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The most common e-commerce mistakes – and how to avoid them


Here are some interesting stats. There is estimated to be about 26.5 million e-commerce sites across the globe currently. 27% of the global population shop online. The growth rate of retail e-commerce sales is absolutely astounding and it’s not slowing down any time soon, with global e-commerce predicted to exceed $8.1 trillion by 2026. Of course not all e-commerce sites are successful, and although we have come a long way since the dotcom boom, there are still some common mistakes e-commerce sites make that can easily be avoided.

E-commerce Mistake #1: Not understanding your product or audience

Not understanding your customers and what need you can fill in the market is like offering ice to a polar bear. They don’t need it, and they certainly won’t pay for it. You need to do the research. Google searches, Facebook groups, YouTube videos (and comments), reviews for your competitors, forums—the list is endless. Each of these gives you a treasure trove of information, from product information to customer service expectations, and they are excellent places for you to test the waters of your e-commerce business. Make sure you are regularly spending some time listening to this feedback, and use it to target customers. Your conversion rates may never look the same again.

E-commerce Mistake #2: Limited payment options

Customers shop online to save time having to go to a store, or to find something they cannot find in store. They are busy, stressed and know what they want. In order to get one step ahead of your competitors, you need to ensure that you remove all possible barriers that could make your potential customer’s shopping experience a frustrating one, and instead turn it into a convenient, simple yet awesome experience. Then they will keep coming back to your site. Online shoppers these days expect to be able to pay in a multiple of ways that suits them at the time, so make sure you have all main payment options available on your site. For example only having eft as an option might deter shoppers that are in a hurry from completing their purchase and instead abandon the cart.

E-commerce Mistake #3: Choosing the wrong e-commerce platform

If you are just starting out, make sure you do your research into the different e-commerce platforms and what they each offer. Make sure the platform is secure, that you understand the costs (hidden costs too) and whether the platform is scalable as your business grows. The right e-commerce platform will grow with your business, with features you’ll need as you scale or expand. For example, you may focus on B2C today but incorporate B2B in a few years.

E-commerce Mistake #4: Poor product images

Customers want to really get a good idea of what they are buying, so clear, attractive product images along with the right content help to create the perfect impression. They give website visitors a chance to see themselves using your products and aspire to whatever lifestyle or brand image that helps make your brand and your business unique. When you’re just starting out, look for opportunities to capture your own images vs. hiring a professional photographer. The money you save can be used to experiment with social media advertising

E-commerce Mistake #5: Failing to provide a great User X

The competition for eyeballs online is greater than ever, so not providing a great user experience is one of the quickest way to lost potential or existing customers. Making sure that you have clear categories can help your customers along their purchasing journey. Categories tell your visitors where to go. They can also encourage visitors to look at items they weren’t already looking for. Poor navigation, content that says the same thing as your competitors, and complicated checkout procedures will frustrate potential customers and make you lose sales.

These points seem like common sense to most marketers, but when was the last time you sat down and took a proper look at your own website through your customers’ eyes. Improving on the above-mentioned points can be one of the quickest ways to improve your revenue/ROI, so why not start today?

Happy selling!

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