As any small business owner will know, if you’re not online, it’s not going to work. Anyone who can remember a time before the internet (as crazy as that might sound to some younger people!) will know that before the World Wide Web, all forms of business transactions had to be done in the real world. Usually, this involved an actual handover of money in return for a product, service or trade. These days, however, not only is our money stored on a little plastic card, but it is traded and exchanged online instead. The industry term for this practice is ‘e-commerce’ – primarily the business of selling something over the internet. Whether your business revolves around an actual physical product that your customers buy or a service that you provide, engaging in e-commerce is an absolute must-do for the success of your company. Despite this, it is an area that many startups and new business alike trip up on. If you are having trouble selling your wares or services online, here are a few things you might be doing wrong.
Your marketing isn’t working
Okay, so you’ve got your website all set up with a transparent payment system – and you’ve checked it works. But still, the orders just aren’t coming in. The first thing you need to do is to step back and take a look at your online presence overall. Is your website easy to find, and is it making good use of SEO? If your site is buried deep within the depths of the internet, it’s unlikely that any customer is going to choose you over a rival, more easy-to-find site. Get on board with social media and shout about your business as loud as you can. Additionally, is it clear that you are an ecommerce website and that you have something to sell? Remember that the customer’s attention span is very short, so you have to do everything in your power to make it clear to them what you can offer them from the very beginning. It may be worth speaking to some ecommerce experts who will be able to tell if your site is encouraging people to buy from you. Even simple things, such as adding a better call to action, can make a huge difference to your success rate.
Your website is not primed for mobile devices
A shockingly huge number of people now view websites not through their desktop computer, but via their cell phone. The majority of people these days have a smartphone or a tablet on their person at all times, so you need to make sure they have access to your business wherever they are. If your website works well on a desktop but is all skewed up when you view it through a phone, you could be missing a trick here. Most website hosting platforms (such as Wix or Squarespace) offer you the option to optimize your site for mobile devices, so make the most of that feature! If you hired an independent designer to create your website for you, see if they would be willing to make it functional for mobile too.
Your checkout system is too complicated
When they are buying from you, the last thing you want to do is to frustrate or confuse your customer. When they are already at your online checkout, you’re halfway there, as they have made the decision to put the item in their basket and attempt to pay for it. But if your checkout system is too long and laborious, they are simply going to look for the same product somewhere else. Try and make it so the whole thing only takes a couple of minutes. Offer a ‘guest checkout’ option and don’t hassle them with creating too many security barriers – speak to an online security expert about the ones you need (any that are deemed unnecessary don’t bother with). Make sure you accept all major credit and debit cards, and you may even want to consider using PayPal on your website. It can also be worth incorporating a feature where your customer’s checkout details are saved, as this will encourage them to return and make a swift, easy purchase in the future. Finally, always thank your customer for ordering from your business – even something simple like a thank you message and regular order updates will make them feel as though they are dealing with true e-commerce professionals.