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10 eCommerce mistakes to avoid in 2022 [+ Solutions!]

Gokul
By
Gokul
• 
5 min
eCommerce mistakes


Running an eCommerce store is like riding a roller coaster. 

Some days you are riding the highs and whizzing past milestones. Other days you are battling weightlessness as you plunge into the abysmal nothingness. Of course, nobody complains about the former. However, it is the latter that is more concerning given the fact that 90% of eCommerce startups fail within the first 120 days.

What? But how is it possible if the global eCommerce sales are pegged at $26.7T?

One can attribute it to lack of demand, poor design, shoddy inventory management, and so on. However, most eCommerce mistakes are entirely preventable! And to help you land a comfortable spot in the coveted 10%, here are ten common eCommerce mistakes to avoid in 2022, along with some possible solutions. So, buckle up as we walk you through them!

Mistake 1: Not Using The Right Technologies

eCommerce technology stack
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Given the low barrier to entry, setting up an eCommerce store can take as little as 20 hours with a DIY approach. However, this very convenience can be a boon and a bane. 

Sure, time to market and budget may be your primary considerations during initial development. However, your store has to keep up with changing customer expectations and industry trends to stay relevant. For instance, personalization has been a top priority for eCommerce for a while now. And failure to deliver on this front due to the lack of necessary tools and technologies can cause about 74% of customers to feel frustrated.

Similarly, incorporating any major innovation as an afterthought is precedent for bad eCommerce sites due to a poorly aligned tech stack.

Solution

Making the right choices from the beginning can save you from a world of pain that comes with the technological overhaul of your website. Whether you are designing a highly basic eCommerce store or something niche and complex, a few technological considerations that you need to bear in mind includes:

  • eCommerce platform depending on your business requirements, budget, store customizations, scalability, etc.
  • Security based on the extant regulatory guidelines surrounding data protection and privacy.
  • Recommendation engines to personalize customer experience and harvest upselling and cross-selling capabilities.
  • Content management systems to handle product pages and for SEO purposes.

These are just the basic pillars of an eCommerce store’s primary technological considerations. You may have to build on these depending on your store requirements.

Mistake 2: Failing to Define Your Target Audience

Define target audience
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Just because you have products for sale, it does not mean that you can shoot marketing arrows in the dark and random buyers will come flocking to you! After all, you simply cannot build an awesome website if you fail to understand who you are building it for. Plus, we have already talked about how customers find the lack of personalization or relevance annoying. In short, this blanket approach needs to go.

Solution

Know Your Customers is more than a marketing jingle; it is a business objective that can overcome low sales. The obsolete “build and they will come” mindset is now replaced by actively targeting customers. The best approach to profiling your target audience involves the following steps:

  • Characterize your ideal customer(s) who can render long-term value.
  • Segment existing customers and identify the common links that indicate loyalty.
  • Prepare eCommerce buyer personas to encompass as many different types of customers as possible.
  • Conduct market research to validate the target audience identified so far.
  • Stalk your competition to understand the buyers that they are targeting.
  • Capture customer feedback to analyze product-customer alignment.

Once you have successfully defined your target audience, the next logical step is to understand their requirements and pain points to weave in your product’s value proposition and cash in those sales!

Mistake 3: Poorly Planned Product Pages

Poor product pages
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Your products are the lifeblood of your eCommerce website, and not giving them their due is one of the greatest eCommerce mistakes. Given that a whopping 87% of shoppers consider product content to be the most influential factor in their purchase decision, you need engaging and informative product pages to tip the scales in your favor. And don’t even think about slacking off here as nearly 50% of customers return items that fail to match their product descriptions. In other words, the success of your eCommerce store depends on its product pages.

Solution

Here are some actionable tips on making your product pages stand out:

  • Front-load value in your product description copies and offer all the necessary context.
  • Invest in unique product descriptions than sharing generic information.
  • Highlight only the essentials and leave the rest in the “Read More” section to avoid visual clutter.
  • Include high-quality images and videos to shed light on the product’s functionality.
  • Ensure that the call-to-action buttons are highly visible, consistent, and clear.
  • Test for the responsiveness of product pages across devices and browsers.
  • Earn credibility by sharing social proof in the form of customer reviews and ratings.
  • Build customer confidence by sharing policies relating to returns, refunds, replacement, etc.

