Do you know why over 80% of new ecommerce businesses fail?
And that statistic rises to 97%, depending on what research you read.
That’s an awful lot of broken dreams, and all those failed ecommerce owners started with the same goal you have, to succeed.
So, why are so many falling short of their goal?
It’s simple, they all made some, if not all, of the same mistakes.
And what’s so sad is they’re all avoidable!
But your business can be one of the small percentages that succeed, and to help you avoid the 10 mistakes often made on new ecommerce sites, here are the pitfalls you must avoid.
MISTAKE #1: Not Giving Them What They Know
When building your ecommerce site, consider those who will be using it – your shoppers. Ecommerce has been with us for thirty years, and during that time, those who use it to sell have learned the importance of familiarity.
You do not have to invent the wheel when designing your website because ecommerce platforms like Shopify know what’s needed and what works. Between them, they power almost 1 million sites and provide 7500 apps and add-ons, all developed to meet consumer demand and provide a familiar and seamless shopping experience.
Customers want to use a familiar platform because they trust it and know how to use it. So, let the experts do what they do best, use what they develop, and give your customers what they know.
Not providing a familiar ecommerce experience is often the first mistake many new ecommerce businesses make, the next is using a platform that’s not suited to all devices!
MISTAKE #2: Using a Non-Responsive Website?
I can tell you from personal experience this is a mistake you want to avoid.
A non-responsive website is one that doesn’t automatically scale to the screen it’s being viewed on, meaning that in today’s multi-screen world, using one is about as useful as an ejector seat in a helicopter.
Fortunately, most platforms have caught up with our diverse screen use (35% of all online purchases in the USA are made using a smartphone) and design their website themes to be fully responsive, however, don’t take it for granted.
You can avoid this mistake in several ways:
- Use a widely tested website theme.
- Review your theme’s specifications.
- Ask your theme’s customer service.
- Test your theme on Google’s mobile-friendly test and run it through every screen size available.
On an SEO note – Responsivity is a factor in your website’s rankings, as search engine algorithms favor sites that are viewable on multiple devices; another is loading times, which we look at next.
MISTAKE #3: Having a Slow Loading Website
You have less than 2 seconds for your website to load before 9% of shoppers reach for the back button; this rises to 38% by five seconds. Once on a website user will then only visit eight pages if each page loads in less than 3.3 seconds and only two pages if it takes over 8.8 seconds.
Scary statistics I’m sure you’ll agree, but they show us the importance of loading times, and fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure your website loads before your visitor bounces (leaves).
Ways to stop users from abandoning your ecommerce site are:
- Pre-check your chosen themes loading times.
- Ensure your theme has compression tools in place that optimize images
- Ensure your theme is adaptable for using plugins, content delivery networks, and extra features to speed up your website’s loading times.
And as with responsivity, your website’s speed affects your rankings, as Google significantly prioritizes page loading times when searching; this alone can lead to higher organic traffic.
MISTAKE #4: Shoddy Logo Design
Your logo’s one of the first things a site visitor will view, and if the logo looks like an afterthought, or like it was made by four-year-old, it will make visitors think twice about if you are a real (trusted) website.
There really is no excuse for not having a quality logo. No matter how tight your budget might be, through a logo maker, you can make a design for less than the cost of four cups of coffee from Starbucks. These logo designers use artificial intelligence and design logos bases on your market, audience, and personal preferences.
If you think the design provided still isn’t original enough, you can outsource a professional designer who will have the essential elements needed for turning your AI created logo into a truly unique and powerful one, at a lesser cost of designing one from start to finish.
The rule of excellent logo design is simplicity; this also applies to your website. Let’s navigate our way to mistake #5:
MISTAKE #5: A Confusing Website
Even if your website loads at record speeds, if the layout is confusing and challenging to navigate, users will bounce without a second thought. And every time people bounce early, Google records it, and this is fatal to your rankings.
You want people to find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible as it dramatically increases the percentage chance of them staying and purchasing. To do this, you must design a site that makes the journey to the check-out frustration-free.
Here are some features your site needs to make that happen:
- A Built-in keyword search engine.
- Plugin adaptability to extend functionality.
- Main categories.
- Refined results filters based on categories (price- high/low – newest – sale – most popular, etc.)
Your customer has found the product they want; now there’s a 67% chance they’ll abandon it because of a poor shopping cart!
Let’s check out why:
MISTAKE #6: Providing a Complicated Shopping Cart
Did you know, your site’s shopping cart will more than likely be the cause of an ecommerce failure?
