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eCommerce – 10 mistakes and how to fix them

eCommerce – 10 mistakes and how to fix them
Summary: With our 20 year+ eCommerce backgrounds, we've learned many lessons about the easiest mistakes to make when selling products online. We share the 10 most common errors and how to avoid them.

As Digital Marketing Consultants with extensive eCommerce backgrounds, we are often asked for tips on how to generate more traffic and sales on an eCommerce site. Of course, we look at each site individually, but for this week’s blog, we thought we’d share the 10 most common issues that we find.


1. Poor Product Descriptions

People scan-read websites, so the layout of your product description is key. Talk about the most important features of the product and the key benefits to the customer succinctly as your “short description”. Once the customer is interested, they’ll happily click on “see more…” to see your “long description” with more detail, product uses, dimensions, care instructions etc.

Here’s a great example from my old colleagues at The White Company :

The White Company eCommerce Product Description

Don’t forget that Google reads your product descriptions too, so use keywords to help your products to get found in search. Think carefully about product naming conventions with this in mind, as you need to balance exclusivity against searchability – for example “Mabel Dress” will only be considered for the highly competitive term “dress”. At the other end of the spectrum “Yellow printed dress” doesn’t exactly romance the product. Something like “Mabel floral printed dress – Sunshine Yellow” sounds more exclusive and is more searchable.


2. Poor quality images or video

They say a picture speaks a thousand words – this is particularly true when it comes to eCommerce. For any considered purchase, customers like to zoom in or scroll over the detail. For complex products, or products where the front is different to the back, you should show multiple good quality images, or even a video. Worried about investing in video? WSI data says that shoppers who view a product video are 174% more likely to purchase.

Make sure that you use the optimum image size for your website – one of the biggest causes of high bounce rate is long load times.

Also, give your images and videos titles and descriptions so that Google can read about your products, which will help you rank for SEO.


3. Poor eCommerce search experience

Amazon has an incredible 30% share of the UK eCommerce market, so Amazon has set the bar for filters and on site search.

Even Amazon don’t get it right all of the time, leaving customers asking “why?” when they look at a search result, so don’t expect perfection.

Simple navigation, clear search criteria, discipline when it comes to product naming conventions and descriptions and good site functionality will all help increase your conversion rates as customers find what it is they were looking for more easily. Here’s a good example from ASOS – despite their huge range, it’s easy to focus in on what you are looking for.

ASOS eCommerce Search Bar

“Recently viewed”, “People also viewed” and “Similar products” can work hard for you too when they are mapped correctly.


4. Complex eCommerce check-out

Once your customer has decided to buy, you need to get your customers through check-out as seamlessly as possibly to avoid becoming one of the 70% global cart abandonment for eCommerce.

Current considered best practise includes :

  • Avoid distractions – don’t be tempted by last minute pop-up boxes!
  • Have a 1-page check-out process
  • Allow for guest check-out
  • Auto-complete as much as you can
  • Offer multiple payment options. Neil Patel from Ubersuggest says they see an average 18% uplift in sales when they have implemented PayPal for clients.
  • Have a clear delivery promise that you can genuinely commit to
  • Be open about shipping costs up front


5. Poor device responsiveness

According to Statista data, 60% of retail online sales are now made on a mobile device. You can therefore see why a poor mobile experience leads to high bounce rates and high basket abandonment.

This is also a really important consideration for multi-channel retailers too, as 80% of physical store visitors use their phone inside a store.

Most modern websites help you to automate responsiveness (adjust the fit of a page to various sized devices) without the requirement for a separate mobile site, so make sure any site audits you do cover mobile.


6. Weak trust indicators

When a person visits a website, one of the questions they subconsciously ask themselves is “do I trust this site?”, so use your Home and About Us pages to showcase your brand personality and credentials. Depending on your business, this could be achieved through review scores, case studies, testimonials, before and afters, lists of clients or lists of accredited suppliers for example. Here’s an example where Black White Denim use a feed from Trustpilot to showcase their superb service scores on their home page.

Black White Denim Trustpilot Scores

Use your website’s footer to build more credentials with certifications, security protocols, and professional partnerships. 23% of shoppers have abandoned a purchase because they don’t trust the website’s security.

Make it easy for your customers to contact you – a phone number in your header or footer re-assures customers that they can get hold of you easily if they need to. 51% of consumers say a key trust factor is when companies make it easy for them to reach their people.


7. Weak Social Proof

When 93% of people say that reviews influence purchasing decisions, you can see the power of Reviews and Social Media.

Link your Social Media in your footer bar, so that customers who want to follow you can access your latest content quickly and easily.

Managing your Digital Reputation is a critical part of managing your brand, so don’t post and leave. Take the time to read what your customers are saying, respond brand appropriately, and watch out for trends in customer comments to help you determine your next service or product initiative.


8. Unchanging Content

If you have regular drops of new product, this one’s a bit easier, but what happens when your product range is static for a period of time? If you have customers visiting your site on multiple occasions, give them something new to look at or read. This could be a new testimonial, updated images, or a blog for example.

If you do have regular product drops, remember to review your “evergreen” content from time to time, just to make sure that the tone of voice is in line, and that your images reflect the current expression of your Brand.

Google also uses freshness of content as one of it’s search ranking factors, so regular updates used in the right way can also help your SEO.


9. Not staying in touch

Not everyone in your database is in the moment to buy every time you communicate with them. However, you want to stay top of mind, so that when they are looking for a product like the ones you sell, they think of you first.

Regular posts on Social Media are great for Brand Awareness, but segmented and targeted email campaigns are typically the highest converting Digital Marketing tactic.

Consider your Calls to Action in your communications – an exclusive offer or time-bound promotion will often help the customer to make that click!


10. Not using your eCommerce data

There are a number of fantastic (and free) tools that Google offer to help you run your eCommerce business. However, it’s really easy to get lost in the data as there is so much of it, if you don’t ask yourself the right questions.

If you are near the beginning of your eCommerce journey, we’d recommend that you focus initially on Customer numbers and Average Order Value. By monitoring these data points, you will quickly understand how they inter-relate and what impact they have on your business.

Using this data to understand your cost of customer acquisition, and your cost to service an order will help you to grow your business more profitably.



eCommerce technology is moving on all of the time, so it’s important to stay on top of the latest functionality that businesses are using which raises the bar for customers in your sector. It’s also important to stay on top of the latest consumer behaviour trends, as these move on too.

If any of the issues discussed in this piece resonate with you, please feel free to contact us for a chat.



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