Mistake 4: Subpar Customer Experience

poor customer experience
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The worst eCommerce websites are those that fail to value their customers. Keeping in view that there exist approximately 12 to 24 million eCommerce stores globally, businesses cannot afford to treat their customers as expendables. Modern-day customers have no qualms about switching brands after a single instance of a poor experience. And given this background, it is believed that companies lose about $136.8B per year due to avoidable consumer switching. As such, eCommerce websites must prioritize user experience.

Solution

73% of buyers cite experience as a crucial factor in their purchasing decision. Here’s how you can make it count:

  • Build a user-friendly website that is personalized and easy to navigate (more on this later).
  • Perform regular site-wide audits and keep an eye on the KPIs like total online revenue, customer lifetime value, average order value, etc., to quantify customer experience.
  • Share promos, discounts, and coupons to nudge new accounts.
  • Devise a content marketing strategy that educates and engages the audience meaningfully.
  • Develop an omnichannel approach to create a seamless user experience even if they change devices or mediums.
  • Act on customer feedback and address the frequently occurring issues.

Mistake 5: Complicated Store Navigation

Complex store navigation
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Here’s an interesting fact: Failure to offer a “simple” experience costs eCommerce companies to the tune of $402B per year! It is unsurprising considering that nobody would like to scroll past catalogues to find the most needed product as a buyer. And as already established, with a churn rate of 63% in 30 days and 82% in 90 days, eCommerce stores do not possess a lot of leverage to make the customer jump through hoops. As such, they need to give buyers what they want - and they need to do that in the simplest way possible.

Solution

Looking for some ways to simplify store navigation? Here’s what may help:

  • Maintain a consistent site design across pages.
  • Categorize products into relevant catalogues and place parent categories in a prominent location.
  • Introduce subcategories as an expandable sub-menu and avoid hover-over tabs.
  • Include a search bar with an intuitive search engine.
  • Use clear labels and tags to segment products. Also, allow filters so that buyers can sort through the products based on multiple parameters.
  • Perform end-to-end site navigation periodically, from product search to checkout, and address the bottlenecks, if any.

While the above activities can do their bit to make navigation easy, personalization is the ultimate weapon to making useful products discoverable. Smart recommendation engines, such as that offered by Argoid, can optimize homepages, search results, etc., more specific to the buyer’s requirements, thereby putting the most needed products in the front.

Mistake 6: Forgetting About SEO

forgetting SEO
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Just because you are focused on selling does not mean that you can undermine the importance of SEO. After all, it does not matter how amazing your website is; if it is on the 20th page of the search engine result pages (SERPs), it will only go unnoticed. Forget 20th; almost 95% of online traffic goes to websites featuring on the first page of the SERPs. And so, your stake would be a mere 5% even if you were on the second page!

Solution

If you thought that stuffing in keywords or sprinkling irrelevant popular search phrases across your website is SEO, then you are about to commit the worst of eCommerce mistakes. Search engines have gotten smarter, so here’s what you need to do to make your eCommerce store SEO-friendly:

  • Identify informational keywords for different products and categories available on your eCommerce store. Optimize and add only the ones that fit organically.
  • Prepare a simple site architecture for seamless navigation, ideally, one that requires only three clicks from the homepage to the desired product.
  • Focus on on-page SEO using optimized meta titles and descriptions, embedding keywords in URLs, performing internal linking, and more.
  • Use crawlers to identify 404 links, that is, links that lead to non-existent pages and remove them.
  • Test site performance and responsiveness, especially in line with the latest updates of popular search engines.

Mistake 7: Forcing Users to Sign Up

forced sign up form
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Every eCommerce store aspires to rake in good numbers when it comes to account creation. However, some websites are so deeply committed to the idea that they make it impossible for visitors to even browse through the website without having to share an email address or basic information. 

Others wait until you are all set and ready to checkout to push registration in your face. And this self-defeating approach results in the commonest form of e-Commerce failures - cart abandonment. So much so that 23% of users will abandon their shopping cart if they are forced to create a new account.

Solution

The best way to overcome this issue is to make registration completely voluntary. So what happens to those who are commitment-phobic? You offer them the guest checkout facility!

An eCommerce website that tested the guest checkout feature registered a 45% increase in customer purchases with an additional $300M in sales in the first year. And if you are still farming for information, you can always incentivize it through promos and discounts to lure them into sharing additional details.