It’s because a whopping 67% of people bounce before they buy, and you’ve already done the hard work of getting them there!
Your cart must helpcustomers press the buy button; here are some ways how:
- Mini cart – Allows shoppers to buy directly from the page they’re on.
- Direct page return – If your site doesn’t have a mini cart, buyers must be able to add items to the cart and return directly to the product page.
- Add multiple products.
- Revise quantities.
- Change or revise product features – Color, size, etc.
- Remove an item from the cart.
- Transparent pre check outshipping costs.
Ecommerce platforms like Shopify and Magento know how crucial an effective shopping cart is and provide ones that are proven to work; they also know that people like to pay in several ways.
Which brings us to mistake #7:
MISTAKE #7: Not Letting Them Pay Their Way
A lack of payment options is inexcusable on any ecommerce site that depends on sales for its survival.
However, you’ll still find ones that only allow users to pay by Mastercard, Visa, and PayPal. Seriously, what about the other 90+% of the population! And there are simple solutions you can use to ensure you provide every available option and capture every possible sale.
Some of today’s available payment options are:
- Amazon Pay
- Google Pay
- Apple Pay
By incorporating some newer payment methods with more traditional ones, you’re ensuring your ecommerce store offers diversity, which opens you up to a broader audience.
All of the above are platform-based mistakes; the next are human errors:
MISTAKE #8: Providing Poor Product Descriptions
We use our senses when buying objects by touching, feeling, and even smelling the materials they’re made from, and convincing the early online shopping pioneers to buy without using those senses was a difficult task.
However, there was an answer, detailed product descriptions.
The art of product description is continuously evolving and is now at a level where it’s replaced the sense of touch. Tangibility is no longer even considered an issue!
But, if you don’t provide thatlost sense of contact with adetailed product description, you leave the viewers with nothing to base their buying decisions on!
As well as descriptive content, you also have to provide the feelings and emotions that are missing while maintaining a balance so as not to give false information. If you can’t write your product descriptions yourself, outsource them to a professional content agency.
Some product details you must provide are:
- Size / dimensions
- Cut / fit
- Material type
- Available colors
- Care instructions
While technical terms are necessary, they don’t influence customers purchasing decisions; it’s usually the beautiful images that do that:
MISTAKE #9: Using Poor Product Images
Nothing helps sell a product more than high-quality images, and that’s a fact!
- 67% of consumers say PIQ (product image quality) influences their purchasing decision
- 63% say PIQ is more important than the product information
- 54% say PIQ is more important than the product description
- 53% say PIQ is even more critical the customer reviews
Get the picture!
One hundred milliseconds are all it takes for an image to impact our mental and emotional senses, and images stay in our memory far longer than anything we read.
Amazon knew this years ago and implemented a requirement where its sellers could only use high quality, white background, product detailed images. And the sellers that became the most successful are the ones that took full advantage of it.
Images are equally crucial for products as they are for your content, your website, and any other online marketing strategies. And if you’ll be using social media to promote your ecommerce store, images aren’t only a requirement; they’re an absolute necessity.
Don’t skimp on your images and outsource if needed. However, there are now numerous photo apps you can use to take amazing pictures with your phone and software programs for video editing.
Now let the public speak for you:
MISTAKE #10: Having Insufficient Social Proof
Images, content, and reviews – The holy trinity of ecommerce. Get these three right, and you stand every chance of being in the 3% of ecommerce companies that make it.
Again, Amazon leads the way when it comes to reviews; the platform was built on social proof. Statistics show that a product on amazon with a bad review still sells more than a product with no reviews!
But social proof is more than just reviews; it’s everything anyone has ever posted about your ecommerce business (public feedback) and how often they do it (engagement volume).
95% of online shoppers read reviews before buying, if you don’t have any, you’ll depend on the remaining 5% to sustain your business!
Use social proof in the following ways:
- Customer Testimonials – These are front-page news, make sure visitors see them.
- Real product reviews – Have reviews or ratings next to your product images.
Use Third-party platforms to increase customer trust – some are:
- Google My Business.
- G2 Crowd
You now know that most of the mistakes new ecommerce sites make are avoidable, and all are in your control.
To ensure your website provides the service that’s required, test it for every mistake mentioned in this post. If it fails at one, source what’s needed to fix it, if it fails another, fix that too. By knowing your site is functioning on all levels, you’re giving your business the best chance of success.
But if you don’t review your site for any of the above mistakes and carry on regardless, or think you can succeed with a website that has any of them, the harsh but true fact is you’ll be keeping the 97% of failed ecommerce businesses company.