5 Ways Your eCommerce Site Is Ruining Your Brand's Image: How to Avoid These Common Mistakes

ByVladana Donevski
June 13,2022

As an online business owner, you know that your website is the key to your success. It's where customers go to learn more about your brand and make purchases. If your eCommerce site is inadequate, it can erode sales and bring your growth screeching to a halt.

In the age of social media, word-of-mouth travels fast, and a single customer who is unhappy with your website can undermine your reputation. Check out the 5 ways your eCommerce site is ruining your brand’s image and learn how to avoid these pitfalls. 

1. Poor Website Design and Navigation

Many eCommerce businesses have poorly designed websites. These can be hard to navigate, confusing for customers, and just plain ugly. It also makes your business look unprofessional and gives the impression that you simply don’t care about your online presence, or even worse, that your business is a scam.

An eCommerce website builder is one of the tools that can help you avoid this mistake. You should have your customers in mind when creating your website. Navigation should be easy, and the overall design should be visually appealing to create a positive brand image.

Think about the websites that you frequent when doing your shopping. What are they doing right? Use those positive aspects as inspiration to help you enhance your site.

A good rule of thumb is to make it exceptionally easy for customers to find what they're looking for on your site, learn more about your brand, and make purchases. It will also give your business a professional appearance; your customers will feel appreciated and help you stand out from the competition.

Having a well-designed website is important for any brand, but it's especially crucial for eCommerce businesses.

If you're not sure where to start, there are plenty of resources and professionals who can help you create a stunning website that will improve your company’s brand image. Hiring a good UX design agency is an avenue worth exploring.

2. Outdated Descriptions, Images, or Out-of-Stock Items

Another common mistake eCommerce businesses make is not keeping their product descriptions, images, and stock levels up to date. This can be a big turn-off for customers, as it makes your store appear unreliable or abandoned. 

Keep in mind that your customers are at your store to purchase something, and you need to help them overcome all the online shopping challenges. Since they can't simply walk into your store and physically inspect the products, you need to provide the necessary amount of information in the product description sections.

You need high-quality images, and the descriptions should be as accurate and as detailed as possible. Think about everything that your customers will want to know about the product you are selling and place it in the product description.

Failing to provide the necessary details can result in consumers associating you with negative branding. If your customers are unhappy with what they got, they likely won't return to your store or recommend it to others.

Out of Stock Items

Out-of-stock items are another reason why your customer might not return. If they like what you have but can't find it in stock or the product is constantly out of stock, this will lead to frustration. Nobody wants to keep checking back only to find that the item they're looking for is still not available. This can lead to them giving up and looking elsewhere for what they want.

This is one of the most common challenges of online shopping. So, here are a few things you can do to avoid it:

- First, try to keep better track of your inventory levels. This way, you'll know when items are running low and can order more before they run out entirely.

- Second, if an item is constantly out of stock, consider removing it from your site until you can get more. It's better to have a smaller selection of items in stock than a larger selection with many things that are frequently out of stock.

- Third, make sure to update your site regularly so customers know what is and isn't available. If an item is out of stock, say so on the product page to avoid additional brand damage. If you plan to purchase more (and you should since the product is doing well), make sure to let customers know when this will happen. This way, customers won't waste their time trying to purchase something that isn't available.

3. Poor Customer Service

When speaking of frustration, poor customer service is often the main culprit. According to customer service statistics, 95% of consumers think that customer service is an important factor in their brand choice. That’s a significant number of customers who will likely never come back if they have a bad experience on your site. To preserve your company's brand image, you need to make sure that your customer service is top-notch.

First up, make sure customers can contact you through multiple channels, including email, phone, and live chat. You should also have a Frequently Asked Question section that is easy to find. 

Another thing you need to take into account is response times. If a customer contacts you with a question or complaint, they will likely expect a quick response. The longer you take to get back to them, the more frustrated they will become.

Ideally, you should aim to answer all questions within 24 hours as this will help you improve the image of your brand. If this isn't possible, make sure to let the customer know when they can expect a response.

4. Bad Reviews

Bad online reviews can travel fast and do a lot of damage to your brand. A good review is your eCommerce store’s best salesman, while a set of negative ones will send your customers to your competition. If you don't have a system to deal with both of them, it can quickly get out of hand and negatively impact your brand. 

To avoid being ranked among companies with bad publicity, keep an eye on all platforms where customers can leave reviews. This way, you can catch any negative reviews as soon as they are posted and address them quickly. 

