Whether you’re a seasoned eCommerce guru or you have just opened up to the idea of online sales, you’ll know that eCommerce marketing isn’t about simply setting up a website, running some ads, and getting done with it. Running a successful eCommerce site requires strategies and marketing campaigns at regular time intervals, just as much as the offline World..
To get your biggest bang for the buck, you should be able to keep up with all things new and keep your top online sales-person, that is, your website up and running in good condition. As your one point of contact between you and your customer, a red-carpet entry to your website and a well-functioning, easy to navigate website that entices your shopper to look around is key. But in the process of doing this, there may be several bumps on the road, and several wrong turns that you shouldn’t take.
18 eCommerce marketing mistakes to avoid
1. Not defining your target audience
The crucial and most important step to selling in the online world, is to know who you’re selling to – Who are your customers? How old are they? Generally, where do they spend time online? What do they like? What they don’t like? Everything there is to know, you should have a clear idea of it. All your marketing campaigns and strategies are built on segments you create of your customer data. If your market segments are badly formed, you’re likely going to fail to impress.
2. Choosing the wrong platform
Choosing the right content management system requires a lot of thought – and the answer to the question isn’t who is cheapest or free. A CMS should be tailored to your site requirements since its impact on your eCommerce business is massive. You don’t have to go all out with the most premium features right from the start. But you should be able to deploy as quickly as possible and expand as you go.
While choosing your CMS, keep your social media marketing, email marketing, and SEO needs at the forefront. Don’t pay too much attention to the UI/UX part, as most sites offer enough to suffice, and there are many ways in which you can integrate upgraded UI/UX onto any platform. But then again, you do want to be able to deploy quickly and not get stuck in a rabbit hole.
3. Poor navigation
The moment you walk into a store – you want one of two things – an assistant who can direct you to the right aisle, or an assistant who leaves you alone so that you can look around with ease. Your website has to do both. At the same time.
Having a handy intelligent search bar is important for customers who want an assistant right away. For the latter, it’s all about organizing your pages well and not making the product categories too complicated. Simple, neat, and structured. Allow your customers to “click-around”, but make them solve a jigsaw-puzzle in the process.
4. Poor quality and unclear product images
Using subpar images on your product is a no-no. An instant turn off, product images require you to get specific with the details and angles so that customers can get the virtual feeling of seeing themselves use it.
5. Inaccurate or incomplete product descriptions
Don’t just optimize for SEO and leave everything else up to the eCommerce gods. Put some effort into your content and make it informative, detailed, and interesting. Professional and creative work is always appreciated and helps build a trust factor.
6. No personal info/about us page
Too often, the millennial site owner thinks – “oh, but why bother with this? It’s useless and cheesy”. While this may be a great exercise in building your brand, if there is no human element attached to it at all, people get skeptical about buying from you. No one in the online universe is unaware of scamsters and bots.
More importantly, it’s important to use the personal info section to your advantage. You don’t have to always get cheesy; you can also be funny. It’s a way for people to understand why your brand and its products stay true to the image it portrays online. It gives customers a point of reference, and it’s also a great way to help them understand your company’s unique selling point.
7. The online store takes longer time to load
When a customer walks into your website, you have 3 seconds to impress. Research shows that if your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load, about 53% of your potential customers leave your site. The probability of bounce increases to 32% as page load times increase from 1 to 3 seconds. Page speed optimization is crucial to eCommerce success. Choosing a good host and compressing your images are the important things to note here. Use google pagespeed insights or Pingdom to see where you stand and what you can improve. An important point to note is that page speeds affect your SERPs. When you are in the eCommerce race, every second counts.
8. The online store isn’t optimized for mobile users
If all your ad campaigns and social media accounts are targeted for mobile users, and your website isn’t mobile-optimized, you’re going to see staggeringly low conversion rates. Your website must look good on mobile devices and tablets, because responsiveness is key to a good shopping experience.
9. Poor product catalog pages
Product cataloging should be limited to 4 to 6 at max. Don’t overwhelm your visitors with a barrage of items you have on your site. When you walk into Walmart, you’re impressed by the size, but you wouldn’t want to read a novel about all the types of items they’ll have. Keep the navigation easy and use sort and filter to your advantage.
