When designing and building an e-Commerce website you want your customers to use and love, the devil is in the details. It’s all about testing, testing, and even more testing, plus a solid understanding of how people think and behave when shopping—basically, psychology.
If you’ve had your site up and running for a few months now, but don’t seem to be generating the kind of activity, not to mention sales, you were aiming for, it might be time to go back to the drawing board. You have two options: revamp your e-Commerce site from the ground up, or scrap the whole thing altogether and start fresh.
Of course, you might be wondering why this is happening in the first place. We look at 5 of the most common reasons why.
1. You’re Not Being Found Online
One of the most common mistakes business owners make with their new online stores is not doing SEO properly, or worse, ignoring it altogether. Without SEO, it’s hard to be found online (note this rule tends not to apply to the Best Buys, Walmarts, and Amazons of the world—these brands are simply too big and can get away without SEO).
The thing with SEO is that it ensures your website stays visible relative to the search queries it’s most relevant for. If you can’t think of 10 keywords or phrases you would associate with your brand, it’s time to invest time and effort in an SEO strategy. And unlike paid marketing campaigns, which stop generating traffic the moment you stop paying, SEO has a longer lasting, if not exponential, effect as far as generating targeted traffic goes.
2. Your Website is Hard to Navigate
Usability is another key factor behind the most successful e-Commerce sites. Although usability encompasses several different factors, from your homepage, product pages, fonts, to your contact details, shopping cart, and more, the most common mistake you’ll find in many failing e-Commerce sites is poor navigation.
If your website’s navigation structure doesn’t make sense for the average user—think multiple clicks just to get to an important page—it’s no wonder you’re not getting any results. Great navigation is smooth, easy, and effortless. It’s almost as if you’re encouraging users to explore your site and see what you have to offer, but always with a mechanism for them to go right back to where they came from.
Not sure where to start? Practical Ecommerce offers a terrific guide on e-Commerce site navigation.
3. Your Website Isn’t Engaging Your Customers
With so many things going on in an e-Commerce website, it’s easy for users to feel lost and not know what exactly to do, or what they should be looking for. The key is to engage these people and lead them through the purchase path.
For example, the “Add to Cart” button, a ubiquitous feature in e-Commerce, is a simple but powerful design element that can turn browsers into shoppers. If it’s not well designed or strategically position to grab the potential buyer’s attention, don’t expect to see a bump in sales.
It’s here where the little details matter most. ‘Add to Cart’ buttons should be bright and prominent, especially when compared to the other features on the product page. You can do this by choosing special but legible font typography, a unique shape, or contrasting colors.
4. Your Website Isn’t Upselling Relevant Products and Services
When done right, upselling and cross-selling can be your website’s main revenue generator. In fact, in 2006, Amazon reported that 35 percent of its revenue were the result of their upselling and cross-selling efforts.
Upselling refers to selling a better and more expensive version of the product the customer is looking to purchase or already owns. The product being upsold can have more features or offer more value for money.
On the other hand, cross-selling is selling a product that complements whatever item the customer is buying or already owns. This product can be an ideal ‘partner’ for the product being purchased—think the shoe cleaner for a new pair of shoes or the luggage tags for a new set of luggage.
If your e-Commerce site doesn’t have at least one of these features, you’re not maximizing its potential to sell your products. Remember, most consumers are happy to spend a little more money on things they feel will let them get more out of their main purchases.
5. Your Site Isn’t Following Up on Potential Customers
Shopping cart abandonment is an unfortunate part of the e-Commerce world, and don’t expect it to change anytime soon. So long as people are free to abandon the purchase process whenever they’re not sure about buying a product or simply want to put off a purchase, cart abandonment will be an issue you have no choice but to deal with.
Fortunately, there are ways to turn these “reluctant” shoppers into real customers, one of them being the abandonment email, which is basically a follow-up email that reminds users of their item that’s still in the cart waiting to be purchased.
Think this is a waste of time? Think again. According to a BI Intelligence report published on Business Insider, “Approximately $4.6 trillion worth of merchandise will be left unpurchased in online shopping carts this year, and about 60% of that is potentially recoverable by savvy online retailers, according to BI Intelligence estimates. Recoverable sales equate to an estimated $2.75 trillion.”
Building an e-Commerce site and getting it right on the first try is a feat of hard work and sometimes, luck. Again, pay attention to the little details to set yourself up for success.