The advent of the internet opened a new frontier for entrepreneurs. Anyone can start an e-commerce business, even if they lack capital or experience.
Starting is only part of the battle. Many online businesses start strong but fail due to problems with their websites, policies, and customer service. If your sales are flagging, ask yourself these questions about your e-commerce site.
How quickly do my pages load?
Website pages should load in seconds. If they don’t, customers may grow impatient and move to a competitor’s site. Pages can be bogged down for different reasons, such as too many images or too big of images. Websites like Google PageSpeed Insights can pinpoint ways to reduce your loading speed.
How easy is my site to navigate?
If you want to break conventions, don’t look to website navigation. People may prize novelty on some fronts, but not when it comes to finding their way around a site. Intuitiveness and predictability are the names of the game. Make sure that your product search bar is easy to find and that it offers user-friendly filters so that shoppers can quickly find exactly what they are looking for.
How accommodating is my return policy?
When customers buy online, they are at a bit of a disadvantage. They can’t see the actual product with their own eyes. They can’t touch it or (in the case of apparel) try it on. As a result, customers want the assurance that they can return an item if it does not meet their expectations. Some companies impose strict time limits on returns and add re-stocking fees, but these policies turn customers off. If you don’t have a generous return policy, you risk losing out to competitors who do.
Are my images high-quality?
Since online shoppers can’t have a tactile experience with products, they at least want to see them as clearly as possible. You can facilitate this through high-quality images. Every product that you offer should have at least one image. If it would be helpful for customers to see the product from different angles, include multiple pictures. For example, if you are selling a necklace, shoppers may want to see the jewelry on a person to see how it looks when worn. Make sure that your images are resizable so that shoppers can zoom in for up-close viewing.
How helpful are my product descriptions?
Product descriptions are more than just vehicles for keywords. They matter to the customer. It’s OK to work in a few keywords here and there, but don’t “stuff” them in meaninglessly. Ensure that your descriptions are highly specific and well-written. Typos call the quality of your company into question.
How attentive is my customer service?
Some companies try to cut down on customer service demands by limiting the ways that shoppers can reach them. This strategy can backfire as customers may perceive your service as inattentive or unreliable. Make sure that your contact information is easy to find on your website and that you give customers as many ways to reach you as possible, including a phone number, email address, and live chat option.
A few adjustments can make the difference between a dying business and a thriving one.