The E-commerce Mistakes that Drive Customers Away

“89% of shoppers have stopped buying from online stores after they experienced poor customer service,” – John C. Maxwell

The concepts and practices of electronic commerce, or e-commerce, exploded in the business world with the mass advent of electronic communications technologies such as the global Internet. Over the years, e-commerce has emerged as a powerful challenge to traditional norms of conducting business and has established itself as a force to reckon with. However, certain e-commerce mistakes have emerged that threaten the very culture and essence of such commercial enterprises. These mistakes bear the potential of robbing e-commerce businesses of their clientele, their business potential, their long term prospects, and the distinct identity such businesses have managed to carve for themselves in competitive markets. E-commerce mistakes can create potentially life-threatening situations for business enterprises because they create fertile grounds to fuel customer dissatisfaction and a negative image in the market. In light of the above, we may note that e-commerce business operators must stay vigilant against the silent proliferation of such errors in the interests of conducting a healthy business over the long term.

E-commerce businesses hinge on websites and mobile apps as the primary interface between the commercial enterprise and the paying customer. One of the significant e-commerce mistakes operates in the domain of electronic security, both in websites and mobile apps. Less than perfect security standards, protocols, and practices can sound the death knell of any e-commerce business because customers value their dollars and the mistake referred to can put those very dollars at monumental risk. Security concerns pertaining to e-commerce websites and apps can range from flawed data security paradigms that can expose the business and its customers to online malfeasance, data theft, and the electronic hijacking of customer information. We note that online business operators must demand top class security and online certifications from their business partners, such as third party web hosting organizations. For instance, an e-commerce operator should devote maximum resources to ensure the security of customers’ financial data because this information is critical to every transaction between the business and its customers. Any leakage of such information can lead to disastrous consequences for the business in the form of a massive loss of customer confidence, a blighted brand identity, irate market regulators, and potentially hazardous legal action leading to massive monetary penalties.

Irregular website or app navigation represents another aspect of common e-commerce mistakes. Website navigation is crucial to the fortunes of the electronic enterprise because it is linked directly to the end-user experience. We must bear in mind that online visitors prefer to run the gamut of offered products on a website or mobile app before they arrive at a purchase decision. Therefore, the browsing and navigation experience must be perfect in order to facilitate the customer’s appetite for visual and textual information. Broken (or compromised) back-end links on a shopping website or app can frustrate the customer no end and may lead to an aborted shopping expedition. Online businesses must acknowledge that such experiences tend to snowball because disappointed customers may vent their frustration on social media and this can amplify the negative outcomes for the business operator. In addition, the creation of customers who are dissatisfied robs the online business of the potential to create an incremental pool of committed, repeat business subscribers.

A critical aspect of e-commerce mistakes manifests in the form of sub-standard product images and photographs. Businesses must bear in mind that the Internet is essentially a visual medium that thrives on slick and detailed images. E-commerce websites are no exception, and therefore business operators must feature only top rate images in their products section. The visual appeal that emanates from a high-density product image is critical in the formation of a customer’s opinion and potential purchase decisions. The colour, visual texture, and multiple angles of product images must be flawless for each item of merchandise in the interests of gaining traction among online visitors. This is reinforced by the fact that e-commerce customers lack the ability to test the physical product as they would in a brick-and-mortar showroom. This limitation makes it incumbent upon every online business operator to field first class product images in their websites and mobile apps. In fact, such businesses would be advised to constantly endeavour to boost the quality of their product images through endless iterations in the interests of building and sustaining customer interest.

The building of customer trust and bonding remains an important fact for e-commerce business operators. Business management groups should avoid the pitfall of running a robotic business enterprise because this counts as a cardinal sin and a supreme member of e-commerce mistakes. The modern online business operator should leverage the use of email, text messages, banner advertisements, offline signage, online newsletters, and discussion forums to ignite customer interest in said business. The publicity and awareness generated by such devices is literally priceless and can propel business fortunes to unprecedented heights. Therefore, every online business should expend its energies to go the extra mile in the interest of forging enduring business relationships with its customer base. We may note that such efforts can generate tangible pay offs in the form of enhanced customer awareness and an expanded mind share among the growing legions of online customers.

The goal of an e-commerce business is to generate the maximum sales from its online clientele and therefore, consumers should be afforded a smooth and unproblematic check-out process at every instance. This mechanism is important because it encourages repeat sales and can help online businesses to gain extra customer dollars. A lack of fluency in check-out represents one of the primary e-commerce mistakes. The design of the online shopping cart should be perfect and the back-end architecture should be refined in order to facilitate an intuitive check-out and payment experience. Intelligent thought and competent design architecture should be employed by every online business in order to facilitate the transactional stage with every individual customer. We may state that the check-out experience is vital for every consumer because any glitches in said process can mar the overall customer experience and negate a valuable transaction. Further, the check-out and transactional stage is invariably tied to data safety and security; therefore, a business must strengthen these processes with the best available technologies.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have surveyed some common e-commerce mistakes and the remedies needed to counteract the baneful effects thereof. Businesses would do well to bear in mind that e-commerce mistakes must be diagnosed and tackled head on during the initial days of business operations. Any oversight in such matters can seriously effect business outcomes and may create additional downstream problems. The primary means to tackle these errors lies in creating failsafe back-end architecture and in on-going reviews of business processes and their outcomes. The lack of detection of lurking errors can lead to expensive and time consuming infrastructure re-engineering. In this respect, we should point out that the online business domain has witnessed multiple instances wherein serious questions were posed to business management regarding the efficacy of online business models. Every aspiring e-commerce entrepreneur should work to examine and tackle e-commerce mistakes before these acquire a life of their own and doom budding business enterprises.


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