May 19, 2014 · e-Commerce

SOS List for Budding e-Commerce Businesses

Ecommerce is tricky business. It is no way like a physical store. In a physical store, when there’s no sale for a long time, you have ways to check -

And a lot more. Moreover, in a physical store, you can interact with your customer and know full well what’s working and what’s not. You can tell them verbally about your offers and check their acceptance.

Ecommerce store is a black box for those who haven’t put the right trackers in place. Even if there are visitors on the site, sometimes sales just dry up for long spans and you may have no idea about what might be going wrong.

Today, I wanted to talk about the quick SOS list of things to do, when you find your site not giving any sales for a long time. I’m assuming a few tools are already in place as a starting assumption (you may have other similar tools in place)

  1. Google Aanlytics – website analytics

  2. Pingdom – site health monitoring

  3. ConnectO – site offers messaging

So here’s the use case. There’s no sale on your web-store for over an hour now. Quickly get on to the following steps –

Check #1: Is your site up and running?

Open your site in multiple browsers (firefox, safari, chrome). Check your site monitoring tool report. If it’s erratic, problem is simpler that you thought. Your shop is just not open for the customers to walk-in.

Check #2: Can you make an order on your site?

Quickly make a test order on the site. Make one order for each mode of payment. If a specific mode is not working, contact the provider urgently (usually the payment gateway is the culprit). So the shop might be open, but the cashier is not on his desk!

Check #3: Are all your marketing sources performing?

Go to your analytics. See the source per hour report and see if any source (paid/free) stopped sending you traffic for a bit. You might find that your facebook or google campaign (for e.g.) has run out of budget. If you are using google analytics and cannot create a source per hour report, download it from here.

Check #4: Are all your top sellers in stock?

If all above are working fine, dig deeper. Quickly check your inventory. You might have run out of a top seller, which was driving your sale. If that’s the problem, then it was sheer bad planning. You as a retailer know better what to do next.

Check #5: Check if your customer service is calling the un-serviced orders

If you have a customer service person, quickly validate if there’s any increased complaints/ requests from people about anything. If not, check if customer service is making its regular number of calls to dropped customers?

Check #6: Check if your offer tool is directing users to the right page?

It sometime happens that a stale / expired offer is still running on the site, driving customers to wrong pages. Same happens for some old running advertisements as well. Customer comes in after seeing an offer he/she’s got interested in, but doesn’t find it, resulting in a drop.

There’s a bunch of more items on the check-list, but they get very specific to businesses. If you have an online sheet, which you can maintain regularly to document the outages, you will soon understand what creates the maximum issues on your shop and you can prioritize accordingly. As I said, an online shop is no way like an offline store, but the good news is, with the right checks and balances, you can run it way better!

Happy raking the moolah..


About the author
Pankaj Vermani
Pankaj Vermani - CEO at Mountain Apollo India

Pankaj is an Internet entrepreneur and Incubation/Start-up specialist based in India. He is currently heading the Incubation Program from Mountain Apollo India to incubate and scale 3-4 start-ups every year, assisting paper plans to develop into viable businesses.

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