Blog | Marketing Madness

5 Errors eCommerce Websites Are Making Every Day

09/01/2015

If you read through the hundreds upon hundreds of articles on the internet telling you how to build an ecommerce website, then you probably know what you’re doing right. But what are you doing wrong?

Sometimes the simplest things cause the biggest problems. When creating your eCommerce website you can’t always see the difficulties that may arise during the day-to-day running. If you take a step back and look at it, how many of the issues below are you guilty of making?

1)   Product Confusion

The core part of any eCommerce website is what you are selling. Customers are coming to you to make a purchase, and so you need to make everything as clear and easy to use as possible.

Lack of information – a page needs more than just a title and an image. Make sure that every category and product page has its own original description that tells the customer precisely what they are looking at.

Original content – When the specifications of a product come from the manufacturer description, it can be hard to come up with something original, especially if you have several types of one product. Get creative with colours, sizes and materials – for example;

  • Red ceramic kettle
  • Sky blue ceramic kettle
  • Grey stainless steel kettle

Mismatched products – Organise your category pages as neatly as possible. If you have products that don’t fit in with a certain category, don’t shoe-horn them in anywhere. Create new categories, as many as you need, in order to properly match up your products.

Upsell? – A simple technique with potentially big rewards, upselling should be visible on every product page. The function should be a ‘Quick Add’ click that instants adds the item to the customer’s shopping basket without taking them away from their current page.

2)   Poor Optimisation

The bread and butter of ecommerce is optimisation. Make your website the best it can be with simple, easy-to-follow steps.

Targeted content – Content should be optimised so that it is targeted for the right products. Have you done your research? Are you using the right keywords and search terms for your products? Think about your customer’s intent as well as what they typed into the search engine.

Tip: If you have a search option on your website, look at what queries your customers are typing in. It will help you do better focus your content in the future

Duplication – It can be hard to come up with original content for products that are sold elsewhere but you need to put in the time. As well as getting creative with product descriptions, shake up your H1 and H2 tags, as well as image tags, to make your page original.

Speaking URLs – URLs for a specific product or category should be unique and not randomly generated nonsense. Optimise your URLs to make it easier for both customers and search engines to find.

The 1:1 Ratio – Each page you create should only have one action on it. The more links and Call to Actions you cram onto a page, the more diluted your message becomes.

3)   Shoddy Design

Functionality is important, but so is design. A website needs to pull in your customers the instant they lay eyes on it.

First impression? Take a step back and look at your website from a user’s point of view. Is it attractive? Can you read everything clearly on the page? If your eyes start to hurt from garish colours or trying to read a tiny font, go back to the drawing board.

Navigation – Poor navigation menus will turn off your customers guaranteed. Make every category easy to find and navigate through. It is also a good idea to build a working search option in to help customers who know what they are looking for find it faster.

Checkout process – Make this both simple and secure. Reduce the number of steps required to make a purchase down to the minimum, but at the same time ensure your customer’s details are secure at all times.

Visibility – Clearly displaying your phone number and email address creates trust with your customer – they can see that you are a real company with roots in the offline world. If you also have high stores, display opening times and a branch locator as well.

4)   Lack of Usability

What’s the point is spending hundreds of pounds on a shiny new website if your customers can’t make sense of it? A frustrated customer is a lost customer…

Hidden Costs – Nothing will anger a customer more than taking them through the checkout process and then plonking a hidden charge in at the end. Be crystal clear about delivery charges, VAT and any other hidden costs upfront.

Register before buying – If you are asking your customer to register or sign in before they can buy, you are putting unnecessary barriers in place. Your customers should be able to make a purchase without signing up. Once you have completed the sale, then you can follow up with a subscription or new account option.

Broken links – an instant turn off for users. They have come to you for a product or for information and if you cannot provide it, they will go elsewhere. Use Screaming Frog to scan your pages for broken links.

Mobile-friendly? – A vast majority of consumers browse via their mobiles so if your website is not set up for these users, you will lose a good proportion of them.

5)   Chaos Behind the Scenes

Having a successful ecommerce website isn’t just about what your customers can see – it is also about what they can’t see.

Content Strategy – Don’t just throw content onto your page as and when you feel like it. Make a content plan in advance and stick to it. Plan ahead on which products or categories you want to focus on at different times of the year. Use Google Analytics and other metrics tools to see when is best to launch discount offers or send out emails. By doing a bit of research you can ensure your ecommerce website makes a much stronger impact.

Divided Attention – If you are running your website alongside your home life or other business, you may find that your attention is often pulled away from your goals. While keeping a balance between all of your projects is important, you should consider hiring additional help if your website is not getting the attention it requires.

Making Decisions – When working alone or as part of a team, decision making can become a long, drawn-out process. If you are working alone, then you need to learn how to make decisions without any support. If you work as part of a team, then listening to other ideas is all part of the game, but in the end, a decision has to be made and it will ultimately fall to you to make it.

Taking Advice – When it comes to accepting criticism, we can all be a bit sensitive, especially when it comes to someone we have built from scratch. However, learning to take on advice and feedback is all part of building a successful business so if you’re customers are all telling you the same thing then it is time to swallow your pride and listen.