If you’re looking to avoid ruining customer relationships, losing sales to competitors, and making your operations team miserable, let’s dive into some myth-busting about online retail.

“A good website is all you need to have a successful ecommerce business.”
Having fun and flashy website that’s easy to shop is the beginning of a good ecommerce experience – but by no means is it the end-all, be-all to a successful direct-to-consumer (D2C) online retail business. First, you’ll need great products on that site, which comes from a solid merchandising plan. Next, you’ll want to understand your customers and develop a marketing strategy that tells them about that fun, flashy website. And, as we all know, you can’t have long-term ecommerce success without efficient fulfillment operations and consistent, helpful customer care. Nothing can kill the ‘feel-good’ of a great online experience faster than a package that doesn’t arrive on time or customer service that’s incompetent, unfriendly, or unavailable. Pay attention to all aspects of your business – how it’s set up and operates to satisfy customer needs – and you’ll find success in ecommerce.

“Your homepage is the most important page on your site and should get the most attention.”
Think of your homepage as a front door to a house: if it’s clean, visually appealing, and has exciting details, customers will want to walk over that threshold and see what’s inside. On the flip side, if it looks dated and too busy, chances are they’ll head on down the road. Homepages should have various information: eye-catching photography, top-selling products, current promotions, and clearly-defined navigation for easy browsing. However, if you spend all of your time on the front door, the inside of your little online ‘house’ will look pretty scary once customers enter. Ultimately, the most critical pages on your site are your product pages because they’re the pages that do the most selling for you. Ensure you include high-quality product photography (360º views are a must), descriptive yet concise copy, and any additional information relevant to product personalization, shipping methods and times, and complementary items. Also, ensure your contact page is easy-to-find and has multiple ways for your customers to reach out, whether via phone, web form, live chat, or social media.

“You need to capture every available bit of customer information – every time – because you need it.”
Any retailer knows the key to building a solid customer base is building trust with your customers. However, asking people to sign up for accounts and opting them into your promotions every time they want to purchase is not the best way to win a shopper’s trust, no matter how many times you say, “We’ll never spam you or share your information, EVER!!” Thanks to data breaches, shoppers are warier about filling out personal details – and might skip buying if you force them to. So give shoppers the freedom to check out as a guest; if they are happy with the experience, they will return and are more likely to create an account for future purchases. A study found that close to 30 percent of online shoppers would abandon a purchase if asked to register for an account at checkout. Make account registration an optional step, and prominently display the ‘checkout as a guest’ option. You don’t need that account registration to process the sale. You want it for marketing purposes.

“Put more effort into paid advertising than social media since social media is free.”
I can’t believe in today’s world that anybody would believe this. Still, an Aberdeen Group survey found that 59 percent of retailers said they weren’t using social media as a customer service tool, so maybe I’m wrong. Sure, you should use paid search and display advertising where it makes sense – but don’t do so at the expense of your social strategy. After all, where do customers go when they want to ask questions, get recommendations, and complain? Social media. Use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. to communicate your sales, answer frequently asked questions, and even get customer opinions on new products or services – all for free. More than 92 percent of customers trust social media over traditional ads. So get social or get left behind.

“Outsourcing puts you out of touch with your customers.”
It doesn’t – and we’re not just saying that because it’s what we do. When done correctly, outsourcing your operations and customer care can help you get more in tune with what your customers want and can open up new ways to serve them better than before. Bringing in a partner to eliminate shipping delays, long on-hold times, or inaccurate orders due to being rushed will improve your customer satisfaction scores! If you take your time to pick the right partner and work together, you’ll never miss a beat with your customers – and you might identify areas where you can improve your customer service.