The Seven Deadly Sins of Ecommerce

Some of you are reading this title and are probably asking yourself – “what’s in the box?!” If you didn’t catch that reference, feel free to read on.

What do we mean by “deadly sins” exactly? To put it bluntly, there are repeated behaviors we observe from time to time that work against a successful online store. These mistakes can prove costly to your site or in some cases, detrimental to your business.

To help you realize these errors and capitalize on the misgivings of other poor souls we’ve arranged these mistakes into seven hopefully easy to remember topics.

Missing Terms and Conditions

Blah, Blah, Blah, lawyer speak and more boring stuff, right? Boring, yes; unimportant, no. It is so important, we had to list it first.

Here’s an example. You have hit a goldmine with your website and life is good. You even have the Ferrari to prove it. Suddenly you wake up one day to discover that the product you’ve sold your customers has a dangerous flaw or some other misgiving that would otherwise prompt a recall. What’s that? You didn’t include a return policy on your website? There’s nothing to limit your liability? Come again? Goodbye Ferrari, I hardly knew thee.

Simply put, a terms and conditions page or return policy help enforce a limitation of liability in the event something goes wrong. Trust us on this one. You do not want to get caught with your pants down and nothing to cover your, well, you know.

I Built It, They Did Not Come

It might be hard to believe, but there’s a majority of the population that believes that you can simply put a website out there and not put any marketing effort behind it. Sure, you’ve just built the best website on the internet, have the snazziest products and you’re open for business, but isn’t that enough? Why are you still hearing crickets?

Marketing your site is crucial. There are many avenues available today for getting your site seen. Everything from Search Optimization (SEO) to AdWords to Social Media campaigns exist to help connect you to your customer. Don’t be afraid to pay someone to help you reach your customer if you don’t understand. Just keep in mind that you typically have to spend money to make money.

Poorly Configured “Calls to Action”

We’re not talking about the bat signal, but we’re not too far off either. When a customer lands on your website they need to know what to do next. You can do this by guiding them with easy to understand messaging and what we’ll call “Calls to Action’. Simply put, it’s something that will grab their attention and make them take that next step.

So in a way, yes, we’re talking about a bat signal for your website. Make sure your “CTA’s” are clear and truly help your user find what they’re looking for. It’s important not to overload your user with too many “CTAs” as they’ll quickly become confused about where to head next.

Buying Every Keyword Like Money is Cheap

We tend to see this behavior in newbies to AdWords campaigns. They’re unsure of what keywords to purchase to give their website some attention and end up destroying their valuable campaign dollars and missing out on ROI.

AdWords is a great platform for booting your image. Make sure that you spend ample time understanding keywords, costs and how to assemble a budget. Google has many excellent resources to help you get started with AdWords.

Assuming SEO is Instantaneous

A lot of web and ad agencies can share some pretty hairy stories about customer frustration with search optimization. I’ve dealt with my share. There was literally one instance where we deployed a gentleman’s website and an hour later he calls in screaming that his site isn’t coming up in search. “My site is a total failure! You guys are idiots!” He gave his website three weeks before shutting it down.

You can never assume that SEO is instant. It can take weeks and even months to gain traction. Patience and hard work is key here. When in doubt, consult a professional and know that, just like you, hundreds, if not thousands of other businesses are trying to do the same thing you are.

Ignoring the Need to Be Mobile

A non-mobile responsive website isn’t going to gain you any favors. Search engines such as Google and Yahoo! are paying attention to the platform a user is searching from and won’t likely return the most favorable results for your site if it isn’t mobile friendly. The number of mobile internet users surpassed that of desktop users in late 2013. That number hasn’t plateaued, it continues to rise.

Liftoff is a great platform for ensuring that your mobile response needs are met – right out of the box. If you’re not on our tools, you’d be well advised to ensure that your current developer / designer / provider has mobile responsive design in mind. Not doing so will impact your online presence in the here and now.

Annoying Your Users with Pop Ups and Ads

You’ve probably seen this yourself. You just found a website and are browsing through a product listing when suddenly your experience is interrupted by an annoying “Let’s Chat” window scrolling across the screen. Another example would be that you’re browsing an online article when suddenly the screen goes dark and an internet advertisement covers the entire screen forcing you to find the “X” button to close it out. When considering these additional elements, just ask yourself “if I were a shopper on this website, would this annoy me?”. If you have to ask, you already know the answer is “yes”.

In Summary

To be honest, I could probably go on and on in regards to “what not to do” when it comes to establishing and maintaining your online presence. There are far more than “7 deadly sins” regarding ecommerce. At some point in time I’ve been there, made that mistake. Let this list be a starter. Do your own research. Organizations such as HubSpot have many great articles and resources about ensuring full captivation of your users. There’s truly no such thing as a perfect website. As the landscape of web development and ecommerce evolves, so should the best practices we use to push our brands and products forward.

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