8 Mistakes That Could Be Ruining Your eCommerce Site

The world of eCommerce has become increasingly more competitive as customer preferences have entirely changed the digital landscape.

The competitive nature of eCommerce is multifaceted: Not only are you striving to beat your competition, but you’re also fighting to keep your shoppers’ interest. 68% of customers will end up abandoning their shopping carts. The responsibility falls on eCommerce merchants to prevent people from leaving before they check out, while also devising a strategy to win back customers that have abandoned their carts.

So, let’s look into some of the most lethal mistakes eCommerce merchants make, and what you can do to avoid them.

1. Not Being Clear About Your Shipping Costs

“Surprise” shipping costs are one of the easiest ways to lose your shoppers and are ranked as the highest source of cart abandonment. When it comes to your website’s availability to convert shoppers through the checkout process, shipping, and any other relevant cost information, must be stated as early on as possible.

Not being clear about your shipping costs will only hurt your conversion rate. Roughly 28% will abandon their shopping cart if they’re surprised with unexpected shipping costs. This means you’re losing one out of every four shoppers on your site just because you weren’t clear about your shipping costs.

Keep in mind how buyers psychologically operate. They consider the product, whether they like how it looks, how will it fit, how much does it cost, and is it worth it. By the time a shopper places an item in their cart, they’ve not only thought of multiple different reasons they should and shouldn’t buy, but they’ve also likely shopped around for alternatives.

Over time, a feeling of fatigue develops. Each new decision doesn’t receive as much thought or merely is more challenging to make. When a new variable comes into play, like a $7.99 shipping cost, many shoppers will either take a break from shopping, because the decision is stressing them out, or will just abandon the search altogether.

This is why it’s imperative to be clear about your shipping policies on every relevant touchpoint—meaning your product pages and even your website header. If you offer free shipping, you’re missing out on the vast potential of attracting shoppers if you’re not advertising it on your site as well.

Paying for shipping is not a novel idea, and shoppers understand that. Sure, if you advertise your shipping costs, you might lose a shopper or two at the beginning of the funnel, but you will ultimately boost your conversion rate since they wouldn’t convert anyway.

2. Not Optimizing for Mobile

Mobile shopping is expected to reach 27% of all online shopping by the end of 2018, yet many merchants have sites that are ill-equipped for mobile shoppers. The numbers behind mobile shopping’s growth are staggering. By the end of 2017, over 2 billion global mobile phone users will have made some form of mobile transaction, up from 1.6 billion this year.

Merchants using platforms such as Shopify and BigCommerce don’t have to worry as much about this since many of the templates offered are mobile-responsive. The cause for concern is merchants that are using custom solutions that look great on desktop, but which just don’t cut mobile. This is why it’s important to understand how your store looks on every size screen, and that it is built to be mobile responsive.

Many merchants are aware of and understand the growth of mobile but, for some reason, they just don’t act on it. As mobile continues to grow and shoppers continue to utilize multiple devices to make a purchase, merchants that fail to optimize for mobile will be left in the dust trailing behind mobile-friendly competitors.

3. Not Having Enough Payment Options

Payment options play an obvious role in your checkout process: If a customer can’t give you money, you won’t make a sale. This seems like a somewhat silly reason to lose a customer, especially after you’ve worked so hard to perfect every other detail of your checkout process and marketing efforts.

There is no shortage of different payment options, and the more you have, the higher chance you will have of making the sale. For starters, you can’t go wrong with all major credit cards, PayPal, and Google Wallet. There are even some eCommerce sites that welcome BitCoin and other cryptocurrency payments as well!

An issue that arises from having multiple payment options is that merchants might end up creating several CTAs such as “Checkout with PayPal, Buy with Google Wallet, etc.” Simple design tweaks such as a drop-down menu during the checkout process can offer your users the same flexibility in a seamless and clean manner.

4. Having a Chunky Checkout Process

Shoppers in the digital age have a penchant for instant gratification. This means that once your shoppers have made their decision, they want to flow through your checkout process seamlessly. View each additional step or visual distraction in your checkout process as an obstacle that the buyer has to maneuver around. Any friction means potentially losing a sale, and each bit must be removed wherever appropriate.

