Here’s the top 10 mistakes to avoid when building an eCommerce site that customers love largely comes down to two things: sweating (and testing) the small stuff, and understanding human psychology.
How do people view, browse, and use your site? While testing will be the final judgment for what works on your site, conversion studies can be a great place to begin when designing your site. However, there are common pitfalls that business owners fall into when setting up their e-commerce site –
Complicated Checkout process
Don’t over complicate the checkout process of your customers, keep it simple as possible, and try not to ask too much information, just the necessary information to carry out the transaction should be sufficient. Wasim’s a project manager at Alrayes Web Solutions states that Use a payment gateway that your customers feel comfortable with and a one, which is secure and verified. The site should be simple and straightforward, do not overdo it with too much information and overcrowded designs.
A Dynamically Generated Site
Some Web sites are dynamically generated. The pages are created from a database as the visitor looks at them. It sounds like a good thing for a Web site to be “dynamic.” In fact, it is the worst thing an online store can be.
The reason is, search engines ignore dynamically-generated pages. A dynamically generated site looks to a search engine the way a stealth plane looks to radar.
And search engines are the source of traffic for every Web site. So unless you make up for it by spending a lot on advertising, a dynamically-generated Web site will get almost zero traffic.
It’s surprising how few people realize this. Most merchants who have dynamically generated sites don’t realize it, in fact. They just wonder why no one comes to visit them
A Slow loading website
when you design a Web site, it is tempting to put in a lot of fancy graphics. They make your site look so much better, at least on your graphic designer’s desktop computer. Ensure that your site loads up in a good speed, by optimizing the coding along with investing into a good hosting server.
It doesn’t look the same to consumers. Most of them will be looking at your site through a modem. And all those juicy graphics make your site slow to download.
Which means, if your site is too fancy, people won’t even wait to see it? They’ll just leave and go somewhere else. Remember, these people are called “web surfers.” Like TV “channel surfers,” they are not interested in waiting.
The worst place to put a huge image is right on your front page. Unfortunately, that is just where badly designed sites usually have them.
Bad Domain Name
Amazon.com makes more money online than Barnes and Noble. There are various reasons why. They are a lot more aggressive, and their site looks better. But I am sure that part of the reason is simply that Barnes and Noble has such an awful domain name.
Who wants to type that into their browser? It’s awkward even to think about, let alone to type.
The worst domain name, of course, is no domain name. You should try to be something.com, and there are still plenty of good short something’s available.
Lack of a Clear Value Proposition
One of my favorite conversion experts, Peep Laja of Markitekt, has the perfect quote for why communicating your value to customers is so important:
Your value proposition is the #1 thing that determines whether people will bother reading more about your product or hit the back button. If I could give you only one piece of conversion advice, “test your value proposition” would be it.
A strong value proposition is your argument as to why customers should buy from you when they could buy from the competition. This is especially important for ecommerce, because why should customers buy from you when they could buy from Amazon?
Unfortunately, not only do many ecommerce sites have poor value propositions, but many sites even have difficulty communicating exactly what they sell!
As legendary advertiser Claude Hopkins would say:
Use pictures only to attract those who may profit you. Use them only when they form a better selling argument than the same amount of space set in type.
The essential elements of any good value proposition include the following items:
- A headline (possibly with subheadings) that uses simple, clear language as to why an item is worth purchasing. It’s not a slogan; it’s a promise of value, such as “Create a professional client proposal in minutes,” as seen on Bidsketch.
- Body copy explaining why buying this item from you is the best choice. What do you have to offer that others don’t? Why are you different?
- Additional benefits and social proof (elements like free shipping and guarantees).
- Images that create desire by showcasing the item in use.
When people understand what they are buying, and why they should buy it from you, I guarantee that your site will see an increase in sales over a design that doesn’t communicate clearly with customers.
Poor quality descriptions
We all know that product descriptions can be extremely important, but oftentimes ecommerce store owners include or remove them at abandon.
As it turns out, these descriptions mean different things when you are selling different products. Check out the study conducted by the Nielsen GroupHere’s what they found:
Thumbnails of bookcases were studied intensely, whereas thumbnails of flat-panel TVs were mainly ignored. In fact, on the full Amazon page, only 18% of the viewing time was spent on the photos, while 82% was spent on the text.
The comparison was between bookshelves and shelving on the Pottery Barn website, and TV listings on Amazon. When you think about it, the difference in the products is quite clear: most people buying a bookshelf care about how it will look in their room. Most people buying a TV do care somewhat about how it looks, but are mostly concerned with the specs (how big, Plasma or LCD, is it a smart TV?, etc.). State clearly what your customers will be getting, in the description, to avoid any disappointments.
Irrelevant product images
If you happen to sell items that are mostly dependent on looks, you should know by now that the visuals that you use are incredibly important.
In fact, one case study showcased how an increase in ecommerce image size improved conversions by a notable amount:
Variation 2 with the large images and product description viewable on mouse over was the winner. It resulted in a straight 9.46% increase in sales.
In another test first mentioned by Peep Laja, an online store was able to improve conversions via site search by 100% when they included images in the search bar. One of the best ways to sell a physical good is to get it in somebody’s hands, since you can’t do that online, the best alternative is to get them to imagine it in their hands.
No visual hierarchy
Visual hierarchy in place It makes it easy to navigate a website as actions are easily recognizable due to the site design, it becomes apparent that all accents colored text is a clickable link, and that base text is unclick able, used only to complement the site’s overall background color. The use of Fitt’s law. In essence, the law states that eyes are drawn to larger items which make them more clickable (duh). Therefore, important elements should be made larger and stand out from the rest of the page.
Test the user experience
Article by Colin Harris of Colin Harris Website Development. States that user experience is often taken for granted – that your new shiny e-commerce website works perfectly. Often they are technically sound but that isn’t the same as being easy to place an order on. Here are some things to check to reduce your abandon rate:
- It’s easy to navigate around categories and products – you don’t get ‘stuck’ in a dead-end
- Useful tools such as search, customers also bought, related products, reviews, ask a question
- Up-front pricing and shipping costs
- Offer and promote familiar payment methods – credit/debit card, paypal etc.
- Make the customer feel safe and secure – it may be the first time they’ve bought online
- As few steps as possible to make an order – ideally have a one-page checkout, and don’t force users to register
Breadcrumb navigation missing
Your home page is your shop window, this is what most of your visitors will see first, make use of this page, by promoting your top selling products, sales offers, and other products on your site. A site should be to make sure people are able to easily find their way around no matter which page they first landed on. When it comes to huge websites, breadcrumbs can be a great way to help users identify where they are located.
Poor SEO & Marketing
Once your site is live, you want to make sure that it ranks well, and that search engines can index your site with ease, Experts from http://www.primeseohub.com/ states that by not having a good SEO and Marketing plan in place, you will not be doing justice to your site. Invest into a good SEO company to carry out SEO work on your site. Here is a video for more information https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9ul50t7T2o
Missing contact information
After poor site design, most consumers — hate ecommerce sites that make one hunt to find contact information, or that make me step through a series of frequently asked questions before listing a phone number or email address. Also, a 2009 comScore study found that 22 percent of shopping cart abandonments were due to unreachable customer service, where shoppers wanted to ask questions about checking out and couldn’t.
In short, place your contact information or contact form on every page of your site this will help to be able to reach you right away.
If the above points are kept in mind while setting up the online business then it at least ensures the features of Speed, Security and Simplicity which all add value to the whole online user experience.