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The top 3 ecommerce killers

09 Nov 2015

There is nothing worse than investing in your ecommerce store only to have it succumb to one of the top 3 killers.

All your hard work, time and money is at stake, so keep reading because prevention is always easier than the cure…

1. Your checkout process stinks

One of the biggest ecommerce store killers is having a poorly constructed checkout process.

From confusing field names such as address 2, mandatory labels which aren’t easily understood, unclear errors and insisting on collecting too much information from your customers, there’s a lot which can go wrong during the checkout process which can cause your customers to abandon their carts in frustration.

One of the easiest ways to start to address this is to look at the amount of information you are asking your customers to provide and then ask yourself if you really need to have it. For instance if you are selling a physical product then you obviously need a delivery address, but if your product is digital then you probably don’t.

If you have any fields such as your favourite colour, birth date, children’s names, or pet names, then unless you have to have them in order to supply their order (i.e. you are embroidering a name onto a cushion), then it’s best that you remove these from your checkout at once. Customers just want to give you their money and get what they’ve ordered – they certainly don’t want to spend 20 minutes answering every question you might like to know about them.

2. Your online shop takes too long to load

In addition to not wanting to spend a long time filling out details on your checkout process, customers also don’t want to spend a long time waiting for your site to load.

Kissmetrics released a simple to understand infographic about how loading time affects your bottom line. The main takeaway from their research is that how your e-commerce store performs directly impacts the behaviour of your customers.

  • After 3 seconds, 40% of customers won't keep waiting and have admitted that they will simply close the e-commerce store and move on elsewhere
  • 79% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with website performance are less likely to buy from that online store again
  • A 1 second delay (or 3 seconds of waiting) decreases customer satisfaction by about 16%

There are a lot of reasons why your ecommerce store can be slow to load and one of the most common reasons is uncompressed images, but large files, tracking code and slow plugins can also cause you trouble. One way to test the speed of your ecommerce store is with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.

3. You got hacked!

There is nothing that will kill the reputation of your ecommerce store faster than if your customers turn up to a site that’s been hacked.

Prevention is always better than the cure, so check in with your hosting provider and make sure that they have adequate backup services so that you will have something to roll back to should the worst happen.

If your ecommerce store has been built on an open source platform then it’s important to be aware that this means that the code is out there available to all the ‘baddies’ to look for ways to penetrate it. This also applies to security patches – once they are realised a ‘baddie’ can download the patch, reverse engineer it and write code to attack any sites which are not yet patched. It is very important that you test and apply all security patches as soon as they are realised should you use these platforms.

Credit card security is of paramount importance these days and NO ecommerce store should be manually collecting and storing credit card details in a way that is not PCI compliant. If you have an older ecommerce store that still emails you (or allows you to access your customers credit card details in any way) then you need to stop doing this immediately. If your site was to be breached, then these details are one of the first things which will be taken and you will be left dealing with extremely irate customers!

One of the best ways for most owners of ecommerce stores to handle credit card security is through a hosted payment solution – we recommend DPS who are fully PCI compliant and are certified with all the major card schemes. As an added bonus, using their service will also allow you to securely accept direct credit payments as well.

If your website does get breached (and a 2013 American survey by the National Small Business Association revealed that 44% of small business owners have been attacked) then it is important that you contact your developer immediately as they will need to identify and resolve the issue for you before it causes even further damage to your business' reputation.

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