty unprofessional. Your brand name is very important, so make it pop.
There is no proper about or contact page
Speaking of distinguishable brands, neglecting your About page is another mistake that might mean the difference between conversions and bounce rate. This is one of the first pages that most potential customers want to see, and you need to make it helpful and informative, engaging and trustworthy.
The About page is a convenient way to introduce yourself and make a great first impression. This section doesn't have to be an elaborate one, as long as it equips your visitors with all the information they need. Make sure to include your location details and either your contact number or offer another easy method of contacting your store.
No, building a successful business is nowhere near easy. You're certainly aware of how much effort, time and money an eCommerce owner needs to invest before the first customers arrive, so don't let these tiny details ruin it all. Stay on top of your website's performance and your marketing channels, entice your customers with high-quality content, continue to build their trust, and they will eventually come to stay.