The recent-year market has witnessed an explosive take-over of electronic commerce, commonly known as eCommerce, over brick-and-mortar businesses. Even traditional physical stores have now integrated with this digital platform to maximize profit.
Though eCommerce has always been evaluated as a market-potential and engaging industry, selling online has never been easy. Its remarkable profitability has generated explicit competition among businesses. The progress never goes seamlessly, as there are always obstacles to hinder it.
Therefore, it’s vital to understand common eCommerce mistakes that previous entrepreneurs have made to learn how to avoid or resolve them.
An Overview Of eCommerce
What Is eCommerce?
Electronic commerce (eCommerce), inspired in 1979 by Michael Aldrich, is a business form of transaction transmitting data through an online network. In plain English, stores that sell products online are called eCommerce stores.
The Rapid Growth In eCommerce
ECommerce is officially the fastest growing business market ever seen. Over a span of 4 years from 2014 to 2018, eCommerce total sales witnessed a twofold increase from 1336 billion dollars to 2842 billion dollars. 2019 online store sales are expected to triple at 3450 billion dollars, accounting for 13.7% of total global retail sales. Economists estimate that with this steady growth, eCommerce can anticipate the number of 4 trillion dollars by 2020.
The digital transformation has brought about a drastic change in consumers’ consuming behaviors. According to Statista, in 2019, 1.92 billion people are expected to make online purchases, and the number has a tendency of rising to 2.14 billion in 2021, up from 1.66 billion digital buyers in 2017. That would account for 21.8% of the world’s population estimated as of April 2019.
The figures above have proven a whole market of potential digital shoppers as the online purchase has become a common practice.
How Crucial Is eCommerce In Our Generation?
It’s not a coincidence how eCommerce has experienced a massive blooming in the past few years. Businesses are eagerly utilizing the internet to take advantage of eCommerce, indicating the utmost importance this platform is holding.
Expand Market Scale
Physical stores are falling behind time due to their locality traits. The limitation in the geographical area narrows customers’ consuming scope down to certain specific places. eCommerce platform, in contrast, has enabled an international market where shoppers can get access to global online stores with just a few clicks. Merchants can take this opportunity to approach a larger and more diverse customer group.
Offer Outstanding Convenience For Merchants
The eCommerce market is full-time open, availing merchants to serve their users at any time from any place. It will be easier for merchants to manage customers’ statistics while providing customer service to strengthen loyalty and trust.
Running an online store saves for business a huge amount of costs so there is no need to spend too much capital on labor or operation system. eCommerce platform also provides a wide range of professional digital tools to speed up ordering, shipping and paying methods which can help manage resources economically.
Identify Appropriate Domain to Market
The digital fundamental allows businesses to access precise customer data for understanding the latest consuming behaviors and preference tendency. By analyzing these figures, merchants can form a unique marketing strategy to draw attention and drive the right group of target customers into stores.
Common ECommerce Mistakes And Ways To Avoid Them
Demonstrating such appeals, eCommerce is a dream for any ambitious entrepreneurs aiming to do big. However, in business, especially the digital era, minor but elementary errors can drive customers away from the platform. To win over this eCommerce competition, businesses should be aware of these common mistakes to prevent them from committing them.
Disregarding Market Research
Products, websites or any business strategies cannot be taken into practice without market research. Many companies have failed due to the un-identification of the target audience and competitor analytics.
A thorough study of the market enables businesses to concretely observe customers’ consuming tendencies and rivals’ business planning in order to assort products reasonably. Therefore, before launching new online products, conducting market research is the foremost factor in setting a premise for future effective stock distribution.
Tips: Kickstart conducting market study!
Take some time to dig into market research and start by identifying buyers’ persona to examine its quantity. This step sets a premise for engaging people to participate in the research. After that, offer a ready list of questionnaires to the participants while defining competitors with the same business to collect data. All the answers, statistics and figures gathered will help in a product line distribution that matches the way today customers shop and buy.
Under-qualified Product Description
A majority of merchants have mistakenly thought that high-quality product images attached with polished wording would draw customers to visit their stores while in fact, it underlies reverse outcomes.
Customers expect to be provided with a detailed and concrete description. In other words, product description determines if store visitors strengthen their preference in the product to conclude in a final purchase decision. If businesses fail to describe their own products, they will face the risk of being eliminated in this competitive market.
