In the course of my business, I have the opportunity to speak with many online distributors. I found that some of them suffer from common mistakes with their eCommerce platform - mistakes that can be fixed.
eCommerce is the lifeblood of online distributors. If not attended to, these mistakes can turn off customers and drive them away from your business. I read that over half of online customers have experienced problems with their purchases within the past year.
Here is a list of some common blunders and how to fix them:
No. 1: Choosing an ecommerce platform without doing adequate research.
Something as important as connecting with your customers shouldn’t be relegated to the back burner. Just reading a list of functionality in a brochure is not enough to verify if the platform will work for your business. We all know that once you get your hands on the new software, suddenly your “assumptions” about how you thought the software would work may be a big wakeup call and give you a bad case of buyer’s remorse.
Create a list of the functionality that your business requires like:
- First-in-search product positioning
- Credit card processing
- Online order status
- Online returns
- Upsell and accessory options
- Order history / Easy re-order
- Integrations to back office accounting/ERP
Consider these questions:
- Is the cart easy to use?
- Can you get support when you need it?
- Are there positive reviews for the product?
No 2: Ignoring Security Concerns
If you want customers to buy from you, don’t scare them away. Studies show that up to 25% of users will stop an online purchase because of security concerns.
Users need to know that their information is safe and protected. Smaller eCommerce sites overlook how important a trust indicator is for the success of online business. A digital certificate communicates to customers that your site is authentic and safe to use.
If you outsource to third party providers, make sure they provide strong security best practices, verified through industry certifications and that they secure their own data with https.
No. 3: Clunky Site Navigation
The quickest way to drive a customer to your competition is to make your site so difficult to navigate that they can’t find what they want quickly.
Make sure your search is optimized. A customer should be able to find the products they are looking for with minimal clicks.
Review your analytics and note where your customers are dropping off. Continually optimize your eCommerce site base on your findings.
No. 4: Eliminate Uncertainty
Since a customer can’t see and inspect their purchases before buying, you can ease their uncertainty in other ways. Failing to give accurate or helpful product descriptions leads a customer to order the wrong product, or they may just give up on ordering altogether.
Include as much information as possible in your description. Placing information such as materials, sizing, colors, and instructions for use, how to care for, will assist your customer in deciding if this is the right product for them. Many master distributors and manufacturers provide enhanced content. Your site should be capable of taking advantage of that advanced content.
If your customer gets all their questions answered, they will order from you. Another benefit: You will reduce returns and customer dissatisfaction for your eCommerce store.
No. 5: Poor Checkout Design
Don’t ask for information beyond what is needed for the transaction as that will frustrate your customers. Your process should be easy and painless.
If you have multiple checkout pages, you are giving visitors more reasons to click out. I have heard it said, if it is harder to pay for the item then find the item, there is something wrong. Use one page that offers account creation/guest checkout, shipping, billing and credit card information.
What challenges do you have as an eCommerce distributor? Please comment below.
Business Management International (BMI) is dedicated to bringing business technology to independent distributors to help them compete. We’re not afraid to offer radically great customer service and proudly offer Microsoft Dynamics NAV to solve real world business problems. www.bmiusa.com.