Common Mistakes That Can Ruin Your E-Commerce Conversion Rate

Aug 16, 2023 9:55:00 AM
15 min read

You have an online store. Your website is pretty kick-ass (or at least you think it is), and your products are top-notch. Yet shoppers keep leaving your site without buying anything. Ever wonder why?

Shopper sitting in armchair with a laptop. The shopper is about to make a purchase from home. For online businesses, conversions are everything. And your conversion rate is one of the key factors affecting your overall success. According to the latest data, the global e-commerce conversion rate is 2.58%. The fewer shoppers you get across the purchase line, and the lower your conversion rate will fall. How can you correct this? The first step is identifying potential causes for your depleted conversion rate .

In this article, we’ll reveal the most common blunders ruining your chances of converting more shoppers into customers—and ways to fix them.

Mistake #1:
Lack of Personalization

Illustration of a magnifying glass. Fact: 90% of consumers find personalized content or offers very appealing. Without it, customers may struggle to find products that match their interests or needs. This can lead to frustration, increased bounce rates and ultimately, abandoned shopping carts.

Solution: Tailor each shopper’s experience. 

Over 70% of online shoppers have stated that they expect personalized
experiences, so give them one and watch your conversions grow. Here are five ways to inject a little more personalization into your e-commerce strategy:

  1. The content and layout of your website should feel like it was created for
    each user who visits it. Use information like their location, demographics, and in-session actions to customize everything from messaging to banners to product displays.  

  2. Nothing makes a customer happier than feeling like the site they’re on knows exactly what they like. Utilize data like browsing and purchase history to tailor product recommendations that align with each customer’s preferences. Dig even deeper by using collaborative filtering, content-based filtering, and machine learning algorithms to provide accurate and relevant suggestions.

  3. Two letters traveling through the air. Don’t end the recommendations online! Segment your email lists to send more product recommendations, offers, and other content to keep shoppers coming back for more. You can even use automated email flows triggered by specific actions, such as abandoned carts or previous purchases.

  4. Make a tedious account set-up feel more inviting by letting your customers save their preferences, wish lists, and browsing history. This also gives you the deets you need to deliver more frequent (and relevant) personalized experiences throughout the buyer journey!

  5. Create product pages that stand out by displaying product information, images, and reviews based on individual preferences and browsing history to enhance relevance and engagement.

 Related: 5 Hyper-Personalization Methods That Get Results

Mistake #2:
Confusing Website Navigation

Person using crystal ball to predict the future. If a shopper lands on your site and can’t find their way to what they’re looking for easily, there’s a good chance they’ll bail. A cluttered navigation menu or a mediocre search function are deterrents to conversions, and are why 37% of users leave a website (Source Komarketing).

Solution: Simplify your website’s menus.

When you provide clear directions, you make it easier for visitors to locate
products that interest them. Not only does this lead to more sales, but it can also boost your search engine ranking. To enhance your site’s navigation, apply these four steps:

  1. Prioritize content by identifying the most valuable content and placing it
    prominently in the navigation for easy user access.

  2. Streamline the menu structure by reducing the number of top-level menu items and grouping related items together in submenus, drop-downs, or mega menus.

  3. Categorize products logically and use clear labels to help your customers find what they're looking for.

  4. Strengthen the search bar's visibility and functionality so it can offer predictive features, suggest relevant products, correct typos, provide filters, and use images in search recommendations.

Tip: Navigation testing tools like Optimal Workshop and Usability Hub are great for collecting the data needed to understand the user experience bumps your navigation is causing.

Mistake #3:
Neglecting Mobile Users

Person with Shopping Bag and PhoneWith over 91% of people using their smartphones to make online transactions, ignoring their user experience is a huge no-no in the conversion game. Not having a responsive, mobile-friendly design can lead to a significant loss of potential customers. Think your website is good enough? Check this out: 67% of mobile users state that pages and links being too small to click on is a huge barrier to mobile shopping (Source: Dynamic Yield). Translate that to missed conversions, and that’s a lot of overlooked opportunities leaving your site.

Solution: Prioritize mobile-friendly design.

