Whether you’re new to online business or an old-timer, you might be doing things that prevent you from taking full advantage of this media platform. Here is a list of what could be hindering your online business.
In the advent of the global pandemic, companies and consumers have suddenly shifted to online platforms. Even the grocers and retail stores–businesses that were initially reluctant to go digital–have started to invest more in online advertising, e-commerce, and same-day delivery to adapt to the nationwide shutdowns, lockdowns, self-isolation, and physical distancing.
And even though the economy is gradually reopening, the impact of COVID-19 on consumer sentiments and behavior is expected to continue in the next coming years, with many experts believing that this disruptive event has even irrevocably changed how companies operate and interact with their target audience.
With the global pandemic, many brick and mortar businesses have found themselves struggling, while others were even forced to shut down due to their inability to adapt to the new norm in which almost everything is done online.
However, having an online presence is not enough, especially now that the market is saturated, prompting many businesses to resort to cutthroat competition to attract consumers who have reduced disposable income.
The list below explains some of the common online business mistakes.
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Contrary to popular belief, branding is not just creating some witty taglines and catchy logos (and other virtual representations of your company). In essence, this is the experience and perception of your customers every time they come in contact with your business.
Take note that before you can create an effective digital marketing campaign, it is a sacrosanct rule that you are clear with your brand, which serves as the backbone of your ads and marketing efforts.
With a clear brand, it is easy to identify your target audience, know where they “hang out” online, and use the right content that appeals to them.
Furthermore, having a strong brand allows you to “justify” your price to your consumers instead of engaging in price wars that may not be sustainable long term. The goal is to create a message that tells the general public that your product or service is superior and distinct to the rest of the competition.
Aaker believes that the success of branding strategy boils down to meticulous planning and not on the budget itself.
Lack of Cyber Security Measures
The increasing threat of cybercrime can undermine your marketing efforts and your attempt to grow your customer base. (Note: In recent years, millions of consumers have their credit card and bank accounts details compromised due to data breaches.)
In e-commerce, it is imperative to implement strong cybersecurity measures because it deals with sensitive information such as bank accounts, credit card numbers, shipping address, and other personal details.
A robust cybersecurity measure is not just for your customers but also for your business. The goal here is to prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to confidential data such as clients lists, trade secrets, bank accounts, financial statements, etc.
Long Waits and Deliveries
Today’s consumers want instant gratification, so they expect fast information, one-click order button, immediate answer, and same-day delivery. Local business owners are particularly aware of this new consumer sentiment and behavior.
While the “instant gratification” is putting pressure on some businesses, take note that around 61% of customers are willing to pay more for same-day delivery, according to a recent study.
While small businesses and solo entrepreneurs may have limited manpower and budget to fulfill same-day deliveries, they have the option to partner with third-party fulfillment companies such as UPS, FedEx, and ShipBob.
Meanwhile, grocers and restaurants can partner with delivery and pick-up services like Instacart that allow customers to order grocery supplies from retailers and food businesses, and receive their orders the same day.
Unpleasant Customer Experience
As an online business, you’ll want to give an excellent customer experience the same way as your brick and mortar store does. Again, this is easier if you have a strong brand.
Today’s culture of instant gratification and “impatient” customers means that your online business should provide direct and easy-to-digest content. This is particularly true if you’re in the e-commerce industry wherein shoppers prefer an easy online filling order (or even a one-click order button) to a complicated order form with multiple boxes to fill in with their personal details.
Also, online shoppers want “fast information,” so make sure that your product pricing and other key details are readily accessible and visible on your website.
Low Conversion Rate Due to Poor Website
A 2020 survey showed that the global E-commerce conversion rate was about 4.31%, while it was 2.86% in the US. This means that the vast majority of site visitors or anyone who had made contact with a business did not become an actual buyer due to a wide range of reasons: poor navigation, flow blockers, poor quality content, bad call-to-action, insufficient SEO, untargeted audience, and unprofessional-looking website.
When running an e-commerce business, one of the most important things is to acquire relevant traffic. “Relevant” means the site visitors are the target customers based on their online activities, demographics, keywords and phrases searches, etc.
Another way to increase relevant traffic and ultimately increase your conversion rate is to make your site appear professional, trustworthy, and “clean.” This generally involves using breadcrumbs, integrating search functionality, and understanding human behavior, especially in decision-making.
Lack of Search Engine Optimization Efforts
Of course, search engine optimization or SEO is also a part of “healthy” web traffic. In essence, it makes your site accessible to your target consumers with relevant keywords and phrases and valuable content (blogs, infographics, reports, etc.).
All online businesses should see SEO as a long-term investment because it is the key to online presence, brand awareness, loyal customer growth, and ultimate, high conversion rate, i.e., turning visitors into actual buyers.
Your SEO goal is to appear on the top of 3-5 search engine results or at least on the first page. Studies have shown that the number one position in Google gets around 33% of all the clicks.
Make sure that even after making a purchase, each customer has a “happy” experience to promote positive word of mouth. This means you should offer refunds and returns, how-to guides, reward loyalty, and frequent reminders about products they might be interested in buying.
Many businesses commit this grave mistake of ignoring their existing customers as they focus on acquiring new ones without realizing that post-purchase customer experience is the key to their long-term growth in sales and brand loyalty.
Your post-purchase customer experience should include a good return/refund policy, as people will see you as transparent, trustworthy, and confident [with your product or service].
Meanwhile, customers will not trust an online business that lacks a return/refund policy or may even see it as a scam.
Finding the Right Customers
Your digital and marketing campaign should be customer-focused, i.e., you only send content, adverts, infographics, blogs, etc., to the people who fit your buyer persona based on their demographics, online activities, likes and hobbies, etc.
If you target the right audience, you can increase your conversion rate and sales, reduce your marketing expenses (because your efforts are only focused on the people who are receptive to your message), and grow your customer base.