Top 5 Common eCommerce Pitfalls to Avoid When Building A Winning Online Store

Cici Nguyen
Jun 7, 2024
3 min read

People say that a good idea and a laptop with an Internet connection will lead you to success. To some extent, it might be true if you already know how to start an online business, validate your products, make a complete business plan, and run marketing campaigns to attract new customers. However, many entrepreneurs failed before their stores could earn their profit. Now let’s take a closer look at the most common eCommerce pitfalls to avoid when designing your online store.

Poor Site Navigation

A successful eCommerce store is a collaboration of design and functionality, as you want to make it appealing and to turn visitors into paying customers. However, many store owners design their sites for business goals only and forget how usable they should be. One of the common eCommerce pitfalls is, they do not consider the importance of website navigation in improving user experience.

site navigation top eCommerce pitfalls to avoid

Site navigation includes the menu bar, and it takes visitors to favored content. (Source: Myakka)

In fact, navigation leads customers to their preferred destinations. In other words, the navigation elements will decide whether consumers can find the products they are looking for and how they experience the browsing journey. According to Cora, online shoppers are most turned off by a poorly designed menu (41.2%), followed by search capabilities that are too basic (29.8%). Every time your store makes shoppers question where to click, where the content is located, or what something means, your eCommerce website costs you sales. Therefore, one of your top priorities should be optimizing your site so that consumers can experience smooth navigation and enjoyable UX. Here are several practical tips for you to apply:

  1. Create a user-friendly search box with three aspects in mind - look, location, and functionality.
  2. Organize the main menu bar that categorizes the likely most used piece of content to shoppers.
  3. Optimize your search bar for both desktop and mobile. Besides the page speed, some must-have features would include typo tolerance, autosuggestions, and instant searches.
  4. Use filters and facets to enable shoppers to find the most relevant search results. This is the synergy between navigation and on-site search.
  5. Build an intuitive and helpful results page that stimulates consumers' new interests.
  6. Avoid ‘No search results’ pages to not disappoint your customers. Take a look at search terms that trigger ‘no results found’ and redirect them to relevant alternatives.

For more details about website navigation, visit this article: 6 Ways to Build Best Web Navigation and Site Search 2021.

Forget to Set Up Analytics

Don't just think about how beautiful your e-store looks. To achieve efficient results and succeed in this industry, it’s important to familiarize yourself with data and metrics. Thus, eCommerce tracking is essential because it will give you an overview of your business performance. If you are hesitant about setting up analytics tools, the following benefits will change your mind. Overall, an analytics app will help store owners:

  1. Identify your target customers based on behavioral insights so you can better prepare future marketing campaigns.
  2. Track sales and revenue.
  3. Optimize conversion funnel that boosts sales.
  4. Gain insights about key metrics, for example, AOV, conversion rate, customer lifetime value, bounce rate, or cart abandonment rate.

To read further details about eCommerce metrics, visit this article.

analytics and reports top eCommerce pitfalls to avoid

Analytics is an essential component of any business as it helps entrepreneurs sharpen their strategies based on data-driven insights.

Once you understand how consumers interact with your site, measure points of sales and other touch points, then you can make data-driven decisions to grow conversions. Popular eCommerce platforms like Shopify, Woocommerce, or Magneto offer merchants built-in analytics and reports to learn about your consumers and sales.

However, to cover all primary eCommerce pillars (discovery, acquisition, conversion, and retention), occasionally, store owners need more advanced analytics tools. Apart from well-known third-party services like Google Analytics, filter and search-based analytics are a must to an eCommerce store. It provides detailed reports on top filter option values, top search terms, and top search terms with no result. This data will give you a defined picture of how your customers use navigation and search to look for products and narrow down the results.

Related: Understand Analytics Feature of Boost Product Filter and Search App

Spend Too Much Money on Shipping Supplies & Packaging

You probably do not have many operating expenses, so start small and buy things as you need - a lesson learned from entrepreneurs. This goes for your products’ storage. If you spend hundreds of dollars on storage shelving and a warehouse space anticipating a vast business, you will fail before you even get started. Instead, make use of your dining room or garage.

packaging and shipping top eCommerce pitfalls to avoid

A step from storage is the matter of packaging. There are 2 scenarios that entrepreneurs usually come across.

Firstly, fancy printed boxes or overly personalized packaging will end up being a downfall once you can’t keep it up. It is a good idea to use standard packaging paper with paper wrap to protect your products. Remember to purchase proper box sizes for your products - as the larger the boxes are, the more money you will have to pay.

Secondly, many store owners didn’t do research for the most suitable supplier. They simply order materials from only one supplier over and over. Meanwhile, some suppliers offer more affordable boxes and materials than others. Search for them and purchase what you need in bulk to save money and maximize your business profits.

E-merchants should consider a new curbside pickup strategy to cut off the shipping cost, which is an emerging eCommerce trend, thanks to the pandemic. It is a service that allows customers to collect their orders from a convenient location, for instance, the warehouse, instead of having the products delivered to their homes. Besides safety reasons during the pandemic, this option also ensures fast delivery and minimizes the potential risk of breakages, which would help you improve customer satisfaction.

You might also like: Top 5 Marketing Trends That Work in 2021

Not Providing Transparent and Authentic Support

Customers appreciate transparency and honesty. Being open about your products, prices, and shipping policies will set you up for success. Hence, you can avoid many ‘Where’s my package?’ emails if you tell them how long it takes you to process their orders and how many days to get the products. Sometimes when your items are out of stock; do tell them. Instead of making up an excuse, be straightforward with your customers.

Transparency is a crucial way to create trust because it eliminates any suspicions or anxieties your customers might have about your brand. Building trust this way is not just about attracting new business. More than that, it is about growing customer relationships. If you have been open and honest with them from day one, they will be much more likely to continue working with you long afterward.

Terrible Customer Service

The quickest way to drive consumers away is to offer poor customer service. It is all about how you respond to customers’ comments, questions, and complaints on social media, via phone calls, and emails.

customer services top eCommerce pitfalls to avoid

Customer service is one of the bastions that small businesses can beat big names in the competition.

Unhappy customers could kill your business. Bad words spread like wildfire, so a bad review might make you lose potential sales. Research by Forbes showed that lousy customer service costs businesses around $62 billion each year. Let's see the top five examples of bad customer services to avoid.

  1. Put customers on hold for too long. A recent survey indicated that one-third of respondents said they are unwilling to wait at all, and around 27% said they’ll wait for 1 minute.
  2. Use negative language with rude behaviors. Although everyone has good and bad days, you must remain polite and professional in every situation as a brand representative. Never respond with anger unless you want to ruin your reputation.
  3. Transfer support agents again and again. When consumers come with a specific issue, the support agent should know precisely who to direct customers to, rather than bouncing them from one agent to another.
  4. Ask consumers to repeat. It is so annoying to answer the same questions multiple times. Hence, you should record data from the first-time call.
  5. Show no empathy. If you respond to your customers without emotions, they will feel no genuine apology or admission of responsibility. Consequently, they will hang up and never come back to your business. All they want to hear is you say sorry, on behalf of the brand, for all the inconvenience caused.

Your products might not be the best in the market, but excellent customer support enhances customer satisfaction. If you continue to do so, it will be your unique value proposition.

Ready to Make Your Business Go Live

Building a profitable eCommerce store is challenging. Bear in mind that learning what to do and knowing what to avoid are equally important. With a roadmap in your hands and by staying away from the mentioned eCommerce pitfalls, you are ready to rule the market.

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Cici Nguyen
Email Marketing Specialist
June 17, 2024
6 min read