Illustration of a tablet. With a significant portion of online shoppers using mobile devices, it's essential to have a responsive and mobile-focused website design that adjusts the user interface to fit different screens. Remember, mobile screens are not simply smaller versions of your desktop pages. In order to optimize your website for mobile users, follow these six suggestions:

  1. Ensure mobile responsiveness by testing all website elements to ensure they function seamlessly on a variety of device sizes. 

  2. Deliver seamless navigation by providing legible text, including large calls-to-action.

  3. Make it easier to interact with your store by including noticeable buttons placed in prominent locations.

  4. Adjust or remove any images or videos that could be slowing down loading times.

  5. Use tabs to prevent the user from having to scroll endlessly.

  6. Consider a mobile app, which has a conversion rate 300% higher than mobile websites.

 Related: How to Give Customers The Best Mobile App Experience

Mistake #4:
Complicated Checkout Processes

Getting digital shoppers to complete their purchases is no easy feat. Recent statistics found that seven out of every ten online shopping baskets are ditched before checkout. That’s a lot of unbought inventory!

Happy customer interacting with sales associate at checkout.

If checking out items on your site requires a nap or a manual, you could be frustrating more customers than you realize. And this all leads to a bunch of abandoned carts and missed sales.

Solution: Ensure a smooth experience.

There’s a lot of value to simplifying your checkout process. A simple checkout is so important that 17% of shoppers have ditched their purchase because the checkout process was too lengthy. Here are a few key things to do to make your checkout process more pleasant for your customers:

  • Offer guest checkout for busy shoppers or those not wanting to create an account.
  • If possible, condense the checkout process to a single page.
  • Keep the number of steps and fields to a minimum and display them in a clear and organized manner.
  • Provide clear progress indicators to show users how many steps are left.
  • Implement autofill functionality for information like name, address, and credit card information.
  • Use APIs like Google Places to provide suggestions for addresses.
  • Save payment methods and shipping addresses for faster checkout in the future.
  • Give shoppers peace of mind by displaying trust badges, security icons, and SSL certificates for credibility.

Mistake #5:
Hidden or High Fees

Illustration of a coin. Springing unexpected costs, like high shipping fees or hidden charges, can significantly impact e -commerce conversions—so much so, that it’s the number one reason people abandon their online carts.

Solution: Be transparent with pricing.

Being open and upfront about costs is critical to ensuring your customers trust your brand and are willing to proceed with their purchases. To resolve any impending issues and increase conversions, consider these five strategies: 

  1. Avoid surprises at checkout by clearly displaying all costs early in the shopping process. This should include product prices, taxes, shipping, fees, and any other additional charges.

  2. When it comes to shipping, free is always best. However, not all online stores can offer this. If you’re one of them, don’t worry – there are other options that will appeal to shoppers, such as:
    • A free shipping threshold that offers complimentary shipping for orders exceeding a certain value. A threshold slightly higher than your typical average order value will often work best for your customers.
    • A reasonable flat-rate shipping fee, regardless of an order’s total or the number of items purchased.
    • Tiered shipping options that are based on factors like speed or location.

  3. Consider offering subscription services that include free or reduced shipping for a regular fee. This can incentivize customer loyalty and drive repeat purchases.

  4. Remove shipping fees altogether by offering local pick-up in areas you have a brick-and-mortar store or other designated pick-up location.

chatbubbleTip: Adding a shipping cost calculator on product pages or the cart page allows customers to estimate their shipping costs based on their location and selected shipping options.

Mistake #6:
Unfriendly Product Pages

Shopper with cart standing in front of giant computer. In front are multiple clothing item cards, with the shopper looking at a 'buy now' button.
A product page is where most purchasing decisions are made. If the page doesn't effectively communicate the value of the product, your customers are likely to abandon their shopping journey.

Product pages need sufficient and relevant details, specifications, and images. Without them, shoppers may be doubtful about a product's features, benefits, and overall suitability. In addition to negating a sale, this can also lead to an erosion in brand trust.

Solution: Overcommunicate your product details.

Crafting a compelling product page that sells doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does require that it’s well done. These are the five elements needed to make your product pages shine: 

  1. Use high-resolution images that showcase the product from multiple angles. Make sure to allow shoppers to zoom in for closer details, and show videos of the product in use if you’re able.

