An ecommerce website is a little like a house: one usually begins with a “starter”.
An ecommerce website is a little like a house: one usually begins with a “starter.
1. Your staff manually enters web orders into your back-end system.
Ecommerce sites are complex in that they have representative assets of all your offline departments. They should be integrated with your back-end order systems so no re-keying of customer or order information is necessary.
2. The promotions your vendors and competitors are running are not possible to run on your current platform.
In the old days of ecommerce, simply having a shopping cart was enough. Since then, however, online merchandising has become incredibly sophisticated by offering myriads of ways to sell. Current platforms allow for bundling, free gift with purchases, coupon code triggers, and the like.
3. “No Results Found” page is one of the most popular pages on your site.
Live by the search, die by the search. Customers will not put up with poor results or worse, no results. Search needs to be quick, accurate, and provide the intuitive filtering tools customers need to find the right product.
4. Adding content or graphics to the site has to be done manually.
There are more efficient means of adding content than going into static files or adding products one by one. Bulk product uploading and dynamic templates allowing for the easy creation of new landing pages have become the new normal.
5. Product pages don’t display up-to-date inventory levels.
Would you check out of a physical store if you were unsure as to if you’d be able to leave with the product(s) you wished to purchase? That would be incredibly frustrating, so why would you not give your customers visibility online as to whether the item(s) they wish to buy are in stock? Estimated time of arrival is also very important – who wants to buy something and not know when it will arrive, especially in the case of gifts?
6. The checkout process is longer than 3 pages.
Modern checkout systems have become optimized since the early days of ecommerce, allowing for the reduction of customer fear, uncertainty, and doubt throughout the process. Merchants should only ask the essentials for the order here, pre-populating as much information as possible.
7. Your website is slow.
Whether due to bloated code, too many server calls, or just a poor host, your site needs to be snappy or it will have a negative effect on conversions and overall customer sentiment.
8. You’ve added so many new product categories that the menu and navigational structure has become labyrinth-like.
Your product line is growing, which is great, but your menu structure has also become unwieldy, making it difficult for customers to find the right category.
9. URLs after your domain name are basically a long string of random characters and programming code.
Contextual URLs are a must for proper web indexing. It is no longer acceptable for ecommerce engines to spit out nonsensical URL strings—the search engine robots can’t read them, meaning you’re not getting the SEO benefit.
10. Customers have to call or email to check their orders.
Not only is it a drain on your customer service resources, but it’s also a bad online experience for a customer to have to pick up the phone to check on order status. Give them a dedicated account area with the online tools to do this, and keep them up-to-date via transactional emails throughout the process.
11. The only social integration on the site is a link to an email address.
Forward-looking ecommerce sites are leveraging social media marketing to increase conversions and community on-site. It’s not enough to just have a share button. You can now bake social media into the DNA of your site via feeds, reviews, community features, and social logins.
12. The only category or search filtering you offer is based on price or name of the product.
Customers want to be able to slice and dice their results to get to the few products that actually meet their needs. This incorporates building out attributes for all of your products and then having the ability for customers to select which ones they’d like.
13. Your site looks and behaves differently on disparate browsers.
Remember when we used to put those little icons on our sites, “Best viewed in Internet Explorer?” Charming no longer, your site simply needs to work 100% properly across all the major browsers.
14. Loading your website on a smartphone requires pinching and zooming to see content.
We’re simply entering an age now where customers expect a good mobile experience. Whether it’s via a mobile-optimized site or through responsive design, if you have a sophisticated audience that is used to buying your products on a smartphone, consider a forward-thinking mobile ecommerce strategy.
15. You’re tired of asking your IT staff why the site went down again.
Running and maintaining web servers might not make sense for every company to do in-house. You simply can’t afford having your site fail during critical times such as peak sales periods of the year or after sending out your newsletters. Consider out-sourcing hosting. It could decrease the headaches and allow you to focus on improving your merchandising and overall business instead.
16. All your offline branding has been updated, but your site does not reflect this.
Maybe your ecommerce engine is working for you just fine but the overall design and branding no longer reflects your current image. You can simply re-wrap your current design graphics and text look without messing with the guts.
17. The only way customers find you online is by typing your company name into the search engine.
This is a sure sign your site is not operating effectively from a search engine optimizationstandpoint. Your site architecture and navigation should allow for smooth crawling. It also should have a content strategy in place to draw people in for a variety of searches around your products. The key thing to think about from a content standpoint is: what problems or questions do your customers have about the types of products you sell. Do you have high-quality content on your site that addresses these concerns?
18. You or your employees apologize for it.
Seriously, how many times have you been handed a business card or told to visit a website but are prefaced with something to the effect of, “Please keep in mind our website is not updated frequently and is difficult to use.”
The idea of upgrading your ecommerce presence can be daunting. There are both financial and human resources efforts that are significant investments. However, with the pace at which the Internet economy is moving, you owe it to your customers to bring forth a web presence that extends your brand in a way that is unique to you.