Creating a perfect checkout process comes with ruthless experimentation and data analysis. Understanding how your shoppers interact with your checkout process is must-know knowledge for any eCommerce merchant.

Everyone in the eCommerce world is, by default, competing with giants such as Amazon.com, which are capable of spending billions of dollars a year just to test and refine their checkout processes. Merchants who fail to optimize their checkout will end up having their market swept up from under them.

5. Using Manufacturer Product Descriptions

A huge problem that runs rampant in the eCommerce space is that many merchants are using the same product descriptions that come from the manufacturer. This means that thousands of merchants are selling the same products, using the same pictures, with the corresponding descriptions, at likely the same prices.

While this may work for some, it’s no way to build a brand. Product descriptions are your opportunity to let your brand’s voice flow and capture the shopper’s interest and imagination. As more and more merchants realize the importance of having high-quality product descriptions, whether purely for the benefit of ranking higher in search engines or increasing conversion rates, merchants that fail to do so will be forced to compete solely on price on goods that look commoditized.

Additionally, using product descriptions from the manufacturer can create SEO trouble for you down the line. Manufacturer product descriptions will not only give you any SEO points, but they could also get you penalized for using duplicate content.

6. Unclear Value Proposition

Your value proposition is the number-one thing that helps a consumer understand whether or not they should purchase something from you. This is an opportunity to communicate both your product’s value and your brand’s value.

A value proposition is a concise, clear statement that:

  1. Delivers specific benefits in a way that allows shoppers to quantify the value of your product.
  2. Tells your ideal customer why they should purchase something from you and not from your competition.
  3. Explains how your product will solve your shoppers’ problems.

It’s critical that your value proposition is written in a language that is natural to your shoppers. It should feel like an organic extension of the conversation already going on in your shoppers’ heads. It’s tough to stumble into a perfect value proposition voice; however, with some practice and research, it becomes much more attainable.

For example, merchants will often browse and communicate with other people on forums such as Reddit that are specific to their industry. Even if you are interested in your products yourself, assume that there are multiple angles and perspectives that must be accounted for.

7. Using Lackluster Images

A few years ago, using manufacturer images and lackluster product pictures barely passed. Today, merchants are taking every opportunity possible to differentiate themselves and create a more attractive and appealing website for their customers.

Many sites are investing into professional photography and product videos because they work very well. Humans are visual creatures, and they want to see what they are buying. The better your images can capture the essence of your products and answer your shoppers’ questions, the more likely your shoppers will be to make a purchase.

Additionally, shoppers who have a better understanding of what the product looks like and how it functions will be less likely to have a reason to return it in the future. This means that investing in high-quality images will not only boost sales but will decrease the number of returns and logistical headaches you would otherwise have to deal with.

8. Not Using Dynamic Retargeting

Dynamic retargeting is an extremely efficient way to deliver relevant ads to your customers. One of the biggest mistakes eCommerce merchants make is not utilizing retargeting ads—because not doing so simply just leaves too much value on the table.

Retargeting is an ad strategy that allows merchants to target shoppers that were previously on a specific part of your site. For example, if a shopper were looking at your “Nike Elite Socks” product page, a retargeting ad would show up on Facebook, or elsewhere, reminding them of the product.

There are a few big reasons failing to use dynamic retargeting ads could be ruining your eCommerce site:

  1. First of all, not using retargeting ads means all your money and effort spent on raising awareness and customer acquisition goes to waste when a shopper leaves. This keeps your advertising and marketing costs high, which eats into your profit margins.
  2. Online shoppers frequently abandon their searches simply because there are too many distractions online. If a shopper leaves your site, it doesn’t mean they aren’t interested; they could still be very engaged with and want to purchase something from you, but the cards are stacked against you regarding attention. Retargeting ads allow merchants to get a second crack at making a sale—and these second chances add up.

