When you decide to start trading online, there are millions of things that could go wrong. Many companies suffered humiliating fails making their first steps in the world of internet trade, and it all came with very good reasons. Simply, they ignored the best practices, didn’t devise a sustainable plan, and in the end - the outcome could have never been any different.
Despite all the hardships and all the hidden traps you might face once you decide to enter this realm, there is a very good chance to succeed. There are also millions of successful stories to confirm this claim.
So, what is that little something that makes all the difference? In a few simple words – avoiding critical errors! Although there are many bumps down the road, only a few of them are capable of crippling your efforts:
• Wrong digital commerce platform
• Bad UX
• Bad localization
• Bad marketing
• Poorly conducted managed service or ineffective internal team
Wrong digital commerce platform
The eCommerce platform you choose is the cornerstone of your operations. Making a mistake while picking the platform, translates to pure failure with no exceptions. The market is teeming with various options and they all claim that their solution is the best eCommerce platform out there.
The fun part is – many of them are right!
Many of the most popular solutions ARE the best in their class. Each of those is perfectly adapted for operations on a certain scale and they come with the full package! The only problem is – none of them is ideal for every single customer out there.
The abundance of options that are completely different from one another naturally creates confusion with potential clients, especially if they are new in the business. Some of them don’t possess all the features you might need. Some of them are too expensive. Some are utterly inflexible and are good only for the operations with a strictly limited scope.
So, how do you avoid making this mistake?
Necessary steps: CONSULT THE EXPERTS! Analyse your requirements. Plan ahead!
How to do it: There are many digital agencies across the globe that are true experts in eCommerce development. Talk to them and don’t be afraid to ask tricky questions. True professionals who are able to provide top quality services will have no trouble sharing their experience with you. As for the analysis, try to make at least the approximate assessment of your future operations. It is a great starting point, and with calculating in the deliberate error (plus minus factor) you will be able to pinpoint the right solution. Always plan ahead! Go for the options that are best for what you are trying to do and not for those that are best overall. Still, make sure that the usability will be sufficient even in a year or two after you start working online.
Useful tip: White label web developers are usually the best solution. Those are the agencies you want to deal with. Those who have been in the white label web development had the chance to work on multiple platforms and they got the chance to compare them directly. Standard web agencies which are focused only on most popular eCommerce platforms lack that experience and they will try to push the option they are familiar with. It is simple as that!
Bad UX (user experience)
Bad UX is a straight road to failure. If your potential customers find your website to be dysfunctional and can’t buy quickly and without too much hassle – they will go elsewhere and make the purchase. This is not something that can be sorted out by applying small fixes! It has to be done properly from the very beginning if you are looking to succeed!
There are many variables that contribute to the success of UX design, and all of them need to be accounted for. The website has to have menus that are easy to navigate and that are comprehensible! It has to be appealing to the eye. People are more likely to spend their money on a website that looks good. It also showcases the professional approach to business and increases their perception of you as a reliable and legitimate company. The website has to include all the options for payment processing and parcel delivery they might require! Finally – the website with a good UX has to be working perfectly on all devices. This part becomes increasingly important as the trends for the past few years clearly show that more and more purchases are made via mobile devices.
What you need to do: Take in consideration all the elements of UX when figuring out the overall design and development. Scout the opposition. Hire professionals.
How to do it: Check what successful companies similar to yours are doing. Make sure you have researched every segment of the UX. Check various payment options, various vendors that provide ratings and reviews services, various shipping and logistic companies. There are quite a lot of those all over the world, so you do have the choice. Finally – once you have figured it all out – hire professionals to do the work!
Useful tip: Internal web development resources rarely turn out to be a good idea. It is always the best option to outsource this part, as the web development agencies have far more experience than any internal team. They are in constant strife to make a living on a very competitive market, and that means that they have to know every little trick there is.
Localization becomes more and more important. Up until recently (only a few years ago) it was quite acceptable to use English language as the only option. After all, everybody speaks it. Still, this is rapidly changing. Everybody still speak it, but there are more and more companies that are addressing their potential clients in their own language. This is something that always invokes good sentiments and the result is obvious – those companies dominate the market.
