Selling online through e-commerce websites can be a lucrative business. When a store can be open 24/7 and 365 days a year and worldwide, it significantly changes the opportunity in comparison to localized brick and mortar stores.
E-commerce websites present great opportunities for many businesses and individuals, but it is not as simple as many people may think. Not every website is the same and not every e-commerce solution functions the same.
In the matter of fact, how websites are designed and developed, as well as what technology is used has a lot to do with the success of a website. There are many mistakes made with website design and e-commerce that can cripple the efforts of producing sales online and succeeding. To help, here are the top 10 most common e-commerce website design mistakes to avoid.
10 Most Common E-Commerce Website Design Mistakes To Avoid
1. Not listing clearly the contact information.
It is a website and online business. Most of the time people will order without every contacting the brand or company, but this is not the reason not to list the contact information clearly on all key website pages. Consumers and online shoppers must feel safe when shopping online. Consumers want to see a phone number, email, and other contact information of the website they are about to shop on. When e-commerce websites hide phone numbers and contact information, it hurts sales conversion and the acquisition of new customers. Listing the phone number in the “header” of the website ensures that the phone number is visible across all pages. The same can be done with an email address and chat features.
2. Forcing account registration to order online.
This can’t be stressed enough, online retailers should never force their consumers and potential customers to register an account in order to purchase from the website. This drastically reduces sales and conversion rates. Website visitors should be able to freely choose the items they want to purchase and go through the checkout process to buy them without having to register for an account. To still enable the collection of customer information, a website can always offer consumers to save their customer information for future visits and shopping. This is an easy way to accomplish the same without forcing it upon the consumer.
3. Complicated and long checkout process.
The checkout process is a critical part of any e-commerce website. It is also an area where many e-commerce websites loose their customers and sales. Complicated and lengthy checkout processes increase shopping cart abandonment and lower online sales conversion rates. Shopping cart abandonment are already as high as 50-60%. Anything that can be done to lower them is critical to the success of an e-commerce website and business. Online retailers and individuals should make sure that the shopping cart solutions they use are simple, user-friendly, and not long.
4. Not sufficient enough product details and information.
E-commerce websites must have sufficient enough product details and information. Some websites go as far as having videos about their products, multiple images, and very detailed descriptions and product details, including product reviews and customer testimonials. Those websites produce the highest conversion rates vs. e-commerce websites that lack details and information. Consumers unlike brick and mortar stores can’t touch what they are buying. They do not have the ability to touch the product, smell it, try it on, and so on. The more details and information can be provided on websites about the products, the better the chances at generating sales online.
5. Poor quality and limited product images.
This does not apply to any products sold that are digital in nature, but for everyone else, this is important. Consumers expect quality images and photographs of the products they are considering to buy. Websites that use poor and unprofessional product images hurt their online sales and conversion rates. For best results, e-commerce websites should use professional product images and multiple photos per SKU offered and sold through the shopping cart.
6. Poorly designed and architected home pages.
The home page of any website, but especially e-commerce websites is the most critical page of the site. Most website visitors land on the home page, this is why it is critical to have it properly designed, architected, and with the right conversion and sales tools. Professional e-commerce designers know what works and what does not, but too often it is not a professional designer who has developed the website and home page. Professionals know what features and solutions to use on home pages that produce results. Quality design, smart architecture, and the proper sales tools make a big difference, when selling online.
7. Not offering enough incentives to shop.
This should be common sense but online retailers, businesses, and individuals too often overlook it. Not offering enough incentives to buy will cause the loss of potential sales and customers. Consumers go online to get deals and take advantage of specials and discounts. E-commerce websites should offer incentives to get website visitors to commit via purchasing. Some of these incentives can be seasonal discounts, specials, and as simple as offering free shipping. Any incentives given can improve online sales conversion rates.
8. Not offering enough payment options.
E-commerce websites that offer their customers only MasterCard and Visa as payment options, can loose sales and potential customers. Offering not enough payment options can reduce online sales and conversion rates of shopping carts. For best results, online retailers should offer as many payment methods as possible, including PayPal, electronic check payments, and any other payment system available for use.
9. Lack of cross-selling and up-selling features.
For e-commerce websites and their shopping pages to produce sales, online retailers and businesses should implement cross-selling and up-selling features to promote related products. Even in brick and mortar stores, consumers will find related and similar products around the items they are looking at. Traditional stores have been doing this for a long time. E-commerce websites that want to improve sales must include features on individual product pages and across key pages of the website with cross-selling and up-selling features.
10. Poorly created website navigation.
Amongst slow loading websites, poorly created website navigation is the next most annoying thing for consumers. Website visitors do not want to click around to find what they are looking for. Poorly created website navigation loose website visitors quickly. Navigation of any website is critical to the experience of a site visitor. This is even more critical with e-commerce websites. Navigation should be user-friendly, not complicated, and intelligently created to produce the desired results. All too often, this is not the case with e-commerce websites. Confusing navigation quickly looses people and website visitors.
For best results, individuals and businesses should work with professionals who have enough experience with the industry, website design, and e-commerce development. Many vendors and individuals claim to be website designers and developers, but in reality they do not have enough experience to produce the necessary results.