We have to be honest, we’re getting a bit tired of mentioning this, but it really is an important aspect of today’s business world, and that is the fact that in 2020 it’s pretty much impossible to have a business without also having an online shop. Did you know that the percentage of people shopping online nearly doubled over the last 10 years? According to Eurostat, in 2009 the online shoppers in Europe were 32%. Furthermore, the website also informs us that in 2018 that figure jumped to 56% and reached 60% in 2019. Those are some impressive numbers, we agree. Therefore, if you still don’t have a website for your business, you need to start planning the launch of your online shop.
Keep in mind, however, that establishing your online store takes time, but it takes even more time to grow your online presence and attract customers in the digital world.
Nobody said that being digital and selling your products online is easy. There are a million little details that you need to think about in order to be successful. Furthermore, there are crucial features of any online shop, which need to run smoothly, in order for your business to be successful. If you make a mistake when setting those up, you could lose valuable leads. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t worry, because we’re here to let you in on the 10 most common mistakes business owners do when it comes to their online stores.
1. Not being clear on what your costs are
Business owners usually take a step toward the digital and create their online shop with the goal of increasing their profit, generating a certain amount of sales or attracting new customers. Therefore, you need to make sure to calculate your costs, so that at the end of the day you achieve your main goal – to turn profit. Many businesses, however, get tangled up in calculations and find it hard to figure out what prices they need to set for their products, in order to be able to generate a profit.
Setting the prices low (or as some prefer to do: setting them lower than their competitors) has two major drawbacks,
which concern not only you as a business person, but your whole niche as well. First of them is connected solely to your business. Even if you have a great product, which sparkles the interest of your clients, and even if you succeed in completing hundreds of sales in a week, you can still find yourself empty handed in case you set a lower price than your product really calls for. You will be surprised at how many business owners forget to do the math or skip adding some of the costs of online selling to the equation.
As Neil Patel reminds us, the formula is simple:
Profit = Demand x (Revenue – Expenses)
However, you must consider adding the costs for shipping, customer acquisition, marketing and any third party tools that you may use, towards your expenses. Once you’ve done that, you ensure that the base of your online shop is set and you can boldly start selling and turning profit.
The second problem, connected to incorrectly set prices, concerns your industry as a whole. Although it’s true that price can significantly influence the decision-making process of your customers, setting a lower price than your competitors is a really bad idea. This is so, because when you set a low price, in a way you are starting a war with your competitors and that can never end well- neither for you, nor for your customers. Furthermore, even if you manage to generate more sales, you should ask yourself will they turn a profit if the price of the products was as low as it gets (hint: the answer is probably no).
Therefore, the best you could do, in order to stay on top of your competitors is definitely not lowering your prices, but rather offering more value to your customers. Rather than struggling to turn a profit while producing goods, which are lacking in quality, opt in for the pricier materials and propose a valuable product to your clients. In that way you are motivating your competitors to also up their game when it comes to quality.
2. Choosing a complicated design
It’s one thing to have a creative vision for your website, but it’s a whole different thing to be able to combine beauty and practicality in one. Therefore, choosing the right theme for your online shop can drive your business to success, whereas picking the pretty but not really useful layout can scare your customers away. A lot of business owners make the mistake of adding too many features to the wrong places and thus making their customers lost on their way to the digital cart.
UX (user experience) is crucial when it comes to online shopping. There are specific rules of how you should design your website, in order for it to be easily accessible so that your customers can intuitively navigate it. If you decide to disregard those rules, you shouldn’t forget that nearly 80% of the consumers will leave a website if they don’t like what they see there. Therefore, if you haven’t optimized your website in terms of UX, chances are, your business is suffering because of that.
You need to craft your webpage in a way which will make it easy for your customers to navigate it. Arrange your menu in an ordered manner and title the different sections of your online shop accordingly, so that it’s a no brainer what each section talks about and what your customers may expect to be included in each of them. Furthermore, when considering your online shop’s design you need to think about whether or not the theme you’ve chosen supports all of the latest plugins and third party tools, which you may want to use in the future.
3. Optimizing your online shop only for desktop users
The suggestion that “if a web page looks good on a desktop device, then it will also be ok on a mobile device” serves as a common excuse for retailers not to optimize their online shops for mobile devices. This, however, is completely wrong! While responsive designs are getting more popular, unless you implemented such before you even launched your online shop, your content is not going to look the same both on mobile and desktop devices.
