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The wrong strategic approach can be costly for ecommerce sites, but many still make some fairly basic errors. 

Try to avoid these six common errorss in your ecommerce site to avoid deterring customers and generate more conversions.

As marketers, this is the little world we live in. We live and work on marketing all day long and it hurts to see such sin anywhere on the virtual web. A banner that looks lonesome would make us wonder if the poor thing gets any attention at all.

A shabby looking ecommerce site repels customers but invokes our sympathy. A non-responsive Twitter account or a Facebook page that belongs to an etailer doesn’t bruise our ego, it just infuriates us.

In the world of comments feeding off on comments to form conversations, brands making a beeline at social media, and ecommerce sites working on the double to go quick and responsive, there are still plenty of adamant ecommerce stores that don’t function as they should.

It's money lost for the ecommerce site owners and precious lessons for us smart marketers wise business owners.

Take a simple case of ecommerce store usability: according to a study by Neilsen Normal Group, the simple 'search' function on ecommerce sites still remains a sore point. Only 51% of users succeed in finding what they want on an ecommerce site.

Here are six common errors to avoid...

Getting the colors wrong

If you have your ecommerce store designed by, well, designers, you ought to get the complete package. You’d not have to think. You’d just have to run the store and profit from it.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen with some ecommerce sites. If you started off with the wrong foundation on design, what’d you expect anyway? Color psychology is big in design and there’s a reason for it: it works.

According to an infographic on the KISSmetrics blog, more than 93% of customers are influenced by the 'visuals' pertaining to the product. More than 85% of shoppers are drawn to products thanks to color.

Brand recognition owes about 80% of its effectiveness due to colors associated with brands.

Poor product descriptions

The written word, for ecommerce sites, is sometimes more important than images (for flat panel TVs, electronic gadgets, etc.) as most customers are aware of how these products look.

In other cases, images rule the roost for T-shirts, apparel, footwear, and accessories.

In all cases where content is important, most ecommerce stores fail to do justice. With product descriptions literally bleeding to touch the 350-word mark and with a font size or type you’d be a genius to read, every word on the page is akin to a dollar lost in potential revenue.

Social bridges: where are they?

While the world is busy straddling the social web, some ecommerce stores are like castaways on remote islands. They are completely disconnected from the world of social media, and that hurts.

For some sites, there’s a lack of engagement, conversations, and responses to any comments on products, brand, or the business itself.

The comments drown in disparate communities without the interception of the ecommerce store’s managers or owners. No one is listening.

Even Walmart can’t pull off ecommerce sales operating off a silo like that. Amazon still focuses heavily on user reviews and popular recommendations. Most successful ecommerce businesses are as social as they can get.

All product pages should have social media buttons. Your business, ecommerce or not, needs real engagement, connections with people, and conversations.

It’s not wise to burn bridges. Ever.

Technology pulls you from under the rock. But where are you?

Every aspect of your ecommerce store is technology backing it up or leading it. Sometimes, technology wedges itself in practically every aspect of your business. Heck, the fact you have an ecommerce store is a testimony to technology at work.

The question: just where did the use of technology end and complacency begin? Ecommerce design is facilitated by powerful ecommerce tools or engines backed by supportive, dedicated communities to help businesses start the right way.

NetSuite comes with its own ecommerce engines, tools, and community to aid businesses choosing to run off its platform. Shopify.com has certified web design and development experts.

Marketing, finance, accounting, operations, sales, and pretty much everything else now have technology all over your business strategy.

Today, ecommerce store design means profitability, UX/UI focus determines how customers connect with you, technology is at the core of business, and trends such as gamification bring fun to ecommerce. 

Most ecommerce stores have technology until the design or development stage. Beyond that, you’ll only find them operating as virtual lemonade stands.

Are you plugged in yet?

Stay low and they’ll find us

Staying low is for spies; not for businesses. Marketing is essential to survive in business and ecommerce stores have more at stake than any other Internet-based business model. No one is going to find any website, given that there are millions in the stack.

In fact, as we write, there might be another million or even billion stores coming up. The only way to get business is to commit to a full-scale, full-fledged, and dedicated marketing strategy. With ecommerce, only the medium changed. None of the business principles did.

We now have new ways of doing business: interesting ways to market; engaging platforms such as social media to connect; open gateways for communication; one-to-one forms of engagement using email, etc.

Reaching out and marketing, however, is just as much a need now as it was for the ancient man who’d barter a pot for a pan.

Firing on all cylinders

So, you’d need effective design that simply works, great copy, excellent images or photography, socially connected pages, and a marketing strategy on full-steam. By the time you get to this stage, you’d have too many moving parts. You’d need the right way to do it all.

For marketing, you’d need a multi-pronged approach by managing your campaigns across all channels. Businesses have to focus on smooth operations, social recruiting, online collaboration, web-based accounting, streamlined financial management, and a keen eye out for analytics.

