Today, there are hundreds of thousands of online stores selling stuff ranging from beauty products to specialized software. But not all online stores are profitable or successful. Are there any lessons to be learnt from other people's failures? We've listed 5 common hazards that online stores are susceptible to. Read about them, understand what they are and avoid them to ensure the success of your online store.
- Poor web site design: The worst thing to do is to present a badly designed web site. Remember that the website gives your potential clients the first impression about your store. A clear, clean, simple and attractive layout of your web pages will ensure that your visitor has an enjoyable experience and feels motivated to purchase from you. Create a professional-looking site that features about 10-12 items with clear photos and descriptions. Avoid using too many colors, Flash animation or graphics that can slow downloads. Also remember to keep your site current with frequent updates. Check all the links on your site, including product descriptions, photographs, shopping cart, feedback forms and others routinely to make sure they work.
- Poor customer service: Since an online store is so impersonal, excellent customer service is a must. The customer who visits your site must be able to trust you to deliver the goods as promised. Provide as much information about your products as you can, create a FAQ page that a customer can refer to and provide contact information on every page. Let the customer know how long shipping the goods will take or how soon their queries will be replied to and stick to these deadlines. Word travels fast on the Internet, and just one or two unhappy customers can damage your reputation.
- Lax security: The one thing that all online users are wary of is security. So, making your site as secure as possible is a must. Protecting your customers’ credit card information is vital as also any personal information like email addresses that you may collect.
- Poor checkout procedures: Nothing turns off a prospective customer more than having to answer a whole bunch of questions on the way to checkout. Many times, a prospective customer will just abandon the shopping cart and go elsewhere if he or she finds the purchasing process a nuisance. Do not force visitors to create an account just to browse through your site. Allow them to look around to their heart's content and add items to their shopping cart. Collect relevant information only when they proceed to checkout. Make completing the transaction as easy and painless as possible.
- Regular retail prices: You cannot charge regular retail prices if you want people to buy from you. Low price is one of the most compelling reasons to buy on the Web. Take the case of amazon.com. Why do most people buy books from them? Because, it is cheaper! Remember, people need an incentive to buy online.
Online shopping is slowly but surely emerging as an attractive alternative for a lot of people. To make the most of this scenario and turn your online store into a success, avoid the above pitfalls and build a loyal customer base who will return to your store time and again.
Hi, I'm Akhil Shahani, a serial entrepreneur who wants to help you succeed. If you like to work smart, check out http://www.SmartEntrepreneur.net . It's full of articles and resources to help you start and grow your business successfully. Please visit us & download our special “Freebie of The Month" at http://www.smartentrepreneur.net/freebie-of-the-month.html