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Six eCommerce Mistakes you need to Avoid

Mary Clare Riordan • August 29, 2014

Everyone makes mistakes, but when it comes to your online business, mistakes can do a lot of damage. LYONSCG’s Brian Wolfe, CIO, and Dan Hutmacher, Senior Digital Consultant, came up with a list of mistakes they often see and gave advice on how you can avoid them.eraser

1. Mistake: Waiting too long to start your project. According to Brian Wolfe, eCommerce projects can require 6-12 months from beginning to end depending on many factors related to scope and complexity. “Don’t wait to start your project too close to your deadline,” says Brian. “Trying to move too quickly puts pressure on your team and can affect quality and ultimately customer satisfaction.”

How to Avoid: Allow time for unforeseen delays and complications (which can especially arise around contracts with agencies and platform vendors). Be deliberate and timely with approvals for creative; any delays introduced during the design phase will be difficult or even impossible to make up for in the implementation phase.

2. Mistake: Investing in the wrong initiatives. “Businesses sometimes invest in a visual redesign without looking at traffic and conversion data,” says Brian. “If conversion rates are within the industry norms, a design update may not give you the return you expected.”

How to Avoid: Instead of having just a pretty site, make sure you have an effective site. Increase traffic to your site via SEO, PPC, Affiliate Marketing, email marketing or other marketing activities.

3. Mistake: Missing Mobile Optimization Opportunities. Dan Hutmacher notes that many retailers are adopting responsive sites due to trends in mobile traffic. However, budget-conscious companies sometimes forget that there are other opportunities for mobile optimization such as email.

How to Avoid: Choose a compactable layout and ensure your onsite search and browse are regularly maintained. Around 70% of emails are now opened on mobile devices, so your emails need to be mobile friendly and your promotional mix should include time-bound campaigns with specific calls to action such as flash sales and happy hours.

4. Mistake: Unintuitive navigation. “Customers will leave your site if they can’t find what they want or if they don’t feel like they are making progress,” says Dan.

How to Avoid: Onsite search and browse need to be intuitive and focused. Optimize site search weekly based on customer behavior, starting with frequently-used search terms that have low conversion. Browsing/filtering taxonomy should be informed by onsite search data, since that demonstrates how customers are trying to find specific products (size, brand, color, application, price, etc.). Finally, track onsite behavior to pinpoint where your customers are dropping off and then optimize accordingly.

5. Mistake: Not having a post launch plan. Making the investment in a site is just the beginning. Brian points out that, “Without a marketing plan and budget for generating the traffic to the site, your site is as useful as a car with an empty fuel tank –it may look great, but it won’t get you where you need to go.”

How to Avoid: Take the time and reserve the resources to ensure that you can provide the power to reach your customers and generate conversions on your site. Once you get customers to your site, have a digital eCommerce strategy to keep them coming back.

6. Mistake: Underutilizing Analytics. “eCommerce managers use analytics for reporting, but they often fail to dig deeper for insights that can improve both the site and the business overall,” states Dan.

How to Avoid: Ensure your analytics is set up correctly and that you are using your data to inform your ongoing strategy. A/B test often and track your activities to continually learn how to best serve your customers. With a little research, you’ll be able to discover actionable insights driven by customer segment, device type, behavior pattern, and purchase pattern. This can inform everything from site navigation to product assortments and promotions.

Avoid these six eCommerce mistakes and you’ll be on the road to success! If you need someone to point you in the right direction, LYONSCG’s eCommerce consulting experts are available and ready to enable you to realize your full eCommerce potential!

Mary Clare Riordan

About the author

Mary Clare Riordan

Mary Clare Riordan is the Marketing Programs Manager at LYONSCG. When she's not running creative demand generation campaigns, you can find her cheering on Boston sports and Marquette basketball, running along the Chicago lakefront, or spending time with family and friends.

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