10 Website No-No’s for Internet Tea Stores

With the move toward shopping online, especially for such things as tea, having a good online presence can be the only thing between you and a customer. Making a really good site that reflects truly who you are and why those customers should buy your products instead of clicking away to another site is absolutely essential, yet so easy to spoil.

Gorgeous photos like this one do not a good tea web site make.
Gorgeous photos like this one do not a good tea web site make.

Here are some no-no’s for the truly professional tea store site, things that can get people to click away faster than you can say “tea bag”:

  1. Misspellings — Yes, I said misspellings. No, we’re not talking spelling bees here, but if your site is peppered with things like “infooser” or “Darjelling” it can give customers the impression that their orders will get the same lack of attention to detail.
  2. Scant info about you — No “About Us” page or one that gives no useful info about you and your company can make some customers reluctant to deal with you. While we all know that we have to be careful about personal information we put online, having little or none makes it seem that your company is not legitimate, or that it is really a front for some larger company trying to look like a small vendor. A “Contact Us” page or section is also essential. Who wants to order from a company that is shrouded in mystery and has no way, not even an email address, to contact them for more information on their products and/or their company before ordering? Not me.
  3. Design overkill — Flashy design that’s hard to navigate through (Arizona Tea is a good example here) with things animating and/or popping up when you mouse over them.
  4. Broken links — Almost impossible to avoid and the bane of any web site owner’s existence, links that go to the wrong place or that pop up one of those “page not found” messages definitely say that this site isn’t all that important to you.
  5. Under construction or blank pages — Your site should never never never have these. They are so old school as in the early days of web site design, and they were a really bad idea then.
  6. Too much focus on the photos — Beautiful photography that ends up overwhelming the customer does not increase sales. Remember that the photos are there first and foremost to present your products truthfully to the customer.
  7. Overly sensitive click areas — Large linked areas so that the user ends up clicking and going somewhere they don’t want to directs your customers away from where they want to be and can lose a sale.
  8. Inconsistent menu display — “Now you see it, now you don’t” is fun for games but frustrating to customers trying to navigate through your site. Menu bars and “breadcrumb trails” will help here.

A great way to navigate a site: breadcrumb trail

  1. Functionality that doesn’t function — This is especially true of your shopping cart feature. You may think this is a no-brainer with all of the shopping site setup applications out there, but it happens more than I care to think about. Test, test, and test again before launching the site, and keep checking it to be sure it’s still working.
  2. Insufficient/inaccurate product information —Unsubstantiated health claims are the worst, but the next one is a description that says “black tea” or “green tea” or something like “flavored with a mix of spices.” Food allergies abound, so you could be turning away potential sales. No one is asking you to give away your secret formula, but saying that your tea is Ceylon black with cinnamon and a dash of vanilla won’t be a real recipe revealer.

In addition to these no-no’s is the big issue of poor customer service. I try to assess how customers will be treated by the companies who send me their samples to try. For example, if a company emails me to ask if I want samples and I respond with yes and my mailing address and then they don’t send anything or contact me in any way whatsoever after that, it tells me that ordering from them will probably not be the best experience either. If they do send samples and they are the wrong ones, it can indicate that order filling accuracy is a low priority.

Hope these tips help you assure that your web site is a plus for you!

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

9 thoughts on “10 Website No-No’s for Internet Tea Stores

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  4. Thomas Roberts

    Perhaps it’s just my “old age”…..but I just wish the shipping method was a bit more clear. If I’m wanting UPS and not USPS, I’d like it to be very clear that I don’t have to wait for weeks for the post office to deliver my product that I’m anxiously awaiting. BTW…I love the “English Tea store!

    1. A.C. Cargill

      I agree, Thomas, that shipping methods should be clearly shown. I get my stuff via USPS and usually as fast as UPS and FedEx but without worrying that it will be left on the doorstep in a rainstorm or stolen by a neighbor or passerby (has happened). Thanks for reading!

  5. Well said. For general business strategy as well as online presence, I’d also say have a product selection that sets you apart from the masses of other tea sellers.

  6. Good advice, esp for small businesspeople who don’t think a website is all that important. If I may, I would also add that when testing to test across platforms. Your site may be beautiful in IE but bounces around bizarrely, or simply doesn’t work, in Firefox. Just sayin’ …

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