Who said running an ecommerce store was easy? Are you msaking any of these errors? 

Pratik Dholakiya

Published 13 December, 2013 by Pratik Dholakiya

Pratik Dholakiya is Lead SEO & VP of Marketing at E2M Solutions and a contributor Econsultancy. 

9 more posts from this author

Comments (15)

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Mike Gonsalves, Sr. Sales Consultant at JPS Marketing

I would say the best way to optimize your conversions is no doubt A/B testing and doing more analysis with Psycology in mind. When I was working on a site (http://www.spikepcs.com), I kind of created some plugins to test if those can increase our conversions. Those indeed work and now we have very subtle things that impact the behavior of our users and they do things we love them to do. Would love to talk more if anyone is interested.

over 2 years ago

Brady Cassidy

Brady Cassidy, Managing Director at FixedSocial

Great points Mike.

One of the shortfalls with A/B and Multi-variate testing is that the results only show you what works best for the largest buyer persona group that visits during the time period tested.

Some new companies like Granify (http://granify.com) are able to understand your shoppers on an individual level, by analyzing over 400 data points per second, and contextually overcome their biggest objections to increase conversions. The conversion rate increase using this has been huge for many retailers.

over 2 years ago

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karan Awanijesh

great insight!

over 2 years ago

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custom logo design

all the tips for converting visitors into customers are really good and not just for ecommerce sites but for normal websites too. thanks

over 2 years ago

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Cubin

thank for sharing about the tips for converting visitors into clients.
these tips are really good and not just for ecommerce sites but for normal websites too. Hope to read more helpful information from you. Have a nice day

over 2 years ago

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Andy Hughson

In the current market with huge growth in tablet and smartphone ownership, etailers also need to be mindful of the device their customers are using to shop with and make sure that shopping experience is responsive and engaging. "Add to basket" is so 20th century and is not really fit for purpose when shopping on an iPad for instance. The site needs to be optimised by device to give not just great performance but improved usability; we should be swiping goods into our baskets on tablets, not clicking "Add to basket". To see what I mean, take a look at our YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/iStoneUK).

over 2 years ago

Chris O'Donoghue

Chris O'Donoghue, Conversion Optimisation Manager at John Lewis PartnershipEnterprise

Getting the basics right is key. However in a time where competition is fierce, businesses need to take things beyond the basics and introduce a data driven culture that focuses on the customer. Taking A/B and MVT testing seriously is now a must for any business wanting to improve their conversion and to understand the pain points.

over 2 years ago

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Mike

It might just be me, but (personally speaking) typos are a big speed bump - attention to detail is important and obvious errorss* make me question the credibility of a site I'm browsing.

I can't decide whether the mistakes in this article are deliberate, especially since *the first is a mis-spelling of "errors" - I also quite like the "Nielsen Normal" group, but am not sure Donald Norman would ;-)

I'll confess I stopped reading at that point.

over 2 years ago

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John McElborough, MD at Inbound360

Good point about product descriptions but equally I think poor quality product images are a massive problem even with large stores. If you can't make the product look good on screen, you're not going to inspire visitors to buy it

over 2 years ago

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John Isaacs

Oh the irony of spelling errors wrong

over 2 years ago

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Joel Siddall

Great article, some very useful tips here.

over 2 years ago

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Geoff Paddock

Some good thoughts here, but perhaps the biggest conversion killer on retail websites is still the basic error that prevents would-be purchasers doing something. Links that don't work, missing images etc are still so often found, and the result is a lost sale and an angry customer going elsewhere.

Sitemorse compares the top 500 UK retail websites and top 250 global sites on a quarterly basis, and the latest benchmarks are on the website now (click on my name left to see it).

Retailers do indeed require a marketing strategy and one that needs to fit seamlessly into their online offering. 'Web governance' is a phrase used more and more often and is now a must-have, rather than a nice idea.

over 2 years ago

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Laura

Interesting article (minus the spelling typos) but I disagree with the line "All product pages should have social media buttons"

Surely at this stage in the funnel the product page should focus on one call to action, adding the item to basket. Any social sharing buttons take the customer's attention away from the page and you lose the conversion?

I'm not arguing that businesses, "ecommerce or not, need real engagement, connections with people, and conversations" but placement is also very important to conversions. The example above could be better with social sharing post-purchase.

over 2 years ago

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Christine Takaichi

Agreed with John that product images are crucial, and descriptions go a long way as well. Modcloth is one of my favorite sites to share with clients, and I think they're hitting on these points- owning their brand personality through copy & design, surfacing a highly engaged, social community, and having an optimized experience across devices.

over 2 years ago

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Justyn Poweell, Design consultant at 5Stardesigners

Well written tips, but i think the content of website should be so attractive and relevant with people you are targeting. Along with that the presentation of product that includes color, price, packaging and all is vital for conversion.

about 1 month ago

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