8 Critical eCommerce Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Online

Illustration by Praveen Thakur via Dribbble

Running a business is a serpentine with unavoidable roadblocks and hurdles that are likely to test both your patience and resolve. Even with a countless number of tools, solid expertise, and a professional team behind your back, there are still many things that can go wrong while creating and managing an online store.

Therefore, in this post, you will find out the most commonly made mistakes by eCommerce entrepreneurs that you’d surely want to avoid when selling online. In order to make things clear, we’ve backed up each point with brand examples to showcase how things can be done right.

8 Commonly eCommerce Mistakes to Avoid

Mistake #1: Choosing the Wrong eCommerce Platform

It does not matter how big your business is, an eCommerce platform can make it or break it. As such, a CMS not only determines how your products will be showcased but also contributes to both customer retention and attraction strategies, as well as rules a possible level of your site scalability.

Even though cutting down expenses by choosing the cheapest option seems lucrative, this decision will likely have negative consequences over a long-term horizon.

With an eCommerce platform that mismatches customers’ needs, a business can hardly attract new clients and retain the existing ones. Besides, as your company grows, you may face certain difficulties with adding new products, payment methods or integrations. Thus, you want to keep some questions in mind while choosing the best CRM solution:

  • How many products are you going to offer? As your business scales and inventory grows, you may need a platform which provides solid scalability (the property of a system to handle a growing amount of work by adding resources). Otherwise, you will have to reinvent the wheel once you hit it big. The fact is that some platforms can manage only a limited amount of products in a warehouse and make your website really slow once the limit is exceeded.
  • What tools do you need to be integrated with your system? Depending on your needs, you may choose various integrations for different purposes. As such, you may integrate your online store with Instagram and Facebook to create shoppable posts with links to the catalog or connect your website with Salesforce or other CRM to manage leads and prospects.
  • How strong are your coding skills? The complexity of a CMS is one of the major factors that affect the choice. For instance, building and managing a website made on WordPress is pretty easy so that anyone with basic HTML knowledge can handle the task. Meanwhile, creating a highly-customized and scalable store on Magento or Shopify is much more difficult. In most cases, it requires help from professional developers.
  • What is your budget? While some platforms are relatively cheap or free, others require significant investments. As such, Magento, being one of the most expensive platforms for eCommerce websites, is a perfect solution for large-scale marketplaces and stores with considerable trading volumes. Alternatively, such options as WordPress, Weebly, 3Dcart, WooCommerce, and Wix are considered to be cheap solutions for small online stores.

Mistake #2: Complicated Navigation And Poor UX

As far as eCommerce businesses are concerned, the main purpose of a website is converting visitors into buyers. That’s why user experience should be prioritized. Clean and well-structured navigation, as well as convenient functionality contribute much to delivering your ideas and products to the end customers. In some cases, you may need the help of a professional UX/UI designer to create a consistent interface, and make your site convenient and user-friendly.

Once a visitor lands on a store’s page, they should know for sure what steps to take in order to reach the destination. The official ASOS website is a perfect example of a convenient interface and smooth navigation.

Official ASOS eCommerce Website

Mistake #3: Overlooking Personalization

Personalization is one of the major trends in eCommerce. This means that all communication with the clients should be personal allowing the visitors to feel special and improving their overall shopping experience.

With highly-customized product pages crafted for every user, companies can make huge gains. As such, Gartner predicts a 15% increase in profit for those who successfully handle personalization in eCommerce. For instance, many brands benefit from artificial intelligence to expand the functionality of their websites and strengthen their cross-selling and upselling strategy.

Such brands offer a selection of items that a person may like based on the visitor’s browsing and search history, previous purchases, as well as similar buying behavior of other shoppers. Look at the “Our Suggestions For You” section on the official Guess website. This is how the personalized approach looks like.

imgOfficial GUESS eCommerce Website

Mistake #4: Weak Product Naming

The way your products are named is another thing that is worth mentioning. Even though the items you are offering on the website are very alike, differentiating one merchandise from another is something that can’t be underestimated, and product naming is no exception. This will help you kill two birds with one stone: you’ll make the search easier for the visitors and avoid duplicate content.