Furthermore, if you haven’t done any optimization for mobile to your website, then you might have a bit of a problem with your marketing strategy, since more and more people are connecting to the internet via mobile, rather than desktop devices. Moreover, according to thedrum.com, 63% of traffic to retailers’ web pages and 53% of sales in 2019 happen via mobile. It’s clear to see how impressive this statistic is, therefore we encourage you to start working on developing a mobile version of your website as soon as possible.
4. Having the wrong kind of relationship with your competitors
Don’t get us wrong, we aren’t encouraging you to become best friends with your competitors, nor are we asking you to spend your free time drinking coffee together. What we mean by that is, you need to constantly keep track of what your competitors are doing, however, you shouldn’t copy their efforts blindly.
By doing your competitive analysis regularly, you’re staying on track with the current trends concerning your business’s niche and industry. Furthermore, by noticing what your competitors are doing and what they are offering to the consumers, you can easily figure out which deals appear to be appealing to your customers and which don’t. Therefore you know what to avoid doing in the future.
However, if you like some of their campaigns or if you see that they attract a lot of engagement and attention from the consumers, don’t just mindlessly copy your competitors. Marketing strategies are complicated and there’s much more to them than what the consumers are actually seeing. Therefore by copying your competitors’ visuals and content topics, you are only duplicating what’s on the surface of their campaigns without knowing what their goals are and consequently why are they sharing such content. Furthermore, not knowing what their conversion rates are, as well as how big the costs of those campaigns are, and still sharing similar content, can hurt your business.
So, if you want to get ahead of your competitors, you need to find that golden middle between being too copycat-y and not caring what they are doing at all. Furthermore, rather than mimic their efforts, you need to analyze your own performance and propose content and visuals according to the results. So, if you saw a huge increase in the number of orders for a given product, for example, think about what in your marketing strategy or on your website pushed the consumers to buy the goods from you, rather than from your competitors.
5. Having boring product descriptions
We see online shops, which lack in quality descriptions and presentation of the products as a whole, way too often. A lot of the retailers choose to simply copy the description of the manufacturer of the product (especially valid for eCommerce shops) or just leave the specially dedicated text box blank. Furthermore, while being SEO-friendly is a very good idea, jamming the description of your goods with keywords, is not so much.
Don’t use irrelevant tags and keywords for your products if you don’t want your customers to feel like they were betrayed.
Moreover, if you decide to simply copy the manufacturer’s description, you are playing a role in limiting your organic search visibility. This can happen if a lot of retailers use the same description as you, thus becoming your direct competitor when it comes to ranking in the search engines.
In order to attract the right customers and to persuade them into buying your goods, you need to display your products in the best light possible. This means that you have to upload high quality pictures of your products (you can also upload pictures of your product while in use, so your clients get a better understanding of its features) and give them detailed descriptions, which are fun and engaging. It’s a good idea to use clear, simple headlines for each of your goods and to highlight the benefits of your products by listing them in the form of a bullet point list.
6. Your pages are taking ages to load
A slow website could be one of the reasons why you are not generating as much sales as you’d like. According to a survey, executed by Google, if the loading time on a page takes 10 seconds or more, the bounce rate increases to 123% (bounce rate means that the customer bounced off of your page. They went to another page of your online shop, or simply left your website). Furthermore, Google’s article reads that as the number of elements on a page (such as text, titles, images) goes from 400 to 6,000, the probability of conversion drops 95% (more elements = slower website).
It’s easy to see that the consequences of a slow online shop could be devastating. Not to mention that a slow and lagging website is not going to convince your clients that they can trust you with their card details and rely on your services or products. Therefore, in order to avoid having problems with the swiftness of your online shop, you need to regularly test it (both on mobile and desktop) and optimize it, so that it runs smoothly.
7. Having a complicated check out process
One of the absolutely worst mistakes that you can make, when it comes to your online shop is to create a complicated checkout process. It is a truly hideous mistake, because you’ve put the needed effort and succeeded in convincing your audience that they need to buy your product. However, you let yourself down by overcomplicating the checkout process on your online shop and, thus, all you receive in return for your hard work are abandoned carts.
