As an e-commerce branding consultant, small business owners are constantly asking me what they can do to attract new customers. While it’s always great to find and implement new ways to draw in new shoppers and drive sales, most store owners don’t think about what they’re currently doing that may be driving existing customers away.
Below are four common mistakes retailers make that you should stop doing now:
1. Listing Every Product You Have for Sale on Your Site
When it comes to deciding which products to list for sale on your store, some small business owners take the approach that “more is better.” A lot of times this stems from the notion that hiding items can decrease your chances of a customer making a purchase. The truth is, visitors get overwhelmed when they have too many items to look at and sort through. Instead of posting every item you have in stock, try consolidating down to your most relevant items of the moment, including those you’re offering promotions around, seasonal items, and your top-sellers, rotating in different products every few weeks.
2. Having Too Many Categories in Your Navigation Bar
You might be under the impression that having super specific and granular category options in your navigation bar make it easier for your customers to find what they’re looking for. In reality, having too many (and too-specific) category options overwhelms visitors. When deciding what will work best for your store, here are some important tips to keep in mind:
- The human eye tends to group together even numbers, which may cause visitors to skim over or miss certain categories. 3, 5, and 7 are your magic numbers when picking how many groups to list, and try to keep the number below 10. Once you get into double digits, customers start to get overwhelmed by the options.
- Consolidate, consolidate, consolidate. If you’re selling a ton of different types of shirts, instead of listing “long sleeve shirts,” “short sleeve shirts,” “and white shirts” in your navigation bar, make the top-level category “shirts,” and include the more specific options in a drop-down menu.
- Keep category names to one word. Two, max.
3. Posting Irrelevant Content
One common mistake small business owners make is including content on their site that’s unrelated to the action they want customers to take. A good example is overloading a checkout page. If you have call-to-actions for a customer to visit your social media pages or sign up for a newsletter, then you’re providing distractions and inviting them to click out of the checkout process.
4. Your Store’s Layout/Website Theme is Unrelated to What You’re Marketing and Selling
You should approach running an e-commerce site the same way you would approach telling a story; no matter what page someone is on when visiting your store, that page’s layout and design should fit your overall narrative. For example, if you are in the business of selling children’s toys, your site should reflect that theme. If you’re looking for ways to customize your site, a platform like Aabaco Small Business from Yahoo, which offers a tremendous amount of customization options to help design your store to your preference, is a good starting point. You can also reach out to a small business developer, and we’re happy to help you find the best approach for your small business.
Poorly designed websites feel like homework to the customer; your store has what they need, but it isn’t a pleasurable experience.
From my experience, addressing these items can help your bottom line by improving both your conversion and repeat customer rates. Have another strategy that’s worked for your store? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.