Here we’ll discuss the common e-commerce mistakes that online retailers can make. Some are obvious and some not so much, but enjoy our list!
Don’t be dependent on a few traffic sources
Like any business, it’s immensely risky to rely on just a few sources of sales, or in this case traffic. If your website is a high number on Google for a very popular search term, your website will more than likely be receiving a huge amount of visitors every month. What if the Google Algorithm was to change? Your website could drop a lot of places and this ultimately will hugely effect your traffic.
It’s always best to balance your traffic from organic searches, pay-per-click advertisements, social media, affiliates, blogs, email marketing, PR, direct traffic and most importantly social media.
Getting comfortable with current products
Consumer taste can change at the drop of a hat. Consistent changes in means you must always be prepared to embrace new trends. Competitors introduce alternative products. Price competition can get incredibly fierce at times. Suppliers can discontinue products at will, so there are numerous things that can affect product success.
Change it up. You can keep best sellers, but make sure you keeping trying out new products. Experimenting with new product categories opens your company to a whole new audience. Expand your selections and promote them differently. Whatever you do, you must keep a fresh pipeline of products ready to add to your store. Adding new products and selling those to existing customers is one of the easiest ways to increase your revenue stream.
Allowing your online store to get stale
It’s a huge challenge for many smaller ecommerce merchants to actively refresh their content, especially when they may not have it. Featuring new products, creating promotions and continuously bringing in new and old customers can be a difficult feat for any company. It’s important to keep your online store fresh and up to date – once at least every season. You’re presenting new products on your homepage weekly/monthly, which will attract customers with new products to browse. Strive to change your home page and a few categories/promotions on a regular basis.
Make sure all old promotions are removed – this could be bad for your SEO rankings by keeping the same flat content. If a product becomes out of stock indefinitely, make sure to pull it from the site. Having customers browse past the same products time and time again is counterproductive. Check all of your links regularly, making sure they work and fixing the broken ones along the way. Also, make sure you site search results are returning live products to the customer, no offering error messages.
Failing to monitor your performance
At a minimum, be sure to monitor your store traffic daily/weekly, showing new visitors, new customers, revenue, referral sources, cart abandonment, checkout abandonment, average order size and other key metrics that can affect your success. Checking your pay-per-click performance (if you use it) weekly will give you great insight into how it’s working for your company. Be sure to review your ads in-depth so you know you’re not wasting your money.
If you’re outsourcing your advertisement activities to things like PPC, make sure to monitor your supplier’s performance. Agencies don’t always hold the same incentive in delivering results as you do. They will sometimes spend money on underperforming ads, campaigns and keywords.
Never assume what your customers want
Failing into the trap of assumption is easy: other businesses have done it and they haven’t exactly benefited from it. Assuming that you know what your customers want can be dangerous, losing you money and time along the way. You need customer input, just the same as everyone else (this holds true in things like design changes to your online store. Just because your designer prefers it doesn’t mean the customer will).
Ask customers their opinion, they’re the ones who give you income at the end of the day. For the design of your website, be sure to conduct A/B tests if your page attracts enough traffic. Get feedback through surveys, online chats, informal polls and by chatting with customers who call in, asking what they’d like to see from you. You can ask questions about all aspects of your business: products, customer service, your store quality and pricing levels. Ask and you may be surprised with the results.
Relying on a promotion to drive your revenue
As your competition with others heats up or your revenue simply takes a decline, merchants often resort to promotions in an attempt to maintain/regain revenue. For a short term tactic, this is good yet people adopt it for the long run.
You need to offer a user experience which doesn’t really on discounts and free shipping. Do this by selling compelling, interesting products, offering rich and funny content, superior levels of customer service and a solid perceivable value. Build your brand strong with a store that is easily navigated and fun to browse, making sure customers see maximum amounts of content.
Mobile devices? Don’t ignore them
You wouldn’t begrudge a small merchant for thinking that mobile shopping isn’t going to have an impact on their business, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Consumers love to shop on the go – whether it’s with a tablet or smart phone. They allow them to do website searches of products, read email and research products on the fly. Mobile apps have been developed by a number of companies that give shoppers a tailored experience all in one place. If your don’t offer a mobile friendly experience, expect your revenue to suffer.
For some merchants, the solution to this may mean finding a vendor to help with the building and/or hosting of a mobile store. Others may redesign their existing store to one that’s responsive to all devices. Changing platforms may be the best option for stores that boast an older, smaller shopping cart. If you haven’t looked into your alternatives, be sure to do it now.
Ignoring the competition
It isn’t uncommon for an ecommerce business to now use automated software to monitor competitor prices against their own. It’s important to understand your competitors, the threat/competition they offer, their products, pricing, strategies – all of this will ultimately change your selling plans.
Competitors are a good source for new product ideas, especially with products that aren’t selling (look at clearance and sale pages to avoid stocking the same item). Failing to watch your competitors may result in your company selling products at a heavy price compared to the market average.