7 top eCommerce website challenges by Online Marketing Gurus
So you want to build an incredible eCommerce business?
It’s no secret that eCommerce is an explosive industry with insane growth potential.
Experts predict that worldwide eCommerce sales will grow from $1.3 trillion in 2014 to $4.5 trillion in 2021. More than 73% of Australian households shopped online in 2018.
If you’re an eCommerce store owner, this revenue is all up for grabs.
But there’s a catch:
If you really want to see results, you need a brilliant website.
Okay, you need other things too, like social media and a killer PPC strategy. But all of this falls flat if you don’t have a website that’s optimised for maximum visibility and conversions.
That’s not as easy as it looks, especially if you have never managed a website before. How do you know the eCommerce fails to avoid at all costs? How can you be certain your website is optimised for maximum conversion rates at all times?
Never fear! We’ve pulled together the biggest eCommerce website challenges most online businesses grapple with, complete with actionable tips on how to solve them.
Biggest eCommerce website challenges
Challenge 1: Slow site speed
Consider this: if your website takes longer than three seconds to load, you can lose nearly half of your visitors, according to research by Akamai.
For every one second delay, you get 7% less conversions.
That’s $700 less for every $10,000 worth of revenue.
The fact is consumers expect websites to load quickly. How quickly?
Within just 2 seconds.
It’s not just what consumers want, either. Google penalises you for a slow site speed and ranks you lower in search results.
So, you get less visibility on Google, which means less traffic.
Then even if people do find your site, they won’t stick around.
What’s the fix?
Start by checking your site speed.
Run your eCommerce site through a tool for testing pagespeeds, such as Pingdom or GTmetrix.
As well as giving your site a score, the tool will provide tips on how to improve.
There are plenty of ways to speed up your site, including:
– Compressing images: Large images are one of the biggest culprits for slow eCommerce sites. Use an app like ImageOptimis to compress images.
– Reduce broken links: Too many broken links can slow down your site. Get rid of them using Broken Link Checker.
– Enable browser caching: A great way to speed up sites for customers who have visited your site before. It lets a visitor’s browser load the page without sending a repeat HTTPS request to the server.
Challenge 2: Duplicate content
One of the biggest issues with eCommerce sites is that a huge proportion of the content is product descriptions.
And where those product descriptions come from?
So, if you have a large eCommerce business or create your site in a hurry, you’ll be tempted to do what many other online retailers do: copy and paste your product description straight from the supplier.
This is a big mistake.
Google does not reward duplicate content. So by copying content, you are preventing your site from ranking higher and being visible in relevant searches.
But that’s not all – you are also missing a lucrative opportunity to engage your potential customers and convert them.
The answer is simple: write your own product descriptions.
What do the eCommerce platforms suggest?
BigCommerce advises to think of your product description as part storytelling, part psychology.
Combine a paragraph of engaging prose with bullet points telling customers what they need to know.
Like this example from Australian activewear brand, Abi and Joseph.
How do they sell products? First you get the story:
Then, scroll down for the key selling points:
Challenge 3: Not putting security first
One in four users have actually stopped an online purchase because of security concerns around the website.
That’s 25% of conversion you could be throwing away, simply by not doing a few things to secure your site.
The first thing you need to do is get an SSL certificate for your website.
Setting up your SSL certification can be a pretty complicated process, so ask your web developer to help.
Challenge 4: Building trust
It’s not enough to secure your site – you need to show visitors your online store is secure to gain their trust.
Use trust indicators so visitors know their information is secure and protected.
Think of it this way: if customers don’t trust that your eCommerce site is legit, how can you expect them to provide you with their email address, let alone credit card details?
Best practice eCommerce web design includes a range of trust signals, which will significantly increase your conversions.
Try a few of these trust signals:
· Payment security (on shopping cart)
· Money-back guarantee
· Clear returns policy
· Product warranty
· Delivery details (on product pages – not just shopping cart)
Here’s an example by sports nutrition store, SiS:
See how their ecommerce website design quickly gains trust using their Trustpilot rating and clear delivery details.
Now look at this one by Marks & Spencer.
They get straight to the point with information on free shipping, returns and secure payment on their home page:
Challenge 5: Messy site navigation
Fact: People will leave your site if they can’t find what they want quickly.
How easy is your site to navigate?
This comes down to user experience – something Google takes very seriously.
By getting your user experience right, you’re not only making your customers happy, you’re making search engines happy too.
Use these navigation best practices:
– Provide top-level categories that are easily accessible from the top menu.
– Let users sort products by price, review scores, and so on.
– Make sure the “buy” button is easy to find.
– Provide a search function.
– Make it easy to find customer service details.
Challenge 6: Technical SEO Errors
SEO can be tricky, we get it. But there are some technical SEO errors that could be seriously harming your eCommerce traffic and conversions.
Technical SEO is any optimisation of your eCommerce site and server that helps search engine bots crawl and index your site more effectively.
Watch out for these common issues:
– Duplicate pages: Usually just caused by URL variables and easily resolved using canonical tags to tell Google which version to index.
– Links to pages that no longer exist: Crawl tools like Screaming Frog can help you find and fix these.
– Orphan pages: That’s pages that can’t be reached from anywhere on your site. Ensure that all pages are reachable from the navigation.
Technical SEO can get very complex very quickly, so our advice is to hand over to an SEO pro for the best results.
Challenge 7: Create unique content for every buyer stage
Content and SEO work together. You can’t have one without the other. The more useful and unique your content, the higher Google will rank you.
One really effective way to approach this to target your content towards each stage of the buyer journey: awareness, consideration, decision, retention and advocacy.
Because people use different search phrases depending on where they are in the buying journey.
By focusing your content on these different stages, you can provide buyers with the content they need to move to the next stage, and ultimately convert.
Start by doing research into what consumers are looking for while online shopping.
Buzzsumo is a great research tool.
Type in a keyword or site to see what content is getting the most clicks, views and shares.
Once you’ve created your content, send it far and wide using:
– Email newsletters
– Social media – see why SEO and social are the eCommerce dream team
– Directly to your site
Clothing brand, ModCloth, knows their online shoppers are looking for style inspiration, so that’s what they focus on in their blog:
And in their email updates:
Selling online takes more than great products – you need a high-converting, optimised website. Now you know the main challenges faced by other online retailers, you can tackle them from the start and build a strong foundation for eCommerce victory.
Want to delve deeper into eCommerce SEO and create your revenue-busting strategy? Get in touch with one of our gurus.
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About the Author: Andrew Raso
CEO and Co-Founder of Online Marketing Gurus, Andrew has had a long, illustrious career in the SEO and SEM industry. After years of working for agencies, Andrew started OMG to remove the complexity of SEO and provide simple, transparent results. He has recently won a B&T 30 under 30 award in the Entrepreneur category. Andrew has featured in and contributes to Entrepreneur, CMI, Jeffbullas, Search Engine Journal, and more. Andrew has also been featured on Sky News Business and Foxtel’s ‘Industry Leaders’.