In 2016, the global eCommerce industry is set to take in over $1.15 Trillion dollars in sales. That is more than the GDP of Sweden, Finland and Greece – Combined.
That turnover isn’t exclusively from multinational corporations either – but rather a large portion is from SMB’s.
Unlike any time in history, the barriers for entry in eCommerce are so low that virtually anyone can launch a website on the weekend and start making sales within the week.
Due to the easy of entry to the eCommerce industry, a large percentage of the smaller merchants simply aren’t educated enough on how to create the complete level of value from their businesses that is possible. This can normally be nailed down to the 7 mistakes that are covered below.
It’s not just small business making these eCommerce mistakes, but also sellers doing $1, $3, even $10 million dollars a year in sales.
So if you want to stabilize your business and experience extraordinary growth, then ensure that you fix these seven mistakes in your business immediately. Some of these mistakes are around your digital marketing, and others concern the core beliefs of your business but all are equally as important for your long term success.
Mistake 1: Not actively capturing email addresses
Email Marketing is one of the most profitable forms of marketing on the planet. Recent studies by the DMA revealed that email marketing drives a 4,000% ROI for businesses.
For many eCommerce businesses, email marketing is the leading form of revenue. It is something that they control unlike social media pages. However sadly very few eCommerce merchants are effective in capturing email addresses from shoppers and customers
The Solution: Although not popular with everyone, email pop-ups do work. Many eCommerce businesses are currently receiving optin rates upwards of 5% using a high quality offer such as 10% off, and by split testing several variations to refine the approach used.
Mistake 2: Not becoming an authority
Content Marketing is one of the fastest growing forms of digital marketing, and for good reason. It allows businesses to share their expertise in their field with their customers and prospects, while also having very good SEO benefits.
Sadly a lot of eCommerce businesses aren’t actively cashing in on this gold rush, or if they are, they are doing it incorrectly.
The Solution: Rather than blog about your products or your business, instead create content that your customers want to read. For example if you sell health supplements, then produce content around health.
The other approach that works very well is to think about the types of content that your ideal customer base consumes regularly, It doesn’t need to be directly related to your business either. For example if you sell infant toys, then a large portion of your buyers will be young mums. They might be interested in fashion, childrens fashion, weight loss after pregnancy, and the list goes on.
Mistake 3: Being another ‘me to’ business
In a world where the barrier to entry is extremely low, being another ‘me too’ business is one of the riskiest ways to run your online store. Whether you are using the same website templates, the same product descriptions or simply the same terms and conditions, being a copycat also enables others to copy you easily.
The Solution: Develop yourself a very strong Unique Selling Proposition. By understanding on the inside of your business what makes you different, you’ll be able to then portray that to your customers. This may flow from a unique website redesign, new systems, or simply the ‘voice’ of your marketing communications.
Mistake 4: Thinking SEO is outdated
In recent years there has been a lot of speculation that SEO doesn’t work any more, and as a result there have been huge companies slashing their SEO budget across the world. It is this response however that has opened a competition gap, which is now enabling businesses with smaller budgets to achieve sensational ROI’s.
While it is true that the way SEO used to be done doesn’t work anymore for eCommerce businesses, there are still thousands who are profiting wildly from it.
The Solution: Educate yourself on what effective SEO is in 2016, and build a plan around that. Organic search has long been the #1 traffic source for small eCommerce merchants, so investing in SEO is a must for your long term stability. If you don’t have time to learn SEO yourself, then consider hiring an SEO professional to help you with your website.
Mistake 5: Letting your customers leave without any way of tracking them
We are in the age of the pixel and there is no denying that. Remarketing technologies are growing at a rapid rate and the adoption of the technology is at all all time high. However most eCommerce businesses don’t have remarketing pixels installed, let alone use them effectively.
The Solution: There are many different technologies on the market today to help you with your remarketing. If you’re looking for a ‘all in one’ solution then look into Perfect Audience. Their platform is easy to use and quite quick to set up.
However if you’d like to deal with the networks directly a professional can help you with your Google Adwords & Facebook remarketing set ups. If you follow this approach you will have more flexibility, however with great power comes great difficulty, so be aware of that.
Mistake 6: Using outdated, slow technology
As consumer technology improves, it’s essential that you keep your website technology up to date. Your site needs to be responsive, quick to load, easy to navigate, ideally offer personalised shopping experiences and pack the numerous other features that customers are looking for.
The Solution: There are two solutions to this mistake. The first is to use a hosted or SaS solution. These solutions provide you with a low maintenance, low cost way to ensure you are always using the latest technology. When building on a software like this be aware that you aren’t able to add new features as you wish or customise them that much to your needs.
The second solution is to use a open source platform which you fully control. Building and owning your own website does have additional costs associated with it. Website hosting, development bills, and support costs do all add up, so take some time to consider if this is the right approach for you.
Mistake 7: Assuming your website is perfect
No website is ever perfect, and just because it looks perfect doesn’t mean that it is converting perfectly for you. Recent industry benchmarks by Moz revealed that the average conversion rate of an ecommerce website is only 1.4%. This is staggering as many of the top sites convert as high as 5%.
The Solution: The most effective and data driven way to improve your website’s conversions is through Conversion Rate Optimisation. CRO is the practise of making careful adjustments to your website and split testing them through software products such as Optimizely.
While you sometimes hear about changes that drive a 200 or 300% increase in conversions, these cases aren’t normal. Most CRO campaigns will yield you improvements of 5-10% a month with on-going work. And over the space of 12-months the compounding effect of these incremental changes is what really accelerates your sale.
If you take the time to check your eCommerce business and fix any of the 7 mistakes above that you are making, then you’ll be in for a wonderful 2016. Remember, eCommerce isn’t a magical money making machine, but if done right and with the right strategies it can be a very lucrative and rewarding business model.
The only question that remains – Which mistake will you fix first?
About The Author:
Author, and Marketing Expert, Joel House is one of Australia’s leading authorities in ecommerce and online retail. Joel has been featured on Digital Marketing Radio and is actively engaged in helping Australia’s eCommerce SMB’s grow as fast as possible.