How to Fail Miserably at EcommerceSo, we’ve heard all the tips and tricks from ecommerce industry insiders telling us how to make the most of our ecommerce sites. I think it’s easier and cheaper to fail at ecommerce and I am happy to tell you how to go about it. Here are my best instructions on how to fail miserably at ecommerce. (Good news–these instructions work equally as well for big companies and small companies alike!)

  1. Make your site horrendously difficult to use. Make the navigation as hard to work with as possible. Better yet, change the navigation strategy from page to page. That’ll show ’em.
  2. Pick a garish color scheme. It should make their eyes water. Make the font size super, super tiny. Like 8 point. True professionals will use use a swoopy, crazy font choice plus the small font size for exceptional results.
  3. Forget about SEO and SEM techniques. What do you need search engine crawlers for, anyway? Google-schmoogle. Those search engine robots are all a myth.
  4. Use pictures, but only ones that are blurry, from an odd angle, or from 20 feet away from the product. Or skip pictures altogether. What do they need to see your product for anyway? You could also include images, but make sure that the links don’t work, so all they see is that little “X” in the box. Customers like guessing games.
  5. Give only the barest details about your product. Customers should be able to get everything they need from the picture of the product. Leave the specifications page blank. They like that a lot.
  6. Hide the cart. Everyone likes a good game of “hide and seek,” especially when they are shopping online.
  7. Shock your customers at the last minute with the total shipping cost for their order. Don’t warn them that the items they are ordering are heavy, oversized, or might incur additional shipping charges.
  8. Make the checkout process complicated. Use lots of pages. Ask for lots of irrelevant information. Ask customers to retype information they already supplied you earlier. Force them to log in to check out–no guest checkout here! Guest checkout is for wimps.
  9. Don’t use payment gateway security measures. They’re an extra expense you don’t need. Don’t use SSL either. Hogwash, all of it.
  10. Use unfamiliar or inconvenient payment methods. Insist that customers pay for their purchase with gummy bears or with rolls of pennies, sent in via overnight mail. Don’t offer PayPal, VISA, Mastercard or AMEX.
  11. Refuse to integrate your ecommerce system with the rest of your back-end systems. Manual entry is good for the soul and duplicating effort is awesome.

Of course, this entire blog post has been written as a “tongue-in-cheek” approach to ecommerce. I am sure you rolled your eyes at least once or snickered and wondered, “Who DOES stuff like this?” Sadly, I’m here to report that it’s not nearly as uncommon as you might think. Just make sure that YOUR ecommerce site doesn’t fall prey such amazing “success tactics.”

Want to learn more about how to truly succeed at ecommerce? Check out the Ecommerce Website Best Practices white papers here.