5 UX Mistakes eCommerce Retailers Need to Avoid

Launching an e-commerce store isn’t a big deal today. Be that as it may, there are five rookie mistakes which you absolutely must avoid as they can seriously slay your sales.

Wednesday, October 9th 2019 in Business by Tim Ferguson
5 UX Mistakes eCommerce Retailers Need to Avoid

Launching an e-commerce store isn’t a big deal today. Platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce made sure of that. However, as with any trade, earning real, substantial profits from your website ─ now that’s a tall order.

Of course, you already have enough on your plate with a myriad of to-dos: inventory management, customer support, marketing, and all that jazz. Be that as it may, there are five rookie mistakes which you absolutely must avoid as they can seriously slay your sales.

Don’t overlook mobile

Seriously, don’t. Mobile is where the money’s at. During the holiday shopping season of 2018, mobile dominated sales:

  • Black Friday: Nearly 40% of sales came via a mobile device.
  • Cyber Monday: 54% of visitors came from mobile devices, while around 30% of those made a purchase on their mobile device.

What’s more, 53.9% of all retail e-commerce is expected to be generated via mobile e-commerce by 2021. In short, it's far more likely that your to-be customers will show up from a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) instead of a desktop.

Even so, 84% of all online buyers say they’ve had a bad experience in mobile shopping. Consequently, this is where you can capitalize on conversions just by building a mobile-friendly and responsive site.

A case in point is J.Crew’s mobile website.

Don’t settle for mediocre visuals

As you’re new to e-commerce and likely strapped for cash, you’d want to economize wherever possible, which is good. Skimping on product visuals, though, is a bad idea.

One of the biggest hurdles with online shopping for people is the lack of ability to feel, taste, or try the products first-hand before finalizing a decision. This, together with so many swindling websites that exist, is what leads to a lack of trust and cart abandonment.

And so, using professional visuals: images, illustrations, and videos is a must to try and win the visitor’s trust in your website. Incorporate all of the following in your product pages:

Primary Images

Primary images are the standard, high-resolution images in which the product is emphasized against a pure white background. Consider this as nothing more than a “minimum requirement” of product visuals on any modern e-commerce site. Use a tool like AutoClipping to quickly remove the background of your primary image rather than going through the hassle of setting up the perfect background for the shoot.

Also, try to include such images from many different angles with the ability to zoom.

Lifestyle Images

These pictures are meant to demonstrate your products as they’re being used in everyday conditions by the average Joe. Lifestyle shots will allow visitors to visualize what it would be like to own your product.


Use creative graphics and illustrations such as infographics to elegantly emphasize your product’s best features. Moreover, an instructional “how-to” illustration can also be designed to show how easy-to-use your product is..


Lastly, parade your product in action by creating short, entertaining videos. Video can be a little expensive in terms of effort and resources but it’ll boost the shopping experience and thus, sales.

A prime example (no pun intended) would be Amazon.

DIY photography is doable, but it’s wise to hire local professionals (photographers, graphic designers, etc.) to ensure a job well done. In any case, don’t scrimp on visuals by uploading mediocre images from your smartphone. Good visuals will bear fruit throughout the life of your store, so it is a worthy investment.

Don’t glut product copy

Your customers to-be want to know exactly what they’re getting in terms of product features and benefits. But long-winded blocks of text will drive them away. Most visitors will ditch the page if they feel they have to read through huge paragraphs that look like chapters of a novel.

Don’t bore your store visitors with an overdose of textual content. Rather, underline all the features and benefits using easy-to-scan bullet points so all the key information won’t go overlooked.

Besides, save the technical details for a separate section labeled “Technical Specifications."

When it comes to copy, less is more. Crafting product descriptions that are short, fun, and easy to read while presenting just the right amount of information is challenging. Seeing as this job of wordsmithery is not quite that simple as it seems, consider hiring a copywriter to help you out with quality product descriptions and overall site content.

This will enable you to focus on other equally vital elements, such as site search...

Don’t make do with an ineffective site search

Site search is at the heart of your store’s navigation. If the visitor knows precisely what they want, and even obscurely know its name or model number, their intention to buy is strong. Consequently, their odds of using the site search feature to find it are even higher.

And yet, according to Baymard Institute’s e-commerce Search Usability report, 70% of (desktop) e-commerce search implementations fail to return relevant results for product-type synonyms, requiring users to search using the exact same jargon as the site. Similarly, 34% don’t return useful results when users search for a model number or misspell a word with just a single character in the product title.

Simply put, if your site search is broken, you’ll destroy buyer confidence.

So, how do you get this feature right? A high converting site search starts with design. Focus on the basics ─ contrast and proportion. Check out Target’s search box below.

Once the design is done well, make sure that misspelled searches for product names or model numbers give proper results. Almost everyone uses the search feature and a poor UX in finding products will drown your conversion rate.

And lastly, don’t forget social proof

Before they part with their precious money, shoppers want evidence that what you’re selling is authentic. And no level of paid advertising can ever beat an endorsement by a verified customer, letting a shopper on the fence know that someone just like them made a similar purchase and are happy with it.

The cornerstone of any business, online or off, is the trustworthiness. One does not simply buy from you because you’re offering it for a cheaper price. They do because you have gained a level of trust from them.

In fact, 84% of people trust online reviews and testimonials as much as they would a personal recommendation. Additionally, 57% of consumers will do business with you only if your customer ratings are over 4 stars.

Talking about e-commerce, customer service and UX together compose the customer experience (CX). A clear display of your store’s shipping and returns policy adds credibility to your store. Likewise, having clearly visible contact information (email and phone number) along with an easy-to-fill contact form is essential. And not having live chat on your e-commerce website is like having a retail store without any employees.

Shoppers will be wary of your business’s legitimacy if you don’t cover these basics.

Social proof comes in a variety of ways:

  • Reviews on your website and social media handles
  • Reviews on platforms like Yelp and Trustpilot
  • Social share count
  • Media mentions (such as one from HuffPost)
  • Celebrity/Influencer endorsements
  • Third-party certifications/badges
  • Case studies on your website
  • Display of the number of times the product was bought

If you’re striving to grow your business into a reputable brand someday, then you need to produce a profusion of social proof.

Over to you

You are passing up a ton of profits if you make these common UX mistakes which many new e-commerce entrepreneurs make. Take the time to carefully evaluate your store for these rather costly UX blunders and fix them as soon as you can.

About the Author

Tim Ferguson

Tim Ferguson works for Right Mix Marketing, a digital marketing blog. His day-to-day role comprises of writing & editing content for RMM blog, and helping clients with link building, guest posts and content marketing. When he's not working, he loves spending time reading all things psychology.

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