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…About Your E-Commerce

Online shopping e-commerce pitfalls

…About Your E-Commerce

It’s Not Just About CTA’s and TOP (Time On Page)

Think you have your e-commerce game together? Guess again. We touched base with our Digital Analyst and asked her to share fifteen reasons she hates – not dislikes, hates – your e-commerce website. Why fifteen? Because we don’t want to make you too paranoid (but, trust us, this list could be twice as long). So, without further ado, here goes.

Reason #1: Your Crap Search Engine

Don’t make me spell the product name correctly. Online shopping isn’t a spelling bee. Oh, and while you’re at it, quit returning vaguely-related search results. I searched for “tomato sauce.” If I wanted you to show me “tomato seeds” I’d have searched for damn “tomato seeds.” I mean, seriously. What about me searching for “sauce” makes you think I have a green thumb?

Reason #2: The Products You Used to Carry

If it’s out of stock, then don’t show it to me unless you can tell me exactly when it’ll be back in stock. If it’s discontinued, then don’t show it to me at all. Ever. (And, by the way, if you only tell me products are out of stock/discontinued after I’ve gone through checkout? Yeah, there’s a special place in h-e-double-hockey-sticks for you, my friend.)

Reason #3: Your Descriptive Brevity

Please, don’t make me guess at the size, weight, dimensions, color, or performance of your product. This whole e-commerce thing only works if you abide by the basic social contract: I agree to buy your product without ever laying eyes or hands on it because you give me enough detail to make me comfortable. Remember, the customer is on your website and wants to buy something. Help them.

Reason #4: Your Useless Product Comparisons

Say I’m comparing the price of two brands of hand lotion. For Brand X, I get a price and a handy calculation of price-per-ounce. For Brand Y, you give me a price and, for whatever reason, a calculation of price-per-unit. I’m not sure what price-per-unit means. But even if I knew, what good would it do me? If you offer comparative information, then make it consistent.

Reason #5: Forcing Me To Register Too Early (or At All)

I’m not making a lifelong commitment to you. I’m buying toothpaste from you in bulk. Let’s not pretend this is the start of a beautiful friendship, m’k?

Reason #6: Making Me Register For the Privilege of You Telling Me How Much Stuff Costs

Hey, I get your business might have good reasons to keep its prices hidden. But, you gotta tell me that, ok? When you make me give you my details with no explanation for why you’re being so hush-hush, it just makes me feel like you’re scamming me or that I’m the one you’re worried about.

Reason #7: Being Sketchy About Email Opting-Ins

Everyone gets the email opt-ins thing these days. Just don’t hide it. Every time I get spam I didn’t ask for from you, I hate your business just a little bit. But it’s not that I might not have opted in the first place, I just didn’t know you were doing it for me for every one of your 13 different email communications channels. Plus, I feel downright vengeful if you make it difficult for me to unsubscribe.

Reason #8: Telling Me to “Print This Page” For My Records

What is this? 1998? Figure out how to email or text me the receipt already. Seriously, if you are using any E-commerce platform built more than four years ago you are way overdue for an upgrade.

Reason #9: Your Payment Options Suck.

My reaction to an e-commerce business that refuses to take American Express, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and whatever else is that it’s not a business that cares much about me or my shopping habits or preferences. Every one of these payments types is common, secure, and readily available. Yes, some have higher rates than others. Call it a Marketing expense.

Reason #10: Your Too-Specific Filter-By Categories

You’ve given me the option of filtering the pants I want to buy by size. Great. Now, which filter should I use: alphabetical sizing (S, M, L, XL, XXL) or numerical sizing (28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, aaaaaaaand, 42+)? Because see, you lump those sizing parameters together in the same filter, and now I don’t know whether choosing one over the other will make a difference or exclude results I want to see. Simplify and clarify, people! This falls into the category of “Get out there and shop your brand and your competitors. Often.

Reason #11: The Shipping Cost Reveal

Letting me get all the way through to the last stage of checkout before telling me how much I can expect to pay in shipping is just plain rude. (See also, Reasons #2 and #6).

Reason #12: Low-Quality Images

Photography and video, in my experience, are one of the first places businesses get tight with their budgets. But it is likely the last place they should. Even a mediocre website design can be overcome with great photography featuring multiple angles of your products in high-resolution. Oh, and what is a high-quality image? May we suggest you visit Apple, Anthropologie, or Nike for examples. These brands are all about great images that tell stories.

The good news is that we live in the age of great photography. From amazing talent to newbies trying to make their mark, it is a good time to be getting competitive quotes and a lot of shots for a reasonable price.

Reason #13: That Super-Retro Look

Especially if it is accidental or your site is, well, just old. Does your e-commerce site remind visitors of a Netscape browser? If so, I don’t have any confidence in your ability to fulfill my order.

Reason #14: Not Enough/Too Much Customer Service

These are both equally bad. On one hand, if I can’t call or chat with you about a product during reasonable daytime hours, I’m probably not going to buy it. On the other hand, there’s really no need for you to be pushy by opening up a chat window automatically six seconds after I get to your site. Didn’t you get the memo? I shop online to avoid that kind of sales-y interaction.

Reason #15: End-of-Transaction Ambiguity

So, I just completed my purchase and you’ve told me “Thank You!” which is lovely, but now what? Can I close the browser window and be ok? If I hit “back” because I want to browse a few more items, will I mess up my purchase? Can you give me some guidance here? Please? Hello?

Honorable Mentions

Using pop-up windows instead of breadcrumbs, having the exact same e-commerce layout as your competitors, not having a mobile version of your site, making me click “accept” on a privacy policy in order to buy toilet paper…and so on.

We’re Just Getting Started…

The California Office is a digital marketing agency that helps e-commerce clients use best practices to avoid driving online customers to tears. It’s the least we can do. To find out more about how our team can help optimize your e-commerce sites and meet your other digital marketing challenges, contact us today.

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