15 Common Ecommerce Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Running a successful ecommerce business isn’t easy – but you can make it easier by avoiding these common mistakes in marketing, checkout, and more.

And as more and more online retailers emerge, ecommerce businesses face more competition than ever. The trick is to not only keep up, but find ways to gain – and maintain – a competitive edge.

If you’re running an established ecommerce site, you know that this is no simple task. In such a saturated and dynamic market, it’s essential to make smart decisions – from site design and customer service to payment options and security. 

Even the tiniest details can make a huge difference in sales, and seemingly small mistakes can have dire consequences. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the most common ecommerce mistakes, plus tips for how to avoid them.


15 Common Ecommerce Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Whether you’re hoping to prevent future issues or increase online sales right now, it’s worth taking a look at the most common ecommerce mistakes. You might be making some of them without even realizing it. And even if you aren’t, the tips below can still help you optimize your online store to reach more people – and turn them into loyal customers.

1. Missing Your Target Audience

When it comes to selling products, the most important thing to know is exactly who you’re selling to. What do they want? What do they care about? What will convince them to buy from you instead of the thousands of other sellers out there? 

Every ecommerce business has to find its niche, and then design its online presence to target that niche intentionally. In other words, you shouldn’t use a generic website to sell a highly specific product. And if your product has a broader target market, you need to make sure your site is universally appealing and accessible.

Reaching your target audience goes beyond the way your website looks or how it’s organized. It also has to do with brand values, marketing, and even the payment options you offer. Try to imagine the exact buying experience your ideal customer wants, and then deliver it.

2. Using the Wrong Platform

There are endless options when it comes to ecommerce platforms, and you have to do your research before deciding which one to use. If you’ve already established your store on one platform but find it’s not really working for you, it’s never too late to switch to a new one.

Consider the strengths and weaknesses of each platform. Some are better for small businesses, while others are designed for higher sales volume. Some are simple and user-friendly, but others offer more customization options and possibilities for scaling up. And if you want to integrate with other tools, make sure your platform supports them.

3. Not Optimizing the User Experience

What does it actually feel like to make a purchase on your site? If you can’t immediately answer that question, you might need to put some more thought into the user experience. Of course, this is an incredibly broad term that involves various elements.

Generally speaking, you need to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. When they arrive on your store’s main page, is it easy for them to find what they need? They should be able to easily navigate between categories and product pages and find important information.

The user experience goes all the way from the customer’s first impression to their decision to purchase a product, and ends with the checkout process. Every step along the way should be as easy and intuitive as possible.

4. Ignoring the Importance of Content

It might be tempting to neglect the actual written content on your website, from product descriptions to your About page. But poorly written text or an abundance of typos will only detract from the customer’s overall impression of your brand.

This isn’t just about avoiding mistakes – you also need to optimize your content’s tone and style. Think about a brand with a super catchy slogan or a strong message, and how much it affects your perception of the product. 

It’s always a good idea to hire a professional copywriter and/or editor to create and review the content of your site. Remember that this is an ongoing process; you’ll need to continue ensuring the quality of your content as you add new products and update your messaging.

5. Not Presenting Products Well

It’s essential to present whatever you’re selling in the best possible light – both literally and figuratively. That could mean using high-quality product photos that show various angles and features. It might also mean adding videos or diagrams to show how the product works.

If you’re selling something more abstract, like a service or a product that doesn’t look great in photos, then you’ll need to get creative. Optimize your product descriptions and develop visuals that reflect your product’s USPs.

Remember that online shoppers’ attention spans are short, so you should get straight to the point. Present the most relevant and essential information first, but make it easy for customers to find further details if they want to dive deeper.

6. Disregarding Design and Images

We’ve already discussed the importance of product photos, but those aren’t the only images that matter for ecommerce. The visual identity of your site is a central aspect of your brand image, and it can have a huge effect on customers – even if it’s subconscious. 

Consider the colors and fonts you’re using, the way your store is laid out, and if there are any interactive or dynamic elements. Does the main page look cluttered and confusing? Are the product pages clear and informative? What’s the overall impression you’re going for?

You should discuss these things with your design and development teams to make sure everyone’s on the same page. You’ll need a unified vision in order to create a strong visual identity for your site.

