3 Mistakes You Make When Selling Online

1: Unaware of Shopping Cart Abandonment

High shopping cart abandonment rates are the biggest headache for those running an online eCommerce store. In case this isn’t clear, it’s when shoppers browse your store, find something they like, put it in their basket and then don’t complete the purchase… Frustrating right?

“The typical shopping cart abandonment rate for online retailers varies between 60% and 80%, with an average of 67.91%.” – Wikipedia

That means for every 100 potential customers, 67 of them will leave without completing that purchase. Now think about how much more you could you make if you were converting those in to sales instead of losing them?

Here’s some very good ways to reduce your abandonment rate:

Allow Guest Checkout

So a customer is ready to buy something from your store, but they’re presented with page after page of forms they need to fill out, most of which is not vital to the purchase of their item(s). Trying to incentivize a customer to register before checking out is like asking someone to marry you before they’ve even met you. To incentivize them after they’ve made the transaction is a much easier task, benefits would include order tracking, order history, repeat orders, saved payment and address details, easy returns etc.

That’s why guest checkouts are an important feature for nearly all online retailers, and doing so doesn’t necessarily mean losing out on valuable customer data, it is just a case of putting the customer experience first. Why not use guest checkout as the default option, then offer to ‘save the customer details’ after they have completed their purchase?

Saving customer details comes across to the user as convenient, whereas ‘Registering’ implies unwanted marketing spam.

Something to consider after a customer is checked out is asking them to choose a password, you already have all their details filled out from the purchase. That way you’ve put the customer experience first, they get their product, you get the sale AND the data for future use.

Be Upfront About Extra Charges & Fees

You have more than likely experienced this. You find an item and add it to your cart, then when you decide you’re ready to make the purchase and checkout you are faced with extra fees and charges that you were unaware of previously, for things that should come as standard.

It’s like going to buy a brand new car, deciding that you want to make the purchase and then you find out you have to pay EXTRA if you want the engine… This should have been clearly listed on the original product page. You change your mind and leave without making the purchase.

Wider Range of Payment Options

You already had it in mind how you wanted to pay for this transaction, but it turns out the website you’re on doesn’t offer your preferred method, so you leave in favour of somewhere that does.

Don’t just assume everybody will bother digging their credit/debit card out of their wallet or purse. You’ll likely convert more online shoppers by using a range of payment services like Paypal or Google Wallet. You could even offer payment by Bitcoin!

2: Lack of Product Data

Some buyers will come to your site being 100% sure of what they want to buy. Others however will expect to find a plethora of product information. If they can’t find enough information about the product, they decide not to buy, or continue their search to find information.

More Product Info

Try to work out what some common users will ask about this product and write a unique product description giving the answers. If products are not described as precisely and fully as customers expect you could find you’re losing customers. This is a common occurrence because they cannot form a complete impression of the goods.

Better Images & Videos

First impressions count when selling online. Images are an essential component when trying to stand out from the crowd and attract customers. Clearly, images drive consumer confidence, but with the rise of what industry analysts are calling “visually-driven commerce,” these are no longer just a nice addition, they’re a requisite for success.

Industry leaders such as Amazon, eBay and Google Shopping aim to enhance customer experience by allowing users to interact with products in a way that closely mimics an in-store experience – allowing the shopper to get a true feel for the product. To improve their shopping experience, each of these channels have recently announced a new set of upgrades to their image requirements that, if not followed, could result in a retailer’s products not being listed.

Each channel has individual new image requirements and it is important for retailers to be aware of them so they can avoid being penalised and continue to sell across these sites. Julia Priddle, head of account management, EMEA at ChannelAdvisor outlines the latest updates for each marketplace, and how a retailer can comply and continue to realise the benefits of selling on these large channels.

Clearly Show Price and Stock Availability

You’ll notice if you’ve ever sold goods on Amazon that if you enter an 20 items items or less the product page will show potential customers the number of items remaining. Inventories are kept ‘low’ to take advantage of this trick.

Similar to exclusive offers and flash sales, customers note dwindling stock levels and this creates a fear of loss and a sense of urgency, nudging consumers closer to making a purchase.

Ecommerce retailers should use this as a sales tactic and display stock information prominently on product pages.

3: No Social Proof

We look to others for opinions and “signals” to help us make decisions. You can use this in your business to influence potential customers trying to make a buying decision.

One study found that social proof makes for better customers. Some businesses use endorsements by celebrities in their campaigns to increase traffic and sales.


You’ve probably seen reviews on marketplaces like eBay, Etsy, Amazon etc – so many visitors expect customer reviews. This can be seen as a pain to manage but is definitely something that should be included whenever possible. By having customer generated reviews visible on your store, visitors are more likely to make a purchase, and a product with quite a few reviews could even increase conversion rates.

Social Accounts

It is quite common for potential customers to check the site they are buying from on social media to see if they are up to date and active. Building an audience for isn’t usually something that happens overnight. It takes time but is well worth it to build a loyal audience.

Celebrity Endorsement

A tactic used by many in the business world is expert or celebrity endorsement. According to Aileen Lee’s article “Social Proof is The New Marketing”, an endorsement by Jessica Simpson helped Beautymint grow to 500,000 visitors on day one of its launch. Nowadays, however, you don’t need a massive budget to get some of these celebrities. For instance, there are quite a few Instagram influencers, YouTube celebrities, and more that are looking to promote products regularly. Some of them, you may have never even heard of, but you can bet that they have a huge following with amazing engagement rates. Nowadays, you could even get Paris Hilton to tweet about your product for $4600. Not bad.