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Archive for February, 2008

Top 10 E-Commerce Mistakes

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

Nowadays, shopping online is not a rarity; it has fast become the norm due to increased confidence, immediacy and the convenience factor. With this in mind, and your competitor’s being just a mouse-click away, having the very best site has become a must.

So, what can you do? Lets look at 10 mistakes you try not to make:

  1. Is your product right for selling online? Common sense and a small bit of research will come in handy to answer this question. If you are going to sell inexpensive goods that can easily be bought in a next-door supermarket - you really should think twice about taking this avenue. On the other hand, if you find a niche where the industry has little competition online, this would be an obvious avenue to take.
    Research into how your competitors behave and what tactics they use to convert a visitor into a buyer.
  2. Poor website design. Fool’s haste is no speed. It applies to e-commerce business as well. You were so dying to launch your web-store that paid a would-be web designer for a would-be website.
    “First impressions count” and this saying applies to ecommerce more than anything else. This is because it is so simply to click the ‘back’ button straight back to the search engine results.
    When a user arrives at your site they will begin to make immediate decisions about every aspect of your business, therefore usable landing pages are especially important.
    If any question is left unanswered, such as “Does this website provide the service I am looking for?”, “Is this company trustworthy to do business with?”, the user can easily leave in favour of a competing website.
    Another point to think about is download time. Despite the fact that not many users are using 56 kbps modem these days, fans of flash animation and excessive graphics are not welcome.
  3. Not properly tested website. Getting a 404 error is not what one expects when submitting his credit card details. Thus, testing every page of your web-store is extremely important. Broken links, missing descriptions or pictures, script malfunction - these are things that should not occur on a properly tested website.
  4. An Unusable checkout. Once a visitor decides to become a customer, nothing should mislead him. The whole checkout procedure should be as clear and as seamless as possible. Try to think of any questions that might arise and put answers beforehand. Have you heard of ‘user-friendliness’? This is the right place and right time to prove you know what it is.
  5. Not having a private policy. Not many users will need it. But it’s not an excuse for not having it. A clearly stated private policy will make your web-store look professional and most importantly reliable.
  6. Lack of marketing. Now, when you have your website ready-to-go and a warehouse stuffed with products, you need to shout about it - especially if you have a lot of competition.
  7. Poor delivery service. Do you know that one negative feedback spreads faster than ten positive ones? Thus, before you start selling online, ensure you have a trusted delivery service which is able to fulfil your customers’ orders in a timely fashion.
  8. Poor customer service. Don’t be surprised if you find this very part to be the most important one in the whole e-commerce business. Satisfied customers will come back to your store again and again whether it’s online or not. Moreover, they will bring their friends as well! So, find some time to respond to your customers, interact with them, make them feel important to you.
  9. Being out-of-date. New items, new content, new offers. These are essentials. Otherwise, your competitors will have an upper hand. A web-site that has nothing new for a few weeks or month is a dead web-site. No one would like to deal with those who are not alive, right? Keep your site up-to-date, expand your product range, post news, maybe even set up a blog or forum.
  10. Losing your goal. Find your niche and stay within it. Sure, expand your range, but don’t lose your niche.

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