If you have a store chances are you've asked yourself the question and want to know what mistakes you're making with ecommerce that could be effecting your bottom line. We've compiled a list of the most common below and investigated how to fix them.
Getting into eCommerce has been the best career move I ever made. The things we learn and the rate at which we gather new knowledge in starting new business is far superior to any official education you could get in the “real world”.
We've all made mistakes and one of the best quotes in business is from Tony Robbins;
13 Horrible Mistakes You're Making With eCommerce and How to Fix Them
If this is your first time, you don't need to be making these errors. Lucky for you plenty of other people have done the wrong thing so you don't have to.
So let's get start, in no particular order…
14No store consistency
When you launch a store you need to put a focus on the branding and professionalism that's on display. The weaker the overall consistency of your store the less visitors will trust you with their time, let alone their credit card.
What is consistency in ecommerce? It's the ability to display your brand across many social platforms with a single brand voice. This is the way you talk, the way you advertise and the images you use. Think of your own store branding having to mirror the same consistency of billion dollar brands like Tiffany's or Nike.
If you want to do a bit of your own research on how they market click here. Hubspot has a great article showcasing brands who are killer with their marketing & store consistency.
Some of the basic things you can fix immediately;
- Product images – same dimensions, same style of photography. Think Filippo Loreti. (seriously you should buy one of those watches. I did, and I love it.)
- Ad images & copy.
- Product Description – if you dot point benefits keep it consistent across all products.
- The right products in the right categories, collections & pages.
I can't believe the amount of people with stores who do not use a logo. This little graphic needs to become synonymous with your brand. It needs to be something that people are proud to be associated with and happily display on a shirt, on their wrist or on their phone.
Why don't stores get logos made? It's usually a variety of things, they don't have time, they think it's to hard to write a brief for what they want or they think more importantly that it's going to cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
In reality it is incredibly cheap and one of the fastest ways to add professionalism to your store.
Websites I consistently use for logos;
- Creative Market
- 99 Designs (if it is something I truly believe in and want the best of the best)
- Logojoy – I literally found this one on twitter this morning and to say I was blown away would be an understatement. I have always created my own logo's but felt they were lacking something. Logojoy uses their AI to put together amazing Logo's based on some basic information you provide. For $65USD you get all the files you'll ever need for your LOGO! Get on it! Ronnie.
Some considerations when looking for your logo;
- Colours are important. Check out this article on Entrepreneur.com to get a better understanding.
- Font styles – make a note of the font for future reference. I still forget this step and it costs me too much time trying to find out what it was so I can use it elsewhere.
- Image used – check out trends to see what styles of logos work. Will you go for a classic or more modern feel? Have a look at the evolution of Apple's Logo above, following bigger brands can give you an idea of relevant style.
- Don't forget to add your favicon to the store.
12No easy way of contacting
If your visitors can't easily find a way to contact you they will certainly find a way to not pay you. While customer service is a bit of a dirty word it should be paramount in your eCommerce operation.
Tony Hsieh (Delivery Happiness – if you haven't read it do yourself a favour) of Zappos fame had it correct all along. When you make it your companies business to create happy customers everyone in your team needs to be on board.
Having great customer service is as easy as finding the right employee to manage the crazy amount of enquiries you'll naturally receive when you start scaling. I found an incredible rep on UpWork from the Philipines. He had a great work ethic and at times had better english than myself (and I pride myself very highly on my grasp of the english language and grammar).
For $4 an hour he took care of all enquiries. Initially it took some time to work with him to build out how he was to speak with customers, however that time paid off, by giving me much more to focus on the actual scaling of my store.
Some considerations for having customers be able to contact you;
- A toll free phone number displayed with a live person to answer.
- A non-invasive chat that visitors can easily access. You can save and even make sales with an in-site chat window.
- An easy to find contact form.
- An email address
- Having all these accessible in all emails that are sent out, i.e. receipts, follow-ups, review requests etc.
11No social proof
Starting out with social proof is not going to happen. Under no circumstances is it ok to use fake reviews. To build long term relationships your store should be built on the back of authenticity.
Your strategy should be to bring in photo reviews as soon as possible, as in, the moment someone receives their package they should have an email waiting with the review request.
