1. Weak Website Design
First impressions count. Your visitor decides in seconds whether or not your site has what he is looking for. Compelling graphics, balanced text and intuitive navigation can draw your visitor into your site. Simple is better. Avoid distracting graphics, text errors and confusing navigation. Select a reliable web hosting service. Every element on the page should have a purpose, and leave some open space. Have several people look at your website and give you their first impressions. Next, ask them to use the site. You'll uncover any navigation problems without risking customers.
2. Unclear Purpose
Don't hide your product or its buy button. There is no need to ease the visitor into buying mode - he's already there. Make it easy to determine what you're selling, why the visitor should buy it and how to buy it. Provide clear links to product categories if you want your visitor to view other pages. And, every page should have a clear buy graphic. The purpose of your site is to deliver what your customer wants: make it clear, make it easy.
3. Shopping Obstacles
The visitor pushed the buy button, but got bogged down in the checkout procedure and left the site. Customers leave websites within seconds if they can't browse easily for products, experience an awkward checkout procedure, are asked too many questions or don t feel safe buying from your site. Make the shopping experience friendly and efficient. Ask for input from friends before you take your site live. When your eCommerce website is up and running, check the links weekly to be certain it stays that way.
4. Poor Marketing
The 2007 Netcraft Web Server Survey found over 108 million distinct websites. How will people find yours? A clean layout, persuasive text, easy navigation and a great product are not enough. Drive people to your website. Learn about marketing tools from most ecommerce web host providers. Consider paid advertising, search engine optimization and direct marketing. Track your progress. See alexa.com for current website ratings. Keep what works and revise what doesn t work. The internet changes constantly and so should your site.
5. Weak Customer Service
Customer Service is essential to repeat customers. Develop a plan to assist customers during the buying process, address problems and build customer loyalty. Post a FAQs page, and make contact numbers and email addresses easy to find. Invite feedback, consider user ratings and send useful information to your customers to give them a reason to come back to your site. Do your best to serve your customers and they will reward you by sending their friends to your website.
6. Poor Product Choice
Not everything should be sold on the internet. Shipping costs are an obstacle for heavy products that your customer can get locally - you can t compete. Food spoils, candy melts, glass breaks. Evaluate your products with a worst-case-scenario mentality. Consider product variations, packaging options and shipping methods.
7. Fail to Prepare for Success
What could be wrong with overnight success? Site crashes, inventory runs out, orders can t be processed or the shopping cart fails from lack of bandwidth. Any or all of these can turn success into failure. Be prepared. Design an emergency plan you can quickly implement. If your business grows gradually, design a second plan to ensure website keeps pace with your business.
8. Slow Shipping
Working out fast, reliable and cost effective shipping is the key to keeping your customers happy and your revenue flowing. If the website promises two-day shipping but your customer doesn t get the product until the fourth day, guess who the customer will blame? You. Use reputable shippers who offer guarantees.
9. Lack of Specialization
You can t be all things to all people. Analyze your product, its benefits and most likely users. Design your site and your message to reach this group. When visitors come to your site, they will feel the fit. Build your product line over time as you gain success and experience. Stay focused. Know your market and make sure they know you.
10. Missing Security