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5 e-Commerce Pitfalls to Avoid

Successful online retail sales revolve around making shopping easy and secure for customers. A competitor's site is only a click away, and anything that is frustrating, untrustworthy, or annoying is an invitation to make that click. Learn to recognise the five most common mistakes that drive customers away, so you don’t make them yourself.

1. Ineffective Search

When customers come to your website, they might be browsing, or they might be looking for a very specific item. Your online store should make it easy for visitors to do either by ensuring a logical structure and solid search functionality.

Make it easy for customers to zoom in on exactly what they want to buy. Perhaps they are looking for a black lady's dress shirt, a gift for a friend under £25, or everything available from a specific brand. Anticipate all your customers' needs and fulfil those searches in as few steps as possible.

2. Poor Access to Customer Service

Some companies try to save money by making their customers jump through hoops to contact actual employees. The last thing you want to do is frustrate potential customers by refusing to answer their questions. Answers to commonly asked questions should be readily accessible on your website. If your customers have additional questions, let them contact a real person by email, postal mail, and by telephone.

3. Hidden Policies

Two of the most common questions shoppers ask are, "What if I don't like it? Can I return it?" and "How much is it going to cost to deliver?"

Some retailers try to hide the answers to these questions until the last minute, hoping shoppers will be so committed to their purchases they won't balk at high delivery costs or other problems. The truth is, most shoppers will assume no news is bad news. If you don't make your policies easily accessible, your customers will assume there is a reason for hiding them.

4. Hard-to-Find Checkout

Finally a customer has found a product he or she wants to buy. The price is right, the credit card is in hand… but there's no sign of a checkout. The customer immediately decides you don't really want the sale, and leaves your site.

Don't make your customers search for a checkout, or use icons that are difficult to interpret. Use strong calls to action and clear directions to make the purchase as easy as possible.

5. Intrusive Information Gathering

Learning more about your customers is a great goal for marketing – but terrible for sales. If your checkout takes too long or asks for too much information, your customers will start feeling uncomfortable or impatient and walk away from the purchase. Require only the information necessary to get the product to the customer, and leave the task of information gathering to follow-up emails.

By eliminating these five common e-marketing mistakes, you will retain more customers on your site, increasing both customer loyalty and profits. If you would like to review the effectiveness of your e-commerce website, please call 08452 579606