Your website is the most essential tool in your marketing arsenal. An online presence allows new customers to explore your products or services and your company’s brand.
In the world of ecommerce first impressions mean everything so do not let it be a negative one! Here are the top 5 things to avoid when building your website.
Sites taking too long to load
Consumers do not want to wait for a slow-loading website. When building your site a useful rule of thumb is to think about the content first, then the navigation, then design. A slow website will almost definitely turn customers away – before you’ve even had the chance to talk to them. Anything longer than a few seconds, and your visitors will click that back button – and you’ll have lost a customer.
If you do need to use a lot of graphics, make sure to optimise them for the best look and smallest fit. The best websites have a clear focus. Your visitors should know instantaneously know what the purpose of the page is. If the site it too cluttered it can be hard for your visitors to separate the information they’re looking for from the visual content.
Not being accessible
Your website must be compatible with at least the latest couple of versions of all major web browsers, including Firefox, Safari and Chrome. It must also be usable across all types of media including mobile devices. Having a mobile website as well as a standard version is less and less about having an edge over the competition and more about keeping up with them. Mobile marketing is now a major driver of sales, with high proportions of consumers expecting to access websites from their mobile devices. Important information regarding your business and contact numbers should also be clearly visible on your mobile site. Click here for top tips on improving your customer’s mobile experience.
Over-complicated purchasing process
This is one of the most damaging mistakes an ecommerce site can make. Our research indicates that 44% of UK consumers would abandon their cart if the forms took “too long to fill out”. The more steps you put between them placing an item in their cart and actually paying for it, the more opportunities you give them to leave your site without completing their purchase. The best forms will only ask for the information they absolutely need, splitting the process into manageable chunks. Stalling pages with further recommendations is annoying, as is having to type out your whole address!
Enforcing customers to sign-up before they buy is another huge no-no. These kinds of obstacles stops shoppers like a concrete wall. People don’t want to have to remember a password or feel like they’re being tied into a company when they just want to buy a CD – after all you wouldn’t make a customer sign-up in a regular store, would you?
Not offering delivery options
The main thing that will put off your shoppers is the sometimes agonizing experience of delivery. It’s vital you are able to provide the customer with a choice of how their goods are delivered, offering the best level of customer service. People are far more inclined to buy if they know exactly how long it will take to arrive. Unless you’re charging extortionate amounts for flying products in on the back of a golden eagle, you should have nothing to hide.
It’s an absolute nightmare having to search for shipping costs, or to get to the checkout only to discover you could have got cheaper postage elsewhere.
Not making security your priority
Research from Postcode Anywhere indicates that security is the number one concern for online shoppers today. Your customers will only purchase products if they feel safe and confident about your business. Therefore, it is imperative that you align your website with industry-accepted protocols and standards. If your business holds sensitive information such as credit card and personal data, you need to ensure your website is fully secure. Make sure you provide full contact information for your customers to get in touch if they need to.
It’s worth the effort
The good news is that as pitfalls go, these are easy to spot. Avoiding them, therefore, isn’t rocket science, but it does demand application and patience. Like many other creative projects, building ecommerce sites can be challenging and, at times, soul destroying; there can be endless loose ends to sort out and at times you will want to give. Persevere, once launched your ecommerce store will not only generate new and more profitable sales, but give your business agility you could only once have dreamed of.