The pandemic has taken the entire ecommerce sector to unprecedented heights, and this trend will only continue. The reality today is that businesses need to be online to maximize their profits; the FOMO (fear of missing out) is just too real.
Using ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Wix or SnapBlooms is a no-brainer for small shops, but before signing on to one, you must know your niche industry and the available ecommerce solutions. As the bare minimum, see what others in your industry are using and perform due diligence to ensure the best fit for your business.
Here are a few common traps to avoid when finding the right platform for your business.
1. Focusing Too Much on Skin Deep UX
Small business owners can easily be drawn into skin-deep features like UX (user experience), images and overall prettiness of the site, giving less importance to the entire online shopping experience, which can make or break your business.
Over the last 20 years, ecommerce and online sales have grown exponentially, changing the way shop owners analyze data to make better-informed decisions. A successful ecommerce website exceeds customer expectations when purchasing online, making the experience trustworthy, seamless and easy overall. To measure this performance, the website must have high conversion rates, low bounce rates and an easy checkout process, rather than a wide range of colors and innovative buttons that bring the focus to homepage attractiveness only.
Today’s online shoppers have already formed certain intuitive expectations when it comes to services offered by these ecommerce platforms, such as transparent pricing and product information, on-time order fulfillment, timely email/SMS notifications and of course, a quick and easy payment process. This is why online stores need to focus on these aspects rather than the site’s appeal.
2. Trying to Build your own DIY Solution
As tempting as pushing your personality on your website might be, remember that ultimately it’s all about your customer. There is nothing more discouraging to a shopper than poor navigation and complex flow to find and purchase the product they’re looking for. Different fonts, colors and lack of functional buttons are common mistakes that customers often find discouraging, and they can even prevent sales from happening.
The proliferation of ecommerce sites and habit-driven online purchases at digital behemoths like Amazon already set the expectations for customers, and there is a certain intuitive flow and process already well established in the market. Several years of experience and analytics have been put in place to drive research that went into honing this online purchasing process and flow.
It is not worth the time and effort for businesses to reinvent the wheel and get out to build their ecommerce site. Unless you are in a very specific niche without any platform offering what you need, trying to develop your solution sets the stage for the perfect storm. In the long term, it can turn out to be an extremely costly and time-consuming process.
3. Not Offering the Correct Payment Methods
Not offering the payment methods expected by your customers might mean the difference between a customer won and cart abandonment. Remember, the point is to make the browsing and shopping experience as seamless as possible for your ideal user.
For example, a business with customers across the globe will find it extremely beneficial to offer PayPal as a payment method. A brand primarily catering to millennials might want to consider faster payment options such as Google Pay, PayPal and Apple Pay.
Keep the following in consideration, since your customer is trusting you with their sensitive information, to guarantee a successful and trustworthy checkout process:
- Easy Checkout: Make sure the checkout process is easy and quick. Your site performance and speed must be optimal.
- Adaptive Design: Assure your site renders across all devices and browsers consistently without issues; remember that purchases can be made from any device nowadays.
- Trust Factors: Gain confidence and trust by providing security and satisfaction guarantees while your customer is checking out. Add features that allow you to showcase your testimonials, trustworthiness and expertise in your niche, validating your business.
- Security: Last but not least, opt for a platform that offers a state-of-the-art security solution. The last thing you want is to compromise on this aspect and open yourself to PCI compliance issues.
4. Difficulty in Platform Management
If you’re struggling to keep up with your site management because it is too cumbersome to change, chances are your ecommerce site maintenance costs will increase exponentially and may not perform very well in the long run.
An ecommerce CMS (content management system) allows you to access the backend of your site and make changes and updates seamlessly. This will give you ultimate control over your page without having to hire expensive consultants.
It is vital to choose a system that makes it easy for you to manage content on your site, such as inventory, site details, seasonal updates, important announcements and transactional email copy sent out to customers with each order. The timely delivery and updated messaging on these communication channels help assure a happy returning customer.
5. Unavailable Marketing Tools for Existing Customers
In today’s day and age of advanced cloud computing and easy plug-in of IT solutions, it is reasonable to expect your ecommerce platform to go the extra mile and offer built-in marketing options. These features can include email campaigns, reminders of life events, SMS marketing capabilities, all of which will help you ensure customer retention.
6. Not Prioritizing SEO
This pretty much makes or breaks your entire ecommerce project. After all, what is the use of having a great website if Google and other search engines cannot find your site?
SEO (search engine optimization) is how you set up the correct content, meta-descriptions and keywords on your site to make it easy for search engines like Google to index and rank higher in their results, giving your business greater exposure. A good ecommerce platform comes with built-in features, making your SEO efforts a breeze.
7. No Compatibility with Social Media
No discussion is complete without social media. Although most systems offer these features, make sure they allow for easy, seamless integration with major platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Such integrations also allow you to track your users and use their built-in features to remarket and retarget your website visitors.
You’re already on the right path to increase sales with an ecommerce site, but when looking for the right platform, avoid the above-mentioned traps and remember to measure your success with analytics — if you cannot track it, you cannot improve it. Ecommerce is all about continuous tracking, improvement, optimizing and maximizing your revenue from your online store.
Remember, your online store is an extension of your physical operations. You need to pay as much attention to it as your physical store and reap the benefits and rewards. If done right, your online store can be a game-changing addition to your business and help you establish your local market dominance.
Murali K. Nethi is CEO and Founder of SnapBlooms.com. He is an entrepreneur and Founder and CEO of Hana Florist POS. With his background in computer science and 24+ years of delivering successful outcomes within enterprise IT programs, Nethi has dabbled in several technology initiatives earlier to Hana POS before finding passion and success with the floral industry. Nethi looks upon his experience in running small businesses and his years of experience in the floral industry as invaluable assets which constantly drive him to innovate and explore disruptive business solutions.