Another thing you need to do is respond to all negative reviews, regardless of where they are posted. This shows that you care about your customers and their experience with your brand. It also gives you a chance to defend your brand if the criticism is unwarranted.

There are reputation management services you can hire to improve your brand image if you have been ignoring these for too long. But this is a short-term solution; you need to be consistent and actively communicate with unhappy customers.

Ultimately, a bad review is a blessing in disguise. It allows you to talk to your unhappy customers and remedy the situation. Depending on your business processes, you can offer free products, waive shipping fees, or offer other options to turn a bad experience into a positive one. If your customers leave the conversation happy, you did your brand a big favor.

Finally, make sure to take any constructive criticism from the reviews to heart. Use this feedback to make changes to your site or business processes so that future customers will have a better experience and consequently improve the brand’s public image.

5. Not Enough Promotions

If you want customers to keep coming back to your site, you need to give them a reason. One way to do this is by running promotions and discounts on a regular basis. Furthermore, this could be a great way to gain new customers, as 62% of consumers tell their friends about online deals.

However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when offering these promotions. First, make sure that the promotion is relevant to your target audience. There's no point in offering a sale on items that your target market wouldn't be interested in.

Second, make sure the promotion is for a significant enough discount. While calculating your margin and pricing properly is one of the biggest challenges of eCommerce for store owners, you should still work to find room for large discounts. A small percentage off isn't going to entice customers to come back to your site. 

Finally, make sure the promotion is easy to find on your site. If customers have to search for it, they likely won't bother. Also, make sure to include it in any advertising you do.

Failing to do this properly can negatively affect your website. Promoting the wrong things at the wrong time with the wrong price can ruin your image.

All in All

These are the 5 ways your eCommerce site is ruining your brand’s image and tips on how to solve them. By improving your customer service, addressing bad reviews, and running promotions effectively, you can maintain a positive image for your brand.

Take the time to assess your website and find things you can improve while keeping your customers' interests in mind. A little effort goes a long way in maintaining a good image for your brand. And a good brand image can improve sales and help you grow your revenue.

FAQ
What are some of the challenges of online shopping?

One of the main challenges of shopping online is that it can be difficult to know what you're getting. This is due to the fact that you can't see or touch the product before you buy it. This can be a challenge when shopping for clothing or other apparel items, so it is important for eCommerce stores to make descriptions of products and product images as detailed and accurate as possible.

What are some bad brand image examples?

One of the most notable bad brand image examples is the Super Size Me documentary about how Mcdonald's food affects people’s health. Mcdonald's is one of the companies with bad publicity due to the negative health effects of its products. But the documentary created by Morgan Spurlock, who ate nothing but McDonald's Supersized meals for a month, led to a serious drop in sales. 

Mcdonald's responded by quickly creating a new menu to include healthier options.

How to improve a brand’s social media reputation?

There are a few ways to improve your brand's social media reputation. First, make sure that you're actively engaging with customers on social media. Respond to comments and questions as quickly as possible. Second, make sure that the content you post is relevant to your target audience. And finally, make sure to address the 5 ways your eCommerce site is ruining your brand’s image.

