10 mistakes that keep your shop from selling

Author:
Julia Łączyńska
Published:
28.10.2022
N

o business is perfect, but when sales start to drop, you need to take a better look and find the cause. Here are 10 common mistakes that can cause lost customers, reduced conversions and higher bounce rates, and abandoned baskets. Find out how to protect yourself from them!

1. Insufficient technological background

Technology is the foundation on which your shop is built, so it must be solid support for your aspirations and business plans. Many businesses lose their growth potential through inadequate technology support. Here are some of the most common reasons:

Reducing costs > high quality - modern, high-quality solutions can be expensive, but looking for the cheapest options has its consequences. An incompetent implementation company or a poorly designed application may be more affordable for the budget in the beginning, but in the long run, it will result in a poorer user experience, platform bugs, and ultimately lost customers. No one likes to overpay, but the best professionals value their work highly, and with good reason - a quality system is easier to maintain and expand than a flawed product that needs to be constantly repaired.

The unsuitable e-commerce platform - the market is full of solutions for online shops, each positioning itself as the best of the best. However, whether an e-commerce platform is made for your business is determined primarily by its fit with your business needs. One solution will be created for small, designer shops, another for large B2B entities, and another for cross-border sales. When choosing an e-commerce platform, therefore, pay attention to whether it offers the capabilities you need and will need in the future.

Neglecting security - hacking attacks seem like an abstraction until their target is your shop. And it's important to remember that e-commerce platforms are extremely attractive targets for cybercriminals, as they collect huge amounts of sensitive data about their customers and redirect them to the payment panel. There are ready-made checklists for verifying the security of your system, but it is also worth using a company to carry out a proper audit.

2. Poor site performance

Every e-commerce business dreams of high traffic, but not everyone is ready for it. If you invest a lot of resources in promoting your shop and bringing customers to it, it would be a huge loss if, at a crucial moment, the system failed to handle the increased number of visitors, for example during the Black Friday period. An equally common mistake is to neglect page load speed. According to Searchspring's report, if a page takes longer than three seconds to load, the chances increase that a user will leave the shop before they even look at the offer, and this means a loss of money invested in bringing them to the site. Fortunately, there are many ways to improve the performance of your app, such as running load tests, optimising your shop architecture and cache usage, cleaning up your media database, eliminating code bugs, and implementing Composable Commerce and Headless models. 

3. Low scalability

A successful business is changing and growing - introducing new functionalities and sales channels, opening up to foreign markets, and increasing the speed and performance of applications. For this to be possible, the system must be scalable, i.e. provide opportunities for expansion and modification. A common mistake of online shops is to focus only on the here and now and ignore the long-term strategy. As a result, the company loses its customers and market position as competitors leave it far behind. How can you avoid this? 

  • Find a reliable business partner to help you plan and implement your activities over the coming years.
  • Implement the Composable Commerce approach and modern technologies such as the Headless model and microservices to increase the flexibility and stability of the application.
  • Plan to expand into foreign markets to attract new customers and increase sales.

4. Poorly planned product pages

For e-commerce to be a self-sustaining sales channel, it needs to provide the user with the same qualitative experience as in a stationary shop. Product pages play a huge role in this. This is a very important stage in the purchase path, as it is here that the customer decides to add items to the basket. Unfortunately, not everyone can exploit the potential of product pages, and the most common mistakes include:

  • no technical information such as size chart, composition, use, specifications,
  • not enough photos or video showing the product in use,
  • poor quality graphic material,
  • no reviews by other users,
  • "wall of text" instead of specific, well-structured information.

5. Unattractive design

The importance of design in e-commerce cannot be overstated. It is responsible for the first impression, after which the customer decides whether the content interests him. Suppose the graphic design is illegible, boring, or outdated. In that case, the user will close the site before even looking at the offer and will remember this first impression for a long time, making it much more difficult for the shop to reach the customer again. 

