Today I’m taking a decidedly different tack from my usual business building info to talk about the 7 deadly sins of e-commerce. I mean, you’ve probably come to expect that when you head on over here to my blog you’ll get ideas about what to do as you consider creating an online business. But this time, it’s all about what NOT to do, the 7 deadly sins of selling products online.
In the video below you get some cool extra info, including a tour of our new home. (In all of our moving-in glory!) But here, I’m just going to kick things off and start sharing the 7 deadly sins of selling products online that you want to avoid when it comes to starting or growing your e-commerce business.
Let's Talk About Those 7 Deadly Sins of Selling Products Online
Thinking that you have to start off selling to friends and family
If you’ve ever done direct sales or MLM, you’ve probably been encouraged to start off by just talking to your friends and families. And oh my gosh, I know some people who have been super crazy successful and building businesses that way.
But I’m an introvert as it is…and when I was starting my business I felt so dang awkward about the idea of approaching people one-on-one to tell them that they need to buy my cupcake wrappers or whatever I was selling. Sound familiar?
Yay for e-commerce! You can sell tons of stuff to random strangers and if you NEVER want to tell your friends or family, you don’t have to! Don’t think that you have to dial up your Great Aunt Mathilda to build an amazing business. Nope. (But you should call just to say ‘hi.’ She probably misses you.)
Having commitment issues (aka not giving checkout options)
Imagine walking into your local neighborhood convenience store to buy a Snickers bar and having them tell you that you absolutely cannot purchase it unless you set up an account.
Um…what? I mean, this isn’t Costco that requires a membership to buy a year’s worth of paper towels and some ginormous muffins! It’s a 7-11! And you have no desire to make a long-term commitment to get that Snickers, no matter how hangry you are.
Same thing if you make someone set up an account to buy from you. Let them get to know you before you try to force them into a commitment. One of my favorite examples is Crate & Barrel. Seriously, check out their website and the many options they give their customers.
Asking for email (without giving them something first)
Yes, most people have more than one email account. But the fact is, they STILL don’t like giving their addresses out to random companies.
That puts you in a bit of a pickle. After all, you do want to build an email list of customers you can market to, right?
Well, there’s a happy medium, and that comes from giving before you take. Offer customers a discount in return for their email, or something of use that ties back to what brought them there in the first place. If you sell kitchen stuff, offer recipes. If you sell clothes, share styling tips.
What you choose to give is up to you, but the principle is the same: always offer something of value before you ask for something THEY value.
Making customers pay for ketchup and straws (aka nickel and diming them)
Prepare yourself for the tiniest of rants. I don’t go to fast food restaurants much, but when I do happen to swing in to buy my kiddo something off the dollar menu I get crazy when I have to pay extra to get ranch to dunk them in.
Eye-rolling is most assuredly involved.
Compare THAT to the experience you get with my favorite thing ever: Chick-fil-A.
If you’ve ever dined in one of their restaurants, you know that they don’t hesitate to give you as many dipping sauces as your little heart desires. You can try just one or all of them. They give them to you with a smile on their face. In other words, they don’t nickel and dime you for the little extras that make your visit more enjoyable.
In e-commerce, I’ve seen companies sell a product for $2 and charge $10 in shipping. Don’t do it. Don’t try to make up for a discounted product by overcharging somewhere else. Price your products well and whenever you can build the shipping into the product cost.
Trust me: your customers will love you for it.
Not having an easy-to-access chat feature
If you’ve ever had a question about a product you were buying, you know the frustration that comes with having to email the company to communicate about it. You send an email, wait for 3 days, have them respond at like [2:30] in the morning and then you’re trying to get back in touch…oh, it’s painful.
A chat box is free, you can add it right to your website and it makes customers happy. You don’t have to sit there waiting for a message, either. You can hire it out, or just have a message for your off hours that says “message me and I’ll get back in touch when I’m available.”
It builds rapport with your customer and saves both of you time and frustration.
Not being able to add customer reviews to your site
I get it. You’re afraid of that negative review.
But not having reviews makes you look…well…a little shady.
There, I said it. But if the tables were turned, I’m pretty sure you’d say the same thing. I mean, when it comes to e-commerce we have now all been conditioned to look for ratings and reviews, so for the love of heaven, add them to your site.
It’s true that you will get someone who doesn’t love you and your product. But it’s equally true that if you’re offering a great product and have excellent service, you’ll get PLENTY of 5-star reviews too. (And they won’t all come from your mom.)
Delivering your customers an adult diaper pail (yeah…security matters)
My husband and I are just like anyone else: we shop online. And long story short, our credit card was stolen and used to purchase some sort of disposal unit for adult diapers.
It wasn’t a good day, but it was at least a little funny. Not providing security measures to protect your customers sensitive information is high on the list of 7 deadly sins of selling products online.
Really, any day that you find out that your credit card info has been stolen and used for nefarious purposes isn’t a good day. So do everything you can to keep your customers’ information secure—and then let them know that you’ve done it by adding the badges to your site.
(Psst! If you’re using Shopify to build your online store, prepare to do a happy dance. They have tons of excellent prevention measures already in place.)
The big takeaway here is that avoiding these 7 deadly sins of e-commerce will not only make your customers happy…they’ll make you happy as well. After all, happy customers equal repeat customers, right?
If you’re finding that your current online store isn’t performing the way you want, use this list to see if you’ve committed a sin or two. I’ve even created a free download that makes it easy! Just click the link and the list of 7 deadly sins of selling products online will be delivered right into your Messenger inbox.
And if you haven’t taken the leap into e-commerce yet but are wanting to, check out my free Masterclass. I walk you through the proven steps to plan, launch and grow your online store.