The internet makes it easier than ever for people to purchase exactly what they want, and a well-run ecommerce site can be quite the lucrative venture for anyone who would like to make a living with internet-based endeavors, or for businesses who would like to expand their offerings beyond physical locations.
But, simply throwing up a website loaded with your offerings, is not enough to ensure success. There is lots of competition that is only a mouse click away, and if you don’t create a good user experience, it is off to the next site. Here are just a few of the more common mistakes people make when designing their ecommerce sites.
Not Having the Site Be Compatible with All Web Browsers
A large majority of people still use Internet explorer for their browser, and for this reason, many sites just focus on ensuring their site is compatible with this one option. People using other browsers can still visit, but their experience will be much different, and it will be harder for them to make a purchase. It is worth the tweaking to ensure anyone will get the same user experience, regardless of the browser being used. This is particularly important if your site caters to individual consumers, rather than businesses, as these visitors are more random, and are more likely to be using a mix of browsers. Take a look at your site on all the major browsers, and fix whatever needs to be fixed. Usually, it is just small things, not a major overhaul.
Limiting Payment Options
The more ways a customer can pay, the better it is for your business. Limiting payment options may limit the success of your site. Don’t just offer one type of option, offer many. Some people may prefer to use a credit card; many people are leery of sites like Paypal, and don’t set up accounts there for fear people will steal their financial information, or make fraudulent withdrawals from the linked bank account. Some people don’t have credit cards at all, and would like the option to directly debit a payment right from their checking account. So, offer as many options as are practical for your business.
Not Getting Feedback on Usability
Big companies do tons of research on usability through focus groups and other means before launching a site ,and throughout its life, to optimize the user experience and maximize sales. An individual or a small business can’t afford this type of research, and the main feedback you are getting is from the people who are actually developing the site, and it is possible there is a bit of bias on their part.
But, even if you can’t get all ‘official’ with your evaluation, that doesn’t mean you can’t get any feedback at all. There are lots of people who can give you an outside perspective, such as employees not involved in the design process, your wife, friends and neighbors. So, ask them for their honest feedback, and use it to help you design a user-friendly site that will encourage purchasing.
These are just a sampling of the few mistakes that can be made, but are some of the biggies that can really affect your site negatively, and cause people to click away immediately, or abandon their shopping cart, never to return. If you are having issues and feel they are beyond your ability to fix, talk to site designers who can offer valuable insight and help you put together a professional design. This is certainly a worthy investment.