17 common mistakes to avoid when designing your online store

What can you do to entice a user to visit your store and make a purchase there? For starters, beware of these simple but common mistakes...

The ever-growing e-commerce sector has meant that launching an online store is no longer enough to drive successful sales. In order to meet the demands of users, e-business owners more and more often compete with each other. An example of an area affected by this competition is the level of website functionality, which increases their group of satisfied, loyal customers. This, in turn, influences the sales level and the building of the brand image.

In order to encourage users to visit the store and hold them until making a purchase, one should avoid common mistakes, which negatively affect the conversion and search engine positioning.
 

Obligation to register

The possibility to create an account should be displayed at the very beginning of the purchasing process. If the assortment of a store meets the customer's expectations, such a person by registering becomes a loyal – registered customer, to whom the online store will address further offers.

Forcing to create an account while trying to pay for an order make the customers resign from purchasing. The possibility of registration should be available from the site on which the customer already is. Forcing him to leave the cart to create an account practically means that customer's disappointment arouses.

Some customers willingly register due to the subject of the store. Then, marketing campaigns are supposed to make them come back for further shopping. Other customers may be convinced that the offered assortment will not be useful to them in the future, or they simply do not want to provide their data. Therefore they may resign from purchasing in the store. For the second group, it is worth introducing the possibility of ordering as a "guest". In doing so, the store will not lose a customer.

For the registration process not to be too complex, it is worth requiring only the important information. Additional data, i.e. address, or phone number can be added when setting up an account, which the customer can do at any time. A great simplification and optimization is the introduction of login via Facebook.com, Google.com, or Apple ID. Customers willingly use this solution because it is fast and does not require providing personal data.
 

No search engine or a poorly operating one

Barely is anyone aware that a poorly functioning search engine contributes to a decrease of sales. A significant number of customers visiting the e-store first try to use the search engine, which often does not properly work.

Perfecting the internal search engine makes it easier to reach the customer with a given product. The use of several solutions is going to increase the traffic on the website, because of the ease of searching for a product. One of such functionalities is the ability of the search engine to find synonyms and errors in the entered phrases. Therefore, the customer will see items similar to the searched one – and thus may pay attention to a different product than the one they intended to buy. Error finding is also an obligatory function. Users often unknowingly enter incorrect phrases, so a poorly working search engine gives only a response about a lack of such an item. In most cases, such an information causes customers to leave the store's website. The more synonyms are added to the search engine, the more results are displayed to the customer. It creates the impression of a wide range of products available on the website.

Another solution is the autocomplete, which suggests to the user what products are available on the basis of the phrase entered in the search engine. This function is designed to show customers a product before they write its name. In such a way, the purchasing process is accelerated – the time that potential customers would spend to make a purchase is extremely important for mobile users.

 

Lack of information

Incorrect description, or even its lack often results in the reduction of conversion rate in the store and its lower position in the results of Internet search engines. Worth noting is the fact that a lack of proper description results in increased number of returns.

A short description, no details or keywords, decreases the chance of being rated higher in search results. Building the so-called customer avatar – i.e. writing down the characteristics of the perfect buyer helps to prepare a better description of products. During the process of creating product description, it is worth focusing mainly on its advantages, the customer wants to know how they will benefit from buying it.

Creating a unique text will benefit in better positioning of the page. The more details provided in the description, the more often the offer is going to appear in the search results. A complex description of the product is helpful for customers, and therefore encourages them to buy. The product description is an alternative to a photo that may not load at users device for instance due to a weak internet connection.
 

Inaccurate product photos

Poor quality images or those that show products in a different way than they look in reality, lower the trust of customers, and also do not give the opportunity to view the product thoroughly. A correct way of making photos that present the most important details and highlight its advantages will increase the quality and quantity of sales.

