The Biggest Mistakes Ecommerce Brands Don’t Realize They’re Making

Ecommerce Best Practices | 8 mins

The digital world moves quickly. Staying up to date with the best software and marketing tactics is an endless endeavor, and the fact is that the ecommerce landscape is more competitive than ever.

According to e-tail insights, there are 7.9 million online retailers globally, and 2.1 million of those are in the US.

Competition is stiff, and there are always new trendy ways to get ahead, but there are still several basics that many ecommerce businesses miss. We’ll shed light on the most common mistakes that many ecommerce brands don’t realize they’re making—and what you should be doing instead. Just following a few of these simple tips and best practices can have an outsized impact on your conversions.

Let’s get started.

Bad Product Filtering

Whether you sell a small range of products or you have a large catalog, bad product filtering features can cause shoppers to bounce off your site. If your customers are left to scroll forever or click around aimlessly, you’re missing sales.

Often there are two kinds of shoppers. The first kind knows exactly what they want and just wants to get on and grab it. The second kind likes to browse and will take their time combing through your options. Your site needs to accommodate both these types of customers.

Product Filtering Excellence

Some of the best examples of ecommerce sites that get product filtering right comes from high-end department stores. With so many items, these retailers have mastered the art of product filtering according to what their customers are searching for.

If you go to Nordstrom’s ecommerce site, you’ll see that there are numerous ways to filter the store’s catalog. You can choose to view items based on things like price range, size, color, and material. Nordstrom also lets you specify the brands that you’re interested in.

Even more impressive is that these filters are tailored to the specific category that you’re viewing. If you’re looking at handbags, you’ll get handbag-centric filters like bag closure (e.g., clasp, drawstring, snap) and bag style (e.g., bi-fold, continental, gym). Meanwhile, the filters in the shoe department include things like heel height and shoe width.

Nodstrom handbag product category page


Plus, there is a search bar to the top right, along with a navigation bar at the top allowing shoppers to browse Nordstrom’s virtual department store with ease.

Inaccurate Product Photos

It hardly needs to be said that inaccurate product photos are incredibly frustrating when shopping online. Not only do they limit the number of sales your site will receive, but they will also increase the number of returns your business will have to process.

One big mistake that many ecommerce businesses make is shooting images of a product, then digitally editing the colors based on the item’s variants. It may seem like a time-saver, but doing this can actually hinder your sales and increase returns because the images don’t give an accurate view of the product. Likewise, even if you are taking photos of the correct items, the wrong lighting or poor photo quality can impact your sales in the same way.

Taking accurate product pictures may be a tedious process, but it’s essential to tightening up your ecommerce experience and minimizing returns and customer frustration.

Product Photos Done Right

Sticking with Nordstrom as our example, you can see how each item of clothing is modeled to give customers a view of what the clothing looks like when worn. The site allows you to switch colors, zoom in, and often see back and front images.

In some cases, Nordstrom uses videos of people modeling the piece so you can see it in action.

Nordstrom product video desktop


Of course, not all brands have the budget of Nordstrom, but investing in better photography (or videography) for your products can go a long way in boosting sales.

Not Enough Photos

Expanding on the point above, having a lack of photos of your products on your website can also hinder your sales. People like to analyze the items they’re looking at, imagining how it would look on them or in their home.

The more pictures there are of the products, the clearer the vision for customers as to how these products could fit in their lives.

Shooting a Range of Positions

One of the stand-out ecommerce platforms giving customers a fully comprehensive look at their clothes online is ASOS. Not only do they give a back and front type shot of the clothes on models, but they also shoot a range of other positions—sitting, moving, or whatever else—to give customers an idea of how the clothes move with them.

Asos product detail page


Lack of Sizing and Product Specs

Missing sizing information and product specifications is a big red flag for customers shopping online. Without these details, you risk customers dropping off because they don’t trust the brand or they can’t get the information they want to confirm the item is the right choice. This is especially true for considered purchases, which typically have a high price point, meaning customers will have a longer research process.

Alternatively, if they do make a purchase, the chances of returns are higher because the item may not be what they thought it was. You can see countless examples of this on Amazon, where customers may simply go to another supplier on the platform. More information could easily solve these problems.

Covering All the Details

Shoppers want to be sure before hitting the buy button—again, the likes of Nordstrom and ASOS do this extremely well.
Whenever you view an item on one of those two sites, you will see details like the size the model is wearing, a sizing guide (including measurements that help customers identify what sizes they would be), brand information, materials, and how to take care of the item. This information helps to reduce returns and allows customers to feel comfortable that they’re informed enough to make the purchase.

Nordstrom product detail, care, and sizing pageNordstrom’s product detail page.

Poor Product Descriptions

Continuing on from the point above, poor or redundant product descriptions can also send shoppers packing. Copy and content are an important part of the customer experience. Product descriptions, especially, are essential.

The product description is an opportunity to inform your customers and show off your brand personality. If you copy and paste the description from your manufacturer, you’re hurting your SEO, and your pages likely won’t even rank.

Painting a Picture

There are a number of things to consider for better product pages, and The Home Depot is a great example to reference. The company stocks a lot of large, high-value items, so it needs strong descriptions to help people determine if the item will fit and look good in their home.

For its items, The Home Depot’s product pages include specifications, dimensions, details (if assembly required, color, materials, size, etc.), product overviews, Q&As related to the item, and customer reviews. Any questions customers may have can be answers through the product page, without a sales rep required.

Home depot product faqs

Not Optimizing for Mobile

Mobile use has long overtaken desktop in internet traffic. People today are comfortable shopping from their smartphones, and if App Annie’s 2019 prediction was correct, mobiles make up nearly three-quarters of all global ecommerce transactions.

Unfortunately, many ecommerce businesses are still not mobile-first. There is pinching, glitches, and hard to click text. All that needs to go if you want the business of the 75% of customers shopping from their phones.

Apps are Not Necessary

If mobile makes you think of the laborious task of developing apps, don’t fret. You don’t need to make an app to compete in mobile commerce. In fact, forcing users to download an app will likely cause some to bounce off.

All you need is a mobile-friendly site.

To illustrate this, let’s look at The RTA Store’s mobile experience. The retailer has the main pages shown clearly at the top nav menu, and the site uses clickable blocks with great photography and graphics to make the scrolling experience interesting while also leading customers to each of the most popular sections.

Most importantly, the checkout experience is smooth. You can add items to your cart and then click around some more without losing track of what’s in your cart and where to go to check out.

Rta mobile site experience

And when you’re ready to buy, The RTA Store has a number of mobile-friendly payment solutions, including PayPal and Amazon Pay. You can even apply for financing right from your mobile device.

RTA store mobile checkout experience

Standing Out Online

Despite all the competition and trends, offering customers a smooth experience and giving them the necessary product information will always be what builds a strong reputation online.

Focus on communicating your products in a fun and detailed way, getting creative with your photography, and boosting your filtering capabilities. From there, make sure your site looks great both on desktop and mobile.

These things may sound like they’re basic tactics but the fact is that getting the basics right will go a long way in boosting your conversions.

Already got these best practices covered? You can increase sales and order values even more by giving shoppers flexible payment options and allowing them to pay over time. Bread’s buy now pay later solutions can help you do just that. Contact us to learn more about Bread’s various payment offerings and discover what works best for your ecommerce store.