The 5 Biggest eCommerce Blunders: A Cautionary Tale of What Not to Do
Online commerce presents a major opportunity to sell great products, interact with great customers, and make a great yearly salary in the process. On the other hand, operating an online store is full of opportunities for pitfalls and mistakes, resulting in some pretty big blunders that can negatively impact sales and brand recognition. These five really, really big blunders, should be avoided by every eCommerce professional if they wish to obtain success and enjoy it over the long-term with their own online store.
1. Your Transaction Has Failed. Please Try Again.
It's one of the most common problems on eCommerce websites, and it's one that can literally drive profits downward in record time. All too many eCommerce shopping carts are easy to use throughout the whole process, but unexpectedly and abruptly fail to process the consumer's credit card, debit card or electronic check. Often, it has to do with a simple configuration error behind the scenes or a bit of misplaced code. No matter the actual cause of the problem, it means that people simply cannot pay. Nothing will sell, and profits will remain at exactly $0 until the problem is fixed. That's a pretty big blunder.
2. Out of Sight, Out of Reach, Out of Mind
In a retail store, customer service specialists are always standing by if a customer runs into a problem and needs a little assistance. While that's not necessarily possible for smaller operations in the 24-hour online marketplace, it's important to prominently advertise customer service email addresses, phone numbers, social media profiles, and any other methods of getting in contact with the site's staff. This is a great way to stave of the negative effects of the first blunder, where a transaction simply cannot be processed or completed.
3. No Follow-Up
When shopping offline, customers are often asked if they found what they needed and if they enjoyed their shopping experience. In some cases, major retail companies have begun asking their customers to take online surveys regarding their experience in exchange for a small discount on their next purchase. Online merchants also need to follow up with their customers and make sure that the website was easy to use, that it loaded quickly, and that the transaction was simple to complete. If it wasn't consumers won't come back unless they know the company cares and is working to right its own wrongs.
4. Poor SEO and the Plight of the Erroneous Demographic
Websites need to constantly be aware of who is visiting their website and how they're getting there. Search engine optimization seeks to ensure that online merchants are attracting their target demographic from major search engines and advertisements, but just one wrong keyword could attract Russian shoppers looking for poodles. And that certainly won't lead to very many sales on an American website selling cat supplies. Checking Google Analytics, and other reporting tools, can help avoid keyword-based demographic blunders.
5. Impossible Usability
With so many great eCommerce website design templates available, this blunder might seem rare or improbable. It is, however, one of the most common mistakes made by most eCommerce merchants. All too many online store operators choose a template that they feel looks attractive or represents their brand. The problem in selecting a template this way is that little consideration is given to overall usability or the visibility of products on the website. If something cannot be found, it cannot be purchased. And that's a major problem.
Lots of Blunders, and Lots of Opportunities
Sure, the blunders made in some online stores are pretty dramatic and not good at all for sales. But where there's a blunder, there's an opportunity to learn, grow, and cultivate new sales with enthusiastic customers. Think of a blunder as a new opportunity, rather than a missed one, and the pieces will fall into place for success rather quickly.