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Reasons why some ecommerce sites fail

28th February 2017 Print

There is no doubt that ecommerce is one of the best business opportunities for entrepreneurs today. The capability to be open 24/7, all year round, is something that not many brick-and-mortar stores can do. Having fewer overheads and being able to reach shoppers from other parts of the world are further enticing arguments to get involved in ecommerce. If the amount spent in the UK during Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2016 is anything to go by, then online shopping has nowhere to go but skyward.

However, because of the potential for making a good living via an estore, many owners may well rush things and open an ecommerce site before they are truly ready. It’s far better to launch when you’re 100% happy with how your website looks and functions. Therefore, to get a leg up on your competition and to impress online shoppers, here are some things to avoid when setting up your ecommerce site for the first time.

Not getting the basics right

Imagine walking into a shop and being surprised that every product is placed haphazardly around the store and everything is a struggle to find. Or perhaps that none of the staff have any idea how to operate the till. There are things we just expect when we enter a shop: that the products are presented nicely and easy to find, and that the staff is trained properly in taking your money! Likewise, there are assumptions in the ecommerce world too. For one, consumers would presume that your site is protected by an SSL certificate, and secondly, that it has been optimised for viewing on a smartphone or tablet.

Surprisingly, many estores either have faulty or expired SSL certificates, as well as requiring the user to pinch and zoom their way around a site when accessing from a handheld device – both are unacceptable in today’s age. It is possible to make sure that both of these problems are handled at the creation of the estore, such as using ecommerce software which has these expectations already built in.

Veiled costs and mandatory registration

The words "cart abandonment" are perhaps some of the worst that an ecommerce site owner wishes to hear; getting so close to a sale, only to have it taken away at the last minute is hugely frustrating. But why does this happen? It may just be a case of the customer getting cold feet upon seeing the 'Buy Now' button, but it might actually be partly fault of the vendor. Hiding shipping rates until the very last second will frustrate even the calmest person, as having a large fee sprung on you is irritating. Shipping rates should ideally be presented up front, or at least as early as possible. Implementing a shipping calculator that adjusts to different postal codes is necessary too.

Also, avoid making registration a compulsory action before purchase, but merely a possibility instead. So many shoppers hate the idea of having to provide data to yet another online platform, and will simply abandon their cart and shop elsewhere. They can input data for return visits if they wish, but let them make that decision.

Bad images and descriptions of your product

Many people still love shopping in brick-and-mortar stores because they have the option to pick up a product and examine it, as well as speaking to a shop assistant for more information. Sadly, these are possibilities that ecommerce stores lack (maybe the virtual reality shopping experiment will change things, but not for a while). To compensate for this, an ecommerce site should have high quality pictures of products from several different angles and in good lighting. Furthermore, descriptions should be comprehensive and interesting; a consumer wants as much info as they can get before making a purchase.

To use the example of the tortoise vs. the hare story, taking your time and not rushing things will give you a far better chance to be a successful estore owner, rather than rushing to the finish line in the hopes of quick revenue.