As a local business owner, your business was built on face-to-face sales and human connection in order to make your customers feel appreciated and happy to give you their business. But in order to scale your venture, you need to look beyond your city’s borders. That’s where ecommerce comes in. With an online store, you can reach more customers, expand your inventory, grow your sales - and keep even your busiest customers satisfied.
Starting an online store is easier than ever, thanks to the explosion of easy-to-use website builders and services like dropshipping that let you sell products without warehousing inventory. However, there are still fatal mistakes that could prevent your online store from succeeding, frustrate your customers, and even drive them away.
1. Choosing the wrong web host
Your website’s hosting provider does more than get your site online. Your choice of web host also affects how your website ranks in search engine results. Bottom-tier web hosts with slow site speed and frequent downtime hurt your website’s SEO, making it harder for customers to find your online store in a search.
A quality web host, on the other hand, has high uptime and site speed, as well as perks like website builders, marketing and SEO services. Going with a reputable web host doesn’t have to mean spending a ton, either: For example, Bluehost offers hosting as low as $2.95 a month, and still provide all these amenities and more.
2. Skimping on product descriptions
There are two mistakes business owners make when it comes to product descriptions:
● Copying the manufacturer’s product description verbatim.
● Providing too little information.
If you copy and paste product details from a manufacturer’s website, search engines flag the page as duplicate content and lower its standings in search results. Instead of duplicating information, reframe production descriptions to match your own brand voice.
The other sin is not giving enough information in your product descriptions. Not only do you miss an opportunity to sell the product, you also diminish customer trust in your brand. You don’t need to write out every product spec, but include the ones that matter to your target audience.
3. Using poor product photos
A compelling product description isn’t complete without great photos. No matter what you’re selling, visuals are a must. If taking your own photos, invest in basic photography equipment, including a shooting table, lighting, tripod, and editing software.
4. Complicating the check-out process
Building too many steps into your online store’s checkout process or waiting to reveal shipping costs is the fastest way to lose customers. Seven in 10 customers abandon their cart at the checkout phase. Twenty-five percent say it’s because of unexpected shipping costs, 22% because an account is required to check out, and others say the checkout process takes too long or doesn’t seem secure.
To reduce abandonment rates, make a streamlined checkout process a priority when designing your ecommerce site. You can also avoid hidden shipping costs by building shipping expenses into product costs, so customers know exactly what they’re paying before they check out.
You’ve made a name for yourself in the local business community, but getting into ecommerce presents a different set of challenges. When customers have countless choices for where to shop online, you can’t afford to make mistakes that leave shoppers unhappy and drive them away. When you build an online store that works, you can look forward to happy customers watching your brand grow.
Marissa Perez is a co-founder and head marketing writer at businesspop.net.
Image via Unsplash