In reality, running an ecommerce business takes a lot more than a website and an ecommerce platform for accepting payments. It’s a learning process that never ends, because mistakes can cost you sales. Some mistakes may be unavoidable, and you’ll learn to correct them as you go. Others, however, are as common as daisies but not nearly as pretty.

These are a guide to help you rectify some simple mistakes on your website to ensure you grow sales, save time and get organised!

Mistake No.1: Avoid Static Content 

When you deliver the same information to the same people every time they visit, they’ll start to wonder if you really know them at all. In fact, 74% of buyers get frustrated with websites that present content that isn’t relevant to their interests.

Personalize every user experience according to the information they’ve already seen, the products they’ve purchase in the past, the device they’re using, and even their current location. Then watch as impressed and flattered users turn into buyers.

Mistake No.2: Leaving Out Call to Action

Sometimes a visitor needs a little guidance. A CTA is there to provide options, to encourage the buyer to move forward in the buyers’ journey. If you don’t tell them where they should go next, they’ll probably just leave!

One crucial spot for CTAs is under the thumbnail images of your products. You may think that buyers are savvy enough to know that clicking the image will take them to another page with more information, but you’d be wrong. Only after you get them to the page with product information and images can you expect to see that item show up in their shopping carts.

Mistake No3: Not Mobile Responsive

If you’re still working with a website that doesn’t fit the screens of mobile devices, then you can be 100% certain that no one is making purchases on their phones or tablets. They simply won’t be able to see the images or read the text.

Mobile optimization goes well beyond a site that looks pretty on a smaller screen, too. Even after you’ve converted to a “mobile friendly” site, you still need to consider the load times on phones and tablets, the ease of information entry for purchases and other conversions, and the security of buyers’ credit card numbers. In other words, your mobile site has to be as easy to use as your full site, if not more so.

Mistake No.4: Generic About Us Page

Many companies make the mistake of providing only basic information on their “About Us” page. This is actually one of the most important pages on your website, where users discover your brand’s mission and vision before they determine if your company is one they want to deal with.

Instead of a weak bio, concentrate instead on creating a conversion-focused “About Us” page. This isn’t a page that visitors will find by accident. If they’re looking for information about your company, you should make sure they get what they need.

What they need is a story, told in a manner that fits their psychographic dimensions. They need information from past buyers to give you some social proof right there on the most important page on your website. They need to know where you came from, how you’re serving your buyers, and where you want your company to go. If you give them information they can get behind, they’ll follow through with a purchase.

Mistake No.5: Crowded Pages

“Keep everything above the fold” is some pretty good advice, but it’s not always the best practice. You do want to make sure the most important information is visible without the need for scrolling. If you try to force all the information into that small space, the pages will become crowded and hard to use.

So, what is the most important information? If you’re looking for a conversion, use the name, the price, the main image of the product, and a button to add to the shopping cart. If that intrigues buyers, they’ll scroll down without a second thought to see what else you can tell them.

Mistake No.6: Left Hand Navigation

A menu on the left of the page takes up some pretty valuable real estate on the page. If you’re aware of common reading patterns, you know most will scan down the left side of the page before skimming across from left to right. If a menu is there instead of products or content, then you’ve missed a chance to sell. On product pages, instead of using the space on left-hand navigation, use the space to emphasize photos and your Add to Cart CTA.

There are times when a left-hand menu is helpful, but only when used as a secondary menu system. For instance, if your main navigation is across the top, with the left-hand navigation in place to further narrow choices, then you can use this technique with success.

Mistake No.7: Add to Cart Button is Below the Fold

If your visitors have to scroll to find the “add to cart” button, then you have a serious design emergency on your hands. Buyers should never need to search for the buy button. In fact, that button should be the biggest, easiest, first thing they see

We cautioned against cramming too many things above the fold on your website pages, but this is a distinct exception. Of all the things you include on your product pages, be sure this one is there near the top.

Mistake No.8: Poor Product Images 

Even iPhones can take some amazing photos now, especially with the aid of lenses created specifically with smartphone cameras in mind. Of course, the better your camera, the better your images will be, but with advances in camera phone technology, there’s no excuse for poor product images.

The quality of the image does help to persuade visitors to make a purchase, but quality images are much more than the sale of one item. Yes, 67% of consumers say the quality of the image is very important when selecting and purchasing a product. On a grander level, however, the quality of the images you use on your site also tells consumers a great deal about the quality of your company. Rather than not trusting the image of one product, they’ll choose not to trust your ecommerce business as a whole.

Mistake No.9: Leaving Out Social Proof 

Social proof is more important today than it has ever been. Consumers look to friends, family, and even strangers to get feedback on products and brands before making purchases. You have several chances to include social proof on your website, but the most important place is on the product page itself.

Social proof on these pages might include reviews, testimonials from past users, an endorsement from a celebrity or influencer, tweets regarding the product, or a feed of Facebook comments. Even one of these will give buyers the comfort they need to go ahead and click that buy button.

You do have to give up some amount of control if you choose to include user-generated content, especially if you link to the feed from a social media platform. Remember that buyers are savvy. They know when to listen and when to shut out useless information. Trust them to separate the good from the bad. They’ll respect you for showing the good and the bad, and—believe it or not—they’ll give even more weight to the good.

Mistake No.10: No Special Sale Expiration

Special sales, discounts, and promotional giveaways are always a risky prospect on an ecommerce page, simply because you can damage your brand and products’ values in the eye of the consumer. Still, there will be times when you need to generate buzz or move some of your inventory.

When you create promo codes for special sales, one massive mistake must be avoided. Never forget to designate an expiration date, or you could lose thousands of dollars as users take advantage of your discount forever after. A checklist for promotional sales is always a good idea, and be sure to circle the expiration date task so you never, ever forget it.

With these mistakes fixed, your ecommerce business is ready to roll! Overlooking even one of these mistakes could impact your bottom line, so be diligent in providing a safe, comfortable, transparent sales process for all who visit your online store.

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