Online shopping is firmly embedded in our culture at this point. If you fancy something, it only takes a few clicks and you’ve got it at your door within 48 hours of ordering. Because of its accessibility as a consumer, business owners often overlook the difficulties of creating their own online shop.
It seems simple; if my shop is selling well offline, then opening an online store should translate into another revenue stream with little effort. In theory, this should be true, but I regularly see thriving businesses spend thousands on developing an online store; then upon launching it generates little to no sales.
So, why does this happen?
Lack of consumer trust in your website’s security.
The reason why Amazon, eBay and other online shopping platforms are so successful is largely because consumers trust their website’s security.
If your company’s website is also the same UI which they’re using to enter in their card details, alarm bells will ring.
Consumers are protective about their private information, and this is twice as true for payment information. If you don’t have an option for PayPal or another payment gateway that they know and trust, they’re unlikely to use your website.
When in your physical store there’s no easy way for consumers to compare your products’ price with 20 of your competitors (without a lot of walking). Online, they can do this within minutes.
Unfortunately, a lot of the time it’s a case of “the best price wins” when it comes to online shopping. This, obviously, is very difficult for smaller companies to keep up with (especially if the products they sell aren’t produced by them).
Confusing website designs.
“How do I change quantities in my basket?”, “How do I buy this product in a different colour?”, “What category does the product I’m looking for come under?”; there are a multitude of questions your consumer may ask themselves whilst using your website. If the answers aren’t clear, they might leave.
Zara’s website is notoriously confusing, and a quick search of “Zara website” on Twitter will show how consumers respond to unclear layouts.
Limited delivery area.
If you’re a small business delivering big items, you might not want your delivery team travelling too far. The smaller this delivery area is, the more limited the potential customer base for your online store becomes.
Shopify, & Shopify Facebook Stores.
For $9 a month you can get up on Shopify, which supports pretty much all the payment gateways your potential consumers are used to. It’s also easy for businesses to use, so there’s benefits for all parties.
Additionally, through Shopify you can also sell your products directly on your Facebook page. Your customers already know and use Facebook, resulting in a lot of the issues becoming obsolete.
Selling on eBay or Amazon
If you can’t beat them, join them.
Similarly to selling on Facebook through Shopify, sometimes it’s better to bring your products to a platform that consumers are already using.
Alternatively, allow your customers to enter in their details for you to get in touch, as opposed to getting payment straight away. Whilst this isn’t ideal, it does allow you to potentially upsell your products or recommend more options. Additionally, hearing a human voice can often comfort consumers because it lets them know that they’re not being scammed by evil robots.
One response to “Issues with marketing online shops… and some solutions.”
[…] In my article discussing the issues with advertising an online store, I mention a limited delivery area being one of the biggest issues a business can have. For a lot of small businesses, it’s not necessarily feasible to serve a nationwide area, and they prefer to operate within a 20 mile radius of their company. […]