If you are a small business owner, you may have put up an e-commerce website to help offset sales at your brick and mortar store. At the time of building it, you probably thought this was going to be an easy way to increase your business’ revenues. But it turns out that it’s a lot harder than you thought to manage an e-commerce website, and now you’re thinking about letting it go to focus on your other business needs. Before you shut that aspect of your website down, let’s take a look at some of the key reasons your e-commerce website is failing, and how you can fairly easily fix them.

Cart Abandonment. (It just hurts, doesn’t it?)

According Baymard statistics the rate of abandonment in 2015 was between 68-75%. That’s right: of all the websites, including Amazon and eBay, for every 100 people that come to your website and put something into their basket either to check price or shipping costs, only 25 of them are going to actually buy something. It’s painful, especially if you’re using Google Adwords or Facebook advertising to get them to your website. 75% of the clicks are being spent on people just looking.

So what can you do to fix this?

Most of our websites are built using WooCommerce as the e-commerce platform. You can use plugins like WooCommerce Recover Abandoned Cart to build email templates and automations to send to people who’ve abandoned their carts. Generally, you’re going to want to make sure those automations all go out within the first 30 days of cart abandonment: that, like other sales, is when they’re the hottest.

Confusing User Experience

Speaking of cart abandonment, this is actually one of the biggest reasons why people abandon their cart. (The next section goes over the other one.) If your checkout process is confusing, your shipping rates change frequently, or simply your website is difficult to navigate, the user knows that they can probably find your product on a competitor’s website or on one of those big e-commerce stores.

If your website designer/developer doesn’t have a user experience person on staff, this may be the time to go shopping for a new one. Any designer can make something look good, but making sure that everything flows well for the user is imperative. One of the biggest user issues is making sure that your website is searchable, especially if you have a lot of items. Part numbers and informing the visitor that what they’ve found is exactly what they’re looking for is a key component of user experience and closing the sale. If you’ve ever visited a good auto parts e-commerce website, you’ll know that it’s easy to look for what you need simply based on make, model, and year of your car.

Now go to a small automotive e-commerce store, one that doesn’t have that feature. You’re probably less apt to purchase from there, because you’re not sure that it’s exactly the part you’re looking for. It’s confusing, frustrating, and you probably won’t buy there, regardless of price. So if you haven’t invested in user experience perhaps you’re losing sales because of that, too.

Lastly, if you’re building a responsive e-commerce website (which is highly recommended), make sure that the checkout process is optimized for mobile. Over 50% of all internet traffic is via mobile and mobile purchases are drastically on the rise. Don’t forget your mobile users when you’re building your e-commerce website.

Not Trustworthy

Does your website look outdated? Are you taking someone to another website to pay because you don’t have an SSL? Is HTTPS not on your website? All of these could lead someone to think that your website isn’t secure, even if it is.

Giving your visitors a sense of security, especially in times like these where credit card hacking seems like an almost daily occurrence, is imperative. If you’re redesigning your website, ask your design agency if they’ll be installing an SSL, putting a static IP on your hosting server, and helping you to handle payment processing on the website. These things will help your e-commerce website seem as trustworthy as possible.

Remember, cart abandonment is a problem for every e-commerce website. Even the most highly sophisticated websites like Amazon and Etsy have issues with it. These suggestions won’t solve all of your problems immediately, but they will help. Sales need to be nurtured online just like they do in a brick and mortar store.

In Conclusion

In Google’s recent Adwords conference, they studied people buying a car. Each of these people researched their purchase for nearly 6 months with over 90 touches on different websites before making a purchase. They also found that people only visit two dealerships before making their final purchase. The population educates themselves more than ever before making a purchase. So to help your e-commerce website perform better, help them learn why buying from you is their best decision.

Video content, good product photography, and buyer reviews are all some other improvements that you can make to help your e-commerce website be the best it can be. Be patient, follow up with those cart abandoners, and make sure your developer really knows how to build an e-commerce website before rebuilding or giving up on e-commerce.

Published 06/02/16 by Eric Lynch