  2. Provide accurate and detailed product descriptions that highlight features, benefits, and use cases. This includes everything from sizing to dimensions, materials, engaging descriptions, and any other specifications.

  3. Clearly communicate stock levels, and if an item is out of stock, provide information about if or when it will return. This is especially important for items that come in multiple sizes or colors, where shoppers might have their hearts set on a specific look. 

  4. Add persuasive CTAs that convey a sense of urgency or benefit, and clearly guide shoppers toward making a purchase. Don’t forget to make these CTAs noticeable on the page.

  5. Include trust badges and genuine customer reviews and ratings to build trust. (More on this right away!)

Mistake #7:
Inadequate Trust Signals

Digital shoppers aren’t able to see your products in real life, so they need that reassurance that what they’re seeing online is legitimate (and accurate).

 Two hands reaching out, about to shake, in front of a green circle. When you fail to show trust elements like customer reviews and security badges, you leave the door open for your customers to question the authenticity of products, or the safety of your site. And when there’s doubt, there’s greater hesitancy to make a purchase.

Solution: Include more social proof.

To establish credibility and get more shoppers to convert, add these trust signals throughout your website:

  • Showcase customer reviews and ratings on your product pages—your conversion rate could grow 67% just by highlighting them on your site.
  • Incorporate influencer partnerships for added exposure and enhanced credibility—particularly with younger target audiences.
  • Provide suitable testimonials, where appropriate, for added buyer confidence—it can increase conversions by 34%!
  • Display security certifications and trust badges on your checkout page to increase buyer confidence.

 Related: Types of Social Proof That Drive Customers to Buy

Mistake #8:
Unappealing Website Design

What’s as bad as complicated site navigation while being the number one way 48% of online shoppers determine the credibility of a digital store? It’s lackluster web design, and it could be why your conversions are lackluster too.

Shopper scratching head in confusion while looking at a tablet that shows two different shirts.

Solution: Keep design elements straightforward.

Your e-commerce site is the face of your brand, and 94% of its first impressions are design-related. Wow shoppers instantly by implementing these five design components:

  1. Minimize excessive clutter by simplifying your layout to spotlight key elements, such as exciting images and attention-grabbing headlines and CTAs.

  2. Use compelling graphics and high-quality videos to showcase your products or services in aspirational settings.

  3. Ensure all essential information, such as value propositions and CTAs, captures shoppers’ attention immediately by keeping it above the fold; that is, making it visible without the need to scroll.

  4. Skip the fancy fonts for ones your customers can read, and use appropriate font sizes for desktop and mobile devices. For example, serif fonts might be catchy at large sizes, but sans serifs are recommended for body copy and paragraph text.

  5. Ensure your page meets WCAG or AODA accessibility standards. Many of your shoppers could be color blind or have mobility issues, and ensuring that your site is navigable by all portions of your target audience will lead to more people wanting to spend their money in your digital store. 

Mistake #9:
Slow Site Speed

Illustration of three different server stacks plugged in an outlet. Online shoppers don’t like to wait around, and many won’t. Not only do 83% of consumers expect websites to load in under three seconds, but 47% will leave if it takes more than a couple of seconds. Take that in – almost half of your customers might bail if they can’t get to where they want to on your site quickly.

Solution: Improve your loading times.

There are many strategies that can speed up your page loads. If you’re unsure where to begin, here are some major players to review that could be the culprit for a slow site: 

  • Images and large media files can be compressed without reducing their quality. This can be achieved by using io and combining your images into CSS sprites.
  • Caching techniques using a content delivery network (CDN) can boost performance.
  • CSS/JS (JavaScript) and HTML files should be minimized through content delivery networks (CDNs) for faster load times.
  • Unnecessary plugins should be eliminated to reduce lengthy lulls.
  • Redirects play a big role in slowing down pages, so reduce or eliminate them wherever possible.

 Tip: Conduct stress and load tests to improve your server response times. 

Mistake #10:
Limited Payment Options

creditcard-1Earlier, we discussed how a poor checkout process can create huge barriers to conversion. A lack of payment options is one of those barriers that cause many shoppers to abandon their carts. And too few options can raise concerns about the legitimacy of your e-commerce store.

