Starting up your business is like climbing a mountain. Sometimes you’re on the up-and-up, and other times you hit obstacles that block the ideal route to the top. Just like a rock climber, you will need the best tools, guidance, expertise, and determination to reach the top.
That’s why it’s important to prepare yourself for success by avoiding common mistakes that other entrepreneurs make on their eCommerce journey.
From picking the best fit eCommerce platform to considering the user experience, in this blog you’ll learn what mistakes to avoid – and how to set yourself up for eCommerce success.
We know that you have big dreams to grow your eCommerce business, so we made a list of 8 eCommerce tips to help you sell your products online.
1. Choose the right eCommerce platform for your business
Whether you’re just starting your eCommerce journey or you’ve been running an online shop for a little while, your eCommerce platform can truly make (or break) your business.
Not only does your eCommerce platform determine how you showcase your products and the way you sell to your customers, but it also plays a huge role in how you attract those users, and how you can grow your business over time.
Once you have an eCommerce business plan in place, you’ll need to consider a variety of factors while choosing an eCommerce platform, such as:
- What products do you want to sell
- How you plan to scale your business
- What tools your platform needs to integrate with
- Your budget
- What kind of experience will your customers be looking for
Avoid costly mistakes
The last thing you want is to choose a platform that limits your business growth, one that doesn’t integrate with your existing systems, or doesn’t offer the level of control and customization that you require.
Choosing the wrong eCommerce platform can lead to a range of issues like lower conversions, less organic traffic, security issues, poor user experience, a drop in revenue and much more.
This critical mistake could mean having to invest even more time, money, and energy into updating your platform or migrating to a different one altogether. Make sure you take your time to choose the right eCommerce platform for your online business.
To help you with your choice we compared a few eCommerce platforms in these blog posts:
2. Define and understand your target audience
You have your perfect products, you have a solid business plan, and you have a website – what more do you need?
Unfortunately, having a product and a place to pitch it isn’t enough to truly be successful with eCommerce (or any type of business, really).
One of the biggest mistakes a business owner can make is not clearly defining their target audience, and taking the time to understand what they expect and what they need.
You’ll need to take a deep dive into the market research to ensure that:
- Your target audience actually has a need for your product
- You know how to communicate your offer in a language that will appeal to your audience
- You can develop a marketing strategy that puts your target audience front and center
Defining and understanding your target audience will help you create an experience that resonates with them and a brand message that will not only result in a purchase, but will make them loyal returning customers and eventually brand advocates.
In every area of your B2C or B2B business, you want to keep your ideal customer in mind. To create a profile of who this “customer” is, you will need to conduct some in-depth market research.
This research typically involves:
- Learning your customers’ pain points
- Hearing what solutions they’ve tried in the past (and why they did not work for them)
- Figuring out where and how they engage with content online
- Testing what kind of tone-of-voice resonates the best with them
- Being able to point out what kind of problems your products will solve for them
With this information, you’ll be better positioned to get your products in front of the right people AND communicate why your products and online experience stands out compared to of your competitors.
3. Use a scalable website design
Selecting the right eCommerce platform is the foundation for your online business success. This also includes utilizing a website design that is set up for future growth.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking small. I’m sure that you have a vision of expanding into new markets, integrating more features, and offering a wider range of products. In order to scale up smoothly your website should be set up to accommodate this.
4. Keep website navigation simple
Your eCommerce website should be functional and have a design that appeals to your audience.
Make it easy for your website visitors to convert into paying customers. You might lose those potential customers if your website navigation is using terms they are not used to, if valuable product information is difficult to find or if certain features aren’t working properly.
To avoid this you need to spend enough time on the user experience design to ensure a smooth navigation and an enjoyable experience for your customers.
5. Make all your website content SEO friendly
Most eCommerce business rely on organic traffic in order to attract new customers. So your website content should be following an SEO strategy that matches with the keywords that your audience is actively using to find the products, services or solution that you are selling on your website.
Many businesses make the mistake of treating their website content as an afterthought – not recognizing that each piece of content is an opportunity to attract more traffic and convert customers.
From your Homepage to your product descriptions all the way to the name and alt-tags of your product images, you need to offer content that is specifically created for your target audience, is optimized for search engine traffic, and encourages visitors to buy your products.
6. Simplify your checkout flow and boost your revenue
This is the most crucial part of your website. Once users have made it through the initial steps of your sales funnel, it’s time to close the deal. Unfortunately, this is the part in the customer journey where a lot of eCommerce businesses see huge drop-off.
This happens for a variety of reasons but mainly because the checkout process is just very confusing. You need to make it frustration free, use as little steps as possible and make sure to avoid all distractions.
Keep it Simple
Don’t make it mandatory for customers to set up an account before they can purchase a product. Get their money first, then add them to your email list. Eliminate any obstacles in their way towards a purchase.
The copy on the checkout pages should be clear, detailed, and concise. This is not a place for quirky language like “Insert cash here for instant fun” or “Let it rain!” Outline the exact steps they need to take in order to make a purchase. Buttons towards the next step in the checkout flow should be big and eye-catching.
Finally, make sure you aren’t hitting them with any unexpected terms to agree to or hidden fees. Everything should be defined from the beginning of the checkout flow. Making a purchase involves trust and you don’t want to give customers any reason to think that you are being sneaky.
7. Create a strong brand message and identity
While Nike may be known for its shoes, they’ve put in hard work to create a strong brand identity, logo, and message. The Nike “swoosh” is recognized across the world and the tagline “Just Do It” is simple, iconic, and motivating.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your products are good enough to sell themselves. In order to create a thriving business with recurring customers, you will need to cultivate a strong brand identity that’s relatable to your audience.
Be consistent and authentic
If you’ve done your market research, you should have a clear view on what your audience is looking for, and what type of language speaks the best to them. Then it’s just a matter of being consistent in your messaging throughout all the media channels you are using. Also be consistent in the amount of content you feed your audience. In order to keep on track with your consistent communication we created a free content marketing strategy template.
If your brand represents high-quality, trustworthiness, fun, affordability, etc., then these values should be evident in all of your content, branding, and marketing.
Having a strong brand identity increases customer loyalty and increases your potential for widespread brand awareness.
8. Provide excellent customer service
Customer service can be provided throughout the whole customer experience your clients are going through.
It’s about how you respond to user messages through your website. It’s how you respond to questions and comments on social media. It’s how you address customers complaints over the phone and via email. It’s the in-depth FAQ on your website where you answer the most common questions quickly. It’s any interaction you have with a customer that requires your attention and support.
Be there when they need you
You should be accessible to your users and customers at every step of your sales process – from acquiring information, during the payment process and by following up in the days after they received your product. This ensures that they don’t have any issues, or if they do, you are able to resolve them quickly and professionally.
If you take forever to respond, use only automated responses, send one-word answers, or have a “tough luck” attitude, you will create a long trail of unhappy customers.
Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. Not only is it easier to and more profitable to keep an existing customer, but the likelihood of them sending more business to you is increased when you offer amazing customer service.
If you want to climb above your competitors and reach the top of the mountain within your industry or niche. you need to be aware of the most common pitfalls that other entrepreneurs experienced in eCommerce.
Not only will you be sure that your eCommerce website it optimized for success, but you will create a following of happy, loyal customers that are excited to buy your products.
We wish you all the best with your eCommerce project!
Feel free to reach out to our team of eCommerce experts if you have any questions.