In this article, I consider some common eCommerce mistakes businesses involved in eCommerce make. These eCommerce mistakes concern some quite fundamental aspects of eCommerce. A good understanding of these issues should assist you with an overall eCommerce business strategy and place your company on the path to success.
Frequently asked questions from marketers:
- What are the five most common mistakes when integrating a CRM with eCommerce platforms?
- What are eCommerce SEO mistakes, and how to fix them?
- Eighteen eCommerce mistakes on Shopify: how to avoid them?
- What can be wrong if I choose a bad platform for an online store?
- Which usability mistakes frequently occur in eCommerce?
- Do common mistakes affect conversions in eCommerce?
- What mistakes do novice online store owners make?
Let’s look at some of the mistakes a small business can make when ordering an eCommerce store.
What is eCommerce?
Ecommerce means transactions or business carried out electronically on the Internet, such as buying and selling goods and services. One of the most obvious forms of eCommerce is online shopping conducted by consumers to businesses (b2c) or between businesses (b2b).
Why is it important to get the eCommerce strategy right?
It is no secret that consumer behaviors have evolved in recent years as more people have turned to the Internet to do business in place of, or in addition to, traditional methods. The success of some well-known online marketplaces has contributed to this trend and attracted shoppers for reasons – from convenience to bargain hunting.
With research showing that approximately 81% of consumers go online before heading out to the store, it is clear that having an online presence is a vital marketing and sales eCommerce strategy for any business in current times. There are benefits that both businesses and consumers can achieve from eCommerce with the right digital marketing strategy. But there are pitfalls if it is wrongly chosen.
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So, here are the 18 common eCommerce mistakes and a short guide on how to avoid making the same eCommerce mistakes:
1. Poor search engine optimization
I have written extensively on search engine optimization (SEO), and its importance for online businesses cannot be overemphasized. SEO refers to various techniques enabling web pages to rank highly on search engine pages and generate website traffic. You must optimize the website and all the individual web pages for search engines.
As more and more people go online to research and make purchases, these potential customers must find businesses online. Interesting research revealed that a whopping 43% of eCommerce traffic comes from Google searches, which is a very good reason to take SEO seriously.
I explain some simple SEO tactics you could adopt for maximum benefit in our blog. One example is identifying what keywords or phrases target customers are likely to use when searching the Internet. You then need to optimize a website by using these keywords in phrases and regularly uploading content containing relevant terms, such as blogs and articles. Also, be sure to optimize the website to be accessed on mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones.
2. Slow-loading web pages
Now when customers have moved to the website, it is a really big turn-off for them that it takes ages to load.
Some quite interesting statistics show how a slow-loading web page can affect eCommerce business. According to research:
- 39% of consumers stop trying to access a website if it takes too long to load.
- 47% of customers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less.
- A quick-loading web page is important for the continued loyalty of 52% of online shoppers.
- 14% of consumers will begin shopping at another site, and 23% will stop shopping or walk away from their computers.
It isn’t surprising that consumers give up after some time trying to access a website. But, if you think about it, people are attracted by the ease and convenience of transacting online. Unfortunately, the longer it takes for a site to load, the more likely people are to lose patience and look elsewhere. As a result, a business will be losing customers, which is not what you want!
3. Too many products, no clear eCommerce niche
Imagine physically walking into a store selling so many different products without any clear theme connecting these items. You walk into a showroom selling cars only to find they sell other products like pet supplies, hardware, beauty products, school uniforms – the list could go on! Or maybe you are involved in affiliate marketing, and you stockpile sites with such affiliate links reviewing tons of products and services, some of which may conflict with each other.
This immediately creates a branding issue for businesses. Consumers can become confused about what you, as an online retail business, stand for and where your expertise lies. As a result, consumers can easily lose confidence in such an arrangement, which could ultimately cost you that valuable sale.
Suppose you are interested in offering a wide range of products and services. In that case, it is best to consider what categories these fall into and think of setting up a different website for any product or service that does not fit.
4. Poor-quality images
Aesthetics is very important when running an eCommerce business, especially related to clothes, vehicles, or hardware.
Since consumers cannot try on items of interest or feel the fabric before purchasing, you must provide pictures that fulfill these objectives as much as possible.
Poor-quality images, which may be blurred or grainy, are less likely to be as persuasive as clear, sharp, and colorful pictures. The number of pictures you upload is important, especially when you provide zoomed-in images or ones taken under different lighting or weather conditions.
5. Poor product descriptions
Most eCommerce consumers generally know what they are looking for before they start their online search. A consumer who searches for an all-in-one printer and scanner is looking for an item that fits that description. Therefore, the way you describe the product is one important reason why a consumer will choose to buy the all-in-one printer and scanner you offer rather than the one your competitors are selling.
Your grammar should be free from error, and the language and tone should suit the audience. You want to cover the technical stuff like the item’s specification in sufficient detail but rather emphasize how the consumer will benefit from the product.
6. Poor customer service
Poor customer service can be a deal-breaker. No matter how user-friendly the website is and how well it ticks all the other boxes, if customers do not have a good experience when communicating with you, that could cost you a sale or prevent customers from returning to the site in the future.
It’s worth having a clear contact page and a procedure for receiving communication from consumers and responding promptly. The same applies to the return and refund policy. Some sites make it very easy to make a purchase but then have a complex return and refund policy (or worse, no policy at all) which can be quite frustrating. And this is definitely a great eCommerce mistake.
7. Poor marketing eCommerce strategy
Running an online business is, in ways, similar to running a physical one. As with most businesses, making sales takes time and effort, and a marketing strategy is a key to ensuring this happens. It is a mistake to think that customers will find stores, buy products, and remain loyal with minimal effort from you.