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Creating and sending purchase orders (POs) can be daunting for inexperienced business owners. For some, it can be hard to keep track of all of them as they pile up, while others stress about filling these important documents flawlessly to ensure smooth order processing. Thankfully, there is software available that can help manage the entire process, from start to finish. Businesses can leverage technology to create and send purchase orders quickly and accurately. These systems often come with additional features such as automated reminders, tracking capabilities, and more. Our article will answer all your PO questions - e.g., What is a purchase order? Why are they important? How do they work? - and teach you about the various ways businesses use purchase orders, as well as how to create and send them yourself. 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By following this guide, you will be well on your way to using purchase orders effectively.
By Bojan Jovanovic · November 28,2022
It’s hard to imagine the modern world without barcodes. They are on almost every product we buy, from food to clothes to electronics. We tend to take it for granted that this technology will be there to make our lives easier.  But have you ever wondered about the history of barcode technology and barcode scanners? Have you asked yourself: When was the barcode invented, and how did it become so ubiquitous? In this article, we’ll answer those questions and take a brief look at the history of this fascinating technology. What Is a Barcode? Let’s start by explaining what a barcode is. A barcode (often spelled as two words, ‘bar code’) is a machine-readable representation of data typically used to track inventory or products. Barcodes can be found on almost any consumer product today, from food items in the grocery store to books at the library.  Barcodes work by encoding data in a series of parallel lines of varying widths. The widths of the lines are read by a scanner, which converts them into digital data that a computer can process. Before we delve deeper into the barcode history, here are the most common types:  The Universal Product Code (UPC), used on almost all retail products in the United States The European Article Number (EAN), mainly used in Europe International Standard Book Number (ISBN) A Barcode Scanner A barcode scanner employs data capture technology to read barcodes on products in retail stores, identification cards, and postal mail. A typical scanner consists of three main components: an optical reader, a decoder, and a cable connecting the two.  The optical reader is the part of the product code scanner that "reads" the lines in a barcode by shining a light on it and converting the reflected light into an electrical signal. This signal is then sent to the decoder, which converts it into digital data that a computer can read. The First Barcode We’ll take you back to 1948, the year when the first barcode was invented and created by Bernard Silver, a graduate student at Drexel Institute of Technology in Philadelphia, and Norman Woodland, an inventor and a Drexel alumnus.  The two men came up with the idea while working on a project for a local supermarket chain, whose owner asked the institute for help in developing a way to read product information automatically during checkout. The barcode history timeline continues with Silver and Woodland realizing that a system of lines and spaces could be used to encode information that a machine could read. They got the idea from Morse code, which uses a series of dots and dashes to represent letters and numbers. The initial barcode was designed as a “bull’s eye” made up of a series of concentric circles. Silver and Woodland filed a patent for their invention in October 1949, but it was in 1952 that it was patented. However, a powerful 500-watt incandescent bulb they had built into it and a bulky oscilloscope didn’t make the system practical enough for commercial use.  Collins at Sylvania and KarTrak System The next figure in the turbulent history of barcodes was David Jarett Collins, an engineer at Sylvania Electric Products Inc. He was among the first to realize a need for an automated system to track and identify railroad cars. Working on a problem, he developed a KarTrak ACI (Automatic Car Identification) system in the 1960s.  The system used a pattern of blue and orange reflective stripes applied to the sides of railroad cars. A photoelectric sensor was used to read the stripes and could automatically identify a particular car as it went by.  Collins’s system is yet another piece of the puzzle that answers the question, “When was the barcode invented?” It was a much more efficient and upgraded version of the original Woodland-Silver barcode.  The new method soon became widely accepted and was set as the US standard in 1968. However, it was abandoned in the late 1970s due to technical difficulties, high costs, and poor read accuracy. A Gamechanger - The Introduction of Lasers Collins formed the Computer Identics Corporation in search of a new market for his barcode technology. This time he turned to helium-neon lasers, which were invented in 1960 by Theodore Maiman.  Lasers are, obviously, more precise than the 500-watt incandescent bulbs Silver and Woodland were using and can be focused into a very fine beam of light. This made them ideal for reading barcodes. Much before the first barcode scanner was invented, Collins incorporated a mirror that enabled the code to be reached from multiple angles, making things much easier and more reliable.  Collins and his Computer Identics Corporation installed the new barcode scanning system at a General Motors factory in Flint, Michigan, in 1969 to monitor the production of car axles. This marked the start of barcodes’ commercial journey. UPC Is Born After the successful installation at General Motors, the next step was to develop a system to be used on all products in a store. In 1966, the National Association of Food Chains (NAFC) formed a committee to develop such a system. RCA Corporation was among the committee’s members, and as it purchased the rights to the Woodland-Silver patent, it became one of the main players in the history of the barcode. However, the winner of the unique technology race was IBM, with its linear UPC (universal product code) system, which was ultimately selected as the NAFC standard instead of RCA’s bullseye code. The UPC was first scanned commercially on June 26, 1974, on packages of Wrigley’s chewing gum at a supermarket in Troy, Ohio. The barcode had finally arrived as the standard for product identification and tracking.  