Online retailers can make a lot of money by providing customers with low prices, quick delivery and easy access to products that may be difficult to get in physical stores. However, many online retailers make mistakes that cause customers to lose interest in the store or buy from the competition. If you have an online retail store, make sure you don't engage in any of these top five online retail blunders.
1. Requiring a log-in before browsing or purchasing.
Don't require visitors to create an account just to see your merchandise or to make their first purchase. If you are a specialty retail site or flash sale site, you may capture email before opening the store, but you need to have a good value proposition to justify this. Some people are reluctant to share personal details over the Internet, especially if they haven't done business with you before and aren't sure they want to buy from you. Requiring them to sign in just to browse will cause them to close your website more quickly than anything else. At checkout, make log-ins optional so customers feel comfortable completing their orders as a guest.
2. Filling your website with fancy graphics and animations.
Splash screens, animations and flash videos might look cool, but they can detract from customers' experiences. Some people have slower Internet connections that can't handle fancy graphics; your site will run very slowly on these customers' computers, which will probably cause them to give up on visiting your page. In addition, animations and pop-ups can block customers' view of your products and interfere with what they are trying to do on your site. If you must use special graphical effects, at least have a clear link to "non-graphic version" so customers can opt out.
3. Charging extra for large delivery amounts.
It's tempting to add a per-product delivery charge, but this can drive customers away. People are not going to buy $100 worth of merchandise if they have to pay $75 for shipping. Instead, offer free delivery on large orders to get more customers.
4. Making it difficult to order more than one product at a time.
When customers place a product in their online shopping basket, it should be easy for them to continue browsing. Some online retailers make the mistake of not including a "continue shopping" button on the shopping cart page; this frustrates customers and some may decide not to buy anything since they can't pick up everything they want in one visit. In addition to a "continue shopping" option, make sure your shopping cart page contains a list of related products to encourage impulse buying.
5. Focusing too much on website experience.
Although the customer's website experience is an important part of making online sales, the order and delivery process is just as important. Make sure to send confirmation emails and set up a tracking system for mailed merchandise so that you can ensure the delivery process is smooth. Otherwise customers may cancel their orders or tell negative stories about delivery to their friends.