I have happily used Loox photo reviews for all my stores and I have been happy with the results. While it was difficult to get smiling faces of people wearing my sneakers the fact they were happy to take photos and respond meant future customers had the benefit of seeing authentic happy reviews.
- Give a discount or reward for giving you a photo review
- Create the review request to go out 2-3 days after expected arrival
- Any negative feedback is a fantastic opportunity for you to create a brand evangelist
10Poor choice of theme
The wrong theme can be detrimental to your store. Slow loading times, poor layouts or limited customizability make it difficult to get the consistency in your store that you need. Facebook is cracking down heavily (as is Google) on page speed so it is important to get your load times down and having the right theme, and only the bare minimum apps is becoming more and more important.
I have always referenced Steve Jobs as a guide when it came to getting users or visitors to do what you need. In this case, it's turning your visitors into paying customers in as short a time as possible. What this equates to, is having them checking out in as few a steps as possible.
Unfortunately Shopify make it difficult to cut steps out of the checkout process however using apps like Carthook will help cut down unnecessary keystrokes and unnecessary clicks. Check out Velocity Bicycle Co to see a great theme in use.
9No Facebook Pixel or Google Analytics
The Facebook Pixel
These tools are incredibly important to have installed correctly on your store. To see if your store has the Pixel installed, download the Facebook Pixel Helper Chrome Plugin. It should light up green with the number of pixels it has found on any particular page.
The benefits of the Pixel are numerous and is without a doubt the most valuable bit of code you could possibly put on your store.
What the Facebook Pixel tracks;
- View content
- Add to Carts
- Custom conversions
What you can do with the Facebook Pixel;
- Create custom audiences
- Optimise for conversion events
- Build lookalike audiences
If you haven't set up your Google Analytics take a look at our previous article How to Set Up Google Analytics for Shopify. As your store grows, analytics provides incredible insights into user data and behaviour. From the countries that bring in the most traffic to the campaigns that are converting the best.
Why, you might ask, would you need Google Analytics when you have Shopify. It's true, Shopify does provide similar data however having a verifiable 2nd opinion is quite handy, not too mention if you go to sell your store you will be asked to verify traffic with GA.
Analytics can also show what might be causing excessive bouncing or where customers are exiting your store.
What Google Analytics is good for;
- Find out what's driving most of your traffic i.e. Organic, social, direct etc
- Where your traffic is coming from
- Learn what people are searching for on your site
- Visualise what people are clicking the most
- Identifying bad performing pages
- Find out where people are leaving your shopping cart
- Verifying traffic & revenue if you sell your store (see How to Sell Your Shopify Store on Flippa)
8No importance placed on SEO
SEO is like entering a deep, dark, scary woods. A place where you need to follow the yellow brick road to find the Emerald City. If you're not familiar with The Wizard of Oz, you will be more familiar with instant gratification, and with SEO there is no such thing (that I've found).
Search engine optimization is a long game and as such, most marketers we have come across place no importance on setting up their store for long term SEO success. Having a great SEO strategy in place when starting your store and providing detailed, accurate descriptions and correct titling will pay off.
While Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest all play a part they all take some level of constant updating to stay fresh. With SEO people will be consistently coming to your store, day after day based on work you prepared for from the beginning. For a guide on how to get started properly check out Improving search engine optimization (SEO) in the Shopify Help Centre.
How to improve SEO now;
- Find relevant keywords to your store
- Add keywords into your content, including page titles, descriptions, and image alt text.
- Ensure file names and URL's match content
- Add your sitemap.xml to Google Search Console, so that your online store website can be easily crawled and indexed.
- Create content relevant to your store and have external stores link to yours
7Placing all importance on desktop.
With over 90%* of active users on Facebook using their smartphones it pays to look at how your store views on Mobile first. The problem with building and viewing your store via desktop (like most normal humans) is you do not get the user experience you are providing for your customers.
The apps that you have installed, any pop-ups, buttons, images etc may display completely different and make the store look excessively spammy. If you have a banner exclaiming a sale in your store, a pop-up requesting an email address and a chat box at the bottom it starts to become incredibly overwhelming.
Cut the clutter and put the product you're advertising front and centre. Having people focus on a beautiful image of what you're selling and an easy flow to checkout will increase conversions exponentially.
