Five eCommerce Mistakes to Avoid

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We’ll admit there are a lot more than 5 ecommerce mistakes to avoid, but we’ve seen a few worth highlighting recently.  While each of these can apply to any ecommerce site, we’ve broken it down between B2B and B2C since we know the respective buyers on these sites often have different priorities.

B2B Ecommerce Mistakes

No Unique Pricing

If there is one thing that business buyers expect it is special pricing.  Historically, many B2B transactions have gone through sales reps, but more and more buyers are taking advantage of online shopping opportunities. Though many buyers are utilizing websites to make  purchases, they still expect the same special pricing afforded by their sales representative.  Thus, one of the bigger mistakes many B2B sites make is not having the same, negotiated pricing that they offer customers via their sales rep. 

Additionally, many B2B buyers have expectations of favorable shipping options and rates.  It is quite common for these buyers to use their own shipping account to take advantage of their negotiated shipping rates.  The best B2B ecommerce sites will support using the buyer’s shipping account.

Lack of Payment Options

This may seem like a minor inconvenience, but limited payment options means companies have to be more restrictive about who can place orders on behalf of the company.  You must allow the buyers to pay with a purchase order and enter their PO number for historical order tracking.  We’ve also seen many companies that want to restrict their buyers to certain payment types.  It is fairly common for these companies to limit their buyers to purchase orders and certain credit cards.  For that reason, it is important that your ecommerce platform is sophisticated enough to recognize the company or buying group and restrict payment to their approved options.

Allow accounts to limit payment options to certain buyers
Poor UX

What makes for a poor user experience on a B2B site?  If buyers struggle to find products or feel like they don’t have enough information about the product to make an informed decision, then you have likely missed the mark.  Without the sales rep to tell them everything about a product, the online B2B buyer still expects to be able to make a well-informed purchase.  

First, you must have clear, detailed product information with good product imagery.  Next, make sure the products are easy to find.  Simple and obvious categories, site navigation and key search terms will ensure that customers can find what they are looking for quickly.  Make sure your site also has clear contact and support information to resolve any questions that might come up.  Lastly, a B2C-like shopping experience will almost always feel safe and familiar to business buyers.

Not Tracking User Behavior

The only way to make informed marketing decisions is to track user behavior.  It is best to understand what is attracting customers and keeping them on the site versus what is turning them away.  Much of the time, this data will tell you what is working and what is not, allowing you to make incremental changes to keep users on your site and drive them to purchasing.

Failing to Optimize

We now have an entire generation of Millennials in the work force with a tech-first mindset.   To attract and retain these buyers, your website must be mobile-friendly, fast, and secure.  It sounds so simple, but many buyers will be put off by slow or antiquated, non-responsive websites. 

B2C Ecommerce Mistakes

Not Providing a Unique Offering

Chances are there are competitive products or services similar to yours already available online.  What differentiates your brand or product(s)?  Your differentiator can be as simple as offering the best price or superior quality versus the competition.  Maybe your product or service differentiates itself in quality and that is reflected in your stellar customer reviews.  Whatever it is that differentiates your brand should be highlighted and used in your marketing campaigns to help your products and services stand out from the crowd.

No Guest Checkout

We’ve all been there.  You’re on an ecommerce website and you’re routed to checkout only to find out you have to create an account to proceed.   Have you ever hesitated or abandoned your cart here?  Many consumers are put off by account creation and giving yet another retailer all of their personal information.  Account creation is important for future marketing opportunities, so while we recommend offering guest checkout, you can also offer incentives for buyers willing to create an account on your website.

Poor Shipping Options

Amazon Prime and services like it have consumers thinking most shipping should be free.  Of course, free shipping isn’t realistic for the majority of online retailers, so we recommend giving your consumers more shipping options and shipping promotions whenever possible.  For instance, you may be able to offer free or flat-rate ground shipping to customers willing to wait a week or more.  Others might be willing to pay more for expedited shipments.  The important thing is to give them accurate, automated shipping estimates and timelines.

Lack of Reviews

Before the digital age, people often relied on product and service recommendations from friends and family.  While word of mouth is still important, online reviews go a long way in building brand trust.  Positive reviews offer consumers a form of validation that they are making the right choice as a consumer. Reviews are a form of social proof that help consumers feel comfortable with buying products from you. Enable reviews on your site so that you don’t  miss out on the opportunity to win new customers over!

Positive reviews build brand trust
Weak security

There are so many ways to exploit ecommerce websites, so it is critical that your technology stack is up-to-date.  We recommend quarterly health and wellness checks to validate that your platform is taking advantage of the latest security measures.  Something as simple as an expired SSL certificate will turn away prospective customers.  Keep security risk to a minimum by reviewing each piece of your ecommerce technology for upgrades and patches on a regular basis.

Do you need help managing your ecommerce site?  Reach out to us in the form below.  We’d love to help!

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