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Monday, May 19, 2014

Factors that Hurt an E-Commerce Website

Online shopping has well and truly come of age. Whatever you want, whenever you want, wherever you want- the savviest e-commerce businesses are ready to serve. In fact, they are able to anticipate the next on the customer’s wish list. Others, while perhaps equipped with a similar product range, are simply not able to hit the mark and impress prospective users.
So what factors can cause e-commerce websites to falter? Let’s have a look:

  1. No clear value proposition: Consider a first-time visitor to your website. They like the look of your website and admire its design, but they can’t really tell what your strong brand proposition is about. Perhaps the homepage does not convey a strong brand message, or the logo is not placed correctly. Every element on the homepage is crucial, because the site has only a few seconds to make its presence felt.

  2. Poor Navigation: Buying behavior remains the same, whether inside a store or on the web. I, for instance, would like to know exactly where to find the right color and size of my favorite brand of jeans at a store. It would be the same at an e-commerce site. If I had to scroll up and down, or couldn’t find my way around easily, chances are I’d avoid coming back. A bad navigation structure is known to result in a high number of bounce rates.

  3. No prominent “Search” button: A visible, hard-to-miss “Search” box in an e-store is the equivalent of the friendly, professional salesperson offering to assist you in a physical store. You might end up feeling lost and confused without this help tool. Or one may be short on time and decide to simply abandon the shopping in the seeming absence of such a feature.

  4. Lack of contact number/email display: Many online visitors to a new ecommerce website can be distrustful of its authenticity if they can’t see its location, address, contact details, etc. Phone numbers or email addresses displayed well and clearly on the homepage lend a lot of credibility to online businesses.

  5. Not promoting new or hot-selling items enough: Say a business sells costume jewelry, and one of its designs has sold particularly well. The production is being ramped up to keep up with the demand. Now, if the website fails to amply promote this item brilliantly on the homepage under its “hot-selling” or “most popular” category, it is missing on cashing-in on the buyer’s instinct to copy trending behavior.

  6. Vague or cumbersome payment options: Different businesses opt for different payment options, and product categories sometimes set unique limitations. But not stating these clearly enough, causing a buyer to waste time or force them to choose a different payment method due to a shortfall of your side; are all sure-shot means of hurting your ecommerce business.

  7. No “Trustmark”: Trust is the very foundation of any business transaction; and nowhere is this more evident than in an online system. Due to heightened consumer awareness (which is a good thing!), any customer buying over the internet is going to feel safe only when they are able to see a Trustmark, i.e a security guarantee from a third party like VeriSign, McAfee, etc. The lack of such a seal on an ecommerce website is certain to lead to its downfall someday.

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