E-Retail Blunders

Here are four common online retailing misconceptions and how to fix them.

“We built a web store and we don’t know what we’re doing wrong...we’re just not getting enough orders.”

This is otherwise known as the “if you build it, they will come” syndrome. You’re either not attracting people to your site via effective marketing or not converting people once they show up. Start with being sure the website experience is sound and that it’s easy for customers to buy. If you don’t have that, any marketing dollars will be wasted.

“I don’t have time to look at reports and data from the website.”

Find the time! Google Analytics is free, and produces easy-to-read reports that show you what’s going on and what you need to fix. Start with an hour or two a week. Chances are you’ll realize it pays to spend more time monitoring the metrics and using them to drive decisions.

“My web designers should be able to figure out how to put the site together.”

Knowing the skills your designers have and how to provide them with direction and feedback is essential to a successful design. Be sure your team has talent in information architecture, interaction design and visual design. These are three distinct disciplines that often get lumped together under “design.” Also, be sure that you have a good web copywriter or someone on staff that can write well in a language that customers understand.

“This should be a low-cost channel; I shouldn’t have to hire a bunch of people to keep it going.”

The Web can certainly be an efficient sales channel. But “efficient” is not the same as “free,” and efficiencies are often gained through investing in automation, people and tools as the channel grows. If your e-commerce business is not growing, it’s time to do a thorough competitive review and audit of your business to help you focus on the most-needed areas.

Courtesy of Sally McKenzie, online retail veteran and manager of ecommerceconsulting.com.

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