eCommerce is more than a “buy it now” button with the ability to take credit card details. Continuous advances in technology mean consumers have high expectations for speed, performance, and usability.
If you operate an eCommerce site, you need to be prepared to exceed these expectations in order to be successful. There are a number of ways to accomplish this, but first you must make sure your site isn't getting in its own way. Simple mistakes and pitfalls drive customers away from your site and straight toward the competition.
So, where do you start? Make sure you don't do these 9 things:
1. Don't Forget About UX
Customers won't stay on a site that delivers a poor User Experience (UX). It's that simple. Today, people can access information with only the tap of a touchscreen. They aren't going to wait around for your page to load; they'll just find another site. Even slight delays in load time will drive away customers. If nothing else, at least create a site that is fast enough to keep up with users (adaptive design may help).
2. Don't Ignore the Importance of Mobile
No one wants to spend time searching for information or struggling though sites that aren't mobile friendly. People have countless other options for finding the product they want. If your website doesn't deliver a useful mobile interface and instantly meet their requirements, they'll just move on.
3. Don't Leave Passwords Unprotected
There are plenty of extra steps you can take to make your site more secure. Safeguard user account info (like inclusion passwords and email addresses). Many people reuse passwords for different websites. A single breach could mean the loss of their entire digital identity. Be proactive and change your passwords often to protect against this. Your site should be set up to encourage site administrators and users to create longer passwords and avoid common ones.
4. Don't Operate with Lax Security
Sensitive payment data means security is critical for your eCommerce site. But security doesn’t end at just storing and processing credit cards (and actually we recommend you don't store payment data at all). You’d be shocked how vulnerable some of your payment information is with large institutions. You want your customers to trust you and your site and, most importantly, you don't want to betray that trust.
5. Don't Underestimate Potential Growth
Plan for growth. Make sure your website can handle more customers than you’d expect. Imagine someone famous endorses your product and suddenly your servers are slammed with customers (remember the “Oprah Effect?”). You risk losing an explosion of sales if your website can’t cope.
6. Don't Complicate the Uncomplicated
Avoid going overboard and creating an overly complicated design and just follow a standard shopping experience. Today’s consumers want to easily search for, find, see, verify, and purchase your products. Then they want to be told when the product is being shipped and when it will arrive. Simple.
7. Don't Publish Your Dev Site
Get your robots.txt files ready to go and make sure there aren't any links to the Development Environment (Dev Site) existing out in the real world. For example, you don't want any Pinterest or Facebook pages that will take someone to the DEV site where they can place orders that won’t be fulfilled. Also, nail down your payment gateway with your development team as early as you can and verify that it works both with the DEV credentials and the LIVE credentials. Make sure that when you go live, you are running on the LIVE credentials.
8. Don't Forget to Optimize
Performance matters. Don’t compromise performance in exchange for new features. As new features are added to your site, allow for ample testing of those changes, so speed and performance remain intact. You can use tools like WAPT (download and run on your servers) or Blitz (cloud-based) for load testing. Or try performance profiling using something like ANTS to capture unnecessarily expensive code.
9. Don't Assume You’re Searchable
You’ve just invested tons of your time and money into redesigning your website, finally bringing it into this century. It’s beautiful, user friendly, and mobile optimized. You’re ready for your business to take off. But it doesn’t. Why not? What’s happening? Well, just because your site looks amazing, doesn’t mean it’s working hard. Don't overstuff your site with keywords, but make sure to include them naturally in the page title, meta description, URL, alt text, headings, and content.
Running a successful eCommerce site can be a lot of work. Don't sabotage yourself by making these mistakes. Create an experience your users will enjoy, take necessary security precautions, and make sure customers can find you in the first place and you'll be off to a great start.