Poor design is one of the most common mistakes that hinder a brand from improving its sales performance because many companies assume that a good product will defend itself. Unfortunately, customers must first be convinced to do the purchase. Design helps to create some idea of your brand and is the foundation of the decision-making process, encouraging customers to explore the site. It is important that it is consistent with the character of your brand and sets it apart from the competition. The big challenge is to combine functionality and appeal - good design makes the site easy to navigate, meeting UX standards, but also has high visual value. 

6. The untapped potential of mobile devices

Insider Intelligence predicts that the mobile commerce market will reach $620.97 billion by 2024, or 42.9% of all e-commerce. Meanwhile, for many businesses, selling via mobile devices continues to be an add-on to a desktop site. Today, it is no longer enough for a website to be responsive - each mobile device requires a separate frontend layer tailored to its needs. The way a website is navigated is completely different on a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or smartwatch - they differ not only in the size of the screen, but also in the way they are operated - with a thumb, stylus, or touchpad. What's more, the website itself is just one of many sales channels possible for mCommerce. Mobile apps, PWA (Progressive Web Application), and social commerce are other ways to increase the reach of your shop. 

7. Customer-unfriendly policy

Every customer wants to feel well served. In a stationary shop, the matter is simple - a courteous expeditor will ask, advise, accept a return and exchange the size for another. In e-commerce, the subject is a little more complicated. 

The only intermediary between the shop and the user is the display screen, and as long as the customer only has to add products to the basket and pay for them - everything goes smoothly. Worse, if he has a question, wants to make a return, changes the delivery address, or cancels a delayed order. Then several obstacles await him. A hard-to-find return form that has to be printed out and sent back to the shop's address, at the orderer's expense of course. Customer service does not answer or write back even after many attempts to get in touch. Brands that do not feel responsible for a parcel lost by a courier. Every situation like this is a signal to the consumer that the company is no longer interested in them as soon as the payment for the order is finalised. Do you think a customer will want to buy again after such an experience?

8. Complicated purchase path

An online shop is not a supermarket where the customer has to walk through twenty aisles before finding what they are looking for. According to a Google Benchmarking report, the average time that users spend on e-commerce sites is 38 seconds. In the digital world, time is money, because competing sales platforms are just a few clicks away and if shopping on your site seems too time-consuming for the user - they will go elsewhere without hesitation. This is why the purchase path needs to be as simple as possible. Here are a few elements to focus on:

Categories - intuitive, easy to find, and not too numerous.

Search - precise filtering, consideration of related and typo entries.

Product page - well structured and easy to read, but including all key information and graphic material.

User account - login should either be optional or very simplified.

Checkout - auto-complete address and contact details.

Payment - the ability to pay for purchases from within the shop, without redirection.

No data analysis

If, in theory, everything is working as it should in your shop, but in practice, sales are falling, data analysis is necessary. Two groups of information are key:

The first is related to the actions taken by customers. This includes metrics such as revenue, number of returns, abandoned basket rate, conversion cost of customer acquisition, average order value, and Customer Lifetime Value, which is the amount a customer spends during the entire relationship with your shop. The analytical tool will allow you to

The second group of information relates directly to your platform, taking into account page load times, load test and application monitoring data, cache usage, media base size, and code quality.

Knowing your data is key to improving your shop's performance, as it allows you to identify problems and implement solutions. 

Poor application quality

E-commerce, like any industry, requires budget optimisation and the search for savings. However, every such saving has its consequences, some of which are much more serious than others. It is one thing to rent warehouse space in a smaller town where rates are lower, and another to outsource the design of a shop's architecture to an unreliable business partner. Saving money on a digital product is a short-term benefit, as numerous bugs, development difficulties, and a drop in application performance will result in much higher costs and lost customers in the future.

Nobody is perfect, but it is worth trying

Running a business requires mastering the art of compromise. Everyone makes mistakes and needs to set priorities. Knowledge of the health of the business, knowledge of key metrics, a long-term strategy, concern for user experience, and a solid technology base is the foundation on which to build a shop that sells effectively and is ready for anything.

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