Top 10 eCommerce Mistakes Small Businesses Make


There are obvious and then some not so obvious mistakes many small businesses make with their eCommerce websites. We're going to cover what we've seen as our top ten mistakes and give you some advice on how to correct them. So let's get started...

1) Your site is not responsive to mobile devices.

Last year saw another record number of consumer make purchases online via their mobile devices (40%+). So this mistake becomes our obvious number one pick. To see whether or not your site is mobile-friendly, we recommend visiting Google's mobile testing tool (Google Mobile-Friendly Test). Enter your site's URL and violá you have your results. We also recommend testing your website yourself, especially the checkout process. Do this by viewing your site on multiple mobile devices and make a purchase to see how the process works on the device. Below are two examples, which do you think will convert more visitors?

Mobile Optimization_Poor Utilization.jpg
Mobile Optimization_Good Utilization.jpeg

2) No 'About' page.

Every brand has a story, yours included. The 'About' page is your opportunity to tell your brand's story and helps build credibility. Take this time to craft a short story about who you and your brand are, what value you bring, and why your brand stands out.

3) Poor quality photos.

Since consumers cannot touch and feel your product, the need to create visual appeal is essential, and you can't do that with poor imagery. Spend some time (and money) getting your photography professionally taken and optimized. What do we mean by optimized? Is that your photography is crisp and clear without compromising load speed. A professional photographer or your website designer should be able to assist you with this.

4) Boring product description or no description.

Just like your photography, your product description is another element to help you sell more of your stuff. A boring (or having no description), unfortunately, this is very common, will only make converting consumers into customers more challenging. Be creative with your product description (this is an opportunity to build on your brand's story). Product descriptions are also an essential part of your SEO strategy, so use keywords (if it's a coffee cup say it's a coffee cup in the description).

Example of Poor Product Description.jpg

5) No catalog or collection.

Your goal should be to make your products easy to find on your site, and one of the best ways to do so is to create product catalogs or collections. For instance, if you sell tee-shirts, you could create a product catalog for Mens and Womens. However, don't create too many product catalogs, this will confuse your customers. Think through your products and create a simple outline to help compartmentalize your product into the appropriate product catalog.

6) No social proof.

Reviews and social media mentions are the most common means of establishing social proof. Enabling and encouraging online reviews of your products is the fastest way to build social proof. If your site doesn't allow for product reviews, talk to a professional about how you can add this essential component to your site.

7) No incentive to buy.

Have you created a compelling reason to buy your product? For instance Free Shipping is always a biggie and yields the best results only behind a generous sales offer. Another way to make your product more compelling is to showcase it as an exclusive or limited issue product - this approach creates a sense of urgency to make the purchase.

8) Too much stuff going on.

Your site is cluttered with products and is void of any 'white space'. Meaning your customer will become overwhelmed with the visual experience and abandon your site. Your goal is to make your customer's shopping experience an easy one, and this starts with a clean design. Showcase only your most select items on your home page and focus on creating a clear and straightforward navigation to your website's product. Here is a terrific example of a beautifully designed eCommerce site that is easy to navigate.


9) Broken links.

Nothing is more frustrating to a consumer than clicking on a product, and finding it takes you to nothing. You can bet that they will never return to your site if this ever happens. Periodically you need to conduct an audit of your website to make sure there are no broken links. Also, make it easy for consumers to reach you so that they can let you know there is a problem with your website.

10) A difficult checkout process.

We saved the best for last. The checkout process should only take a couple clicks to complete and shouldn't require your customer to have to enter more information than what's necesary to complete the purchase. Anything more will only lead to a lower sales conversion rate. Also, don't require your customers to create a customer account when checking out - this should be at their discretion and not yours.

So there you have it, our top ten mistakes. In closing, we recommend that you test and audit your eCommerce website frequently. Have fun with it and keep working to improve it little by little. View your eCommerce website through the lens of your customer and not yourself (because you're way to close to your business to be objective).