7 Revenue-Killing Mistakes for Ecommerce Retailers Simple integration and a user-friendly interface will help you build an unstoppable ecommerce empire and sleep better at night.

By Matthew Toren

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


If you're in the business of ecommerce, there's a good chance you've overlooked a number of aspects that contribute to your successes and failures. And let's be honest: there's nothing worse than letting things slip through the cracks without even realizing it's happening. In order to make sure you're avoiding these conversion and revenue-killing mistakes, take some time to conduct a thorough site audit.

Let's look at some common ecommerce downfalls that can drastically impact your store's revenue, reputation and future.

1. Poor product descriptions.

Although product descriptions have different meanings depending on the item, many ecommerce stores underestimate the power of thoroughness. On personal websites, users prefer viewing content that shows the human aspect of the company (i.e. staff photos). Ecommerce users prefer in-depth descriptions, customer reviews and ratings.

According to NN Group, when looking at Amazon's product pages, for example, "only 18 percent of the viewing time [is] spent on the photos, while 82 percent [is] spent on the text." Of course, providing multiple photos taken at various angles is crucial for your engagement as well -- but users depend on detailed product insights to make the most educated decisions. When launching new pages, it's crucial to ensure that each item is packed with valuable information and multiple ways to digest it. Otherwise, if you solely focus on visuals, you'll lose the customer.

2. Complicated checkout process.

One of the most important conversion factors within the ecommerce space is the checkout process. Since these marketplaces solely rely on online purchases, it's crucial that the final purchasing steps are simple, user-friendly and non-distracting. According to ecommerce fraud prevention solution Riskified, "giving shoppers the opportunity to remove items from the cart is fine, but it should not be so prominent that it distracts customers. Some retailers like to suggest other items the user may like. While this is done to drive sales, it can have the opposite result."

Related: 3 Fatal Ecommerce Mistakes You Must Not Make

While it is important to utilize cross-selling and upselling opportunities, be careful that you're not overwhelming, confusing or discouraging shoppers from continuing. Otherwise, it's possible that they'll become frustrated and leave.

One of the easier ways to minimize the risk of frustrated shoppers is to streamline the checkout process by getting rid of as many fields as possible. You want the customer to pay quickly and not spend hours filling out forms.

3. Lousy images.

One of the best ways to sell a physical good is to get it in someone's hands. Since ecommerce stores don't have that option, the best alternative is to get them to imagine it in front of them. However, many ecommerce brands display oversized, uncreative photos in pursuit of making the page seem more visually engaging, but it actually does the opposite.

Again, customers want to picture themselves using the product, so providing images that will help them imagine this is crucial. This can be properly done by showing the product in various positions, angles and uses. Having the ability to easily zoom in and out of photos is also valuable since users can learn more about features specific to their needs. Today's consumers are accustomed to having multiple resources for making purchasing decisions, which is why solely providing one photo can actually hurt a buyer's interest.

4. Your website doesn't seem trustworthy.

One of the greatest detractors when it comes to ecommerce conversions is a lack of brand familiarity. You might be the most trustworthy company in the world, but if your site fails to express that, customers will move on.

Related: 5 Ecommerce Mistakes to Avoid: A Newbie's Guide

"A brand should reflect the company's business plan, its mission and values. It has to be authentic. Therefore, when you brand a company (or anything else for that matter), you're trying to capture its core identity," wrote marketing consultant Matt Hanses.

Luckily, there are several ways to improve your brand's image, starting with a solid understanding of your audience's worries, motivations and insecurities regarding your product. If you can share content that soothes those emotions, customers are much more inclined to engage further with your site. Providing different forms of brand validation -- such as customer reviews, public recognitions and relatable company stories -- are very valuable when it comes to developing trust with your users.

According to a survey by customer generated marketing platform Yotpo, out of 600 online shoppers 77.3 percent said that reviews impact their decision to make a purchase. What's more the survey shows that traffic emanating from reviews has a lower bounce rate and higher page views than traffic from Google, Facebook and Twitter.

Companies looking to strengthen their brand and trustworthiness with customers must invest in reliable and organic reviews.

5. First impression matters.

We've all landed on websites that immediately seem untrustworthy. Maybe they're missing a logo, lack a good design or have a font that screams "we're going to scam you." Regardless, modern consumers are so accustomed to landing on less-than-promising ecommerce sites that they immediately recognize and run away from it. This is why first impressions are everything. A recent study showed that the look and feel of a website is the main driver of first impressions. The study showed that poor interface design led to rapid rejection and mistrust of a website.

Make sure everything on your site looks highly professional, from its design and its mobile performance to its checkout forms. Users won't hand over their credit card information if you lack basic signs of credibility, so make sure your site looks as legitimate as possible.

6. The importance of mobile.

Many brands still don't realize that site mobile responsiveness matters. Since users are accustomed to browsing websites on their mobile devices, it's crucial that your site is fully optimized in this regard. It's important to compare the mobile and desktop versions of your site to ensure that they're both easy to navigate and enjoyable to use.

Related: 4 Startlingly Basic Mistakes That Doom Most Ecommerce Startups

According to UXMatters, "in 2015, the shopping cart abandonment rate reached an all-time high of 70 percent, and it's climbing. Since Morgan Stanley's research suggests that 91 percent of adults use smartphones, why are only 14 percent of those consumers buying products online using their mobile device?"

7. Potential hackers.

With so much data potentially exposed to hackers, ecommerce stores are prone to all kinds of types of fraudulent activity. As scammers become more advanced in their techniques, online businesses have to invest their resources into multiple fraud prevention platforms. With so many plugins and complicated integration processes, it's easy for things to slip through the cracks and for scammers to sneak by without you even noticing.

Due to these risks, it's crucial to have an all-in-one solution that can cover all of your security issues. As mentioned earlier, try platforms like Riskified to monitor every aspect of your website without the risk of turning away legitimate customers. It's also a good idea to safeguard your operation from fraud prevention and offer a chargeback guarantee. To learn more about the scope of this major ecommerce revenue killer, see the company's infographic on false declines. Other similar and highly popular tools in the fraud prevention space include CyberSource and Accertify.

With simple integration and a user-friendly interface, these solutions will help you sleep better at night and build an unstoppable ecommerce empire.

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Matthew Toren

Serial Entrepreneur, Mentor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com

Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Vancouver, B.C.

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