Worldwide retail eCommerce sales is expected to reach $4.89 trillion in 2021, at a 27.6% growth rate for the year. According to Australia Post, over 7.4 million Australian households shopped online between January and April this year.
The eCommerce industry is so lucrative that almost everyone wants to join and build an online business. Plus, it’s easy, low-risk, and low-cost to do that: choosing a product, creating an online store, say, on Shopify, uploading the product, and starting to sell. Succeed?
Not so fast.
Here’s the truth: most Australian businesses fail in the first year. Even after four years, only 59.6% of small businesses survived.
The reasons are many. But most of the time, it’s because new sellers make the following common mistakes without them being noticed. These mistakes can cost merchants a lot of money, put off new and existing customers, or even worse, shut down their businesses.
In this post, we’ll show you six of the most common eCommerce mistakes, plus tips you can follow to fix them.
Mistake 1: Choosing the Wrong eCommerce Platform
When you’re selling online, you should do thorough research to choose the right eCommerce platform.
Why? Because there are more than 230 eCommerce platforms out there, and each is designed to serve specific target audiences. For example:
- Shopify is better for sellers with little-to-no design experience since it’s super easy to use and offers many responsive templates. Meanwhile, Shopify Plus is tailored to enterprise-level businesses selling thousands of products.
- WooCommerce is your ideal choice if you want to sell with your WordPress website.
- BigCommerce focuses on helping online sellers scale their business quickly and successfully.
- Etsy is a “creative marketplace” and only sells handmade, vintage or craft goods.
As you can see, none of these eCommerce platforms is suitable for all merchants. It’s because each platform is different in terms of features, levels of customisation, pricing structures, and more. Hence, you should choose a platform that best suits your needs.
Tips for choosing the right eCommerce platform:
- Consider what products you’ll sell, your design experience, tools you need to integrate with, your budget, your target audience, level of customisation you expect, and so on.
- Think about how you plan to scale your business and whether you want to expand your product offerings in the future. It’s because according to Digital Commerce 360’s 2021 eCommerce Platforms for B2B and B2C report, choosing the right eCommerce platform from the start can allow you to “quickly adjust to changing markets, for example, by introducing new products and services to replace lost revenue.”
- Compare platforms regarding features, costs, integrations, customisation options, design templates, checkout experience, payment methods, and the like. Take advantage of their free trial to test out features yourself.
Mistake 2: Not Providing Enough Information on Product Detail Pages
Product detail pages (PDPs) are where you showcase your products in detail, including sizes, colours, specifications, sources of materials, tutorials, shipping policies, product images, videos, and the like. Since there is no physical contact with products online, your PDPs play a key role in convincing shoppers to make a purchase.
According to Capgemini’s 2016 study, “the devil is in the product data details.” The study explained that consumers increasingly expect accurate and complete product data, and they make purchasing decisions based on what they find in PDPs. Therefore, if they don’t have enough information about an item, they won’t understand if a product is a good fit for them and may turn to your competitors.
Need more proof? Salsify’s 2021 Consumer Research report found that 86% of shoppers rely on digital information while shopping. Nielsen also discovered that product descriptions are the second most important factor (after price) for Australian shoppers to decide to buy. Regarding shipping costs, 66% of Australians expect eCommerce businesses to have this piece of information on PDPs.
Source: Salsify’s 2021 Consumer Research report
Tips for creating a good product detail page:
- Be specific about your product name, size, colours, price, shipping costs, return policies, and the like.
- Write a customer-focused product description. Ask yourself, “what exactly does this item help a customer?” rather than just listing the product’s features in bullet points.
- Display multiple high-resolution images. It’s best to do product photography and record a video of you using the product. You can also offer a 360-degree spin so your customers can view your product from different angles.
- Make it easy to compare products in the same type or from different brands.
- Include product reviews, ratings, testimonials, etc., to build trust with your customers.
Mistake 3: Offering a Complicated Checkout Experience
The checkout page is where a shopper enters their payment information to complete a purchase. It’s the last and straightforward step, but it’s also where you most likely lose the customer if your checkout process is too complicated.
In an article in Marketing Magazine, Ralph Kooi, ClearSale’s Australia Country Manager, shared that their survey revealed 44% of Australian shoppers abandoned purchases because checkout took too long or was too complex. In addition, approximately 40% said they’d left before making a purchase because the store wanted them to create an account first. Meanwhile, Baymard Institute found that if an eCommerce site offers a better checkout design, they can increase conversion rates by up to 35.26%.
Here is an example of a good checkout process from Lorna Jane. The brand offers three checkout options for recurring customers, new customers, and those who want to create an account. They even include a button to log in with Facebook.
Tips for providing a better checkout experience:
- Minimise checkout form fields. Only ask for necessary information like customer name, address, and emails.