The UPC code consists of 12 digits, with the first six digits identifying the manufacturer, the next five identifying the product, and the last check digit used to verify that the barcode has been read correctly. The Usage of Barcodes Today Since the barcode invention and commercial deployment, retail has never been the same. Barcodes have become an integral part of our lives and are used in various ways.  We use them to track inventory, for security purposes, in libraries, print labels, and get information about a product. In addition, barcodes are utilized in many other industries, such as health care, manufacturing, and transportation. With the development of POS systems (point of sale), barcodes have become even more important, as they are used to price and track products at the time of purchase. In libraries, books’ ISBNs (international standard book numbers) are now barcodes used to keep track of inventory. Knowing barcodes’ origin, one could barely imagine their usage in hospitals. Yet barcodes are now printed on patients’ wristbands to help reduce medication errors. Barcoded tickets are also widely used at airports and concert venues to help keep track of people and prevent counterfeiting.  Indeed, barcodes have come a long way since their humble beginnings and continue evolving as our needs change. The Introduction of QR Codes In the 1990s, barcodes took another leap forward with the introduction of QR codes (also known as matrix-based 2D codes). QR stands for “quick response,” and these two-dimensional barcodes can store more information than traditional barcodes.  They contain the finder, alignment, and timing patterns that serve to determine the code’s orientation, distortion, and coordination.  When was the matrix barcode invented, then? The QR code history started with the Japanese corporation Denso Wave in 1994 when they were developed to track vehicles during the car manufacturing process at Toyota. In the beginning, they were simple 2D codes, but they continued to develop until the Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS) registered QR codes in 1999.  Later, new forms of the code were developed: In 2004, the world welcomed the first micro QR code that could be printed in a small space. Four years later, the iQR code enabled rectangular code modules and boasted 80% higher data capacity. Finally, FrameQR was developed in 2014 and brought a “canvas area” to the code. This allowed companies to add branding and design elements to their codes more freely. Thanks to those who invented the barcode, we can now use QR technology to store website URLs, contact information, and small amounts of text. It can also be used to trigger actions, such as opening a URL in your browser or adding a contact to your address book.  The Future of Barcodes As barcodes continue to evolve, we can expect to see even more uses for them in our everyday lives. Now that we know the answer to the “How long have barcodes been around?” question, we can only imagine what the future holds for this technology.  With the advent of cloud-based inventory management software, barcodes are becoming even more important for managing products and tracking inventory in real time, no matter where you are.  We are also likely to see more uses for QR codes as they become more widely adopted. So, whether you’re using a barcode to keep track of your inventory or scanning a QR code to get information about a product, there's no doubt that these little symbols are here to stay. Final Thoughts A combination of barcodes and barcode scanners is critical to managing inventory for businesses of all sizes, especially in the grocery industry. With a long history that dates back to 1948, barcodes have come a long way, and they continue to evolve as our needs change. Laser technology made it possible to read barcodes much faster, and the QR code was introduced in the 1990s to store even more information. Today, barcodes are used in many industries, such as health care, manufacturing, and transportation. We hope you won’t take them for granted the next time you see them. In this article, we explored who created the barcode and how its history brought it to its important place in business today.
By Danica Djokic · November 22,2022
Do you ever wonder how those little black-on-white lines can hold so much information? Or how do barcodes work, and why are they so important to businesses? In this article, we will explore the world of barcodes and learn how these simple markings can do so much. Stay tuned for an in-depth look at one of the essential pieces of technology in the modern world. What Is a Barcode? A barcode is a machine-readable code in the form of numbers and parallel lines printed on product packaging. Barcodes were first developed in the 1970s from an earlier idea based on Morse code. They have since become an essential tool for businesses of all sizes. Barcodes can be printed on labels or directly onto products and are read by scanners that are connected to a computer system. Barcodes are used extensively in retail and have helped streamline the checkout process. In addition, barcode technology can be used to track inventory levels and product movement throughout the supply chain. As barcodes become more ubiquitous, they are also being used in other industries, such as health care and manufacturing. How Does a Barcode Work? Barcodes are read by optical scanners that use a beam of light to scan the code. The scanner converts the light reflections into electrical impulses sent to a computer system. The computer system then decodes the impulses and translates them into the product information stored in the barcode.  What’s also important to note is that barcodes can store a large amount of information in a very small space. This means that businesses can track a variety of product data, such as price, color, and size. Types of Barcodes All barcodes can be split into two categories - linear and two-dimensional. Linear barcodes, also known as one-dimensional (1D) barcodes, are the most common type. They are composed of a series of parallel lines that represent numbers or other characters. Two-dimensional barcodes are less common but are becoming more popular due to their ability to store more information. These barcodes are composed of a series of dots or squares that can be read in two dimensions. Now, let’s take a closer look at the different barcode types. UPC The most common type of 1D barcode is the Universal Product Code (UPC). UPC barcodes are used extensively in the retail industry and can be found on nearly every product sold in a retail store.  