Personalization and customization pay off. Retargeted ads are 70% more likely to convert than all other types of advertising. They are also 10x more likely to be clicked than any other type of ad.

Final Thoughts

eCommerce will continue to evolve along with customer preferences and digital trends. Merchants that can adjust quickly and keep themselves at the forefront of eCommerce best practices will be able to thrive, instead of trying to survive as each year becomes increasingly more competitive.

Perhaps the most insidious part of these mistakes is that they can be so easy to make if you aren’t careful and regularly benchmarking your site to industry leaders. If you find yourself guilty of making a few of these mistakes view this as an opportunity to prime your site for the future. Keep an eye on your analytics and KPIs to see how they improve as you put the above solutions into action.

 


Ron is the CEO of Visiture and spends his time leading his team of evil geniuses to get more results for his customers. His passion is helping eCommerce business owners and marketing professionals navigate the search marketing landscape and use data to make more effective decisions to drive new traffic and conversions.

How To Handle Your Client Communication With Ease

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In this data-rich world of technology, many people neglect the immense importance of communication. They get so preoccupied with daily duties and various processes that they don’t get to spend enough time on meaningful communication with a client. Communication plays a significant role in almost every aspect of our lives, especially in business. While it can increase client satisfaction and improve our opportunity for success, it can also alienate the clients and ultimately break the business.

Luckily, successful communication doesn’t cost a thing. If you want to improve your client communication and build and maintain sound collaboration, you need to invest your time and energy into it. Not only will it pay off but it will also help you draw new invaluable clients. Here are a few tips how to make client communication more productive.

Define Your Services

Before starting any collaboration with a potential customer, you need to state what kind of services you are offering individually. Instead of trying to impress your clients with a full range of services you do, you should focus on one or few you are proficient at. This way you are wasting your time and energy on multitasking while aiming to meet all your client’s needs and preferences which can severely damage your business and career. If you clearly explain what things you are specialized in, the client will value your work more and will undoubtedly be more interested in your services.

Choose the Right Method of Communication

This modern era of ubiquitous energy-efficient technologies gives us an incredible opportunity to communicate by using so many means of communication that we sometimes cannot decide which one to choose. When it comes to business, choosing the right method of communication is crucial as it will determine how successful your future client collaboration will be. While some clients prefer face-to-face communication, others are more mail persons. Probably the best option is to directly talk to the client and ask them which one they prefer. It will improve the communication flow and increase overall productivity.

Keep Everyone Involved in the Project

Building an excellent communication with a client is not an easy ride. Sometimes it is best to include your client in all the processes and stages of project development from the start and avoid any misunderstandings, payment delays or even disagreements. There is a wide selection of agile project management tools for creatives that allow your clients to follow everything on the project ones they get access. They can see what you are working on, provide feedback and upload content if necessary. This will help you break any walls and build honesty and trust between you and your clients.

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Image Source: http://imgur.com/a/qbwoo

Maintain Friendly Communication

It’s not a brainer that poor communication can quickly break your business. However, sometimes lack of proper communication is not the issue. Sometimes the communication with a client may suffer due to the inconsistency of given data or just inadequate language. Keep in mind that clients do not have to be experts in your field of expertise and they do necessarily possess the knowledge and the skills you and your team are proficient at. Translating web-speak into language that will be easily understandable and more meaningful to you client is imperative in building a successful relationship with your client.

Keep Your Clients Frequently Updated

According to research, the reason why many clients decide to leave the project earlier is that they are unsatisfied with information delivery. Make sure you communicate, communicate more and over-communicate. Keeping your customer regularly updated about all the phases of the project development especially in case if some technical issues arise, is invaluable for the client. Get ready to get down to the nitty-gritty with clients. They will appreciate the effort you are making to keep them informed, and they will not have reason to worry.


rachelRachel is currently working as the vice president of communications at Active Collab. After finishing her master’s degree in Communications she pursued a career in the digital industry, most notably in marketing and public relations.

 

Do You Think You’re Ready for Public Relations?

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Do You Think You’re Ready for Public Relations? Think Again.

