The development of an eCommerce platform can be a complicated task to people who may be unfamiliar with that type of development project. Mistakes can happen along the way, and when they do, it can significantly impact your bottom line.
However, it is possible to avoid making these mistakes when you are aware of them. Here are some of the most common development mistakes and how to avoid them.
Consumers who shop online are trusting a site with their personal information. Their name, address, and most importantly, their credit information is coveted by thieves and hackers who often target eCommerce sites.
For a customer to be willing to give up this personal information, the site they are giving this information to must not only be secured, but also must appear trustworthy.
Consumers are limited in their options to determine how secure and trustworthy a site is. With all of the reported hacks and data breaches making the news as of late, shoppers are also on high-alert for any potential threat to their data security.
As such, appearance is a critical way consumers judge a site. KISSmetrics reports that “design is essential. It can make or break a sale, and possibly even your company. With design, it’s about the details. Everything matters, and nothing should be overlooked.”
This mistake can happen if a business does not prioritize or value their site design. However, if an eCommerce business does not value the design of their site, the consumers may think the business does not value the security of the private information they are providing.
Appearance matters to consumers, therefore, it should matter to the business.
Businesses can avoid making this mistake by ensuring they do not cut corners when creating a site. They should think like a customer and offer a design that they would be comfortable with if they were providing confidential information.
The back-end users of a site know that the information provided can be trusted in their hands, but the customer often cannot be so sure. It may even be worth the investment in outsourcing this task to developers who know how to cater to this need.
For many consumers who visit an eCommerce site, less is more. Too many features can overwhelm the average user, prevent web pages from loading quickly, and interfere with the shopping experience.
The site should also be clearly labeled and organized in order to facilitate conversion. According to Website Magazine, “effective navigation means simplified navigation. Having a clear and clutter-free navigation is the best thing you can do to make your website friendly for your visitors.”
That said, it is important to still be able to offer a consumer all of the features they need. For example, the existence of a mobile site is becoming increasingly more important to online shoppers, and as such, an eCommerce company is going to want to be able to offer their customers a site that is optimized for the device they are using.
Additionally, a user may want to have access to filters and a search bar in order to streamline their shopping.
To avoid making this mistake, an eCommerce site must be able to split the difference between offering too many features that may overwhelm, and too little features that may leave a customer wanting more.
The quality of the content and features being provided to the customer are much more valuable than an overwhelming quantity of features. The site should present the useful and necessary features in a clear and organized way.
The shopping cart is a key component of a site and can become the deciding factor towards whether or not a consumer will proceed with the sale. The shopping cart should cater to the way online shoppers tend to shop.
Many shoppers assemble carts in order to gauge prices, and compare across several competing retailers. Cooper Smith at Business Insider mentions that “approximately $4 trillion worth of merchandise will be abandoned in online shopping carts this year.”
These shoppers who abandon their cart, however, may be able to be recovered if a retailer can offer shopping cart features that will retain those shoppers, or entice them to come back to their abandoned cart. ConversionXL.com noted that a key part of this is to offer a “persistent shopping cart” to the consumer because “if upon their return [the shoppers] discover that the contents of the shopping cart have expired, they will not start from scratch (too much hassle).”
A retailer that offers this shopping cart feature is demonstrating that they value the time a customer has spent with them, and this makes it easy for the customer to simply proceed with the purchase, rather than have to rebuild their cart.
Further, abandoned carts can actually become recovered sales when retailers use them to target their marketing emails.
In this case, the retailer can send an email to the shopper who abandoned the cart where the email can be compelling enough to recover the lost sale. To do this retailers can send coupons and reminders to the accounts associated with the abandoned cart.
To avoid making the mistake of having an overall inadequate shopping cart, a site should include cookies that will recognize a returning shopper, and present their cart to them in the manner they last left it.
The site should also include an automated system of email triggers that will be sent to shoppers who have left a cart. A shopping cart that has the ability to convert browsing shoppers into paying customers is a critical part to eCommerce site development.
A multi-channel web design is critical in today’s eCommerce transactions.
When a retailer only offers a single channel to their customers, they are shutting out potential customers and limiting their profits. In addition to a desktop site, a retailer should offer their customers a mobile site, an app, a site optimized for iPads and tablets, and the compatibility to effectively perform across any channel the customer desires.
This aspect of development must also be carefully executed in order to refrain from making the second mistake of a having a site that is not user-friendly.
To avoid making this mistake, the site must be developed in a way that optimizes use across multiple channels. This means that each channel is considered throughout development process, and the customer’s ease of use is kept in mind.
A retailer should allow a consumer to pay for their purchase in the way they are most comfortable. This idea goes along with the security feature the site must offer in that the consumer wants to be in control of deciding how they will pay for their purchase.
Practical eCommerce states, “restrict how [the customer] can pay and they’re more likely to take their business elsewhere.”
For example, in light of the security breaches in popular retailers across the country, many consumers are turning to Paypal as an alternative, more secure payment method. As such, a retailer should be sure that they are able to accommodate this method along with the standard credit card payment method in order to appeal to their customers.
A site that offers multiple ways to pay can be sure that they are not turning any customers away right at the point of conversion simply because they cannot accommodate the customer’s desired method of payment.
Site development is an important component of creating an effective website that will facilitate sales. Though mistakes may happen in this process, there are some common mistakes that can be avoided.
By becoming aware of the above most-common mistakes, as well as learning why they happen, you can be sure that your site will not suffer.