Solution: Provide more payment choices.

Consumers like having options as much as they like not having to re-enter their payment information, so the more payment methods you offer, the better the chances for finalizing those sales. Which options should you provide?

  • Credit and debit still have value, especially the major players like Visa and MasterCard.
  • Digital wallets, including PayPal, Google Pay, and Apple Pay, are the most popular online payment option because of their convenience, with 66% of Americans using them regularly.
  • Alternative payment methods like Buy Now, Pay Later are exploding in popularity, with three out of five shoppers already using them to pay for their e-commerce purchases. (Source: C+R Research)

You’ll also want to offer payment options that are popular in specific regions or countries you're targeting, along with real-time currency conversion so customers can see prices in their local currency.

Tip: Make sure a variety of mobile payment options are available for shoppers using their smartphones and tablets.

Mistake #11:
Subpar Customer Service

Almost nothing can turn an online shopper off more than shoddy customer service. Whether that’s slow response times, inability to speak with a human, or unresolved issues, customers who feel insufficiently supported are most likely going to leave your website and never return again. And as you can imagine, this can have a real impact on your long-term revenue.

Solution: Offer 360° customer support.

Two people high-fiving. Positive customer interactions can encourage customers to complete their purchases and become repeat buyers. And they also build loyalty. A recent study by Zendesk found that  81% of people claim that receiving good customer service makes them more likely to make another purchase. To provide better customer support across your platform, we recommend the following:

  • Offer customer support through a variety of channels such as live chat, email, phone, and social media.
  • Aim for quick response times to customer inquiries.
  • Provide round-the-clock support, even if it's automated or limited during off-hours. 
  • Implement chatbots to handle routine queries and direct customers to appropriate resources or human agents. (On average, chatbots have almost 90% satisfaction rates.)
  • Create a broad knowledge base and FAQs section that addresses common questions and concerns, and allow shoppers to find answers on their own.
  • Provide post-purchase support, such as order tracking and delivery updates to create transparency throughout the customer experience.

Mistake #12:
Ignoring Valuable Testing

Two shoppers, one looking at a bar line graph, another looking at a pie chart. One of the biggest mistakes that can hurt your CRO is failing to test your digital elements or pages. By not testing different components of your website, you end up making decisions based on assumptions rather than concrete data. This can lead to poor business decisions and missed opportunities to provide the best customer experience possible.

Solution: Implement A/B or multivariate testing.

Besides being the primary method for optimizing conversion rates, studies have found that effective A/B testing can drive a 50% increase in the average e-commerce revenue per unique visitor. So what’s the secret to successful A/B testing? 

  • No item is too small to test. Identify what resonates best with your audience by conducting A/B tests on different website elements, such as layout, headlines, and CTAs.
  • Continue testing throughout the funnel in other areas of the customer journey, including landing pages, checkout processes, emails, and any post-purchase interactions.
  • Segment your audience based on different criteria (e.g., demographics, geography, behavior) and conduct A/B tests tailored to each segment.
  • Invest in A/B testing tools and platforms that simplify the process and provide accurate data analysis.
  • Most importantly, make A/B testing a regular and ongoing practice by allocating time and resources to test various elements of your website and marketing campaigns.
  • And don’t forget to perform A/B tests on both mobile and desktop platforms!

Turning Conversion Missteps into Megahits

Two hands clasping each other.If some of these mistakes are causing your conversions to slide, take comfort in knowing it’s all fixable. By recognizing, remedying, and avoiding these errors in the future, you’ll be positioning yourself for better customer connections that build trust while significantly improving your e-commerce conversion rates.

Remember, everything always comes back to giving your customers the best experience possible. The happier the shopper, the more successful you’ll be.

Conquer CRO Challenges with Granify

Person smiling as though satisfied, with arms crossedReady to elevate your conversion rate, increase your e-commerce sales, and delight your customers all at the same time? Just last year Granify optimized over 7 billion shopping sessions and generated $688 million in revenue for enterprise retailers. Reach out today to find out how we can optimize your conversion rates – just in time for peak season!

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