13 reasons why your online store will fail + Solutions

This set of points is designed to help you critique a design, specifically for ecommerce websites, to make them perform at their optimum, to help with usability and inevitably increase sales and conversions. Each point may or may not be relevant to the design you are working on so use them purely as a guide and point for discussion. Time and budgets may also play a part in the design process so all these points may not be actionable.

common-ecommerce-mistakes

13 reasons why your online store will fail + Solutions

Does your design pass each of these common ecommerce mistakes? If not then you have room for improvement and the potential to make it perform better.

Lack of detailed product information

Write as much information about your product as possible. Include sizes, weights, shapes, colours, everything you can. Put yourself in your customers shoes, what information would you want to know about your product. Try to answer the questions yours visitors may have. Remember this unique, detailed information also has an SEO benefit so the more you can write the better.

Only one product image

Upload as many detailed product shots as you can. You can convert a new visitor to a customer simply through quality product shots. Consider having your products professionally shot, this will improve confidence in quality and service in your customers and make your business look more professional.

Long and confusing checkout process

Make this important stage as simple as possible and remove any unneccessary obsticles to allow the customer complete their order with minimum distractions. If you have a multi step checkout process then consider streamlining this down to maybe one or two pages. At this stage you have them searching in their purses for their payment card, the last thing you want to do is lose them now through a complicated long drawn out payment process.

Hiding contact information

Consider displaying your contact information in a prominent place. The header is an ideal place as this is a place that typically stays the same throughout the site. Show your phone number and a link to a contact page with a contact form on it. Give them every reason to think you will look after them in case they have any questions. Customer loyalty and return business is the foundation of a successful ecommerce shop.

Requiring an account to order

Allow them to purchase your products without an account but highlight the benefits of creating an account prominently. Selling products in the most important part of your business, making them signup yields further benefits for your business but should always be optional as to allow the transaction to complete, as quickly and as easily as possible.

Inadequate search

A comprehensive search tool is imperative for shops with hundreds of products and sections. Searches allow a visitor to by-pass the lengthy manual search and allows them to see the products they are interested in. If your search doesn’t work or is limited then it may be doing more harm than good.

Poor customer service options

Build confidence and a lasting relationship with your customers by supporting their needs. Be upfront with contact details and customer service option and display them prominently throughout the website. After service support helps eliminate bad press and improves your businesses reputation as being a quality, trust worthy etailer.

Tiny product images

Your product images should be big enough to catch the eye and of high quality to provide the visitor with a good interpretation of the product.

Poor shopping basket design

A good shopping basket should allow a customer to purchase a product quickly and easily while maximising on upselling related products. Keep it clean and clear. Allow users to add multiple items, edit the quantities and remove any unwanted items. It should do all this while staying transparent to the visitors eye. Without a well thought out design a sale and the potential of repeat business may be lost.

Lack of payment options

Consider implementing more than one payment option on your shop. Users who find that their desired payment method isn’t accepted will not in most scenarios continue with the purchase. By accepting as many payment options as you can increases your catchment and inevitably sales. It may be a little extra work for you but in today’s highly competitive online marketplace every advantage helps. The same goes with your competitors, if your don’t support a users payment method then you could potentially steal the sale.

Not including related products

Related products are crucial when trying to upsell. A pair of trousers maybe land you a sale, but my recommending a belt, a t-shirt, a pair of shoes and a jacket, that sale could really be boosted by this lucrative upselling method. Related products have two obvious places where you can implement them, firstly on a product specific page and secondly in a users shopping basket once an item has been added.

Confusing navigation

Your websites navigation should be clear, well structured and fixed. Be clear as to what you call each link and don’t be too creative with the language. If a section of your shop sells trousers then call it trousers, if it contains disposable barbeques then call it what it is. Devise a clear site structure that is clear and removes as many levels as possible. Remember the three click rule, make sure every product page can be reached within 3 clicks or less, failing this may render the shopping confused and frustrated.

Put focus on products

Ecommerce sites should focus on professional, crisp and well presented product imagery. Forget about designing fancy headers with bright graphics and this will detract the users eye away from your products. Keep the structure light, clean and clear and focus your efforts on presenting your products effectively in your online shop window. Conventional shop windows are filled with the latest products and intices a walker-by into the shop. The same principle should be applied online with a strong product line or offer to lead the visitor through into your website.

The Floating Frog

Freelance web designer, father and a floating frog (long story). I've been designing websites since 2002 and writing about the industry for even longer!