This is part two of a series on failures and successes in ecommerce. Just like the previous one this post focuses on potential ecommerce pitfalls you should avoid in 2015.
1. No Investment
It is possible to open an online store and keep it running for a year for a couple of hundred euros. But that doesn’t mean that the price you pay for your SaaS solution or hosting makes up your total costs. To get a rough idea of what an online store really costs check this article and if you are considering to use Magento for you online store instead of a SaaS solution check out what the costs of Magento are.
To get back once more to brick-and-morter retailers (see also my last post), they are often the worst with investing in ecommerce. They are happy to spend a lot of money on a physical store, but are not willing to spend even a couple of thousand euros on an online one, which may actually have a far greater sales potential.
There are many development scenarios for online stores, but even if you just want a nice side income from an online store you will need to invest in it. With investment, I don’t only mean capital investment. Perhaps even more important is to invest in your own knowledge. I cannot repeat often enough my advice to ecommerce entrepreneurs, experienced and novice alike: read, analyze, learn, invest in your own knowledge and grow. Your online store will grow with you!
2. No Trust
In order to turn visitors into buyers, you need people to trust you. For people to overcome their fear of shopping online or to receive the confirmation that it is indeed safe and that your online business can be trusted, you need three things: good security, reviews and great support. Security is quite simple – make sure you have a secure SSL connection (https) during checkout.
Reviews are very important in relation to inspiring confidence in visitors. They see that other people made a purchase at your online store and see that the big majority was happy with the product delivered and with your support. Use an independent company to collect the feedback for you and use their logos throughout your website. Also use social media to make your online store social proof.
Organizing your customer service well can seem like a daunting task. Along with marketing, this is a field where starting online store owners spend a lot of their time on. It is important to streamline your customer service in such a way that you can, without “losing” time, win over customers with excellent support. Some tips? Set up a good FAQ page to avoid answering the same questions over and over again and to inform your customers well. Show your contact details, preferably with landline phone number from the country you are selling in – you will show you are available and there in case problems arise. Install a chat feature – you will be more easily reachable and it is the cheapest and fastest way of communicating with clients.
For more on building trust, check this page
3. Bad Website
Of course you don’t inspire confidence nor are you more likely to attract a lot of buyers if you have a bad website. But what is a bad website? In fact, for some purposes and industries, it is not bad to have a website that looks cheap. Some people are looking for a bargain and if the website looks like a cheap place that may attract a certain crowd. But in general, it is of course good to have a website that looks beautiful with nice graphics. Make sure that your website is fast, however! Check the following page for tips to make your online store fast(er) and to measure its current speed.
Apart from fast and beautiful, your website should be easily navigable and searchable. Rule number one for successful retail sites is: “suck” visitors further into the website by clicking on a product category or product. Let them find what they are looking for in no time, or they will leave your website in no time. Give them an incentive to stay and perform the action you want them to perform.
The Amazon website encourages you as visitor to browse their website. In the menu on the left the visitor finds the main categories. Note that Amazon is promoting a lot of their Amazon branded products, and that the books category right away gives you 1) the possibility to find what you want 2) encourages to browse a selected category “best books of 2014”.