Developing and owning an eCommerce store means a lot more than selling in an online store. A lot of intricacies could make or mar the whole eCommerce business experience. This is especially if you’re in the process of setting up a new business online.
Although some business owners still have reasons to prefer the offline business model where buyers are expected to visit their local shops, a lot has changed in the 21st-century digital world. This change has been compounded by the impact of COVID-19. Customers now prefer to buy in the comfort of their homes via the internet; hence, the need to set up more online stores.
The problem, however, is that in creating a successful eCommerce website, many factors have to be considered. Sadly, most people don’t pay attention to the necessary details, leading to many eCommerce mistakes that would eventually affect the business in the long run.
With that said, let’s explore some of the hidden facts in setting up eCommerce businesses. The ideas to be highlighted in this article will not only give you an unusual insight that will help you to understand the basics of eCommerce but will also reveal certain things you’ve been ignoring over the years which have directly or indirectly had a detrimental effect on your business.
Why Customers Prefer Shopping In Online Stores
Nowadays, customers have little or no reason to visit their local brick-and-mortar stores. One major reason for the current trend of e-commerce businesses is that most customers or potential customers prefer to carry out online research to find out more about the product descriptions and price before visiting the location of any physical store. However, most of these customers end up buying the product online since online shopping offers the following benefits:
- More variety of products available online than the physical location
- Time-saving transactions
- Easy comparison of prices
- No crowd, traffic, or long queues
- Fewer taxes and lower tax rates.
- Ability to shop from home without going through any transport or logistical stress since the typical e-commerce store offers home delivery of purchased items.
Why The Average E-Commerce Business Struggle
Although it’s relatively easy to set up an eCommerce business, every online retail shop has its different struggles. Matter of fact, research has proven that e-commerce startups have 80% failure chances, depending on the industry. The four common reasons why the average e-commerce shop fails are,
- Poor Website
- Poor Branding
- Ineffective Marketing Strategy
- Poor Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Bad User Experience
To get you started, you should read this blog on the 5 most common eCommerce mistakes that have led some big brands to failure. Avoid them!
1. Poor Website
A lot of factors can make or mar the quality of the eCommerce website you are building. One of the reasons why many online shopping sites fail is the website design!
Over 48% of online buyers have cited that the design of a website is the foremost factor that determines the credibility of an eCommerce site. Hence, you should invest a lot in the design of your site. Because once the site is below par in terms of design, about half of your new customers would most likely look elsewhere.
Another feature of a poor website is low security. A poorly secured website is arguably the easiest way to undermine tour eCommerce sales because nobody wants to buy from an untrusted source! Research has shown that 23% of online shoppers tend not to make a purchase online because of security concerns, especially with regards to payment gateway and protection of personal data. You can imagine what losing 23% of online sales can do to your business.
Besides, an unsecured website gives your brand a bad reputation on Google and other search engines.
Recently, Google implemented a policy of flagging websites with no HTTPS protocol and SSL certificate. This new development is more than just a policy or a mere warning as both new and returning customers can’t access your site without these two components. Thus, you’d be losing most of your potential orders and empowering your competitors if you fail to revalidate your expired certificate.
2. Poor Branding
Another reason majority of entrepreneurs struggle in the e-commerce world is the inability to brand their business. This is especially with regards to having no clear definition of their product value, or the quality of their service. After all, branding helps you to express your brand’s values, personality, and other factors that can build trust within a potential customer.
Apart from the use of social media marketing to create a good brand image for your product, another way to do so is the use of appropriate information to describe the product and represent the true value.
Poor branding design builds a negative aura around a business that makes almost every customer skeptical about patronizing an e-commerce shop.
Examples of inadequate branding include poor logo design, poor graphics, and badly written content.
3. Ineffective Marketing Strategy
For any online business to thrive, there must be some sort of marketing to create brand awareness, drive customer loyalty, and significantly improve sales in your product lines.
One major mistake people make when it comes to e-commerce marketing is using the wrong social media channel to market their products or services. Another mistake is putting up low-quality content or irrelevant content on landing pages. But most importantly is simply adopting the wrong digital marketing tools which eventually lead to low conversion rates.
Adopting an ineffective marketing strategy will not only reduce your sales but would also drastically reduce your market share and increase that of your competitors over time.
4. Poor Search Engine Optimization(SEO)
One of the best ways to generate organic traffic in this Google age is through SEO. If the data published on Think With Google is anything to go by, more than half (51%) of online shoppers agreed that they use Google to research any purchase they intend to make online. Another 50% of online buyers also said that they use Google to discover new brands. While more data has proven that 86% of people who continued to shop after the Christmas period used the “search” option for their holiday-related shopping.
