Five Reasons Why eCommerce Sites FailMay 12th, 2022

BLOG POST Five reasons why e-commerce sites faiI INSTAThere are many reasons why eCommerce sites fail. In this post we focus on five of those reasons which will almost certainly guarantee failure. We also will provide tips to help you with your eCommerce sites.

1) Pricing

The number one reason e-commerce sites fail is because of improper pricing. People shop on the web mainly for the best deals they can find. In an Amazon, Walmart world people shop around for the best prices.

So the question is, if someone goes to your website and you’re selling something that is available on larger e-commerce sites for much less money, why would they buy from you?

Well, there are customers who may have a long relationship with you and are willing to pay a little bit extra due to that relationship.

But most people are shopping for price, and if your prices aren’t competitive, you will never succeed.

Pro Tip: Do your due diligence in researching the products you are selling.  Do some searches and see if your product will be competitive in the marketplace at the price you have set.

“The moment you make a mistake in pricing, you’re eating into your reputation or your profits.” ~ Katharine Paine

2) Shipping

Another reason why e-commerce sites fail is due to expensive shipping charges. In an Amazon world people want free, fast shipping (which is what they get with their Prime membership). So even if your pricing is excellent, if you add in shipping charges and it makes your product more expensive, again you will fail.

Pro Tip: If you are selling an extremely expensive product, consider building the shipping right into the price of the product.  That way, you can publicize the fact that you have shipping included.  I recently had a client selling items worth over $50,000.  Their shipping cost was in the thousands and a lot of people balked at that. So they just made the price of the product $52,000 and people are willing to pay.

“Quit simply: If your product price + your shipping charge is higher than your competitors, customers will go elsewhere.” ~ Barry Roos

3) Website Experience

The third reason why eCommerce sites fail is due to a poor website experience. When someone is shopping and goes to your site, they want to quickly find the product they are looking to acquire. So if your main menu is not clear and people can’t find the product they want within one or two clicks, chances are they will go elsewhere and again you will fail. Another dissatisfier  is when websites have convoluted check out pages. Today’s consumer wants a simple, one page checkout.

Pro Tip: One good thing to do before you launch a website is to have people do some unit testing within your company. Also, have people who have nothing to do with your business do some testing and get their feedback.  You’ll be surprised at all the good information people come up with, that you might not have thought of as you are too close to the project.

“Usability rules the web. Simply stated, if the customer can’t find a product, then he or she will not buy it.” ~Jakob Nielsen

4) Products

A fourth reason why eCommerce sites fail is that the company is not paying attention to latest trends and carrying products that people don’t want.  As with a brick and mortar store, you really need to pay attention to what is going on in your market. If you were carrying something in a clothing store as an example and it sat there for a long time, you certainly wouldn’t be selling that piece of clothing, you would replace it with something that people want. Well it is the same exact thing with e-commerce websites, give the people what they want.

Pro Tip: do you know what it’s selling and what isn’t selling on your website.  A good idea is to do some competitive analysis by visiting your competitors websites and their brick and mortar stores.  Say you are selling women’s clothing online, go visit a popular store in your area and see what they’re selling.  Another good idea is to go to shows, and see what is coming out for the next season.

“Scout out competitors’ websites. Everything your competitors think is important or relevant usually exists on their website.” ~ John Manning, The Disciplined Leader: Keeping the Focus on What Really Matters

5) Customer Service

Last but not least is Customer Service. Customer service is a big reason why eCommerce sites fail. People want their websites to operate almost automatically. And in many cases, they do. However, there are times people have a question for you, or a problem with an order. That is where your customer service comes in. If you are quick to respond and help people with their issues, they will come back. But if they have to wait for days for a resolution, chances are you have lost them forever.  Being responsive is easy, and we all know as a business people we need to be, but the reality is many companies fall down when it comes to servicing their customers/clients.

Pro Tip: Put yourself in your customer’s place. Make sure you respond to emails and calls, and especially deal with problems swiftly. People truly appreciate good customer service. Our customer service is a big driver for my company. Most of the referrals we get our because we offer the best customer service in our industry. When I went into business I made a promise that I would respond to all emails the same day and wherever possible make those updates to peoples websites within 24 hours.

“Customer service shouldn’t just be a department, it should be the entire company.” ~ Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos

Bottom Line:

There are many reasons why eCommerce sites fail besides the 5 we mentioned. But these are the main things that you need to pay attention to in order to succeed in the ultra competitive world of online shopping. If you have any questions about e-commerce, or anything else, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are happy to assist you with all your website design, development and website management needs.

