Last year Americans spent nearly $343 billion dollars in eCommerce purchases, a figure that’s expected to jump to more than $396 billion by the end of 2016. eCommerce has been a bright spot in terms of growth but your retail organization may not be maximizing the return from this channel.

Savvy retailers know an eCommerce strategy involves more than simply having a website where customers can make purchases – and there are definitely things not to do, like these five eCommerce mistakes:

Mistake #1: Thinking Ecommerce Sales Aren’t Big Enough to Matter

The U.S. Census Bureau reports eCommerce represented 8.1% of total retail sales in Q1 2016. If you’ve been dragging your feet on implementing an eCommerce platform because online sales seem too small to be important, you’re likely missing out on a lucrative opportunity. eCommerce sales may be just one small slice of the total retail pie today, but this segment of the industry has been showing strong, steady growth, outpacing U.S. commerce as a whole. Capitalize on this growth by ensuring you can accommodate online sales today. Don’t make the eCommerce mistake of waiting too long and playing catch-up further down the road when your competitors are eating your lunch.

Mistake #2: Ignoring What Millennials Want

Don’t make the common eCommerce mistake of overlooking what millennials want. These consumers fully embrace all things digital, particularly shopping online. Millennials, now the largest generation in the United States, prefer many of the perks and conveniences that eCommerce enables, such as buying online and picking up in store; consulting peer reviews before making a purchase; and researching detailed product information. eCommerce can complement and enhance your physical store operations, especially for younger shoppers and their $200-billion annual buying power.

Mistake #3: Keeping eCommerce and Loyalty Separate

Don’t forget to tie your loyalty program into your eCommerce platform. Shoppers will respond with great enthusiasm to the opportunity to earn loyalty points through multiple channels, lifting your overall sales and creating “stickier” customers.

Retailers  make the eCommerce mistake of keeping their loyalty program isolated to one channel, missing out on the potential to capture additional revenue and improve the customer experience. What’s more, customers will be frustrated if they find they can’t redeem and earn loyalty points online,  Ensure your loyalty program works wherever you are: in stores, online and everywhere in between.

Mistake #4: Overlooking Customer-Centric UX

Have you considered how your customers use your website? It’s not uncommon for retailers to build an eCommerce site to their specifications first — and only think about how customers actually use and interact with the website later.

Don’t make the mistake of ignoring the all-important user experience. Look for a web interface that’s customizable so you can implement changes, such as tweaking colors, photos and videos, quickly and easily. Adopting responsive design, which allows eCommerce websites to look consistent and polished across devices and screens of all sizes — an important consideration since the path to purchase often involves smartphones, tablets and desktop PCs.

Mistake #5: Looking at Streams of Customer Data Separately

Another thing many retailers fail to do is unify their data. Establishing multiple commerce channels is a great initial step but a number of retailers don’t take advantage of the wealth of data generated along the way. Examining in-store customer data alongside data gleaned from eCommerce can help retailers better understand their shoppers.

Are customers responding to different offers in different channels? Do certain products sell better online versus in store? Only with unified data can you understand and act on critical insights. Don’t make the eCommerce mistake of siloing data from this channel.

An eCommerce channel has the potential to increase sales – both within the channel and across your entire organization. Don’t ignore what online shoppers really want and the quality of user experiences you provide.

For more information on optimizing your business’ eCommerce channel, download our e-book True Omnichannel Means Bricks + Clicks.

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