The data above indicate that putting up valuable content, and optimizing your product pages, landing page, and blog post increases your chances of ranking on the first page of Google, and consequently gives your brand the visibility it needs to reach your target audience.
Now, through strategic link building, which includes linking these web pages to your online store, you will not only increase organic traffic but will drag more customers to your e-commerce store.
Sadly, most people get it all wrong when it comes to their SEO strategies which ultimately results in difficulties sustaining their online businesses.
Check out our detailed SEO guide that shows you 7 of the deadliest SEO mistakes to avoid. You might also want to see 5 ways a Cleveland SEO expert can help 10x your online marketing.
5. Bad User Experience
The sole aim of any business is to make customers happy through outstanding and satisfying service. This is because only a happy customer can easily become a loyal returning customer who buys regularly.
That’s why it’s important to optimize your website not only for SEO but for the best possible User Experience (UX) to ensure a higher conversion rate and Average Order Value (AOV).
Research has found that 88% of customers are unlikely to come back after a poor experience from the whole process of doing business on a website. Of course, the next line of action for most consumers after a bad user experience is to give negative online reviews which can wreck any online business.
Among the causes of bad user experience (UX), the most popular one is building a website that is not friendly or compatible with mobile devices. To that effect, a stat has proven that mobile web users are 5 times more likely to bounce from an online shop if it’s not designed for mobile device browsers.
Another common cause of bad UX is when an online shop has a very complicated checkout process. After selecting all the items to be purchased, no online shopper would like to spend eternity trying to complete the transaction. Customers love a straightforward closure to any online transaction. That’s why it will mostly backfire when you try to force them to provide their personal information or fill a form before the transaction can be completed.
Other sources of poor UX that you can easily avoid to increase your eCommerce revenue are,
- Poor navigation to multiple products and technical glitches
- Unexpected additional shipping costs
- Insufficient payment options
- Lack of shipping options
- Focusing more on ways to increase revenue instead of providing value and offering the best solution.
Must-Have Features For An eCommerce Website
Now that you know why most online businesses struggle, you also need to integrate these must-have components to set your e-commerce website on the right track.
1. High-Resolution Visual Content
Given the competitive nature of the digital space, your product value is better captured in high-resolution images or videos. This, of course, will help your visitors to make better decisions when placing orders.
However, customers typically appreciate websites with a higher loading speed which is a bit difficult with high-resolution visual content. That’s why you have to strike a balance between the visuals and the technical aspect to obtain maximum loading speed.
2. User-Friendly Interface
Another feasible way to promote the best user experience among online shoppers is by ensuring your website features a user-friendly interface. This could include clickable in-store product images, shopping carts, payment buttons, and so on.
The importance of a user-friendly interface design is to help visitors get what they want in a very few steps, thereby simplifying navigation, decreasing the user’s search time, and increasing their satisfaction.
3. Customer Reviews
Customer review is an incredibly important aspect of any online business both for returning and new customers and even the brand itself.
According to TrustPilot, about 89% (nearly 9 out of 10) of customers pay close attention to reviews before buying any new product. While 54.7% read at least four different reviews before making any purchasing decision.
The data above does not only prove how important customer reviews are but also goes a long way to indicate exactly what level of confidence and trust buyers have in a fellow consumer’s opinion about a product.
Social Media is important in all ramifications of life but it’s even more important in business (both online and offline). Social media is not only the easiest channel to bring an offline business into the internet space, but also a medium to reach a particular set of audiences based on their demographics.
Integrating your online shop with social media gives you access to important customer data. It can also boost transaction analytics. And besides, obtaining additional data results in attracting more visitors and patronage through a strategic channel. Plus through this channel, you can also easily get back to your existing customers with more high-value offers.
A report contained in Social Media Examiner suggests that over 50% of marketers believe that using social media for at least 2 years has helped improve their sales.
How Relevant Will E-Commerce Business Be In 2022
From every indication, e-commerce businesses have come to stay and are not going away any time soon. Hence, you should tap into the modern online marketplace in 2022, given the new dimension of doing business in a 21st-century post-pandemic world.
Research has shown that more local offline businesses went online between 2019 to 2021 due to the short and medium-term effects of COVID-19. And between 2019 to 2020 alone, the e-commerce share of the global retail trade increased from 14% to 17%. And more growth is expected to take place among both SMEs and larger businesses between 2021 and 2023 and also between 2022-2030.
Having discussed some of the hidden truths in eCommerce business development, it is easier for any dedicated entrepreneur who wants to make headway in the online marketplace to be in line with the current trends of e-commerce.
Moreover, the glaring statistics highlighted on this page should give you more insight into what is working in the eCommerce world and what is not.
Want to salvage your eCommerce business and 10x your sales in record time? Send us a message today and see sales go through the roof in no time.