Most e-commerce websites have problems when they first launch online. From large and elaborate shopping venues to simple or turnkey solutions, new sites often experience glitches. No website — and no site designer or developer — is perfect.
While it’s hard to predict the problems a website may encounter, companies can often prevent them with a little forethought and planning. Most mistakes are also easy to fix after they are discovered. Here are nine common e-commerce website mistakes, along with a few solutions.
1. Wrong Shopping Cart
E-commerce businesses should do their homework before they choose a shopping cart for their websites. With so many platforms available, it’s important to pick the right one. The best shopping cart meets all of a company’s needs regarding features, functionality, integration and budget.
2. Inadequate Site Security
Some people are hesitant to shop online due to security concerns. Many businesses, especially small ones, have a problem convincing shoppers to use their sites. In an era when significant hacks have stolen sensitive customer data, digital certificates and encrypted connections just make sense.
3. Poor Site Navigation
Customers will leave a website if they can’t find what they want quickly and easily. Companies should make sure their shopping sites are easy to navigate so customers can find what they’re looking for. Their contact information should also be easy to find.
4. No Search Function
People who can search for products on-site are more likely to make a purchase. Many turnkey systems don’t provide adequate search functions. Fortunately, businesses can use website plug-ins to integrate search capabilities into shopping carts.
5. Low Quality Photographs
The Internet is a visual world. Customers who shop online give up the ability to hold a product and inspect it. For this reason, it’s important for e-commerce businesses to provide good photographs. Professional photos are better than stock images, and photographers should shoot the products from all angles.
6. Stock Product Descriptions
Many retailers use manufacturer descriptions to sell their products. While stock descriptions are an easy way to create content, they do nothing to differentiate a business from its competitors. The solution is simple: Companies should write unique product descriptions or hire a freelancer to write them.
7. Difficult Checkout Procedure
A long or difficult checkout process can drive away customers. One-page checkouts are the best option; they take customers through account creation, billing, payments and shipping — all on the same page. Merchant account services make the process easier for shoppers and businesses alike.
8. No Mobile Version
It’s a mistake to ignore mobile customers. According to Business 2 Community, mobile commerce made up one-fourth of e-commerce sales in 2013. That number will continue to grow as more people rely on their smartphones and tablets for research and shopping.
9. No Social Presence
Many companies underestimate social sharing. By making content easy to share on Facebook, Twitter and other social sites, companies can maximize their web presence. A social presence will drive awareness and sales.