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
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
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
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.” ~
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
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.
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!)
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!