According to internetretailing.net, 87% of consumers say that they will abandon their cart if the checkout process is complicated. Furthermore, 55% of the consumers will never return to the retailers website, if they’ve experienced a complicated checkout process. Those are scary statistics, we know, however, there are steps you can take, in order to avoid this problem. You can stop requiring too much information from your customers during check out and you should definitely refrain from asking them to refill the same or similar details over and over again.
Don’t offer too many cross-selling and upselling deals to your clients before they actually buy the goods that are already in their cart. If you do that you are not only agitating them with more steps before they complete the purchase, but you’re also taking the risk of making it difficult for your clients to calculate the exact amount of money they need to pay at the end. Furthermore, by allowing non-registered users to complete purchases on your online shop, you are widening your potential customers list.
8. Having no brand personas and not segmenting customers
In order to know how to properly address your customers, you need to understand what they might be interested in as well as what are the features of your products that your customers enjoy most. In other words, you need to be able to understand what drives your customers to buy your products. The only way, in which you can do that is by identifying key characteristics of the different types of people who are interested (or might be interested) in what you offer.
You can do that by surveying your existing customers or monitoring their activity on social media. Come up with a name, gender, interests, hobbies, family status and job position for your ideal customer. You can even add a photo of what your client might look like. Furthermore, create multiple brand personas for the different types of products you offer. The key aspect that you need to understand is that different people will be persuaded by diverse features and benefits, therefore you need to communicate to them accordingly. What this means is that you need to segment your audience, identify the goals and pain points of the consumers in each segment and target them with appropriate content.
9. Not optimizing for search engines
Internal and external linking, the usage of keywords and updating your metadata, all of those things will help your website or online shop to climb the ladder and pop up on the first page of search engines. Optimizing your online shop, so that it’s SEO-friendly is key when it comes to attracting new customers. According to 99firms.com, it’s estimated that Google handles 70,000 search queries on average per second. The author continues explaining that this is equal to 5.8 billion searches per day and nearly 2 trillion searches in a year. In other words, people are using search engines pretty often. Therefore, chances are that when they need a given product, the first thing they’ll probably do is a quick Google search.
For this reason, it’s important for your online shop to appear as high as possible (first spot will be preferable) in the results list. Think about what words and phrases your customers may use when searching for your products or your online shop on the internet. That way you can outline keywords, which when used correctly can significantly boost your SEO performance. Furthermore, you can create content, optimized for diverse search intents (what is the goal of people’s search). As ahrefs.com states, there are three main types of intent when it comes to search engines. They are: navigational (when consumers are looking for a specific website they have in mind), informational (when people are eager to research a specific topic and learn more about it) and transactional (when consumers want to buy a specific product or a service).
Another point to think about is whether or not the theme of your website is SEO-friendly. Just keep in mind that some of the outlooks for your online shop can generate poorly coded HTML, which will undoubtedly hinder your site’s performance on search engines.
10. Focusing only on your online shop and disregarding all other communication platforms
Last, but not least, you cannot simply focus all of your energy into growing your website and optimizing it. In order to be successful, you need to first and foremost, take care of your business and work on completing all of the goals and projects that you have planned. Secondly, yes, you need to optimize your website and try to stay away from all of the mistakes on our list. However, the third thing that you must do, if you truly want to make your digital presence count, is to come up with a marketing strategy and use all of the communication platforms that your business has access to, when implementing it.
Identify a goal, which you want your business to achieve, for a certain period of time (for example a quarter). Define your target audience and think of creative content ideas, which can help you achieve your objective. You need to talk to your customers via social media, email newsletter, and other digital means through which you can communicate your message. Furthermore, you need to create an advertising strategy for your products and execute Facebook and Google ad campaigns. Don’t forget to keep track of the results and analyze your performance, so that you know which of your efforts drove your business to success.
And there you have it – the 10 most common mistakes, which you should try to avoid when it comes to your online shop. Did you know that one of the easiest ways in which you could do that is to outsource some of your marketing tasks? If you are feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of details that you need to go through when optimizing your website, why not leave it to the professionals. Here at Interval, we are always ready to help.
We can take care of the whole process of creating your online shop. We will plan the design and the layout of your website and optimize it both for desktop and mobile devices. Furthermore, we will make sure that it is SEO-friendly. Additionally, we can help you come up with an overall goal for your business and we’ll suggest the most appropriate marketing tools through which you can achieve that. You can always count on Interval if you need any assistance with your business’s marketing strategy.