Placing correct and detailed photos will also contribute to the design of the e-store. Nobody likes to buy something they can't see. Customers are mainly driven by the appearance of a product when shopping, so it is important that it is presented with its actual characteristics. By taking care of the correct presentation of the assortment, the number of returns will be reduced and purchases will be more conscious.

The positive perception of a product is made up of two elements, a good and convincing description, and a visual representation of the product - it is important to emphasise each, even the smallest element that may matter to the customer. The procedure, that encourages to purchase is to show products while using them. This aims to present the offer in a more attractive, inspiring and facilitating to estimate its actual size way.
 

Lack of branding

The process of shaping and popularizing the brand is important for every company that wants to stand out in e-commerce. Lack of branding means that products lack the so called identity, which gives them an individual and original character.

Customers may be satisfied with your products, but after some time may not remember where they bought them. Because of the use of a logo, or at least a specific brand of the website, the likelihood of remembering your online store increases. Recognition is an extremely important value, that ensures customer loyalty and a competitive advantage. The identity is a visual identification, good associations with the brand, and the website.

A good branding is when the entire website works properly, the graphics are consistent, it contains a logo and small communication in case the photos, or graphics do not load on user's device.
 

Weak customer service, lack of store data, email or phone number

Well-presented products are not enough to create a relationship with the user. In order to make a purchase decision, the customer needs more purchase-related information, including information about the store, its registered office, and the possibilities of contact.

Placing a contact page allow potential customers or partners to contact you in case they need more information. Establishing contact with the customer undoubtedly leads to success. Depending on how the conversation goes, customers will purchase the product in which they were interested, or will those presented to them during the conversation.

The lack of this basic information on the website contributes to the loss of trust and quitting purchasing process. The open attitude to customers has many advantages, starting with encouraging them to buy more, ending with getting their contact addresses, and making them regular customers through various types of marketing campaigns.
 

No mobile version

As a result of the ongoing progression of technology, online business owners may notice on their website more traffic generated by mobile devices. Websites that do not have a mobile versions, or are not responsive do not help to keep the customer and do not encourage them to complete the purchase.

For some time, Google has been putting pressure on websites to be optimized with regard to mobile devices. Mobile first is a search engine algorithm that rewards mobile-friendly websites by placing them higher in the search results. Mobile users have different purposes than desktop users. The first group expect quick access to information and a simplified purchasing process. The ability to shop anytime and anywhere causes the fact that there are more and more mobile clients.

The so-called barrier that decreases the sales level is the lack of adaptability of functions for both groups. A lack of adaptability of a website to mobile devices makes it difficult to familiarize yourself with the offer, because all information is not displayed on a small screen. What is more, lack of compliance with the mobile first rule, minimizes the possibility of reaching new potential customers.
 

Too complex purchase process

Those are the first seconds after entering a page of an e-store that are crucial when it comes to the purchasing. As the process is complex, although it may contain information important for the customer, it is also too long and, as a result, the client feels discouraged to continue shopping.

The shopping path should be quick and smooth. During the optimization, it is worth remembering about the three-clicks rule. The above-mentioned three-clicks are to lead the customer to make a purchase. The number is symbolic, it is mainly about minimizing it by offering the customer quick and effective shopping. This solution aims to reduce the number of abandoned carts. It comes from impatience and arising dissatisfaction with the number of interactions that are to be done before receiving the desired product.

While developing the whole process, it is worth taking care of an intuitive navigation, which is to support customer's finalization of the purchase. Efficient and short purchase path and optimization of navigation also make things easier for the fast-growing group of mobile customers.
 

Lack of actual stock level

Lack of information regarding stock level is a common reason for abandoning carts. Offering and selling products that are unavailable negatively affect the confidence in the brand.

An improperly functioning warehouse management system, or its lack, very often makes the Customer to place and pay for an order that cannot be completed. Of course, in such a case the money is returned. However, the customer may feel dissatisfied and even deceived. Situations in which customers do not receive ordered products discourage them from buying, and very often lead the company to the loss of clients.

