Running an ecommerce business seems like a straightforward affair – you have products that people want and you sell them online. You do a bit of marketing here and there and you’re off, right? Well, not exactly. Ecommerce is a fantastically competitive sector with millions of stores vying for the attention of customers.
It soon becomes very obvious that you have very little room for error which can be a problem considering how easy it is to make mistakes as an ecommerce business owner. The worst among these are website mistakes that can effectively destroy your online store.
Today, we explore these mistakes and what you can do to avoid them.
1. They Ignore SEO
We live in a world where people’s online habits are governed by various search engines, primarily Google. In such a world, not doing search engine optimization for your ecommerce store is one of the worst things you can do. Namely, without doing at least some basic SEO, you are allowing worse online stores than yours to rank higher than you and take your customers.
The good news is that it does not take too much work to get the SEO basics done for your ecommerce store. This will include finding the right domain name, handling your meta descriptions, ALT tags, sitemap and robot.txt file the right way.
In addition to this, you might want to start a blog which will help you rank for certain keywords, as well as start a guest blogging campaign that will be able to target some higher visibility websites which might be averse to linking to product pages.
Of course, you will also want to do your product descriptions the right way, meaning you will be writing them all on your own (or hiring someone to do it) as opposed to just copying manufacturers’ descriptions. Altogether, ecommerce content can get quite serious, but you need to do it the right way.
2. They Don’t Blog
We already touched upon your ecommerce store’s blog, but since it has become so important, we should probably say a bit more about the benefits of featuring an ecommerce store blog.
For one, your blog will provide you with content that you can build on as part of your content marketing strategy. You will be producing mind-boggling content that will set your ecommerce website apart from the competition and even tell a story.
Your blog can also build you a following if you happen to strike gold, i.e. a way to engage with your readers who will then recommend your blog to their friends and acquaintances.
Your blog will also be a great tool if you decide to build some links to your website which is an integral part of SEO no matter how you cut it. Namely, since website and blog owners are averse to linking to product pages, a smart blog link might work better.
3. Their UX is Appalling
One of the main reasons why people even purchase at online stores is that it is more convenient than getting out and driving to a store. Unfortunately, this condition is not fulfilled if the website is difficult to navigate and if you start pulling your hair out because you cannot find the ‘proceed to checkout’ button.
In other words, the user experience should always be the focus of every online store, no matter how big it is and what it sells.
Imagine if you were the person buying at your online store. Can you find the products easily? Can you find information that you need before you make a purchase? Is it easy to actually purchase the products? Are you being hassled by never-ending ads?
If you feel that your user experience could do with a bit of tweaking, then by all means tweak it.
4. They Lack Visuals
The web has been undergoing a shift from text to visual since its earliest days and we truly live at the age of precipice where the focus is being absolutely put on the visual. When ecommerce website owners are in question, this is perhaps even more important than for some other webmasters.
For one, your product pages need to feature as many images and as HQ images as you can humanly muster. You might not have the budget for it, but rotatable images are even better, especially for products such as clothing, shoes and accessories. They really give the potential customers a clear image of what they are buying.
Your blog should also feature visual content heavily. For example, many lifestyle brands nowadays do not even write articles and, instead, they do videos that cover one aspect of their work – how-to videos, behind the scenes videos, interviews or anything else they can think of.
Another thing to keep in mind is the visual layout of your website and its unison visual identity. Namely, people need to be aware of what website they are on at any given moment In order for this to happen, your ecommerce website has to be visually coherent and homogenous.
5. They Lack Customer Engagement
All the best ecommerce websites are teaming with customer action and interaction. They feature dozens of product reviews where people truly go into detail about the stuff they bought. They also feature lively blog comments sections where people get into huge arguments about the stuff that is talked about in the blog post.
The days of static internet are long gone and people want interaction. Your customers want to leave reviews of your products and your customer service.
Let them do that. Not only will your website look more serious, but it will also give Google and other search engines a clear signal that your website has organic traffic. This can do wonderful things for your SEO efforts, providing you with absolutely free content that will play a role in the rankings.
Of course, if your customer service is appalling and you sell products that are subpar in quality, customer engagement may not be the best idea in the world.
However, if you can stand behind the products you sell and you know a thing or two about customer service, let your customers say nice things about you.
In addition, if you’re selling products both on and offline, you run the risk of ruining the customer experience when a product unknowingly sells out. Integrate the on and offline experience with a high-quality eCommerce platform and use a connected portable credit card reader for offline sales. All transactions should be processed through the same dashboard.
AUTHOR: James D. Burbank has been in brand promotion for almost two decades. He is the editor-in chief of BizzMarkBlog.