18 Common Reasons E-Commerce Websites Fail
How to Appeal to Demanding Online Consumers
Modern consumers can choose from countless options. They can look up the products online themselves and decide where to shop and which stores to avoid.
As an online retailer, you must be particularly savvy to win over potential customers. As the e-commerce marketplace evolves, you must stay cautious and not make one of the most frequent mistakes that impede sales and conversion rates.
Let’s look at why e-commerce websites fail and how online shop owners can address those issues.
The Most Common Reasons Why E-Commerce Websites Fail
Of course, the look of your website is probably one of the most significant factors in whether or not you’ll be successful. We’ve all pulled up a website, and as soon as it loaded, hit the back arrow. Why?
Because the website did not look trustworthy. Perhaps the site will steal your credit card number, and you’ll never get what you purchased. Even though online stores may be legitimate companies, we all get worried when shopping online. The goal needs to be to build a big, strong, trusting brand and look for your online business.
Poor User Experience
An online store should try to emulate the offline store experience as much as possible. For example, let the customer see what your products look like with quality images. If the customer can’t get a good sense of a product with a single image, display the product from another angle with a second image.
When a customer has a question in an offline store, they ask one of the sales staff. Likewise, include a frequently asked questions page and include a means of contact with yourself or your customer service.
Make your products easy to find with clear and straightforward navigation and a search bar. People who know what they want typically use the search bar, while those who want to explore and browse use the navigation menus.
Purchasing your products should be seamless and convenient. Give your customers multiple payment options and keep the purchasing process simple. The more steps required, the greater your shopping cart abandonment.
Ignoring the Importance of Mobile UX
62% of smartphone users have purchased something on their mobile device in the last six months. With figures like that, the emphasis on creating a responsive e-commerce store that works across all devices is vital. Thankfully, it is relatively easy to create an exceptional mobile user experience — there are no excuses for a poor mobile experience in 2022.
Get to know the nuts and bolts of good mobile UX for your store. Using a CMS like WordPress means that you get a store optimized for mobile devices, whereas anyone working with a more custom system may have to put in some extra development time to get things right. If you have gone with a shopping app, test it thoroughly before the big launch.
Either way, it’s worth taking the time to test your store yourself on various devices, from laptops to tablets — with differing web speeds and from different locations and IP addresses worldwide. If a customer finds your site difficult to navigate, it’s easy for them to go elsewhere. It’s up to you to make sure they don’t need to.
No Calls to Action
If you’re trying to get someone to add an item to their cart, make sure the button stands out. If you want them to call in, make sure your number is visible. Be sure you’re always telling the user where to go, what to do next, and pushing them towards a sale.
No Quality Content
Quality content, and enough of it, will allow potential consumers to learn more about you and feel more comfortable shopping with you. Build out quality content around your products by developing buying guides and unique product detail pages. Website content also includes videos and images. It’s essential to entice and inform your visitors. Content will also help with your search engine rankings.
Bad Product Photos
If you want your e-commerce website to succeed, you must focus on creating product images that convert. The old saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” If visitors do not want to read multiple paragraphs (who does?), they can learn about your product by looking at photos. Be sure your users can zoom and see the details. If your product warrants multiple angles or a shot of the back, show it!
No Value Proposition
Be unique. Something must make your company different. Whether your products are organic or you are supporting a charity, let people know. If you can’t think of why someone should buy from you instead of a competitor, then your visitors won’t be able to either.
Selling the Wrong Products
One of the main reasons websites fail is because the product fails. Suppose you’re selling a product no one wants, then you’re in a challenging position from the beginning. What to sell is the most significant decision when starting an online store. What will your customers buy?
Even if many other websites are selling the product (like a name-brand shoe), there is still a place for you if you market your website correctly and have a value proposition. Make sure online users want to buy the products you’re selling!
No Marketing Plan
Be sure you’ve planned how you’re going to market your website. Without a strategy developed, you’ll never make it. So map it out and take time to execute the plan. And remember, if it does not work the first time, tweak it and continue to grow your ROI. Since most online sales start with a search, search engine optimization, and paid search marketing strategy (and budget).
Not Optimizing for SEO
A big part of your marketing plan and business model should be eCommerce search engine optimization. The basic idea is moving you to the top of the search engines, which allows search engine users to find your website when searching keywords related to your website. For example, 36% of customers search for a product on Amazon, while 35% start on Google. So ranking on Google for your product keywords is still one of the best ways to be found.
Having SEO on your e-commerce site may seem like something you’d apply later, but it’s best to utilize it immediately. First, you want to establish what are your most important keywords.
At the bare minimum, you want to have them in your title tags for your pages with relevant search terms that directly pertain to what you’re selling. It’s best to go for the highest volume lowest competition keywords to give yourself the best chance of ranking in search.