Informing about a stock level before the customer is able to add the product to the cart is important to avoid a bad customer experience, reduce the number of abandoned carts, and enable the seller establish a relationship with a potential customer through Call to Action (CTA). In this case, the role of the CTA is to encourage the user to leave an email, to which a notification about the product's re-availability will be sent. As a result, it is possible to develop relationships and get new subscribers.
 

Incorrect order completion dates

Shop-to-customer communication is extremely important for developing the relationship and turning the user into a regular customer. Shops very often overlook the details that may be important for the customer, and, therefore change their attitude to the brand, by providing incorrect information (or not providing them at all) about the time of order completion.

While purchasing, users want to know when they will receive their order. This information is important to them for logistical reasons - to adjust the delivery to their plans. This could be a purchase made for a trip, or a special gift. A vast majority of stores provide some kind of information in the shopping cart. However, it is only the delivery time that depends on the delivery company. The time spent on completing and sending the order is not included.

Providing incorrect information may negatively affect customers' opinion, and therefore discourage them from re-purchasing. In extreme cases, extended time of receiving orders may make the customer ask for their cancellation and reimbursement of the costs incurred. Providing true information and communicating the customer every stage from the order acceptance to its shipment strengthens trust and builds the brand image. As a result, the store can hope for a positive feedback and further transactions.
 

Long cart loading time / reloading time

The time that the user has to spend in order to purchase determines the closing of the transaction. The speed of the website in general and the speed of different actions undertaken on the website have an influence the conversion, cart abandonment and, as a result, the amount of income.

When designing the graphic layout of the e-store, it is worth paying attention to the elements that can potentially extend the time of loading. Those are, for instance, all kinds of visual materials and large files. Adding a Live Chat to your website also slows its loading down – bear it in mind if you want to add more features that may cause a long loading.

When it comes to desktop users, it may not be as important, but for mobile users time is a key factor that strongly influence the purchase. Slow loading of the website when the user is viewing the offer and, most importantly, just before finalization of the purchase, may contribute to giving it up because of the frustration with the duration of the process and that the transaction would not be successful. Even a few seconds of delay can negatively affect the conversion, especially for mobile users who need easy access to information and the ability to quickly complete transactions. Regular optimization of the store's website in terms of speed will prevent customers loss.
 


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Hidden costs

Hidden costs are the costs that are omitted. They relate, for instance, to the delivery or order return. Such an information is most often shown at the end of the purchasing process – when summarizing and choosing the payment method.

Hiding additional cost related to packaging, delivery, or return contribute to the reduction of conversion and increase the number of abandoned carts. Informing about these fees at the final stage of order placing carries a significant risk of frustration and discouragement in customers.

In order not to lose customers because of incomplete information, it is worth showing at the very beginning all of the costs that must be taken into account when making a purchase. This action will make the customer aware of the fees associated with an order. The knowledge about all of the cost reduces the number of the cancelled purchases, and positively affects the level of sales.
 

Lack of electronic payment methods

Customers expect to be able to choose from several popular electronic payments methods, as each bank and customer prefer a different method for speed or security reasons. Too complicated payment process or insufficient number of payment methods contribute to cancelling purchases. Electronic payments are the most popular way to pay for orders in online stores.

By enabling them to choose one of the many popular methods you increase customer satisfaction, and lead to the completion of the transaction. When shopping online, customers pay attention to the speed and convenience of payment, as well as its security which is assured by the mobile banking system. Blik has recently become the most popular of the methods. This happened because of the fact that the customer does not have to provide any data that can be considered as sensitive.

When designing a website, apart from the presentation of the offer, it is worth taking care of implementing the best solutions for finalizing the transaction. Meeting customer expectations is crucial for a finalizing the transaction.
 

Lack of easily accessible customer service

Customers prefer to contact the company in order to get to know more about the offer, modify the already paid order, or for logistics reasons. More and more customers want to contact via social media.

