Let’s face it there is so much online advice out there on how to build a successful moneymaking ecommerce site that you would be excused for being totally confused. This is because much of the advice given is conflicting and at times just plain inaccurate. While some of the advice is helpful and indeed useful, much of it is also a myth. It should be easy to disregard the bad advice but unfortunately the sheer volume of available online ‘tips’ simply encourages bad practice during ecommerce development.
It is time to dispel some of those myths that are floating round the internet to ensure that your online store has the best possible chance of being up there with the same chance as the big names in retail.
One of the most common ecommerce myths is that you can never provide your buyers with too much information. This may surprise you but you can easily overwhelm potential customers with an information overload. Filling up your product pages with too many choices and lots of boring unnecessary information only causes confusion and dampens the customer’s enthusiasm.
Of course buying decisions rely on a certain amount of relevant information gathering; therefore you could be forgiven for assuming that the more information you provide potential customers the more you tempt people to buy. However the fact is too much information is overwhelming and can prevent buying decisions from being made. You need to encourage visitors to your site to part with their money by simply providing them with precise basic product information.
If you really feel the need to offer technical specifications for your products present them as separate downloadable documents or better still put a product information video on your site so that customers can watch it if they are seeking more detail or explanation.
Many online store owners are convinced that by displaying a security badge on their site they will automatically inspire confidence. This isn’t strictly true, for while the security of online shopping has been the subject of a lot of criticism of late and many would-be customers are still wary of engaging with ecommerce simply adding a badge to your homepage or checkout pages does nothing to allay the fear of that people have of shopping on the internet. You will need to convince potential customers that your site is trustworthy and secure through effective written content; a badge just isn’t enough.
Avoid cross-selling at every single opportunity for while it may work well in bricks and mortar shops, but it doesn't translate that well online. It’s OK to do a minor amount of cross selling but on the whole focused niche sites seem to do better than sites that bombard customers with too many extra choices and additional products. When they are in the process of buying this practice is off-putting and will simply encourage them to go elsewhere.
In a bid to copy the likes of Amazon many online retailers attempt to introduce cross-selling at every stage of a user interaction including checkout processes, even trying to cross-sell products which are completely unrelated. It just doesn’t work for the small store owner. Checkout procedures need to be fast, focused and efficient so keep all cross-selling away from the checkout.
The final myth is that ecommerce is easy and anyone who can work a computer can make a fortune. Regrettably it's not that simple. Certainly setting up an online store can be easy, especially with reliable software like Zen Cart but that is only the beginning. Successful ecommerce is a long term process which incorporates all the elements which are found in bricks and mortar businesses including great products, first class customer service, good communication, on and off line, and most important of all highly targeted and cost effective marketing strategies.