As an ecommerce coach and mentor, I frequently get asked questions from store owners on many different aspects of how to run a successful online business. A large portion of the questions are different, but there are a handful that always make me step back and wonder how so many store owners can make the same mistakes time and time again—not know how to, or be willing to correct them—then ask why they are unable to generate sales.
In reality, this list of mistakes could be very long. There are so many factors that affect the success or failure of an online store. Afterall, running an ecommerce business is not as easy as some make it out to be—but it could be with the right blueprint.
If I developed a complete list of all the mistakes I come across while working with store owners, it would likely span many pages and be difficult to determine where to start prioritizing your attention. So what I have done is taken that overwhelming list and broke it down into what I consider the top fifteen mistakes—in no particular order—that many ecommerce stores make.
Here are what I consider to be the top fifteen mistakes most ecommerce stores make:
- Thinking that driving more traffic to your website will increase sales. This is one I see all too frequently and is one that just drives me nuts. It’s this simple, if your website is not setup to convert traffic properly (which means you must understand your target market, ideal customer demographics and profiles to speak to them properly) then it doesn’t matter how much traffic you drive to your site … you’re sales will not increase.Furthermore, if you are targeting the wrong traffic type but your site is ready to convert, your sales will not increase. More is not always better—that is, unless the right elements are in place to maximize sales from it.
- Weak site design in relation to your target market. Do you design your for your market or do you design your site thinking that alone will sell your product?
- Not marketing enough or properly. You can’t generate sales if nobody knows you exist. Marketing is critical but it must be done correctly to gain the maximum benefit.I get store owners telling me they have had a site in place for “xxx” amount of time and still no sales … what’s wrong? That’s a loaded question as there is often a list of things they are missing, but I’m amazed to hear some reply “No” to me when I ask them “are you performing any marketing for your site?” Sometimes you gotta spend money to make money.
If you aren’t willing to spend money to advertise then your chances of success are reduced and you can’t expect to magically generate sales.
- Not testing your site to find what really works. Continual testing is a vital component to reaching the upper echelon of conversion rates. Another question I get from store owners is “how do these other stores achieve such high conversion rates?” Once again, the question is loaded.There a many multiple factors that contribute to achieving higher conversion rates. One of the common factors across all successful ecommerce stores who see some of the highest conversion rates is that they test all the time. If you ignore your site, you can’t be disappointed when your bottom line reflects it.
- Not optimizing your product pages for increased conversion. Your product page has a single overall objective with sub objectives that help support and meet that main objective.If potential customers can’t get past your product page they have no chance of ever entering the checkout process (for some reason store owners have a hard time understanding this.) An optimized product page (from a conversion perspective) takes advantage of multiple factors that combined help the visitor do their job to achieve the objective.
- Inadequate site usability. Usability in a basic sense reflects the “ease of use” with which a visitor can interact with your website. Proper usability is all encompassing. It’s role it so provide your customer with an easy, smooth, un-interrupted path to their destination—a sale. There are a number of things that can help you determine if usability is a problem and then help you improve upon this.
- Lack of comprehensive marketing plan. This is one of the number one reasons most ecommerce businesses are destined for failure before they even start. Without a marketing plan you’re like a ship set sail in open waters without a compass.It doesn’t take that long with the right tools to complete a marketing plan. Your marketing plan is your guide for moving business forward. It is essential to your survival and success.
- Too many obstacles to shopping. This is very much a usability issue and could have been included in the point six above. Adhering by the KISS principle is crucial to helping customers do their job.
- Poor customer service. Do you answer your customers questions before they ask them? Knowing what they expect and at what moment will improve your customer service.
- Failure to prepare a proper foundation for success. Proper planning is the first step toward ecommerce success. A weak foundation yields weak results. A strong foundation results in great rewards.
- Poor order fulfillment. This is self explanatory for most … for others the answer is not so clear. One of the fastest ways (albeit not the only one) to lose a current customer is with poor order fulfillment.
- Not taking advantage of optimizing the Customer Experience your business provides from beginning to end. If you don’t know what that means, or how to do it then you are in real trouble.
- Poor checkout procedures. Don’t think that providing a checkout alone will close the sale. Without the right elements in place you’ll find the only thing that increases is your shopping cart abandonment rate.
- Failure to focus and specialize. You can’t be everything to everybody. Doing so will get you no where.
- Failure to provide proper customer assurances at the right times and in the right locations. A few simple tweaks of your site can mean the difference between increased sales or increased frustration.
Remember, this is just the tip of the iceberg in a long list of mistakes that prevent ecommerce stores from achieving success.
If you want to find out answers to all your questions, correct the mistakes you are making, and learn how to build a successful ecommerce business, I invite you to join me and the other store owners who have taken advantage of my online coaching system, Ecommerce Amplifier.
You’ll get instant access to a number of invaluable tools, resources, and expert advice, that help you maximize your online store—increasing conversion and winning more sales. Plus, I’ll also teach you the same six step blueprinted process I developed and use to help others build sustainable and successful ecommerce businesses—regardless of your level of experience.
Got any mistakes you want to add to the list? Post them in the comments section below, I’d love to hear them.