The dawn of a new year is a perfect time to take stock of things, both personally and professionally. If you work in eCommerce, you’re likely reviewing online sales performance from the hectic 2015 holiday season. So where were the hiccups? How might you make improvements for the year ahead?
Truth be told, you may not need to dig too deep. Many online retailers fall victim to the same common mistakes that disrupt the eCommerce journey. Failure to recognize — and correct– these more commonplace eCommerce sins can result in eroded profits and a weakened brand. Let’s turn things around this year, shall we?
Following are five B2C eCommerce no-nos worth addressing for improved online sales in 2016:
1. Not optimizing for mobile.
Right? Sounds obvious, but perhaps you’ve worked so hard on perfecting your home page, landing pages and product descriptions, you didn’t put as much effort into the pages shoppers actually have to click through to complete a purchase from a mobile device.
Let’s remember that mobile device usage has surpassed that of desktop computers. In fact, Google’s algorithm now rewards mobile friendliness with a boost in search results.
Keep in mind the goal isn’t just to have your site look okay on mobile, but also to optimize its functionality for a mobile experience. Ignoring your mobile audience is a cardinal sin you should make haste to correct, stat.
2. Too many clicks to checkout.
Complicated navigation is a sure-fire way to frustrate buyers and get them to leave your website.
Just 2% of consumers actually bother to use advanced searches on your website, according to Internet Retailer. Instead, they handle snags or friction in the shopping process by giving up and heading over to your competitor.
Take a good look at your analytics to see where customers are dropping off. What steps can you shorten, clarify, eliminate, or combine to help buyers check out faster?
3. Hard-to-find customer service info.
For the love of Pete, don’t make buyers dig through your website to find out how to get their questions answered in the middle of a purchase.
Make your contact information, return policy, and shipping timeline visible from the product and checkout screens, and they’ll love you for it. Don’t give the person holding the credit card reasons to postpone their purchase or turn to a competitor for help.
4. Self-focused language.
Look, your prospects don’t care about your company. They want to know what you can do for them. Your language should reflect that. If you have more “I/me” and “we/us” than “you/your/yours” throughout your website content, reconsider.
Talking about your prospect’s problems and how you’ve solved those problems for their peers is a great way to build trust and highlight your capabilities without sounding pompous or self-serving. More importantly, it’s how you get them to care about what you have to say.
Case studies and tangible results are far more compelling than sterile corporate speak about “forward-thinking, innovative, thought-leader solutions,” or whatever that means.
5. Choosing inadequate eCommerce software.
Functionality, integrations, automation, customizability, aesthetics, and budget should all be vital considerations when selecting the right eCommerce solution.
Of course you want the best solution for less, but beware of short-term savings cannibalizing long-term profits. Unintuitive navigation, for example, isn’t worth losing customers over so you can save a few bucks today.
Take advantage of trials and demos, read customer reviews, and think carefully about ease of use, both for your customers and in-house staff.
Moral of the story:
Your primary concern shouldn’t be what works best for your business, but what works best for customers. As you look to make changes to your eCommerce site in 2016, review your brand’s eCommerce experience from your buyers’ point of view. Your success, after all, hinges on theirs.