7. Not Showing Social Proof

At this point, pretty much everyone knows you shouldn’t believe everything you read online – and that certainly applies to online shopping. People aren’t going to buy a product based solely on how it looks or the quality of your marketing. They need social proof: evidence that other people have bought this product and loved it

The best way to provide social proof is through customer reviews. Even a few reviews are better than none at all, but for maximum impact you should try to get as many positive reviews as possible. Some brands encourage this by sending follow-up emails to previous customers asking them to leave reviews.

You can also highlight customer testimonials on your site, or even publish case studies for certain kinds of products or services. The most important thing is that your social proof is not only convincing, but completely authentic. Don’t fake those reviews or testimonials!

8. Complicating the Checkout Process

When you’re selling online, every step of the customer journey matters – but the checkout process is especially crucial. This is one of the most important factors in determining whether or not a potential customer actually buys something.

Let’s say a customer finds items they like, adds them to the cart, and decides to buy them. But when they try to complete the purchase, they’re faced with a confusing or overwhelming checkout page. Chances are they’ll either decide to deal with it later (and possibly forget or change their mind), or give up and take their business elsewhere. 

The checkout process should be smooth and streamlined, with no unnecessary barriers or complex steps. Once the customer decides to buy something, it should be as quick and easy as possible for them to enter their payment and shipping information, discount codes, and any other relevant details in order to complete the purchase.

Pay.com makes the checkout process incredibly simple, removing all payment friction and leaving your customers with a smooth, seamless experience.

9. Offering Limited Payment Methods

There’s a seemingly infinite number of ways to pay online, and every customer has their preferred method. In fact, the same person might prefer to pay with different methods depending on the type of purchase, the amount, or other factors.

If you’re only giving your customers one or two options on your checkout page, you might be missing out on a huge segment of people who don’t use those methods. For example, if you only support credit card payments, you’re ignoring the growing demographic that prefers to pay with digital wallets like PayPal.

You should offer as many different payment methods as possible. This will help you cater to a wider customer base, and make sure you don’t lose sales over something as simple as payment preferences. Pay.com makes it easy to add a variety of payment methods to your checkout page with minimal effort. Click here to find out how you can get started!

10. Omitting Important Details

Beyond the obvious information about your products or services, you also need to provide practical details about your company, policies, and terms and conditions.

This might include an About page where you explain your background and mission. It should definitely include a page with key information on shipping, returns, exchanges, and warranties if applicable.

All of this information needs to be accessible and easy to understand. The customer shouldn’t have to hunt through your sitemap to find out if you have a return policy or which countries you ship to. And once they find the right page, they shouldn’t have to read through a ton of fine print. 

11. Providing Poor Customer Service

No matter how comprehensive your ecommerce site is, people are bound to have questions. They might want to know more about the product before buying it, or they could run into issues with ordering or returns. Regardless of the situation, they should be able to get quick and relevant answers to their questions.

First, it’s important to have a detailed FAQ section on your site. Here you can answer common questions about things like shipping, sizing, and exchanges. But people should also be able to get in touch with customer service directly, whether by email, phone, or live chat.

Once a customer contacts support, the experience has to be positive. Make sure that your representatives respond promptly and are well informed. A negative customer service experience can give someone a bad impression of your company for life.

12. Forgetting about Security

Security might seem like a given, but plenty of online sellers neglect to ensure that their transactions are safe. It’s not hard to see why – security and authentication can be a total headache to set up on your own, especially if this isn’t your area of expertise.

That said, weak security is a dealbreaker for many customers. You need to prioritize security by making sure payments are PCI compliant, using strong authentication methods, and clearly communicating these measures to your customers.

If this sounds overwhelming, you can let Pay.com take care of it for you. We tokenize all customer payment details to keep them private and use 3DS2 authentication for extra protection. Pay.com also has Level 1 PCI DSS compliance, so you can let customers know their payments are secure by adding the PCI DSS logo to your site.

13. Not Prioritizing Marketing

Marketing is an essential part of any retail business, and it requires significant resources. A good marketing strategy is carefully planned, informed by data, and aimed at your target audience.

It’s also important not to overdo it. You don’t want to send potential customers 15 emails per week, or you’ll start to seem more like spam than a legitimate and trustworthy company. You should also consider the habits of your ideal buyers; are they actually checking their email, or would it be more effective to advertise on Instagram?

