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Your company has set up an e-commerce website to advertise your product and make it convenient for customers to make purchases. You have to keep these products moving to ensure the revenue keeps flowing. You want to establish positive relationships with customers so they will be loyal to your company’s brand.

However, in the quest to build those positive, long-term relationships, you may have sabotaged your e-commerce website.

It can happen to the best of us.

If you’re not seeing the purchases or number of returning customers you were expecting, your current e-commerce setup could be to blame.

Small businesses, especially those who are new to the e-commerce scene can get overly zealous in creating their website. After all, your new product or service is the next big thing and you need the most sophisticated e-commerce site with all the bells as whistles.


While an in-depth, complex e-commerce site may make your brand look professional and your company bigger than it actually is, it can be a nightmare for the user’s experience. If the navigation or check-out process is too cumbersome for customers, it can chase customers away. In fact, the more complex your site, the more possible ways you could create speedbumps for your customers.

So, what could be killing conversions on your e-commerce site?

Here are some of the most common mistakes that lead to shopping cart abandonment instead of a transaction:

A Non-Customer-Friendly Design

According to SEMrush, designing the look and function of your e-commerce site based on your preferences, and not what is interesting and convenient to the customer, is the first of several e-commerce conversion faux-paus businesses make.

Business owners need to know that what looks good to them doesn’t automatically translate into a successful e-commerce site. In fact, in many instances, the preferred web design of a business owner makes for a site with an unclear message and a confusing check-out process.

To avoid this mistake, you can conduct user experience testing using website analytics and an unbiased 3rd party. These will help you see how customers proceed through your website storefront and where they leave. You’ll then be able to make the appropriate adjustments to the site.

Focusing on Creativity instead of Conversions

It can be easy to think an artsy e-commerce site will attract attention and compel customers to try something fresh and new, but if it isn’t balanced with clear navigation, messaging, or check-out processes, it won’t help your business any more than a tutorial for a web design class.

Even if your targeted customers are of the young and hip crowd, your main objective should be to get conversions, not impress them with your creativity.

Again, conduct user experience tests, making sure your sales funnel is clearly defined and fixing steps where customers either leave the site or deviate from the desired purchasing action.

Forcing Unnecessary Actions and Steps

Customers demand a quick and easy check-out. That’s why they’re taking to the convenience of buying your products online rather than at the store. Their lives are busy and they expect a hassle-free online buying experience.

Pop-ups forcing customers to subscribe for future deals or to register to complete their purchase is a sure-fire way to get them to abandon their online shopping cart, causing you to miss out on a transaction.

People like the privacy and anonymity of shopping online. When you force them to share their name, email or phone number, you’ve impeded on their trust.

While the intent to build a long-term relationship with your customers through a registration process is a valid goal, your site will see more transactions if you allow customers to purchase products via guest checkouts. You can start to offer benefits for registering later.

Changing Tried and True Web Design in the Name of Innovation

Over the years, web design best practices have been refined through extensive user experience studies. The studies show that customers expect e-commerce sites to have a familiar framework that features a checkout or shopping cart on the top right corner, search refinement features along the left side and pictures and snippets of information for each product.

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When you decide to make your e-commerce different from the tried and true template shoppers are familiar with in the name of innovation and uniqueness, you’ll likely end up costing your company valuable revenue from lost sales.

Your customers will feel more confident and sure of their purchases if all the buttons are in the familiar places. As mentioned earlier, their lives are busy. If your e-commerce site is laid out differently than all the others, customers will get frustrated at the time they waste trying to navigate it.

What’s the lesson? Don’t tinker with a web design layout that works in the name of “uniqueness.”

Not Being Mobile Friendly

Activity on smartphones now surpass what is done on desktop computers. Smartphones bring the internet to users on the go, wherever they are a – which aligns perfectly with the busy, fast-paced lives we have.

Chances are, your customers are on the go. They want to make purchases at a time and a place that works best for them.

Mobile shopping and conversions

If your e-commerce site is not formatted to fit the tiny screens of a cellphone or perform or behave as well as your desktop site, you’re missing out on a lot of business.

A mobile site looks and acts differently from those on desktop computers. Consider this when designing your e-commerce site.

Poor Site Performance

Your e-commerce site can be chock full hi-resolution images and video, but those are the same elements that can impact your page’s performance.

Images that load slowly are bad for your business as it frustrates and inconveniences your customers. A delay in page load time of even one second can put a dent in the number of conversions on your site. Your customers want their stuff and they want it ASAP. If the page takes a second or two too long to load, they will go somewhere else.

A slow-loading page also has a negative result on your page’s search rankings, meaning less people will find and visit your site.

When considering your e-commerce page’s loading times, also test the mobile version. In many cases, the broadband of computers make webpages load faster than the mobile networks on cellphones. With the prevalence of cellphones, it’s important that the mobile version of your e-commerce site isn’t too slow either.

Complicated Checkout Processes

One of the standard best practices is to use as few clicks as possible to complete a transaction. However, many companies require customers to jump through too many unnecessary hoops (or clicks) to finalize a purchase.

Customers expect a quick, easy and hassle-free online buying experience. If you hinder their transaction with numerous, unnecessary steps, they will give up and abandon their shopping cart and your e-commerce page.

When designing your e-commerce site, aim to have the whole transaction process completed in three clicks or less. Then, you can even push the account registration a little more, showing your customers that the process can be even more convenient.

Online checkout process

A Low-Profile Shopping Cart Button

It is common for customers to visit a site, save a product to their shopping cart, and then forget about it. This is the result of a shopping cart that isn’t noticeable.

To remind customers of products in their shopping carts, implement a pop-up over the cart with the number of items saved there.

A Slow Shopping Cart

Similar to a slow website, a slow-loading shopping cart can be just as frustrating to customers. Customers are not willing to wait for a shopping cart to refresh when the products in a cart are edited, fees are calculated, or coupons being applied.

Surprise Shipping Costs

Not many people like surprises, especially when they are shopping and expecting to pay more than they thought they would. If someone is looking to spend only a certain amount on a product, he or she will likely abandon their shopping cart when the cost summary appears with additional fees and shipping costs.

There are multiple ways of handling the shipping costs dilemma. These include:

  • Offering everyone free shipping (internationally or nationally)
  • Offer free shipping on orders of a certain amount
  • Having a fixed shipping costs on all products
  • Being up-front about the addition of shipping costs

Let customers know from the get-go they are responsible for paying the shipment costs. Providing a highly visible shipping cost calculator can help customers know exactly how much they can expect to pay.

If you’re offering free shipping, clearly state the terms and conditions directly on the product pages so customers will know if and how much they can expect to pay in shipping costs.

Start Optimizing Your Site for Conversions

Setting up an effective, successful e-commerce site takes planning and thought. Designing a website with the above elements in mind can give your customers a better online shopping experience which can lead to an increase in conversions.

Just remember two things: it’s never too late to start optimizing for conversions, and it’s never something you can ignore. Best practices are changing all the time, and there’s always something you can do to increase your conversions a little more.


Are you getting enough traffic to your e-commerce site? Have you considered using pay-per-click advertising to start driving more traffic? Use this checklist to make sure your PPC efforts are effective.

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