The response of the company to the customer contact should not take more than 5 minutes. The longer it takes, the bigger is the likelihood of giving up on the purchase. Most e-commerce clients make a purchase via mobile devices, so the speed and ease of making a purchase are extremely important. Shopping online is impulsive, so every second of delay does not work well for the selling company.

Direct contact with the customer is an opportunity for the company to build a partnership relation with the brand as a result of the offered help, positive approach, or proposing of other products. The feelings that accompany the customer during the shopping affect their opinion about the brand and may become a decision-making factor when choosing a store for another purchase. That is why it is so important for the customer to feel the support at every stage of the process.
 

Lack of regulation on complaints and returns

Complaints or returns are by your customers associated with rather bad experiences related to sending back a product, waiting for the refund, and filling in many forms. All of the actions undertaken by the customer do not guarantee the way in which the complaint is resolved.

It is also worth mentioning that long forms discourage your customers, and most of them instead of making a return or complaint, decide to create a negative opinion.

Complaints are solved mostly via return of funds, its exchange, or repair. The return time is often set top-down for all stores, but additional information about it will be great. Well-chosen company strategy enable you to make use of bad customer experiences to improve the quality of sales and build a good relationship.

Lack of proper customer service and no optimization of returns and complaints may affect the customer's transfer to a competitive company. Optimizing of complaints and returns processes will prevent the loss of a customer. When it comes to complaints, it will be nice to give your customers a choice. Whether they want you to repair it or exchange, or a cashback. A positive approach may make your customers buy even those products about which they feel uncertain knowing about the simple process of and return.
 

The policy / Online store regulations

Having the policy terms is obligatory for every online seller. Some e-business owners do not pay attention to creating regulations in cooperation with a lawyer, but does it by themselves, or make use of those found on other websites.

Internet users are increasingly aware of their rights and obligations, and even more often they get familiar with the store's regulations in detail. If such rules do not contain basic provisions or are known to the user from another store, it may result in loosing of the customer. In such a situation, the customer may choose a competitive store or marketplace that has clearly defined rules, and its recognition and additional function, which is "buyer protection" inspires more trust.

Well-designed, easy to understand regulations are the key to build customer trust and serve as an example of well-prepared contract of the customer and company. The inclusion of all relevant information concerning the rights and obligations of the buyer and the seller in the regulations will provide both of them with certainty of fulfilling their duties.
 

Lack of the validation

Many users resign from filling in long forms by abandoning purchases or entering incorrect information, which makes it difficult for the seller to verify them. The occurrence of even small errors may result in loss of contact with the customer – if they enter an email address incorrectly or when the phone number contains an inappropriate number of digits.

When designing an online store, it is worth paying attention to the construction and operation of forms. Users do not like to fill them in, because it takes a lot of time. It is though worth to optimize them so that they do not cause any problems. Each form may contain an error that the user will not notice, so it is worth integrating your website with effective validation systems.

Validation of the number of characters in company identifiers such as nip, or telephone number and e-mail address of the private customer helps the entrepreneur, among others, to inform them about the stages of his order. A good validation system finds the error and immediately shows it to the user. It is important for the customer not to scroll the form down in order to look for an error. It facilitates the customer-seller contact and prevent the occurrence of errors in the documents.
 

Conclusion

E-commerce customers know the diversity of the market, and expect maximum simplification of the purchase process in order to make quick and efficient purchases. Making basic mistakes shortens the range of the store, destroys its image, and reduces income, which may make it difficult for the e-store to stay in business.

e-Commerce websites that are adapted to mobile devices are important for the development of e-business. When designing, you should trace any element that may be important from the customer's point of view. Small changes in the presentation of the product, choosing a proper photo and content sometimes influence the purchase.

A successful e-commerce requires optimization and customization of the website to the convenience of customers, about which stores often forget. Websites with the above-mentioned errors will always be one step behind the competition, regardless of attractive prices.

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