The late Apple CEO and tech visionary Steve Jobs once famously said, “People don't know what they want until you show it to them."
As a digital shop, your online website has the power to anticipate trends and show people exactly what they want. However, many entrepreneurs often create websites that are confusing to navigate, causing them to lose customers in the buying process.
We have compiled five things you should avoid doing when setting up your ecommerce site.
1. Misinterpretation of your products and services
First impressions mean everything when it comes to your website’s design. This not only means having cool and clean website designs, but a clear sales pitch: Showing customers what you are selling.
This is critical, as customers can’t be bothered to browse through your site. A study by Google’s Think Insights found that mobile users who are unable to find what they are looking for within the first few seconds are 61 per cent more likely to shift to a competitor’s page.
Photos are also very important in communicating with customers. When product images are well taken, people feel more confident about purchasing the product as they have a better idea of what they are paying for. Take a look at local ecommerce stores such as Love Bonito and Naiise.
2. Poor website navigation
Nobody likes to view websites that are tough to navigate. So simplify your site by reducing navigation links and more importantly, streamlining the payment process.
When you have a lengthy checkout process, you are creating more opportunities for customers to abandon their shopping carts. A study by ecommerce research firm Baymard Institute found that 68 per cent of US online shoppers quit their shopping cart for reasons including complex processes and having to create an account.
You could also lose potential customers with broken links on your site. An article by ecommerce platform BigCommerce found that 77 per cent of people who received an error page screen made no subsequent attempt to access it again.
On top of that, Google significantly reduces the SEO ranking of sites that have high error pages. This means that bad links could be making your site less visible to customers when they look you up in search engines. Hence, it’s important to do a sanity check on your website before going live.
3. Lacking customer service and management
As ecommerce transactions revolve around trust and reputation, customer service becomes a crucial part of an online store’s strategy.
It is important to clearly display your contact information and a list of FAQs including exchange and return policies on the website to avoid misunderstandings with customers. But you could also go one step further and offer round-the-clock service.
This can be done through chatbots who can “speak” to customers at any time of the day, and even identify what products they want. Companies big and small, including international brands such as Sephora and H&M to local ecommerce stores like lifestyle retailer Iuiga, are using chatbots to drive customer engagement and sales.
4. Lack of personalisation
A study by global consulting firm Walker found that customer experience (CX) is expected to overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020. It will no longer be sufficient to offer a one-size-fits-all service to your customers anymore.
You can achieve a better CX by narrowing down and customising experiences based on your visitor’s browsing behaviour and purchase history. This could be anything from navigational personalisation to personalisation based on third-party data, to personalised subject lines in email marketing.
Fashion e-tailer ASOS is a great example of a company that has tapped onto the idea of customer personalisation to improve their CX. Its recommendation algorithm suggests products to users based on the individual’s past behaviour, as well as similar decisions by other users. The system also pushes products with similar properties or characteristics to the user.
The recommendation engine is most effective when it has large amounts of data to work with – the more products and user data the system has to work with, the higher its chances of deriving good recommendations.
5. Not optimised for mobile or SEO
Desktop is out, mobile is in. According to data from iPrice, 6 out of 10 Singaporeans are using their smartphones for online shopping. The mobile ecommerce market here is set to grow 33 per cent in the next five years, a report by payment processing company Worldpay predicts. To put the figure in context, in 2016, PayPal predicted that mobile shopping spend would increase by 42 per cent in the following year, amounting to more than S$1.2 billion.
Don’t forget, Google ranks non-mobile friendly site low on its SEO rankings, so the more accessible your website is on mobile, the better your outreach and pool of customers. You can make sure your site is mobile-friendly, by using tools like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
Ecommerce may seem like a wild world where trends move quickly and customers are increasingly sophisticated and have more complex demands.
But looking at successful online websites, experts and research data, if we have to distill the lessons learnt into three short instructions, it is simply this: Communicate clearly. Don’t make things too complicated. And go mobile.
A good ecommerce platform can help you avoid some of these pitfalls, and make your entrepreneurship journey a breezier one.
Shoptiq allows you to build your online store with a wide range of mobile-responsive templates, so you don’t have to worry about losing your mobile customers. With built-in SEO capabilities, you can input keywords and meta tags on your ecommerce store without needing to code – giving your search engine traffic a boost. And your Google Analytics account can help you track visitor traffic data to create targeted and personalised marketing campaigns.