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Lessons Learned From A Poor Airline ExperienceApril 17th, 2022

BLOG POST Lessons Learned From A Poor Airline Experience Web

I recently had  a terrible experience with a major airline.  From this experience I learned a few lessons that I will use in my business and which other small businesses can hopefully learn from as well.

First off let me give you some background:

I was booked on a flight from Tampa Florida to New York City for a friends daughter’s wedding.  We had an early flight and as such went to bed early.  When I woke up, I checked my email and saw my flight had been canceled overnight and we were re-booked 4 hours later than our original flight. Also, they booked us on a flight at an airport over an hour away in Sarasota Florida.  I went online to get our new boarding passes but I kept getting an error on their website and it said to call their 1-800 number.

The wait on the phone was two + hours!  The live chat on their website was 2 hours as well! 

This was inexcusable, and the nightmare had begun!  When I finally got to speak to a human, he fixed my boarding pass issue quickly and we then could head to the airport.  Unfortunately, as you will see, the experience continued to get worse…

At The Airport

When I finally got to the airport I went to the kiosk to drop off my bag, but it was out of service! Worse, there was NO ONE AT THE COUNTER!!!   All the other airlines had people. Over 45 minutes later someone showed up and the line was now 50+ people deep of angry passengers! People in line were actually yelling at this point, and no one could believe how poor the service was.

Next we went to the gate.

The flight was delayed in boarding, yet they made no announcements! The sign still had the original boarding time. So we were left to guess!!!  We finally boarded the plane, and we ended up getting to our hotel in New York at 9:30 PM.  This was roughly 9 hours later than we expected to land at Kennedy. Fortunately, we came in the day before the wedding. Had we left the morning of the nuptials, we never would’ve made it, and the experience would’ve turned from bad to worse (if that’s possible!)

So here are the lessons:

  • Communication: If  your business has to cancel or delay a service, make sure you are available to take your customers calls.  Nothing makes people angrier than sitting on hold for two hours. And when your live chat is over two hours, you are making them even more angry!
    Lesson Learned: If you don’t have the staff, then you should consider outsourcing some of your support.  Or, if you own the business and question, then you need to man the phones yourself and put others on the phones.  In my case, all I needed to talk to somebody and they immediately fixed my boarding pass issue. But two hours on hold left us angry as hell!
  • Staffing: listen, everyone in the world understands that right now staffing can be a problem.  BUT, as a business owner, you are responsible.  So you need to move people into positions to help your customers.  The fact that we waited over 45 minutes for anyone to come up to the counter is inexcusable. All the other airlines had people manning their counters.
    Lesson Learned: if you can’t staff properly, or handle the tasks yourself, then you should either close down temporarily, or at very least let people know what is going on.  People are usually reasonable, if they are kept in the loop. The biggest problem we encountered with this airline, is they had zero communication. People were left in the dark and they got angrier and angrier!
  • Compensate your customers: the airline in question has canceled hundreds of flights and is late all the time now.  While they are sorting out their issues, the one thing they could do is to compensate passengers.  For every canceled flight, give people a voucher for a discounted ticket. Or perhaps give people a voucher for free luggage or food, or any of the other million services airlines now charge for!
    Lesson Learned:  every company has problems, but how do you deal with issues determines whether or not you stay in business and flourish or go under. My advice is to admit your mistakes, let your customers/clients know you are sorry, and offer them some form of compensation that will make them feel good about you and your company. 

Bottom line:

Doing business is not always easy. But if you do the right thing by your clients/customers, then they will be understanding and will use your company again in the future. I can tell you, that I will never go on that airline again unless there are major changes. Unfortunately in the midst of canceling hundreds of flights and pissing off their clientele, this particular airline has been in the news for trying to buy a smaller discount airline.  They would be better served straightening out their own house before looking to expand.  Perhaps they should read, and re-read the following Gandhi quote:

 “A customer is the most important visitor on our premises, he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.” – Mahatma Gandhi

 


Editor’s note:  I purposefully did not mention the airline’s name in this blog post.  I am not trying to harm their business, and I truly wish that they would get their house in order as they used to be a great airline, and one of my favorites. If you contact me, I will let you know which airline I am talking about.  However, if you have flown on this particular airline within the last month or so, you know exactly who I am talking about!


 

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