It’s easy to create an online store today with the variety of affordable, accessible, and customizable platforms available. Once the website is built, however, establishing that business, growing revenue, and scaling can be a big challenge, and there are reasons why 90% of all eCommerce businesses fail within the first 120 days of launch.
Whether a small business owner is starting an online store from scratch or one already exists, it’s important to understand why most eCommerce sites fail. Only after mistakes are made can they be learned from and avoided to create a site and establish a viable business. Here are some of the most common reasons sellers fail & ways to avoid them:
The common issue: Bad site design
They say don’t judge a book by its cover but approximately 75% of consumers judge the credibility of a business by its website design. A site’s design could be simply an eyesore, and in other cases, a site may be visually appealing, but the user experience (UX) needs improvement. Both circumstances are issues that need to be addressed.
What to do:
- Start with a proven template. There are formulas for website templates that work; so don’t try to make it more complicated and reinvent the wheel.
- Simplify your design. The easier it is for a shopper to find what they need, the better. Shoppers want to visit your site, search, and find what they need, read all about the product, and checkout in a simple and streamlined process.
- Encourage the next step and guide your shoppers through their shopping journey. Make sure calls-to-actions (like “buy now”) stand out visually, sprinkle product recommendations throughout your pages to encourage cross-sells and upsells and make the “view cart” and checkout easy to find.
- Emphasize customer service. Prominently display customer service info and options (chat or live agents) on your site.
- Website speed optimization is a necessity so continually check your site’s speed. Many shoppers are impatient and will only wait 2-3 seconds for a site to load & a one-second delay in page loading can potentially lead to a 7% drop in conversions.
The common issue: Complicated checkout process
Mastering the checkout process is a common challenge but it’s one of the most important to get right because roughly 20% of shoppers abandon their carts due to the checkout process being too complex. Checkout needs to be easy, simple, and pain-free.
What to do:
- Offer various payment options in the form of debit/credit cards, shopping apps (PayPal, Stripe, Square), digital wallets (Google Pay, Apple Pay), and even Buy-Now-Pay-Later. Offering buyers options lets them choose their preferred payment method and increases their trust about the brand, making them more likely to follow through on the purchase.
- Offer one-click checkout for any logged-in clients, while still providing a guest checkout option in case a customer doesn’t want to create an account or doesn’t have the time at that moment.
- Prioritize your buyers’ security and reduce the risk of payment fraud by finding a solution that invests in security. And only collect the necessary data that you need to ship out an order.
- Be transparent about fees. Unexpected fees like taxes or shipping fees can drive away potential customers. Providing all of this information before shoppers reach the checkout page gives them a sense of trust and won’t catch them off guard.
The common issue: Poor or limited product content
Shoppers aren’t going to buy items when they do not understand exactly what they’re purchasing. Approximately 85% of shoppers say product information and pictures are important when deciding which brand or retailer to buy from. Shoppers want to buy with confidence, and they cannot do that with poor or limited product content.
What to do:
- Be crystal clear about what you’re selling online and publish detailed and accurate product pages, including features, specifications, and benefits, with high-quality images and/or videos to ensure there aren’t any surprises for the buyer when they receive the product.
- Include valid and authentic product reviews and testimonials.
- Use AI-generated content to create tailored titles, taglines, and paragraphs to give potential buyers the information.
- Optimize the SEO for your product pages by including all relevant keywords and unique descriptions.
The common issue: Terrible mobile experience
The mobile shopping experience is often neglected; however, if you don’t have a mobile site or a positive mobile experience, you’re going to be missing a huge selection of potential buyers. Smartphones account for about 74% of all retail site traffic globally and 59% of shoppers say that being able to shop on mobile is important when deciding which business to buy from. Your mobile site needs to be clean, easy to navigate, and efficient.
What to do:
- Check the format and layout of your pages on mobile. While many websites can automatically convert to be mobile-friendly, it’s best to test that everything looks as good on mobile as it does on desktop.
- Be sure to audit mobile loading times, and simplify menus and navigation bars, and page elements to account for smaller screens. You might want to compress images and limit special effects (such as animation) to ensure that the mobile experience isn’t slow or lags.
- Simplify your mobile pages by prioritizing specific content. You need to carefully decide which buttons and messages to show first and what call-to-actions you need without overwhelming the smaller screen.
The common issues: Supply chain issues and fulfillment mishaps
While the lack of inventory has been a top concern for SMBs going into 2023, you need to be smart about your inventory management strategies. You need to protect your brand from overselling, late shipments, and other costly mishaps by setting up the proper fulfillment and inventory flows.
- Dropshipping and print-on-demand are smart options to avoid juggling inventory supply and demand. Dropshipping allows you to fulfill orders as they are placed to avoid guessing the amount of inventory to stock, and print-on-demand adds a layer of customization to those products.
- You can also offer pre-order options to let your customers secure anticipated new products. 28% of all pre-orders are placed on the first day of pre-order availability which is a strategic way to gauge how much inventory you need.
- Allow customers to pre-order out-of-stock items to avoid missing a sale – just don’t forget to notify users when back-in-stock items are available.
First and foremost, businesses that want to sell online need to have an eCommerce site. However, even the most beautifully designed site could fail a business if the inner workings and the behind-the-scenes systems aren’t cohesively creating a seamless and positive customer experience. That’s why it’s incredibly important for business creators to understand these reasons why sellers fail, how to avoid these pitfalls and to learn these strategies to navigate success.
Yael Weiss Ayalon is the User Relations Manager, eCommerce, at Wix.