Even in today’s competitive market, new e-commerce stores are launching and turning into enormous successes. The opportunity is there to create a fantastic lifestyle, so it’s not surprising that many entrepreneurs are attracted to the idea of running their own online store.
But, for every one that succeeds, there are probably another 10 that are doomed right from the start. First impressions make or break a brand new store, so it’s vital to get it right.
Let’s look at the reasons why so many stores are doomed to fail before they even get their first customer, and what can be done to fix things.
One of the biggest reasons of all is untrustworthiness.
Shoppers are always concerned for the safety of their card details and personal details. A site will look untrustworthy if there is no proper contact information.
To fix this add a ‘Get Help’ page to your menu where you can include your store’s contact details (a contact form alone is not enough). Use a ‘chat’ plugin or a Facebook messenger plugin so that visitors know they can contact you easily. It’s vital to have a physical address on your site as well. The main message is: don’t be anonymous or give the impression that you are ‘hiding’. It’s also a good idea to add a ‘secure checkout’ icon.
The domain name you choose for your store also has an impact on trustworthiness. You can buy sub-level domains for $1 or less, but you won’t be doing your store any favors. Stick to top-level domains. Dot com or the country extension of the country your store is operating in.
Another reason is lack of information regarding shipping, delivery times and returns.
To fix this one add a ‘Delivery & Returns’ page to the footer menu. Even better, in addition to the footer page, add an FAQ page to the main menu and include your delivery and returns information on that page too.
Blurry and distorted images
This one should be obvious, but I’ve seen it many times. Images should be clear and high resolution. This applies to all images on the site – the header image, product page images, thumbnails and any other images. If using a slider, take the time to find images that actually fit the slider dimensions otherwise they will display as stretched or squashed.
Spelling mistakes and typos
Wording does not need to be perfect by any means, but if there are obvious typos and spelling mistakes, your store will not come across as credible. Take the time to proof-read your content, or use a spell checker (remember, spell checkers do not always pick up homophones – words that sound alike but are spelt differently and have different meanings – such as there and their.)
Pricing is something that should be checked out even before making the decision to sell whatever it is you plan to sell. You do not need to be the cheapest and in fact, you should never try to be, but if you can’t price a product reasonably (based on the prices being charged by other stores), then it’s better not to sell that product at all.
A big part of making a good first impression is the aesthetics of your website. Not everyone is naturally creative or has an eye for aesthetics, but we don’t need to be. We can model the layouts and colour schemes of other successful stores. If in doubt about your ability to create a store that looks good and has a ‘professional’ look about it, simply start checking out popular stores and try to mimic their colours and layout as much as possible.
Not enough content
By this, I don’t mean not enough products offered for sale. A store can be hugely successful with just one product. I’m talking about the pages on your site, the sidebar (if you have one), the footer, the header. It’s always a good idea to have an ‘About’ page with some information about your store, what you sell, who you are. A ‘Get Help’ page goes a long way to make a visitor feel confident. If the main menu looks a bit bare, add your categories to make it look ‘busier’.
If the header has huge white or empty spaces, try to fill it up a bit or change the header. Use plugins or apps to add more detail to your site. For example, a ‘free shipping’ or ‘latest deals’ plugin.
With a bit of thought and effort, you can make you new store look much more content-rich than it actually is!