Are you planning on starting an ecommerce business soon or recently started one and looking for a quick set of hints and tips or do’s and don’ts to help you get started the right way?
If so, then this post is perfect for you! So let’s get into the list!
1: Do Focus on User Experience
The easier your website is to use, the higher the chance of someone visiting your site becoming a customer and things you want to focus on are:
- Make sure that your website is fast, having a slow website will only result in people clicking off your site and going somewhere else. So much so that 40% of visitors will click off a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load and nearly 80% of shoppers will be unlikely to buy from you again (source neilpatel.com)
- Make your website easy to navigate, allow your visitors to quickly and easily move between different sections of your website and if possible add search functionality.
- Streamline your checkout process, once the customer has made the decision to buy, make it as easy for them as possible. Remove any unnecessary steps or opt ins, also remove voucher code boxes if your site doesn’t offer them as a percentage of potential customers will go looking for a discount code and potentially never return.
All of these will not only increase the chances of turning visitors into customers but also potentially turn them into returning customers.
2: Don’t Focus on the Aesthetics
I know it can be very tempting to spend ages trying to make a beautiful website when you are building your first site or possibly second or third ecommerce store but you can easily spend a lot of valuable time making small tweaks here and there that are going to have no noticeable impact on your site.
Instead, make sure that you site looks presentable and does reflect your business and brand but the time spent on your website should be focused on functionality and as mentioned above, user experience.
Plus, many design elements can look amazing but actually slow your site down or possibly not work properly on mobile devices, which actually results in it being a negative for your website.
3: Do Offer Multiple Payment Options
Everyone has their own preferred payment method, some people like using PayPal, other prefer paying directly with their credit card, mobile users may want to pay with Google or Apple pay, so make sure you offer a good selection of payment gateways.
Now you don’t want to offer every single payment option that you can sign up for but a selection of the following is good for new ecommerce websites:
- Stripe for credit/debit cards
- Mobile payments, Google and Apple pay
- Klarna may also be something to consider as they offer flexible payment options
By offering a good selection of payment options, it can increase your sites conversion rate and as the options mentioned above are all basically pay as you go, it won’t cost you anything to offer them.
4: Don’t Hide your Shipping Costs
One of the most popular reasons for abandoned carts is shipping charges, especially if the customer deems these to be unreasonable.
For this reason, it is always best to be upfront and honest about your shipping prices, have a dedicated shipping page on your site or better yet, include them on your product page. This way the customer won’t be met with any nasty surprises when they reach the checkout.
One easy way around this is to offer free shipping or free shipping if the customer spends a certain amount. This way the customer feels that they are getting something for free, even though the shipping costs have been factored into the sale price of the product!
5: Do Make it Easy to Contact You
It doesn’t matter whether it is pre or post sale, make it easy for your customers to contact you by offering a selection of contact options, including:
- Contact form
- Email address
- Phone number
- Live chat
Having a good selection of contact options not only has the potential to bring in more sales but it also builds trust in your website. Also make these options easily accessible on your site, so your customer doesn’t have to go digging around your site to find them.
6: Don’t Make Price your Primary USP
So many retailers make this mistake but making price your USP is unsustainable, this is because when you are a fresh start up, you have no overheads but as your business grows, so do your costs and at some point, someone will come in and undercut you, which is what you did to existing businesses
This USP just results in a race to the bottom and profit margins being destroyed and everyone loses.
Instead make your USP unique to your business, what can you offer that no-one else can? a better quality product? better service? a unique experience?
Think of any established brand, especially luxury ones such as Ferrari, Rolex or Cartier, they are never the cheapest but they are the ones that stand the test of time!
7: Do Focus on Excellent Customer Service
One thing that customers always remember is when they receive bad service and they are much more likely to share these than the positive ones they experience.
So make sure that you offer excellent customer service in both pre and post sales as this will help reduce the chances of your business being left a negative review.
On the flip, side it can be helpful to politely ask customers to leave a review of your business if they were happy with the the product and service received as people tend to research companies that they haven’t dealt with, before buying from them and a few positive reviews can be very helpful.
8: Don’t Guess when it Comes to Product or Marketing Decisions
Always make educated decisions where possible as this will increase the chances of your product or marketing campaign being a success.
Want to add a new product line, see if there is demand for them in the market?
Want to create a marketing campaign, find out where your target buyers are and how you can reach them!
It can be natural to go off a gut instinct or feeling but it is always best to spend time doing the research so it goes from a gut feeling to an educated decision before you start spending any money.
9: Do Learn how to do Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is one of the best ways to reach your target audience but you need to know what you are doing in order to be able make it work for you.
Watch YouTube videos, read blog posts and possibly take reputable online courses and when you do this, learn specifically about one platform such as Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest, not a general digital marketing course and focused training will give you much more valuable information.
Another point on this is be prepared to invest money in paid ads and also know that not every campaign is going to be a hit, some will provide great ROI and others will just show you what doesn’t work.
10: Don’t Ignore other Marketing Methods
It can be so easy to just be focused on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest when it comes to marketing your business but there are a whole host of other options out there such as:
- Offline marketing methods
Never discount anything until you have tried it, as you never know what will work. Maybe having a stand at a show related to your industry, for example, could help you gain a new client base. Sometimes the strangest marketing methods can be the most effective.
A pretty short and to the point article but hopefully these pretty simple do’s and don’ts can help you on your ecommerce journey and help you avoid some of the mistakes that both myself and many others who sell online have encountered.