If you’re new to marketing, it can’t hurt to get help from experts. But in the meantime, you can read up on the top marketing strategies to grow your ecommerce business.

14. Overlooking SEO

SEO (search engine optimization) goes hand in hand with marketing. But not all marketing strategies take it into account – and this can be a huge mistake. The world’s best website design and user experience are useless if no one can find the site in the first place.

Make sure you’re up to date on the latest SEO strategies and best practices. Someone on your team should be responsible for SEO and keyword research. This involves continuously monitoring competitors and your site’s performance on search engines, and testing different tactics to increase your visibility.

15. Not Setting Yourself Up for Growth 

Virtually every company wants to grow. This might seem obvious, but it’s important to remember every step of the way – even if your business is just getting started. You should have clearly defined goals for the future, and your current strategies and decisions should support those goals.

You can set yourself up for growth by using an ecommerce platform that will let you scale up in the future. Make sure that your site has the flexibility to add new features and products, and that your business plan is adaptable. If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the last few years, it’s that the world is unpredictable – and your company has to be able to keep up. 

The Benefits of Working with Pay.com as Your Payment Service Provider

Once you’ve attracted customers to your ecommerce site and convinced them to buy your products or services, the final stage of the process begins: payment. Without a simple and efficient checkout process, your sales might suffer. That’s where Pay.com comes in.

Pay.com is a payment service provider that puts all your payment information and infrastructure in one place. It allows you to accept a wide variety of payment methods, which you can easily add and remove from your checkout page with just a few clicks.

The Pay Dashboard is designed to be both intuitive and comprehensive, with detailed insights into each transaction and overall trends. This allows you to analyze sales in depth and optimize revenue accordingly. You can integrate directly with our API to add hosted payment fields to your existing site, or customize our prebuilt checkout page.

Pay.com provides industry-leading security measures to keep you and your customers’ payment information safe. We have Level 1 PCI DSS compliance and use 3DS2 authentication and tokenization. With Pay.com, you’ll never have to worry about security – and neither will your customers.

Click here to get started with Pay.com now!

The Bottom Line

When it comes to ecommerce, there’s an endless number of factors that will affect your success. You need to consider everything from product descriptions and photos to customer service and security – all while keeping your target audience in mind. Ultimately, the key is to focus on optimizing every detail and delivering an excellent customer experience.

The payment process is an essential part of the ecommerce customer journey. Pay.com can help you enhance it by offering multiple payment methods and making the checkout process as simple, streamlined, and secure as possible.

Click here to start accepting online payments with Pay.com!


What's the best way for an ecommerce business to accept multiple payment methods?

The best way to accept multiple payment methods is by using a payment service provider. Pay.com lets you add a wide variety of payment options to your checkout page, from credit and debit cards to digital wallets. Any fees involved in accepting ecommerce payments will go through your Pay.com account, so you can easily keep track of costs.

What’s the biggest challenge in ecommerce?

It depends who you ask, but cybersecurity is certainly one of the biggest challenges that ecommerce businesses face today. There’s a high risk of fraud involved with selling anything online, so you have to make sure that your checkout process is completely secure. Pay.com upholds the highest security standards to prevent fraud and ensure safe payments.

What causes ecommerce businesses to fail?

Many factors can cause ecommerce businesses to fail, but some of the most common are a lack of focus on the target audience, ineffective marketing, and low-quality content. To succeed, you have to know who you’re selling to, attract them to your site through smart marketing and SEO, and present quality content that convinces them to make a purchase.

What's the best way to start an ecommerce business?

When it comes to ecommerce, getting started might actually be the most straightforward part of the process. There are some simple steps you can follow to start an ecommerce business, from defining your niche and creating a website to pricing your products and setting up online payments. Once you’ve done that, you can focus on marketing and growth.

How can I market my ecommerce business?

There are plenty of effective marketing strategies to grow your ecommerce business – some more obvious than others. It’s essential to use content marketing and SEO to increase your visibility. You can also try strategies like ad retargeting, referral programs, social media marketing, influencer partnerships, email marketing, and pay-per-click advertising.

Meet the author
Melissa Haun
Melissa Haun is a freelance writer, editor, and translator with a special interest in fintech. She lives in Lisbon, Portugal, where she spends as much time as humanly possible in the ocean.
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