A marketing strategy will usually be poor if it is not suitable for the targeted audience. An example could be opting not to use social media to market products when the products you sell are mainly used by people who consume social media.
8. Insufficient shipping options
The competition for customers online can be intense, giving eCommerce businesses an advantage by providing a wide range of shipping options at the checkout. Shipping options could include increasing free shipping to more expensive shipping, usually when offered a shorter delivery time. Failing to do this could be costly.
9. Insufficient payment options
Similarly, restricting payment options to paying by cheque only, for example, could be equally costly. Bear in mind, consumers who shop online are usually attracted by the convenience and speed of online eCommerce transactions.
A good step will be to include a range of much quicker payment methods.
10. You’re making a mistake being unaware of rules and hidden costs
If you decide to trade via an online marketplace rather than on your website, familiarize yourself with the rules and costs that come with many of these eCommerce platforms.
There are usually rules about what you can sell, how you describe products, deadlines for paying invoices, and others. Failing to observe the rules could lead to accounts being suspended or closed. It would help if you considered whether it is profitable to trade on these online retail platforms regarding the fees and other costs of using these eCommerce solutions.
11. Poor understanding of the target audience
Do not know who your potential buyer is? – Your big mistake. Without a clear understanding of the target audience and their needs and pains, the eCommerce business will not grow. Targeting a broad audience boosts your brand awareness but does not generate the desired conversions. To increase sales, you should direct all marketing efforts to those personas who are highly likely to buy from you. Therefore, you need a clear picture of what your exact target audience is. Mind their location, age, gender, social status, occupation, industry, income level, interests, etc.
The more you know about the potential customers you want to target, the more successful your business will be and the more conversions you will get.
12. Choosing the wrong eCommerce platform
Suppose you’ve chosen the wrong eCommerce platform. What does this mistake mean to you?
- First of all, it is a loss of competitive advantages on the market. Different eCommerce platforms offer different capabilities. Therefore, in case you come across a limited functionality, you will find it difficult to stand out among competitors.
- Second. Your business is growing. The market needs are changing. And your legacy technologies are becoming outdated if the preferred eCommerce platform cannot adjust to the current changes in the market. Under such circumstances, you will not be able to meet your business goals.
- Third. You will face possible issues with instability and performance of your eCommerce website that will result in poor UX.
Therefore, businesses must be careful with such a mistake and choose the right eCommerce platform capable of achieving the set goals.
13. Avoid this mistake – an unattractive eCommerce website design
It is common among Internet users to judge a website’s credibility based on its design since this is the first thing they notice when they load a page. If they see poor design cluttered with ads, hyperlinks, and superfluous or even repeated elements, they are highly likely to leave your site. Another point is when you primarily offer a registration form to users who have not had enough time to examine the website. By insisting on an immediate registration, you would ensure poor UX. Thus, you may make a great mistake and scare away potential customers.
Therefore, a professional business website must be well-designed, well-structured, and well-fitted with only the necessary elements.
14. The eCommerce mistake related to the lack of customer reviews
Think for yourself: would you prefer buying from a site with enough customer reviews or one with none? The answer is obvious. This is why reviews are important for a good eCommerce website.
Let us say customer reviews create social proof of your brand’s authority, credibility, and quality. People share their experiences related to your brand, impacting the choice of potential customers whether to buy or not to buy from you.
So, it is general practice to look into the reviews left by the brand’s customers before purchasing.
15. No trust signals – another eCommerce mistake
To get sales, you must first earn your potential customers’ trust. This is what you need trust signals for. Such elements as seals of approval, trust marks (privacy & security seals), affiliations, third-party ratings, messaging & credibility design help:
- build trust towards your brand;
- invoke the feeling of security;
- reduce the possible feeling of risk.
The absence of trust signals sows doubt among your website’s visitors and impacts their purchasing decision. Use them to increase the trustworthiness of your eCommerce website and get more sales.
16. No strong brand message or identity
A successful eCommerce brand ought to have strong, clear messaging and identity. People will hardly remember you without a creative, memorable name, recognizable logo, and exclusive brand style.
Without an understanding of who your target audience is, you will not be able to offer an efficient UVP or translate values that resonate with your TA. You need something to stand out with and thus be memorable instead of copying competitors. Be cohesive in your messaging and ensure thought leadership for your brand.
17. Another mistake to avoid – no guest checkout
By allowing a guest checkout on your eCommerce website, you not only accelerate buying processes but also ensure great UX for potential customers. This all is because purchasing via guest checkout:
- saves time and effort as there is no need for users to waste them on entering their credentials to create an account or log in;
- ensures security as buyers’ payment details are not saved;
- does not require any commitment from a buyer.
On the other hand, since you do not save one’s purchasing history, you will not be able to retarget them for new purchases. This looks like a downside for merchants but not a big one. Besides, you can always offer buyers to create an account after purchasing.
18. Overuse of pop-ups as a common mistake
Pop-ups are kind of triggers of certain desired user behavior. Therefore, their usage is crucial, but it should be wise. Overusing pop-ups may easily scare away visitors from your eCommerce website instead of converting them into sales. So, if a pop-up is used wisely, it will contribute to high UX; if not – it will spoil it to the extent that a visitor may leave a website without any desire or intention ever to come back.
Not to let that happen, be accurate and thoughtful when setting up pop-ups. Mind the duration of time when they pop up for the first time after loading a page and when they re-occur to the same visitor after closing. It is also widely recommended to leverage special marketing automation tools such as Omnisend, for instance. Their features will help you avoid making common eCommerce mistakes.
Above, I described 18 common eCommerce mistakes that prevent visitors from adding a product to their shopping cart and making a purchase. I hope you have learned the lesson from this overview and will avoid making the same mistakes.
We offer a wide range of products and services tailored specifically to eCommerce businesses here, at Plerdy. Contact us today to discuss options.