Tips: Be informative
Other than praising, merchants should deliver the most practical product features. Provide precise details about size, color, weight, endurance, functions, etc. instead of inflating the actual status of the product. Enclose genuine descriptive product attachments in various formats that are closest to customers’ perception for better reference.
Wrong Approach In Optimizing Website Content
Many marketers have mistaken that providing a well-written website content is mainly about inserting some certain keywords while in fact, it has so much more to reach that level. They take the high ranking in search engines as a scale for success, ignoring the fact that search engine programs do not reflect the real website visitors and the search results are often unstable regarding traffic.
Review and double-check the preview content to make sure that it targets the right group of visitors. Enhance content quality in consideration of customers’ expectations, in other words, write for your visitors.
Only insert keywords when necessary. Stuffing keywords to optimize search and maximize word count does more harm than good. Customers will notice the intention in which would drive their interest away from the website.
Complicated Check-Out Process
When the check-out process requires too many steps, you will have frustrated customers. A Baymard study in 2018 indicated that 26% of US shoppers abandoned an order because they found the check-out process too complex. Other than forcing customers to fill in excessive information, merchants should just keep things simple.
Tips: The easiest way is to minimize check-out steps.
Do not require customers to register an account before making a purchase. After they finish buying, add them to the email list then ask for registration later.
Provide a clear and detailed check-out outline with eye-catching buttons. Turn off all ads and pop-ups not to distract customers during the final check-out step otherwise they may delay or cancel their purchases. If possible, display all required checkout information on one page to allow customers to check out with one step only.
Poor Customer Service
Customer service consists of any interaction a business has with its customers in terms of supporting and troubleshooting problems, such as responding to questions or taking complaints via social media, email or phone contact.
Slow response, poor interactive communication, impatience, and many others are some typical signs of poor customer service. This status will definitely decrease shoppers’ purchase satisfaction and may drive them away from the store.
Tips: Always be there for your customers
Be ready to assist customers in every step of the purchase process – from researching product information to checking out. This act allows the business to keep track of every part of the process to take immediate action when unexpected issues arise.
The customer service department’s responsibility does not end when customers have withdrawn a check-out. Taking customers’ feedbacks or suggestions and keeping contact with them will strengthen the bond in trading and build a sense of customer loyalty.
Unexpected Extra Costs
In 2018, 55% of US online shoppers abandoned their shopping cart due to high extra costs. Keeping additional charges hidden until customers reach the final check-out step will just get on their nerves and may result in order cancellation.
Tips: Try to keep these costs visible
All charges (not just those additional ones) should be clearly displayed in the terms and conditions section before customers make a purchase. Things all must be clarified from the beginning of the process so that customers won’t think they are being scammed.
Customers never have enough patience to waste their time on a slow-loading website that they may not find things they’re looking for when there are tons of other appealing choices out there. The tricky site navigation will get customers frustrated to the extent of an immediate exiting decision. Therefore, navigation should always be noticed and prioritized.
Tips: Simplify your website, but don’t overdo it
Limit the number of links and pop-ups displayed on the homepage to avoid getting visitors overwhelmed and to optimize the use of the search bar.
Spend more effort and resources on advancing the search tool. Utilize gathered analytics to filter and categorize products to narrow searching scope with the Layered navigation Ultimate. Desired categories will be found much easier with this optimization.
Unimpressive Brand Identity
The most evident difference between physical stores and eCommerce business is branding. In offline stores, product assortment or branch location is more focused while in online platforms, having a strong message to start out a phenomenon thrives more brand recognition.
Brands with poor identity recognition tend to get troubled with attracting media to push sales. Therefore, a strong brand identity is needed to increase virality.
Tips: Be unique!
Focus on market research to learn from the target audience’s tendency to react to a message and successful businesses with special trademarks.
Gather all the specific traits the brand portrays in the marketing and content creating strategies to build an optimal brand identity. The authenticity of a brand holds will have a considerable impact on elevating the brand position in this digital era.
These are just some of the eCommerce mistakes that other entrepreneurs have experienced. If your site still has these downsizes on-going, it’s time for a proper strategy to take place in order to sort them out. Put your utmost effort into looking out for solutions to give your users the best shopping experience. A following of satisfied customers will conclusively result in a loyal trade relationship and an improvement in conversion ratios.