Here are the five factors that affect most online stores negatively, leading to failure, and what to do about them.
Online sales surpassed $5.7 trillion globally in 2022, and this number is expected to grow as more consumers shift to online shopping. Because of this, entrepreneurs are investing in online stores to meet the demand. As of 2022, there are around 12–24 million eCommerce sites worldwide.
Despite this growth in the industry, running an online store comes with some challenges. Issues with your user experience, level of customer service, product quality, return policy, or marketing could all impact your sales and overall revenue negatively. To sustain your online store, you need to identify the problems affecting your eCommerce to help you solve them.
Every year, new businesses are popping into existence. However, according to statistics, 20% of new small businesses failed within the first year and 50% within five years. Here are the five factors that affect most online stores negatively, leading to failure, and what to do about them.
Poor customer service and personalization strategies
Online shoppers, especially would-be customers, might have queries about the product delivery, and return process. For instance, customers will switch to a competitor if they can’t reach you via phone, email, social media, or a live chat button on the website to get information about a product.
To address these issues, provide reliable customer services.
Consider automating your customer relationship systems or have someone monitor inquiries about the ordering or return process to ensure that everything is addressed immediately. Customers are more likely to stay loyal if they feel valued by the online store.
Additionally, you have a better chance of converting customers if you provide a personalized shopping experience. You could lose potential customers if you only showcase the entire product range instead of customizing it to the items they are interested in. A lack of personalization gives the shopper more tasks to complete lengthening the shopping experience. When customers can’t find the item they need, it increases cart abandonment rates.
However, you can address this personalization challenge. For instance, you should use previous customer data to understand shopping patterns and offer them similar or relevant products. Therefore, if a customer has ordered electronics before, you should show them similar items. Alternatively, you can add an on-site search solution that monitors customer behaviors in real-time to help you address their needs.
Misleading or complex checkout process
One of the common reasons why customers abandon their carts is if the checkout process is too complex. Therefore, if you add more steps, a buyer would prefer to get items from another store, which could affect your sales negatively.
Additionally, if you have payment issues such as limited payment options at checkout, additional fees, or payment failures, this could increase cart abandonment rates. For instance, if the freight rates have changed, you should include transparent fees on the shipping costs to avoid misleading customers; otherwise, customers will abandon the order. You should also work on your website to ensure that it doesn’t crash as payments are being processed.
To streamline the checkout process, you can create a direct checkout on your WooCommerce store to reduce cart abandonment. An on-page popup cart and checkout provides a much faster way for shoppers to skip straight to the checkout part. The WooCommerce Fast Cart plugin provides an easy way to do this, and can make a real difference to your store:
Poor web design
Since customers are shopping online, your website should be top-notch. If you have a poor interface design, the customers will find it hard to navigate and shop. For instance, you could lose customers if the products are not well-categorized and without images. If you are selling dresses, they should have images for each dress and include details about the size and colors to make shopping easier.
In addition, your website needs to be mobile-friendly. Statistics show that by 2025, over 10% of all retail sales in the U.S. is expected to be generated via mobile commerce. Your sales will be affected, and repeat purchases reduce significantly if the website is not mobile-responsive or if the loading times are too long.
Due to the increasing number of mobile-first visitors, you should test your website first and invest in tools that increase the loading speeds. For example, tools like PageSpeed Insights and GTMetrix can check your website speed, offer a breakdown of your page content and provide recommendations on how to optimize the site to make the pages load faster.
Furthermore, you can improve the website flow by including clear messaging on all the pages. For instance, you should place attractive deals on the landing page and include important details such as your return policy and contact information.
Fake or missing product reviews
Data by Statista shows that about 70% of online shoppers read reviews before making a purchasing decision. For instance, a customer looking for a fridge will read past reviews from people who bought the same item from your website. So, if you don’t have any reviews or they don’t sound genuine, they might order from another online shop.
Fake reviews will erode trust in your business and become one of the reasons customers don’t order from you. To boost your reputation, allow your customers to rate your products and services genuinely. If there are negative reviews, you can take action instead of having fake ones from your team.
Whether you are new or a veteran in the eCommerce business, you need to invest in customer reviews. They help you understand your customers much better, identify areas of improvement, build credibility, and market your online store. If you want to gain more customers, reviews boost your online visibility, increasing your sales in the long run.
Insufficient return policy
The eCommerce fulfillment process involves shipping, inventory order, and monitoring and returns processing. In the same way, you deliver items; you should also have a guaranteed return process. Failure to provide a flexible return policy will lead to unhappy customers and reduced sales.
Most eCommerce stores fail to provide a transparent return policy to the shopper. For instance, a comprehensive return policy should include the time limit, whether a receipt is required, the item's condition during the return, and whether customers get refunds. Therefore, if your policy states that items should be returned in 14 days, you should have this information on the website to clarify the policy to all customers.
While returns are inevitable for eCommerce businesses, you can handle them much better to keep your customers loyal. A transparent policy builds trust. You have a better chance of retaining clients if they know that they won’t have any issues processing returned products.
According to Google Benchmarking data, the average consumer spends about 38 seconds on an eCommerce website. However, the purchase probability is high if a person spends about 50 seconds. So, if you run an eCommerce store, you need to find ways to capture your audience and potential customers within this time frame.
You should ensure that your website is engaging and has concise, interactive content. Your product pages should be highly visual and have all the necessary information that the customer needs about the product. Additionally, you can make the landing pages more captivating by integrating features such as zoom. This allows customers to view your products much better.
You can improve the sales of your online store by providing a better customer experience. Look at the statistics on your site and use these insights to improve the user experience.