Also, when it comes to localization, using only the most common payment and delivery option is not enough, especially in multichannel trade. If you want to succeed in various geographies, you simply have to make an extra effort and include different options for different markets.
This trend is often referred to as “glocalization”. It means running the business on a global scale, using local approach, and it works!
What you need to do: Separate all operations on different markets in a proper way and provide glocalized service to your customers.
How to do it: Combine options you are about to use. Make separate deals with separate 3rd party service providers for specific markets. Use proper translation. Consult with the experts such as Studioworx.
Useful tip: Occasional testing of new options is always a good idea provided that they don’t require too much of an investment.
Bad marketing is capable to completely obliterate everything that has been done properly. As the online marketing is very specific, and the entire website traffic depends on it, mistakes in this segment have enormous impact. Having a good eCommerce website means little to nothing if no one is visiting it!
A bad online marketing campaign is easy to recognize – it always lacks one or a few elements that are simply mandatory if you want to succeed. A good marketing campaign has to include everything from SEO, PPC, and social media marketing, to email marketing. All traffic sources need to be used to maximum effect: organic, paid, and direct. We already discussed everything concerning marketing campaigns in one of the previous articles, and you can check it out HERE!
What needs to be done: Align efforts on all fronts together and launch online marketing campaigns in a way in which they will be able to complement each other.
How to do it: Preparation is everything. The scope of the work in all segments of online marketing is rather wide, and it does not tolerate chaos. Working with multiple people on different tasks that complement each other can be quite a challenge, and the proper preparation and creation of action plans can benefit the effort on a huge scale.
Useful tip: Marketing companies exist with a very good reason – use them! These people know exactly how to carry out operations in a proper way. This is something that the beginners in eCommerce simply can’t have. It is best to start with outsourced marketing and to switch to internal resources at a later stage. In this way you will have some room for mistakes.
Poorly conducted managed services or
Managed services such as actual processing of the orders and customer support are crucial for the customer satisfaction. Modern customers are rather intolerant to any frustration and want everything to be done as soon as possible. This means that they will react in a very bad way if they are faced with delays in processing or inadequate communication with the support teams.
Since these operations can be carried out either internally or they can be outsourced – it is imperative to make sure they work like a clock. Everything needs to be done fast and responsiveness is something that is simply a must. It means that you need to pay extra attention to the team if you are doing things internally. Customers don’t care about bad days your employees might have – they want to be served and that is not eligible for discussion. In case you decided to outsource the entire process, you need to pay attention whom you are outsourcing such a delicate segment of operations to.
What needs to be done: You need to make sure that the customer support and order processing are working impeccably.
How to do it: If you are running operations via internal team, make sure you have enough manpower. Impose high work ethics no matter the cost! If you are outsourcing this segment, make sure you outsource it to the right company. Usually, the best way is to consult your digital agency. They have all the connections you might need and they will be able to introduce you to the reliable service providers.
Useful tip: If possible, try to organize your customer support team in a way that involves people who speak different languages, in addition to English as a standard. If you are going to operate on a multinational market, this is simply a must! There will be customers who do not speak English and who ran into the obstacle or a problem. These people need to be addressed in a way they are able to understand. Regardless of whether you are going to run things internally or you intend to outsource it – make sure the language barriers are removed.
If you manage to avoid these five most common mistakes, your future in eCommerce will look bright. Surely, there will be more challenges down the road, but other mistakes don’t have the gravity or the impact of those we just mentioned. Minor things can always be improved and minor problems remedied, but if the foundations are bad, you can’t have a solid house.
We at the Studioworx had the opportunity to work with numerous companies, on different eCommerce projects that covered almost every geography and every sales channel, and we got to see how bad things can get if you ignore the fundamentals.
We are willing and eager to share our knowledge and our experience with you and to help you achieve all the goals you have set for your company. Simply give us a call or contact us via our website, and we will be there to help you and guide you through the entire process. Since we had the chance to operate as a white label web agency, our experience is not connected only to the most common options out there. We actually had the chance to pass through the thick and thin and to get an insight into the world of eCommerce that will prove to be invaluable for your efforts!