A 1-second delay in page load time yields:
- 11% fewer page views
- 16% decrease in customer satisfaction
- 7% loss in conversions (source: Aberdeen Group)
- When building the store continually cross check on mobile
- Check out Crazy Egg's “Speed Up You Website” for ways to reduce load times on mobile
- Purchase a mobile optimized theme
6Not using all the payment methods available
Steve Jobs wanted people to be able to play their music on an iPod in 3 steps. Using that thinking of ease of use, having all available payments methods activated on your store will help your conversions.
Use Shopify Payments (or Stripe or another provider you prefer) and PayPal as a bare minimum. Once those are enabled spend the time to get Amazon, Android and Apple Pay set-up. Giving your customers the extra options will ensure confidence which adds to your overall professionalism and consistency.
What you need;
- Shopify Payments (stripe or other gateway) & PayPal as a bare minimum
- Amazon Pay
- Apple Pay
- Android Pay
5Having high shipping costs
If you're thinking that you're going to undercut the competition on the front end then whack the customer with high shipping costs you're going to be in for a rude awakening. People hate paying shipping and even if you've got heavier products or have a higher than normal dead weight you should work that into your pricing.
It may be that your products end up being more expensive, however with a focus on building your brand with unique products and stories you will stand above the crowd and have a store people will compares theirs to, not to mention a store full of happy, repeat customers.
The only competition should be with yourself to provide better products, better shipping times, better customer service interactions. Just don't charge the extra for shipping or you are the one that is going to lose.
- Incentivise your customers with a spend “x” to receive free shipping.
- Work excessive shipping charges into your pricing.
4Excessively long shipping times
A pet hate of many marketers is the amount of time it takes for delivery of products from China. In saying that however, Print on Demand can also have debilitating wait times. And you want to know who hates shipping times more? Customers.
While back in the day of Teespring, marketers somewhat trained people to wait for their products, these days, with coal face stores, we need to be doing what we can to reduce shipping times.
The best way to ensure reduction is shipping times is to work with companies that offer express deliveries and work closely with them. Build a relationship with your fulfilment company and they will work hard for you. Putting all the work into creating a sleek store will go to waste if you're making customers wait to long.
Customers waiting to long for their 1st order, will rarely place a 2nd, and long term business is not built on a one night stand.
What you can do;
- Work closely with fulfilment companies that have express shipping. AllOverPrint.it, Pillow Profits, Shine On are a good start.
- Don't launch products you know people have to wait 2-3+ weeks for.
- Set expectations at the checkout.
3Not outsourcing customer service
After launching your store it is important to have your finger on the pulse. However you need to consider outsourcing CS as soon as possible.
When I launched my custom printed sneaker store I had it scaled up to $5,000 per day in ad spend within 3 weeks. I was relying on Pillow Profits to deliver the goods and investing a lot of money into scaling when I didn't know if they were a stand up company.
Turned out they were and after that initial window they soon introduced express shipping.
The reason I mention the sneaker store is due to the quantity of unhappy customers that were contacting me about delivery times. I did not have enough time and it put a lot of bad energy into my mind when I needed to focus on the success of the business.
On Adam's (owner of Pillow Profits) direction I soon hired the best Customer Service Rep I could find and within days had him trained up to bypass me and go straight to Pillow Profits support. This freed up incredible amounts of time to focus on getting more designs and launching more products.
How to outsource;
2Not outsourcing menial tasks
When discussing his life Warren Buffet said “Money has no utility to me, time does.” While it's great for one of the richest men in the world to say, you get what he means. Time is something we can not get back, once it's invested it's gone (so thank you for reading this article. I really do appreciate it).
One of the best investments you can make within your business is to systemise as much of the business as possible and delegate the rest. Delegate the delegating if you can. Getting assistants to help you grow your business will pay dividends down the track.
Things to delegate;
- Product uploads to shopify
- Product ad posting on Facebook
- Creating launch lists in Trello
- Creating social profiles
- Making social profiles active
Make sure these are mistakes you do not make in starting your store. Other peoples mistakes in this case are your good fortune, a fortune that you will build much faster when you build your store knowing there are certain things you should avoid and other things you need to implement.
If you found this article helpful in anyway please help me grow the community by sharing with your Facebook Groups, Communities or anywhere else you hang out with people in eCommerce.
It's certainly not an exhaustive list, however it is one that I wish I'd seen before I'd embarked into the abyss that is eCommerce.