Sometimes, the best way to know what to do is to know what not to do. This is a tried and true principle, especially when it comes to e-commerce design. E-commerce places the global market at your fingertips. Throw in infinitely lower overhead costs and the chance to make profits any time of the day or night, and the e-commerce option is simply irresistible.
Is it all as simple as that –Consider the benefits and get started? The e-commerce universe is wide and vast, and there is much to learn before diving in. In fact, retailers who do just that, delve in without a careful plan, often make major mistakes. So how can you guide your clients through the process in a way that avoids the common mistakes? Arming yourself with the best information can be a good start.
That’s where this post comes in. Here, we’ll take a look at a few of the most common mistakes in e-commerce design and give a few suggestions about how to handle each. Let’s get started.
1. Poor Customer Service Options
Even in e-commerce, the customer must come first if you’re in business to do business. Still, many make the mistake of skimping on the customer service options, and this is a serious issue. If customers have no way to express themselves on your site – with positive or negative feedback and with questions and concerns – it sends the message that you’re not really concerned about them and lowers the credibility of the site.
How to Handle It
Every e-commerce site should have something more than just a reply email on the contacts page for customer service. The best advice is to offer a customer service form for shoppers to complete. Make certain that customers know that using the form is the best way to get technical help and answers to service or order inquiries. Furthermore, if you’re not using a phone number, and most sites don’t these days, it’s a good idea to use a ticket system for inquiries. Last but not least, use an FAQ section, fully covering all major areas of inquiry, and place a tab or link to it prominently on the site.
2. Chaotic Checkout Process
The checkout process is probably the most important process of any e-commerce site, and the main issue here is the barriers to completion of sale. The design goal is to make the processes as simple and convenient as possible for customers to pay for items and see a sale all the way through to completion. Many sites miss the mark because they constantly leave the site open to shopping cart abandonment. Specifically, designers place multiple barriers within the checkout process, giving shoppers far too many opportunities to simply exit the site and move on to some other, less frustrating activity.
How to Deal With It
A great checkout process has one page and one page only. The purpose of this page is to allow users to check orders and enter billing and contact information, so any other clicks and buttons should be eliminated. Give the user a simple pop-up confirmation page before the order is submitted. No more. No less.
3. Requiring an Account to Order
Here, again, barriers play a significant role in the usability and credibility of your e-commerce site, so eliminate them as much as possible. When customers are forced to create an account before placing an order, some will simply abandon the shopping cart altogether.
How to Handle It
Rather than forcing customer account creation on shoppers, save it to the end and present it as an option. This way, users have a certain amount of control over their own activities, and you may not have as many leaving the site before the sale is finished.