Below you can see the category page for T-shirts on the Hugo Boss website. In the product naming, they indicates the unique features of every item, such as “with color-blocked prints” or “in African cotton”

Official HugoBoss eCommerce Website

Mistake #5: Lack of Customer Retention Sections

Retaining customers is among the goals marketers must value highly. After all, selling something once again to a client who you have already “conquered” is much simpler than getting a new one to the bottom of the sales funnel. Topping that, customer loyalty also affects many other marketing efforts, as active and engaged clients help to build credibility for the brand, this includes the aforementioned testimonials, for example.

Failing to retain clients or not giving them enough attention is a major marketing overlook that’ll only get you to lose money. So, what can be done? Various loyalty programs, reward programs, and other sign-up incentives is a place to start. Offering perks and sweeteners for joining can take you a long way and increase the number of sales.

Take a look at what the official Clinique website suggests. Their “Smart Rewards” program offers a 15% discount and numerous additional bonuses for being a loyalty member.

Official Clinique eCommerce Website

Mistake #6: No Social Proof Using Media

The globe spends a ton of time on their social media accounts. Why not integrate the user-generated content made by those who have something to share on the brand on personal social channels to your SMM strategy?

For starters, this way, marketers can hit many birds with one stone:

  • Expand their list of followers
  • Enhance SMM efforts
  • Cross-link posts and make reposts
  • Improve the trust in the brand
  • Engage customers
  • Boost the website

For instance, the official Yves Rocher website invites site users to follow them on Instagram and show their own posts in a widget. Often, other brands actually use these sections to urge people to share their own posts and tag the brand to get featured on the website and social accounts.

Official YvesRocher eCommerce Website

Mistake #7: Not Having Shops On Social Channels

Finally, not taking advantage of the Shop capabilities that are available on social media like Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram is a major miss-out of eCommerce marketers. Simply because social media marketing now grants business accounts an outstanding opportunity to sell.

Thus, picking up the game and using socials not only for sharing news and communicating but also for selling is a great idea. For example, this is how a shoppable product on the official Tommy Hilfiger Instagram account is like. The item is tagged on the picture, when tapped on, the user can click on the “View on website” that leads right to the purchase page.

TommyHilfiger Instagram Account

Mistake #8: No Wishlists And “Save For Later” Functionality

Wishlists are used when customers have an interest in your products, but they are not ready to make a purchase at exactly that time. However, apart from the obvious benefit of boosting the user’s shopping experience, this functionality has the power to provide immense value to eCommerce entrepreneurs.

Marketers can exploit wishlist potentiality in several ways:

  • They provide insights into your customers’ way of thinking. This knowledge can be used to identify trends and optimize your selling tactics in order to capitalize on them.
  • If wishlists are shareable, they can drive lots of traffic and raise awareness for your brand.
  • The functionality can help you deal with out of stock items.
  • They can be used to alert buyers about a sale. Such notifications are able to pull the customers back and convince them to complete the purchase.

The official Agent Provocateur website marks saved items with heart icons. Those products are added to the separate tab.

Final Words

In a highly competitive eCommerce world, creating a good website is not enough to climb above your competitors and reach the top of the industry.

Online entrepreneurs have to put a lot of energy in their business promotion learning from others’ mistakes and avoiding unexpected pitfalls. Once your store is optimized for success, the rest will follow.

About the Author!

Alex Husar, Chief Technology Officer with 8+ years of experience in Magento development services by Onilab. He graduated from the Czech Technical University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Computer Software Engineering. Alex’s expertise includes both full-stack dev skills and a strong ability to provide project-critical guidance to the whole team.

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