- Don’t force shoppers to register before they buy, instead offer a guest checkout option. Nielsen Norman Group explained that “registration involves extra steps, extra hassle, and extra potential for things going wrong (whether user errors or site errors) and stopping the user dead in the water.”
- Display checkout progress bar to let customers know how many steps they need to take before completing checkout.
- Provide multiple payment methods like credit and debit cards, digital wallet, and buy now pay later (AfterPay).
- Choose the right shipping platform that offers a better shipping rate and then display the rate on the checkout page. Remember, unexpected shipping cost is the first reason shoppers leave your site without buying.
Mistake 4: Failing to Make Website Content SEO-Friendly
Kanta and Catalyst’s The State of Ecommerce 2021 report found that while shoppers use social media platforms to discover new products, traditional search engines are still important in their shopping activities. Jane Butler, Google’s managing director of pure-play retail, shared in the report that “Google is the connective tissue for shoppers to discover, see reviews, compare products, and ultimately purchase.”
Source: Kanta and Catalyst’s The State of Ecommerce 2021 report
To simplify, think this way: if you’re selling Australian dog food, do you want potential customers to find your competitors when they search for “Australian dog food” on Google? Or do you want your product to rank #1 on the first search results page? Absolutely the latter.
Done right, eCommerce search engine optimisation (SEO) strategies can help your pages rank highly, increase organic traffic, and reduce ad spending. Besides, when your page provides the best solutions to a shopper’s search intent, chances are high that they’ll buy from you.
Tips for optimising your eCommerce site for search engines:
- Conduct keyword research and competitive research by using tools like Ahrefs and SEMRush. Find out what keywords your competitors are ranking and how you can do better.
- Optimise the product pages that are getting the most traffic, for example, your best-selling products.
- Create a workflow so you don’t miss any critical point. Think about relevant keywords for products and categories, metadata, image names, URLs, etc.
- Improve site loading speed as more than 50% of Australian beauty, fashion, home, health and electronics shoppers will switch online stores for fast page loading.
Mistake 5: Providing Poor Customer Service
In the Consumer Intelligence Series report, PwC uncovered that more Australians are willing to pay more for efficient service (47%), knowledgeable/helpful service (41%) or convenience (43%). Apart from that, they increasingly expect quick shipping time and an easy and hassle-free return process.
That said, new sellers often don’t pay much attention to customer service. For example, their sites lack information about shipping, return, and refund policies. Or they ignore questions and comments on social media. Or they show impatience when dealing with shipping problems. Failing to offer an excellent customer service experience can lead to customers’ complaints, reduced brand loyalty, lost sales, and more.
Tips for offering better eCommerce customer service:
- Ensure your website has all the information about shipping, refund, return, frequently asked questions, and the like. The goal is to help your customers easily find the information they need.
- Deliver orders to shoppers where and how they want them and as quickly as possible, suggested by Australia Post. You can do this using PACK & SEND Live — our shipping and fulfilment platform dedicated to eCommerce. We offer local delivery, road services, priority services, interstate courier services, and international courier options.
- Use an omnichannel customer service tool that allows you to support customers across channels, including email, phone, SMS, social media, and live chat.
Mistake 6: Ignoring Time Management
It’s understandable that you get excited to build your first eCommerce business. But as you start the journey, you may quickly get bogged down in the day because you need to handle so many things, which you may not know about before.
Learning eCommerce terms, finding a product to sell, sourcing suppliers, designing a website, building a marketing plan, writing content, updating product descriptions, creating ads, you name it. If you can’t manage your time effectively, it’ll take months for you to build a store, or you may launch your business the wrong way, or you may lose customers because you can’t ship orders to them on the day they expect.
The key to managing time isn’t just about how you can arrange time to handle everything, but it’s also about choosing the right solutions that help simplify your work process.
Tips for better time management:
- Use good time management software to plan your day and track your working hours.
- Build your online business step by step — don’t multitask. If you try to do many things at once, you may get overwhelmed and discouraged easily.
- Use eCommerce tools for marketing and customer service. Also, partner with an eCommerce shipping and fulfilment, for example, PACK & SEND Live, so you don’t have to worry about fulfilling and shipping orders. All you need to do is sell — PACK & SEND Live takes care of the rest for you.
It’s Time to Check and Fix These Ecommerce Mistakes
There’s no better time than now to build and run an eCommerce business as more Australians switch to online shopping. The opportunities for success are huge, but at the same time, there is a lot of room for errors.
To ensure you’re on the right track to build a successful online business, review your website and fix the 6 eCommerce mistakes above (if yes). In case you’re looking for an eCommerce fulfilment and shipping solution to offer better shipping rates for your customers, reduce shipping time, grow sales, and enhance customer satisfaction, try Pack & Send Live.