Like the checkout process, you want to make your online store visually appealing and easy to navigate. Some of the most critical navigation elements in e-commerce are to search for shoppers with specific tastes, labels (be straightforward), and visuals (they drive navigation more than text). Not having good site navigation will completely turn people off to what could have been potential customers.
Your customer wants to have everything accessible, convenient, and intuitive, from browsing the website to finding products and everything in between. Make it easy for your potential customer. They’ll either purchase readily, find more information about your startup easily, know fast if they want to be associated with your company, or leave entirely.
Requiring Registration for Checkout
What will annoy potential customers even more is requiring them to register after only a few moments upon arriving at your site. Expecting anyone to have to register or they’ll not be able to access your site will cause most to leave. You wouldn’t ask someone out only after meeting them for a few minutes, would you? Of course not, and it is the same as your site.
If you want someone to commit to your site and even become a fan, they have to get to know your company and products. That will determine whether or not they will not like your site and leave, make a one-time purchase, or become a lifelong repeating customer.
Overly Complicated Checkout Process
Keeping your checkout process straightforward might seem obvious. However, many e-commerce businesses still neglect to make their checkout process as simple as possible — to their detriment. It is the number one reason consumers abandon their shopping carts before paying. Ensuring that your checkout procedure is as painless and straightforward as possible stops customers from dropping out of your marketing funnel at the last minute. It’s a simple change that is worth getting right.
It would help if you also thought about employing checkout trust signals. Consumers can be skeptical of brand new websites and unknown brands, so partner with some well-known payment facilitators to reassure. The number one goal here is repeat business: capture the data you need, give the customer a great experience, and let them get on with their day.
Prices are Too High
We’ve all heard the stories and seen the websites making millions, and they look very amateur. Although their design and appeal aren’t good, these people succeed when offering the best prices. Of course, these sites would do even better if they had better design and a solid marketing strategy, but the idea is low prices will attract customers.
Pricing advantage is the case in the retail market outside of the web, but even more critical on the web when the next store is only a click away. Be sure you’ve researched your competitors and that your prices are competitive. If you need more tips, read how to increase your online sales.
Shipping Is Too Expensive
Nobody likes to pay for shipping. We all hate it. Who wants to buy a $35 item that costs $20 to ship? Even if $35 is a great price, it seems like you’re paying another $20 for nothing! Try your best to lower shipping prices and offer free shipping as much as possible. Let me stress that again, FREE shipping. You’ll sell WAY more!
Not Having a Clear Return Policy
No matter how successful your online business may be, there will be returns. Not having a coherent and accessible return policy will make your business look none credible. You can not expect anyone to buy from you or anyone else if they do not know the return policy or where to find it. Make sure to have it easily identifiable under each product on your site and email it with their receipt if they choose to buy from you.
Having one will also help you if you deal with people who love buying items for a small amount of time, then send it back and get a full refund. In addition, if they try to return a product in a time window that is outside your policy, it will protect you if they resort to any legal action against you.
No Promotions or Urgency
Run promotions! Give someone a reason to buy today! I know many websites that always have a 15% off sale. They set their price 15% higher and now always make their items seem like they are on sale. Easy enough. And when you run great promotions, make sure they are visible on the website. Use a timer to count down the sale.
There is almost nothing more annoying to a potential consumer than going to a site to determine if they’re going to buy, and a pop-up appears only after a few seconds of them being on a website. There is nothing wrong with having a pop-up on your site, but there is a time and place.
When you are just looking to see if you want to purchase from a site, an immediate pop-up may annoy your potential customer. However, having ones where the exit button seems to be nowhere in sight will ultimately turn them off, and they will leave your site more often than not.
If you will utilize a pop-up, it is best to have it appear after a few minutes from when a user is on your site. Even better yet, have it activated when visitors take a particular action on your site. For example, when someone adds something to their cart, encourage them to purchase by including something enticing like a coupon or a free add-on to what they are already looking to buy.
How to Succeed at E-Commerce
If you want to succeed as an online retailer, you must persevere and learn from challenges that come your way.
E-commerce businesses have a failure rate of about 80%-90%. Many mistakes occur when building an e-commerce website, but as an entrepreneur, you must know about these mistakes and learn how to avoid them or watch your e-commerce business fail.
We know that running an online store is not easy, and that’s why we hope that with this article, you’ve learned a thing or three that can help you focus your approach towards becoming successful in online sales. We are here to help!
Is Your E-Commerce Website Failing?
Do you need a new or improved e-commerce website for your product brand? Our team of professional designers will be happy to help you with this. But, first, look at our portfolio and read our case studies.
If you are unsure how to improve your online store, let’s talk! Our team will listen to your concerns, evaluate your needs, and develop a list of things you need to attract, engage, and convert potential consumers.
Are You Meeting Consumer Expectations?
Did you recognize any of the reasons why e-commerce websites fail? Perhaps you noticed them on your site? How did you eliminate them? If not, what is preventing you from doing so?
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