10. Too many annoying offers
While providing discounts are good, it often takes away the trust factor if you make your website look like an always-on clearance sale. Don’t irritate with annoying pop-ups at every click. Display your Offer only once, and if the customer likes it, he/she will take it. Even if they don’t right away – trust that they’ll come back looking for it. The timing at which your one pop-up opens is also very important.
For many online shoppers, it has become an instinct to look for the cross-mark and click immediately. It’s like the satisfying feeling of playing “whack-a-mole”. If your customer has found you through SEO and is just reading your blog, but you’d like them to subscribe to your newsletter before they leave. Don’t put the notification right away. Let the pop-up open after a few seconds, and your chances of collecting email data go up much higher.
11. Page not found! – broken links
It’s important to note that this isn’t just about customer satisfaction. It also affects your rank on Google and other search engines, if you have too many broken links on your site. Make sure it all works fine, and in case there is a chance of something amiss, use the opportunity to redirect them to other products.
12. Difficult checkout process
If you’re experiencing the abandoned cart phenomena, it may be because you’re asking too much information before they make the purchase. It’s very important that they have the option to link to social media so that one click buy can be done with ease. While guest checkouts are important too, don’t ask for more than the bare minimum details like name, email address, and a phone number that is necessary. It’s also necessary that you provide multiple payment options. Only credit cards or PayPal are a no-go these days, and it’s important that you consider integrating more into your system.
13. Ignoring the importance of email marketing
Whether you want to send out newsletters, new products, thank you emails, reminders of abandoned carts, or just make an announcement – email is your best friend. Use good email marketing campaign manager software, and you’ll be able to uncover so many secrets about your customers that you never knew before.
Email marketing is a very important ecommerce marketing tool for website analytics. From open rates to click rates, email allows you to track a lot of things about your customers and this can help you segment your customer base better. Email is also an important tool to personalize. No one can ignore a letter that has their name on it, and it’s possible for you to do that on a massive scale with email.
14. Forgetting the power of social media
Okay, you have a store – but how do you get people to come there? Social media is a very important tool in the eCommerce world. Social media is the platform you use to build a brand image. Providing your brand with a friendly personality is key. Monitoring your reviews, understanding what your customers are saying – social media connects you to your existing customers and brings you closer to your TG (Target Group). Social media marketing can improve your sales with minimal investments and it’s important to leverage this strategy.
15. Hiding return and exchange policies
If your products are available in several sizes, colors, and other options, most customers are going to look out for a returns policy. The one thing that brick and mortar stores can provide the option to try before you buy.
Since eCommerce is lacking in that aspect, it’s very important that you maintain complete transparency with respect to returns.16. Using only one shipping method
One of the most valuable lessons to learn from Amazon is their delightfully designed shipping policy. Charge extra for one-day delivery and don’t deliver on that day – but they rarely get slack for it. Why? Because they provided the option. Customers want multiple shipping methods to choose from so that they can decide between rates or time – whatever is more important to them. Providing this extra service, especially during the holiday season, will see your sales soar.
17. Lack of Social Proof
Too many times, websites use testimonials and product reviews. To make it sound more convincing, they tend to use stock photos in the attachment. . Providing curated Instagram feeds and genuine ratings are key to building trust during the shopping experience. Use your social media platforms for trust-building exercises, and you’ll see massive improvements in CRO ( Conversion Rate Optimization). More importantly, linking to your social media at key junctures also gives you an opportunity to garner more followers online, improving organic clicks.
18. Surprise fees
If your advertising says one rate and your product page displays something else, your customers will immediately turn away from you. Unexpected “convenience charges” are accepted only in a monopoly game and nowhere else. Provide all the information well before checkout.
To really get insights into how well your website is performing, it’s important that you use analytics tools. Google PageSpeed insights, HotJar, and Quantcast are few at the top of the list of tools to consider to help you avoid common eCommerce marketing mistakes. These tools can not only tell you what you might be doing wrong, but they also provide context. For example, you may have heard that segmentation is key to improving your marketing strategy. Using analytics tools can help you segment your customers better so that you can easily personalize your marketing strategy.
Some other common ecommerce mistakes include providing fewer payment options, bad content marketing, and not focusing on the right metrics. This is of course not an exhaustive list but is an extremely important one to keep handy.