interactivated blog

magento & ecommerce

The Most Common E-Commerce Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Running offline retail is hard, and despite common misconceptions, running an online store is even harder. While there are no in-store operations or rent costs involved, e-commerce has its own rules and immense competition. Data shows that only 10% of newly emerging e-commerce businesses manage to stay afloat after four months. The other 90% fail, and most of them make the same mistakes.

In this guide, we’ll share 10 of the most common mistakes e-commerce businesses make, and provide tips on avoiding them. Some are easily fixable on your own, while others require thorough research and professional help. Read on to find out how to join the 10% of successful e-commerce business owners.

1. Choosing the Wrong Platform

One of the first steps to building an e-store is choosing an e-commerce platform. However, many beginner entrepreneurs fail before they even manage to launch the business by choosing the wrong CMS. There are several reasons for this:

  • Unappealing site design with poorly showcased products
  • Inability to customize the design to your needs
  • Unscalable store
  • Complicated content management
  • Complicated extension integration
  • Too high costs
  • Lack of shipping and payment options

The list goes on. To avoid this mistake, conduct thorough research before building your store. And if you already own one, it’s never too late to move to a different platform. A perfect e-commerce system should be customizable and feature an appealing product catalog, easily controllable, offer plenty of extensions and integrations, and stay within your budget.

2. Choosing Unscalable Site Design

Today, your business may be small. But if you don’t utilize scalable site design, you won’t enjoy future growth. Naturally, you can move the store to a different site template when needed, but this results in extra costs. Some of the characteristics of an unscalable site design include lack of available integrations, no multilanguage support, limited product number.

To avoid this mistake, you should think big from the very beginning. Choose an e-commerce platform that supports multiple languages, offers different pricing plans with the option to upgrade, and plenty of tools to grow and improve your store.

3. Poor Navigation and Search

Studies show that 38% of users stop engaging with a website if the layout is unattractive. This includes navigation. Most businesses have a standard pattern on websites. If you don’t utilize UX when designing your store, your visitors may get lost. Generally, users view sites in an F-shaped pattern, looking at the upper left corner first, then upper right, then bottom left and bottom right. If you place your site’s navigation to the bottom right corner, you’ll confuse visitors. Nonsensical or messy categories are another reason for poor user experience.

Poor Navigation and Search

Many shoppers already know what they’re looking for when coming to your site. A poorly optimized search may prevent people from finding what they came for, even if you actually sell that item.

To ensure the usability of your site, utilize the best UI and UX design practices when building it and create meaningful categorization. The store’s search engine should be optimized for informal language and tolerable to spelling mistakes. Your users should never see a “zero search results” page.

4. Mandatory Sign Up

Stats show that 34% of e-commerce site visitors abandon their carts due to mandatory sign up. People don’t want to share their personal information, receiving spammy promotion e-mails, or spending time registering. No matter what their reasoning is, the store’s intention is most likely to gain loyal customers. However, this can be done in better ways than leaving customers no choice. You may make account creation during checkout optional or offer some benefit to sign up, for instance, a discount.

5. Not Defining Your Target Audience

A product or design that will be appreciated by every single person in the world doesn’t exist. Every offer has a certain target audience and failing to define it may lead to business failure. Your store should be tailored to the needs and preferences of a specific consumer group rather than trying to appeal to everyone but no one in particular.

To find your target audience, you should conduct market research. Analytics extensions are of great help here, too. The next step is to develop a marketing strategy focused on your audience and communicate your offer the right way.

6. Not Utilizing Analytics

Studies show that companies using analytics for data-driven decision-making are 23 times more likely to attract customers. Analytics extensions provide you insights into your customer behavior, preferences, and shopping patterns. This information helps to personalize the offerings, promote and price the products correctly. Analytics tools also help to manage the operating costs and maximize store performance. The core objective here is to define the goal of gathering data and draw the right assumptions from it.

7. Only Operating via One Channel

Omnichannel marketing becomes a necessity rather than an option. Consumers are seeking seamless navigation and communication between a brand’s social media, online and offline stores, customer service, and other channels.

Assume you only use SEO on your site to reach new audiences. This not only limits your discoverability but also doesn’t let people follow your brand’s news and contact you efficiently. But if you also actively develop your social channels, customers following them will get constant marketing alerts that improve your brand’s recognition. Furthermore, younger generation shoppers prefer to contact customer service via social media rather than phone or email.

Utilize UX best practices and A/B testing to ensure your customers can follow a clear and obvious path between different channels. You should also pay equal attention to different channel development and ensure the information and offerings are consistent across them.

8. Pricing Products Without Research and High Extra Costs

Stats indicate that 55% of shopping cart abandonments happen due to too high additional costs and 21% due to unclear pricing. Your pricing should reflect the value of your product and be competitive. The out-the-door cost is no less important, so ensure you offer adequate shipping options and tax is calculated correctly. Some business owners think that if a customer has already made their way to the payment page, “surprise fees” won’t change anything. However, they lay a foundation of mistrust between you and potential buyers and reduce customer retention.

Pricing Products Without Research and High Extra Costs

To avoid this mistake, conduct competitor research and utilize analytics extensions to keep track of sales and promotion effectiveness. Analyze how product sales change depending on minor price fluctuations, seasonality, and additional costs. Ensure you use the right pricing model for your industry. For instance, dynamic pricing may be great for the tourism industry but completely unusable for essential goods.

9. Too Much Advertisement or Poor Ad Design

Advertisement comes in different forms: promotion e-mails, static banners, pop-up banners, social ads. There’s nothing wrong with any of these ad types if you don’t overdo things. Too much advertising scares customers away, especially if you overuse flashy pop-up banners that hamper site usability.

Promotions are made to boost your sales, so ensure your marketing efforts don’t ruin them. The ad design should align with your overall site appearance. The promotion must present a clear value proposition and call to action. Don’t place multiple pop-up banners on the same page, as customers won’t spend time closing each one to check out your offerings. It’s best not to use third-party ads on a branded website. Such ads undermine brand recognition and may not align with your store’s identity and message.

10. Site Not Optimized for Mobile Devices

Mobile optimization is crucial both for SEO and user experience. Stats show that 85% of consumers expect a business site to be as good on a mobile as it is on a desktop. User-friendly and fast-loading mobile stores face greater customer retention. Furthermore, search engines today prefer mobile-optimized sites and generally rank them higher in result pages.

Your store’s template must be easy to use for visitors with larger fingers and feature readable fonts. All site elements should be reachable with a thumb when holding a phone in one hand. The swiping must be simple and tolerable to accidental taps. However, a responsive site template isn’t enough to ensure your site is mobile optimized correctly. You should also pay attention to page speed, support of visual elements, and security protocols. You can check whether your site is compliant with Google’s back and front-end mobile optimization requirements here.

Analyze, Define, Improve

There are plenty of points to keep in mind when building an e-commerce site, which may be overwhelming. Hopefully, our guide has helped you not only spot issues with your store but also fix them. Some of the mistakes, however, require a professional hand to conduct analysis and implement the necessary tools correctly. Our mission is to collaborate with your team to help you improve your store’s usability, design, and performance. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation or with any questions.

By interactivated • on December 30, 2021

Contact Us
Get in touch with a specialist
Herestraat 106, 9711LM,
Groningen (Netherlands)
+31 (0)50 711 9940
VAT: NL 852998521B01
Chamber of Commerce: 58348646
Eastern Europe
Calle Jabea 18, 29631,
Benalmádena Costa (Malaga)

* Required Fields