This is a question I’ve heard more times than I can count – when is my company ready to kick off a public relations program? First and foremost it’s crucial to understand one thing. Today’s PR industry is changing, becoming even more competitive and demanding than ever before. As the media transitions from print to digital, there are fewer journalists to pitch and more factors to consider, such as content marketing, social media and search engine optimization. So, before making the leap, you need to make sure a public relations program is right for you. Take a look at my top five questions to ask yourself before you take the plunge:

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Do You Need PR?

Time and time again, I’m asked to present PR proposals to potential clients. But more often than not when they have it in their hands they realize, whether due to cost, resources or other marketing projects, that PR is simply not a priority. So, before all else, make sure you define your need for PR and what you hope to achieve. In my experience, you’ll find two primary drivers – the Best Kept Secret Syndrome when it’s time to let the world know what makes you so great and different, and an upcoming major news announcement you want to leverage for ink and awareness. Either way, it’s only once this need and goal are well established that your PR push can actually begin.

Are You Ready to Commit?

Determining a need for PR isn’t the only thing to do before getting started. Public relations is not a one-time play. It’s a strategic program you must commit to if you want to see the high ROI results you’re looking for.

I like to use the analogy of weight loss. Have you ever been on a crash diet? If you do, you’ll likely lose a few pounds. But the second you stop dieting, that weight inevitably piles back on. It’s the same with PR. You can make an impressive one-time splash, with interviews in all the top-tier and trade publications of your dreams, but if you don’t put any more effort into outreach after that point you and your product will rapidly be forgotten – not just by your audience but the media too. In this crazy, hectic world we live in, people need repetition to remember.

Do You Have the Budget & Resources?

A public relations program takes time and effort. So it won’t even get off the ground unless you have the budget and resources to make it happen. Whether hiring in-house or working with an agency, you’ll need to commit a team and funds to the process of PR outreach pitching, follow up, media relations, press release development, media training for your spokespeople and so much more. Without it, your program is going nowhere fast.

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Do You Know What Makes You Different?

If you don’t know what makes you stand out, nobody else will. Reliable, consistent, and most importantly, relevant messaging is the heart of a successful PR program. I cannot stress enough how important it is that you be ready to position yourself to stand out from the competition. Ask yourself what makes your company, service or product different. It can be a spokesperson with the experience and credibility to provide thought-provoking industry commentary or a product that does something new. But defining this differentiator is step one towards PR success.

Is Your Infrastructure In Place?

It doesn’t matter if you have the best PR program in the world, with media banging down your door to interview you. If you don’t have a great website and compelling collateral for your potential customers to find, the brand awareness your outreach creates will get you nowhere. So, before initiating any public relations push, make sure the rest of your marketing, from your website to your brochures to social media and content creation, are on point and ready to generate leads.

Once you’ve evaluated these questions carefully and honestly, you’ll be in a better position to decide if PR has a strategic place in your company. Until then, it’s best to wait on the sidelines until you have the time and resources to invest.

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magnolia-logo-public-relationsFounded in 2006, Magnolia is one of Vancouver’s top B2B public relations & marketing communications agencies. Working with clients across North America, our full-service boutique PR firm of social media marketing, vertical marketing & public relation experts strives to earn our clients’ trust through a relentless pursuit of excellence — in our work, thinking and approach.

Laura From Sagewood Recovery Celebrates Her Business Growth With Us

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Laura from Sagewood Recovery with the Coronation Internet Marketing team. From left to right: Justin, Ryan, Laura, Cary and James.

Laura from Sagewood Recovery, a women’s only drug and alcohol treatment centre in the Greater Vancouver area, brought cake in for us today to celebrate her being number one for her keywords and for her treatment centre having enough new clients to fill her facility. It’s an absolute pleasure to help great people like Laura who is helping those who need help to recover from addiction. We are proud to be a small part of Laura and Sagewood’s success through our SEO and internet marketing services.

Way to go Laura!

P.S. Cary (me) didn’t get a chance to shower after being at the gym which explains the hat and shorts.

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