Ecommerce is big business. In fact, the average amount that an online shopper spends increases by the year.
With that, the competition can be quite fierce.
In fact, getting traffic to e-commerce websites had become harder. Not only are you up against giants like Target and Amazon, you also see several other high traffic websites dominating the front page of the search engines.
As a new e-Commerce website owner, you may wonder about what do they have that you don’t.
You have created your website in the same format as they did and you also optimized all of your product pages. You have also optimized the meta titles and incorporated reviews into your website. You have also checked all the ALT tags of your images.
So what’s wrong?
Today, I’ll show you 8 common mistakes that ecommerce website owners are doing. You may check if you are doing it too.
Mistake #1: Focusing too much on SEO
For an e-Commerce website owner, rankings are everything.
If your website is not ranked, you can just throw the towel and let the big websites take all of your sales.
According to Neil Patel, 93% of online purchases starts with the search engine. This means that most of an e-Commerce website traffic comes from the search engines.
This is the main reason why E-commerce website owners tend to focus too much on SEO.
They start to think that customers can only come from search engines and they need to hyper-optimize their page to get ahead of their competitors.
Similar pages optimized for the same term. Just look at how these product pages are optimized.
The problem with this approach is that it rarely works.
That’s because you are doing the same as the next man.You are not giving your customers a reason to buy from you.
Think about it this way. Will you really stand out by blending in?
Sure, you got your product page ranked really high. But they will only buy from you if you are ranked first. Being ranked #2 or lower means that you’ll often get ignored.
This is also true for new e-Commerce website owners who have just set up their online shop. Think about it. How will you compete with all the websites that dominated the first page?
Hyper-optimizing your product pages is not the answer. Don’t spend most of your time on SEO and focus on pure promotion instead.
Mistake #2: Not Creating Zoomable Images
Have you seen those images on Amazon that just “automagically” zooms in when you hover over it? It is not there for aesthetic purposes.
In fact, UPS found in its study that this factor (the ability to zoom in) is important to 70% of eCommerce site users. It is so important that it can influence their decision on whether to buy or not to buy a product.
This may have something to do with the customer need to inspect products before they buy them in a physical store. This behavior is still practiced in an online store through zoomable images. This allows the customer to decide if they really like the way the product looks before actually buying it.
Check your website if you have zoomable images. It may be best to start having some if you don’t.
Mistake #3: Giving a 50% Discount Coupon
Most online sellers who are not selling enough usually commit this mistake: they give a 50% discount coupon in hopes of making more sales.
The story goes like this.
In an effort to increase their online sales, they end up giving a 50% discount coupon to their customers thinking that it’s the perfect way to ramp up their sales.
If you do this, you have just trained your customer to get your products at lower rates.
They will have this expectation from you from now on – a dangerous expectation, if you ask me.
I learned the dangers of discounting from Derek Halpern. According to him, discounting is for dummies. Sure, it can result to a sudden spike in sales. But that spike can make you lose sales in the long run.
You can watch his video here:
In his video, he shared a story of a company that gave a 50% discount to their customers. This has resulted to more sales. In fact, only 1% of their sales are non-discounted. The rest are discounted sales.
Why is this bad? Well, it is because it is addicting.
Here’s the problem. Once you implement a regular discounting scheme on your website, people will rarely look at your prices – and this can be harmful to your business.
In Derek’s story, the company owner eventually decided to stop giving a discount and just lower the prices.
Their sales suffered so much that they have no choice but to continue giving a 50% discount.
That’s like giving your power away to your customers.
You see, their customers don’t care that the prices went down. All they cared about is that the discount coupon disappeared.
Don’t go that route. Discounting is not effective for building a lasting business.
When you’re tempted to create a 50% off coupon, don’t. You’ll regret it if you do.
Mistake #4: Not Having a Blog
Some e-Commerce owners think that they don’t need a blog.
They usually think that they already have an online store and a blog is just another thing that they have to manage.
But it is a grave mistake.
According to Capterra, 97% of eCommerce merchants are blogging. Why are they doing this? Because it helps them get more sales.
If you don’t do this, you’ll get left behind.
Check out this post by Eric Siu where he explains why you still need a blog.
First, it establishes trust. Trust allows you to be more than just another online store on the Internet. Blogging builds rapport and establishes you as an expert in your niche. It gives your customer more than just product pages that forces them to buy. A blog gives you an avenue to help your customers in their problems BEFORE you ask them to buy. In my experience, this is very powerful.