Mistake 8: Friction During Checkout

complicated checkout
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Account creation is just one roadblock in the way of a seamless checkout experience. Other issues that may crop up during checkout include non-availability of products, promo failure, limited payment options, and more. Complex checkout processes drive away nearly 52% of buyers! Naturally, losing a bit more than half your customers will only correspond to low sales and imminent eCommerce failures. And so, it is a problem that needs immediate attention.

Solution

In the recent past, merchants are making various efforts to eliminate friction during checkout. However, very few of them are successful in this endeavor considering that the checkout conversion index score has only increased by 2.2%. On that note, here are some winning ideas that help:

  • Label the CTA buttons clearly.
  • Extend great value for the minimum effort through a simple checkout process.
  • Make use of autocomplete and data validation to make checkout a breeze.
  • Restrict the checkout process to a minimum of three pages and request only the relevant information.
  • Offer as many payment options as possible, be it cards, wallets, coupons, and more. Recommend the appropriate ones depending on customer behavior, payment success rates, etc.
  • Share real-time stock availability (which could also help create a sense of urgency and prevent drop-offs).
  • Provide real-time support to help customers through the checkout process.

Mistake 9: Not Valuing Post-Sales Experience

post sales
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eCommerce selling is not limited to the sales of products. It involves cultivating long-term relationships that start right from first contact and conclude at advocacy. The fact that a user has made their purchase from your eCommerce store is the first step in this direction as it indicates that they trust your product. Naturally, you would wish to continue this fruitful relationship by following through on your promises rather than diluting the post-sales experience and leaving a lot to be desired.

Solution

When it comes to after-sales strategies, here are some pointers that can lead the way to long-term retention:

  • Confirm order placement and share realistic delivery timelines along with real-time updates.
  • Share useful how-to guides and product demos to help consumers gain immediate value.
  • Encourage repeat purchases by throwing in complementary or subsidized value-added services like free shipping or rush delivery.
  • Enforce transparent and customer-friendly returns and refund policies.
  • Compensate for poor customer experience with coupons or discount vouchers.
  • Send personalized communications about ongoing offers and promotions.
  • Implement a loyalty and referral program to show your appreciation.
  • Request for reviews and feedback on the sales experience.

Mistake 10: Losing Focus of Customer Service

zero focus on customer service
Source

The fickleness of modern-day customers has already been established. And quite often, it is customer service that can help cover the chinks in your armor. For instance, 84% of consumers cite customer service as a key factor in their purchase decision - an opportunity for customer acquisition. Similarly, 95% of shoppers consider customer service the pillar of brand loyalty, thereby making a case for customer retention. And on the flip side, about 92% of buyers will stop purchasing from a company after three (or fewer) substandard customer experiences. In a nutshell, failing to prioritize customer service essentially prioritizes eCommerce failures.

Solution

The following are some best practices for upping your customer service game:

  • Make customer assistance available on as many channels as possible, be it email, live chat, text messaging, call, or even social media.
  • Focus on offering an immediate resolution to customer issues, ideally, within the first interaction.
  • Allow automated self-servicing options.
  • Follow-up to see if the resolution has been as per the customer’s expectations.
  • Offer 24*7 live chat support by leveraging chatbots. However, avoid gatekeeping and make a human representative available as and when feasible.
  • Keep tracking relevant metrics and streamline customer service.

Final Thoughts

Most eCommerce mistakes bear a common theme - failing to put the customer first. And so, businesses must adopt a customer-first mindset that begins with the personalization of services. 

Having a powerful recommendation engine like that offered by Argoid can help eCommerce stores overcome most of the obstacles put in place by a generalized approach. In other words, Argoid’s AI-powered recommendation engine could catapult your eCommerce website to new heights!

FAQ's on eCommerce Mistakes

Why is checkout process essential for eCommerce conversions?

For online consumers,checkout process can serve as a significant crossroads. Having a secured checkout is a cornerstone of any ecommerce platform. Customers will not enter personal, shipping, or any other billing information into a service they don't trust.

How do you define target audience for your eCommerce site?

Target audience are the people who are likely to be interested in your content, products, or services. They are have some common characteristics, like demographics and behaviors. To define target audience you need to be highly specific. First you need to create customer profiles to categorize your audience. Make use of demographical, behavioral, previous purchase information, such as name, address, user behavior etc.

Are eCommerce mistakes preventable?

Most of the eCommerce mistakes are preventable. Making the right choices from the beginning can save you from a world of pain. Whether you are having a highly basic eCommerce store or something niche and complex making mindful decisions, taking help from experts and making sure that all your strategies are in place can help you saving from big mistakes.


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