While ecommerce is a highly profitable industry, it is not easy to sell products online. There is tremendous competition out there and your website must really be very good, in order to be successful.
The primary goal of your ecommerce website is to attract maximum number of customers and increase conversion rates, but this does not happen if your site is committing mistakes that are driving online shoppers crazy.
From placing the wrong image next to a product to complicated checkout and unnecessary popups – every single mistake on an ecommerce site will cost you loyal customers, as well as, a huge amount of money.
Go through the following ecommerce mistakes that websites tend to make and know how to avoid them:
Sub-Par Product Descriptions
You may have a website with the best products and great images to support the claim – “Hey! We have the best stock in town.” But what if your product descriptions fail to describe your products to visitors? They have no other way of knowing what the products is all about. This is a huge downer for those who shop virtually.
In fact, I have seen many websites where they had descriptions that did not match with the products displayed on the page and websites where products had no description at all. As a customer, I will never risk a virtual purchase if I don’t have proper knowledge about the product(s).
I am sure all other customers will echo my sentiment. The solution here is to work towards writing great product copy for all your products, which can influence your customers to take a call to action.
Including Out of Stock Items
Imagine a scenario, where an online shopper meticulously applies filters present on an online store to purchase products only to find out that the items were ‘Out of Stock’. It has happened with me, when I wanted to order a box set of my favorite author’s books that was available at a discounted rate.
Just as I opened the product page, I was greeted with a “sorry, this product is out of stock right now” message. What did I do? Turn to another website because I really wanted to purchase that box set at that particular time. You don’t want this to happen with your site right?
As a rule, if any of your products are out of stock, make it a point to stop displaying them in search results or on category pages. Another option is to add a badge on the product image, which clearly states that the product is not available for now. If you still want to display the items so that the end-users can save them in their wish list, give them an option in the filter itself – ‘Include out of stock items’.
Providing Bad/Wrong Product Photographs
Nothing, I repeat, nothing increases the bounce rates on your ecommerce website more than misguiding users with wrong or bad product photographs. It is understandable that the colors of some products might not completely match their images uploaded on the website. But then you should check whether the image you are using, represents the right product or not.
I mean, if it is a ‘Blue and Green dress’ then the image should be that of a dress in Blue and Green not Red and White! Or if it is a ‘Plastic water container’, then the image should not be that of ‘Steel planters’. These are not mere technical glitches but serious issues that need to be worked upon at the earliest if you do not want to add to the bounce rate of your website.
Talking about the size of the product image, choose large ones with different angles that can give your audience an idea about the prints, colors and even materials of the product. If you are using smaller images, then use Zoom facility to let your end-users get the best idea for themselves.
Not Having Mobile-Friendly Website
A large amount of traffic to ecommerce sites comes from mobile users. According to a survey, 80% of users worldwide use their mobile devices to carry out activities on the internet, which also includes shopping on ecommerce websites. Hence, it goes without saying that you need to have a mobile optimized version of your ecommerce site that offers your users a great shopping experience. Go for a minimalist and intuitive interface with easy navigation, which will pave the way for a great shopping experience on small screens of smartphones and tablets for your end-users.
Tricky Site Navigation
Online shopping is all about giving users a satisfying experience. Users expect a seamless purchase experience when they arrive at a particular site to buy a product. One of the ways to ensure this is to make your menus intuitive. Design them in such a way that your target users can easily go from one page to another with minimum number of clicks. Breadcrumb navigation is a rage these days and works really well with ecommerce site design as it shows hierarchy, reduces clutter, is easy to backtrack and visually appealing. Incorporate it in your website and I am sure you will have no problems in acquiring and retaining customers.
Compelling Users to Register
Constantly urging first time visitors to register on your website is a big mistake that many ecommerce websites continue to make. Some of them go as far as compelling the users to register first in order to make a purchase. This is a big turnoff for many customers who wouldn’t necessarily want to register to buy just one product. Or, the customer might not have the time and would like to make a purchase first and register at leisure. Whatever the case, you should never force your target audience to register on your website; you must allow them to shop as a guest. Also, make provisions for the guests to save items in their shopping cart so that they can come back later and complete the purchase.
‘No Results’ Upon Searching
‘No Results’ message is the ‘404 Not Found’ of ecommerce sites. Don’t give customers a blank page that might stall their shopping and turn them away from your site for good. Instead, suggest alternatives to their search. For instance, if a customer searches for ‘Black pendant in gold chain’ and your site has no such product in the inventory, suggest other necklaces on the same lines. Maybe, suggesting a ‘Black pendant with silver chain’ can help both their cause and yours. This takes quite a lot of effort, but in the end, it is all about converting your leads into sales and is worth that effort.
Unnecessary Popups Everywhere
Popups are outdated and nobody is really a fan of them. No one wants to fill out surveys, subscribe to newsletters, get discounts on deals they are never going to use or enter their contact details without judging the credibility of your website first. So, avoid greeting your visitors with popups of any sort on your website. There are many more ways to guarantee call-to-action from your users. But bombarding them with popups is definitely not one of them. You can always use your sidebar for this purpose.
Complex Checkout Process
As per a report, “retailers lose $18 billion annually due to shopping cart abandonment”. A confusing or a complex checkout process escalates the rate of shopping cart abandonment. This directly translates to lower conversion ratios. To avoid such huge losses, you need to keep the checkout process simple for customers. Use minimum fields and display all vital information on the same page if possible. Some customers do have coupon codes with them, which they forget to apply at the time of checkout. Hence, don’t forget to clearly display the field for Coupon Code on the checkout page. Do not forget to display a confirmation page with tracking update as the summary, once your customer has checked out.
Not Displaying Essential Information Beforehand
Online shoppers get the shock of their lives when they view added shipping costs or delivery charges at the time of checking out and not before that. This is another reason why they tend to abandon a shopping cart just before they were about to make a purchase. Don’t do this. Always make it a point to display shipping charges on the product page or include the cost in the product cost itself. This will save them some nasty surprises during checkout.
Apart from shipping charges, you also need to make it a point to display other essential information such as Shipping and Return policies, Exchange policies and Customer Care number to name a few. Usually, websites have such information listed in the bottom fold of their website. As an alternative, you can also put them together under the FAQs link. Remember, when customers don’t get access to this information, they tend to see red and leave with a negative impression of your website. Avoid this mistake at all costs.
These are just some of the ecommerce mistakes that annoy online shoppers. If your site has these grey areas at present, it is high time you sort it out. Give your users the best experience by eliminating such follies and you will see a steady improvement in your conversion ratios. What do you think? Do you know about other mistakes that turn away potential customers from making a purchase decision? Share them with us.
Author Bio: John Siebert is the President and CEO of Tranquil Blue – Tampa Web Design Company that focuses on all kind of website design, mobile app development and search engine marketing.
Feature image curtsey of Zach Graham