Second, blogging is good for SEO. Blogging allows you to target information-oriented keywords and solve your customer’s problems. Instead of merely targeting branded product keywords, you can now reach your potential customers without optimizing for those keywords only. You can also target information-oriented keywords.
Let me explain. Let’s say that you are selling some bird cages.
If you don’t have a blog, you’ll target keywords like “bird cage”, “small bird cage”, etc. While this can help in optimizing your product pages, you are hardly providing any value to your customer.
Here’s what you should do instead. You see, customers are very intelligent. It is quite rare to see a customer who will just buy a product just because they feel like it. Most will do their research.
Usually, they will read about topics like “What is the best bird cage for my parrot?” or “Essential Things for a Bird Pet”. You get the idea.
If you don’t have a blog, you don’t have a place to write for these things. With a blog, you can write about these and recommend your products directly on the information page. Neat, huh?
And that’s not all. Did you know that blogs are good for SEO too?
In fact, link juice is passed from your blog pages to your product pages making them rank higher.
So you don’t only get to solve your customer’s problems, you also help your product pages rank higher. Win-win!
If you’re not blogging, it is absolutely essential that you do.
It will also help you become an authority in your niche which brings us to the next mistake…
Mistake #5: Not Being an Authority in the Niche
Did you know that you can sell products online without SEO?
You can do that if you become an authority in your niche.
For example, Blogilates is an online fitness blog. The author, Cassey Ho, is considered as an expert in her field. She has been creating YouTube videos of Pilates routines and she has over a million subscribers.
She has a store named OGorgeous.com which she doesn’t even optimize for the search engines. She just promotes it on her videos.
…Yet, it makes thousands of dollars in sales.
Authority is powerful.
Here’s are two steps you can do to become an authority”
STEP 1: Publish content that helps your customers
The focus should be on helping and not on producing. This means that you should list all the potential problems and roadblocks your customers may be experiencing and solve those problems with your content.
The key is to look their greatest desires and their pain points. Think about what they like to eliminate from their life and how you can help them.
NOTE: It is important to consider what you’re selling as well. Don’t just create content that can help. Create content that you can easily relate with your products so that you can easily recommend them.
STEP 2: Promote that content
Writing content that helps is useless if no one knows that it exists.
It is your job to ensure that the content is promoted. You can do this by visiting websites like Quora and forums. These websites gives you a way to solve people’s problems.
Another way is to advertise. This puts your content in front of your target market without doing anything. You just need some money to do it though.
Are you considered as an authority in your niche? If not, it is worth working towards it. 40% of people buy products based on the recommendation of an influencer. Being an influencer or authority is that powerful.
However, being an influencer is not easy. It takes months of hard work and dedication. It means continuously solving your prospect’s problems without getting anything in return. But it is worth it in the long run.
Mistake #6: Not Engaging with the Customer
Customers are the lifeblood of any business. If you don’t take care of them, they will also not take care of you.
Not engaging with the customer is a common mistake among e-Commerce website owners. This happens because most online stores are automated and website owners hardly feel the need to communicate with their customers.
But this is wrong.
Let me show you why.
I have worked with a client with an e-Commerce website back in 2014 and he had a problem with losing customers. He found that his customers are going to his main competitor for the same services that he is providing.
His website is on the top of the search engines yet his sales is far from his competitor. He keeps wracking his brain for an answer but could not find what went wrong.
He doesn’t realize that the error is in his process.
Here’s how he takes orders. He has this online shopping cart that automatically adds products and takes the customer to a payment portal. From there, his staff prints out the form, routes the shipping address and puts the item out for delivery.
On the surface, it looks good. But look deeper and you’ll see that there is no customer interaction.
So here’s what I did. I told him to personally call his customers after every delivery to check how they are doing. Most customers are surprised when he did this but they were very happy.
A 53% increase in sales. That’s the price of customer engagement.
Are you engaging with your customers in your e-Commerce website? You should. Try to implement a customer engagement system – it can be a survey, an e-mail or a followup call – and tell me all about the results in the comments.
Recap: e-Commerce website owners usually commit 6 mistakes: focusing too much on SEO, not creating zoomable images, giving a 50% discount coupon, not creating a blog, not being an authority in the niche and not engaging with customers.
Are you committing one of these mistakes? That may be the reason why your e-Commerce site is not making sales.