The universal product code consists of 12 digits divided into two parts: The first six are the manufacturer’s identifier, and the last six are the product’s identifier. The UPC barcode is printed on every product sold in stores and is a vital part of the retail industry. Thanks to the UPC, retailers can efficiently track inventory and sales and ensure that customers get the right products. EAN Code The European Article Number (EAN) is another 1D barcode example used extensively in Europe. EANs are very similar to UPCs but have a few key differences.  EANs are composed of eight or 13 numbers depending on the product size. If the product is small, such as a book, it will have an 8-digit EAN. If the product is larger, such as a piece of furniture, it will have a 13-digit EAN. These numbers combine a country code, company code, and article number, while the last digit represents the check digit. EANs are often used on products sold internationally, as scanners in any country can read them. This makes them a vital part of the global supply chain. Data Matrix Code Data Matrix codes are 2D barcodes that can encode a large amount of data in a small space. They are made up of black and white squares that form a big square or rectangle and are used in industries where tracking and traceability are critical. These codes have a maximum encoding capacity of 3,116 numerical characters and 2,335 alphabetic characters. Each Data Matrix has its own perimeter finder and timing pattern, and they are made up of square or rectangular blocks of black and white cells. Data Matrix codes may store both large and small symbols. A barcode scanner can more easily read the code if there is a blank space around its perimeter. PDF417 Code PDF417 is a type of 2D barcode used to store information. The name stands for Portable Data File 417. PDF417 codes are used in various contexts, including but not limited to driver’s licenses, passports, and other identification documents.  The information stored in a PDF417 code can include text, numbers, and other data. These codes are read by scanning them with a barcode reader. The reader decodes the information, displays it on a screen, or prints it out.  PDF417 codes are also used in some financial transactions, such as mobile payments. In these cases, the code typically represents a unique identifier for the transaction. PDF417 codes have been used since the early 1990s and are now one of the most common barcode types. QR Code QR codes are becoming increasingly popular, especially as a way of sharing information or accessing content quickly and easily. But what exactly is a QR code? Simply put, a QR code is a two-dimensional barcode that can be read by a smartphone or other devices with a camera.  When scanned, the QR code will direct the device to a specific website or online content. QR codes can be used for various purposes, including sharing contact information, providing directions, or linking to a video or social media account.  Businesses have also begun using QR codes to offer customers special deals or promotions. While QR codes are most commonly used with phones, they can also be scanned with laptops and tablets. So, the next time you see a QR code, go ahead and give it a try. Benefits of Using Barcodes Barcodes have become essential to modern life, appearing on everything from groceries to library books. While they may seem like a simple way to handle inventory tracking, barcodes offer businesses various financial benefits. Here are some of the key benefits of using barcode systems: Improved accuracy: Barcodes can be read quickly and accurately, which reduces the chances of human error. This is especially important for businesses that need to track a large number of items. Reduced costs: Using barcodes can help businesses save money on labor costs associated with inventory management. Barcodes can also be used to automate the ordering process, which can lead to further cost savings. So if you’re unsure how to use a barcode system, consider hiring a professional to help get you started. Faster transactions: Barcodes can be read quickly, which helps speed up transactions. This is especially beneficial for businesses that experience high volumes of traffic, such as supermarkets and department stores. Improved customer service: Barcodes can help businesses keep track of sales data and customer purchase history. This information can be used to improve marketing efforts and customize the shopping experience for individual customers. Improved security: Barcodes can be used to track products and prevent theft. This is especially important for businesses that sell high-value items or handle sensitive information. As you can see, barcodes offer a variety of financial benefits for businesses, large and small. How Does a Barcode Scanner Work? A barcode scanner is a device that can read and interpret barcodes. It encodes the data from the barcode into a form that a computer can read. The computer then uses this data to look up information about the product, such as the price, in a database. Barcode scanners come in various shapes and sizes, but they all work using the same basic principle. So, how are barcodes read? A barcode scanner contains a light source, a photosensor, and an electronic decoder.  The light source is used to illuminate the barcode. The photosensor is used to detect the reflected light from the barcode. The electronic decoder is used to interpret the data encoded in the barcode. Barcode scanners can be handheld or fixed. Handheld barcode scanners are portable devices that can be held in one hand while scanning barcodes. Fixed barcode scanners are mounted on stands or other surfaces and are used to scan barcodes placed within the scanner’s range. Barcode scanners are commonly used in retail settings for pricing and inventory control. However, barcode scanners can also be used for other purposes, such as tracking assets or collecting data. Final Thoughts Barcodes are essential to many businesses, helping track inventory and product movement throughout the supply chain. By understanding how they work, you can ensure you’re making the most out of them. There are different barcode types, so choose the one that best suits your needs.
By Nikolina Cveticanin · November 21,2022

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