Common ECommerce Mistakes to Avoid: How to prevent and fix common ecommerce errors

Ecommerce is a trillion dollar market, with an estimated 12 million stores worldwide (minimum! Some accounts estimate the presence of more than 20 million stores), but even with the staggering number of stores and sales there are a few basic and common errors ecommerce owners continue to make. Here’s how to learn from the best and actually get a share of that trillion dollar pie.

Mistake #1: Not having a mobile responsive site
Shopify estimates more than half of ecommerce shoppers shop on mobile, and there is nothing more frustrating than navigating a site that isn’t mobile-friendly, even if the rest of your stars are aligned.

Fix it: If you’re using a templated site, make sure the theme you’re using is mobile-friendly and include testing mobile responsiveness (e.g. switching images, reviewing the layout of products) in your testing. If you’re using a custom-coded site, work closely with your designer and web developer to ensure your mobile site is user-friendly and conveys the same personality your desktop version does.

Mistake #2: Insufficient, incorrect or subpar product information
Remember that shoppers are giving up the tactile ability to inspect products when shopping online, so ensure you have sufficient and compelling information for them to make their decisions.

Fix it: Here’s a quick checklist of product information a quality site should have.
• Display only high-quality images
• Show multiple angles which are large enough to zoom in on to see detail
• Don’t use stock descriptions – this hurts your SEO rankings. Instead, write actionable content that includes tactile descriptions shoppers look for: what makes this product different? Where and how is it made? How does it feel? Include dimensions, material, and care details
• If you retail clothing, include the model’s sizing information
• If your product comes in multiple colours, ensure the image display matches the product option
• Don’t underestimate the power of online reviews: more than 50% of shoppers report reading reviews before purchasing a product

Mistake #3: Lack of SEO strategy
When you’re selling online, every word counts. Not thinking about how people will find you – through search engines, online ads, specific keywords etc. can severely hamper the traffic to your site. Remember that search engine optimisation is largely keywords but also more than that: look into how your site is built and how images are tagged.

Fix it: Begin with a comprehensive keyword strategy and optimise your alternative image text to capitalise on valuable keyword data.

Mistake #4: Using unnecessary pop-ups
We all know building a database is integral to long-term success, but nobody likes to be greeted with a pop-up immediately upon landing on a site. More than 55% of visitors will leave your site in 15 seconds, so use those 15 seconds wisely by building a compelling landing page with a comprehensive navigation menu.

Fix it: Schedule your pop-up (if any) at the 15 second mark and ensure it only comes up once and not on every page.

Mistake #5: A complicated checkout process
Retailers lose more than 18 billion annually due to abandoned carts, and having a complex checkout process with multiple pages or where visitors are surprised by certain fees significantly increases the likelihood of abandoned carts.

Fix it: Streamline your checkout process by using minimum fields on a single page. Coupon code fields should be displayed on the same checkout page, and ensure you have a confirmation page with tracking updates once the customer has checked out. Also make sure to offer the option of checking out as a guest – making customers create an account with you increases buyer hesitation.

Mistake #6: Absence of a blog or content marketing strategy
Product features are a great way of improving your organic search volume. While maintaining a blog does require prior planning and time, having more internal links will improve your SEO ranking while providing useful content to shoppers and introduce new shoppers to your site.

Fix it: Create gift guides, product upkeep posts (e.g. how to care for your cashmere sweater), and use articles to fit in information you would like to include in product descriptions but can’t due to space constraints. Remember to utilise internal links, or better yet, incorporate a ‘buy now’ product function. Make sure to update your product pages with links to your content – users are twice as likely to buy a product after reading a blog post on it.

Mistake #7: Lack of social media presence
Users want information: lots of it and quickly too. Having a poor social media account (with little following or no updates) will dampen your store’s credibility. A common mistake among eager storeowners is thinking you can reach more potential shoppers through different social media accounts, but we recommended building your following on one or two channels first.

Fix it: Instagram is a great extension of your ecommerce platform; it also currently has the highest rate of conversion with shoppers. Think of the channel as a catalogue of what you offer and what the brand stands for. Here’s an overview of the different social media platforms and best practice tips.

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