It’s a brand new year, which means most of us are working towards our goals for 2013. With mobile and tablet use on the rise, Web 2.0, and a boom in online shopping, there are a seemingly endless number of ways to improve your e-Commerce site.

Before you get started, be sure to check the list below and ensure that you avoid these common eCommerce optimization mistakes.


Here are 10 mistakes to avoid with your e-Commerce site:

1.  Failing to demonstrate that your site is secure

Believe it or not, there are still many people who are wary of buying things online. Giving them some assurance that it is safe to enter their personal information is essential to facilitating that sale. One of the best places to put trust badges is on the shopping cart page, where people add and review items they want to purchase. Shoppers are carefully reviewing each element on the page, so having a trust badge in the right location can help boost conversion.

2.  Hidden shopping cart links

Your primary conversion action should never be hard to find. Glance at your page quickly: were your eyes able to easily discern the shopping cart link? If not, try placing your shopping cart link in a more visible location on the page. Experiment with different locations throughout your funnel to find the most optimal spot for your link to live. Then, keep things consistent – don’t display the cart button in one location on your category pages, and another location on your product page.

3.  Lack of detailed product information

One disadvantage of shopping online is being unable to “feel” the product in person.  Displaying detailed product information helps the user understand what the product consists of, such as the size, material, weight, dimensions, colors, or care instructions (important and underused!). Using descriptive words helps the shopper understand the product, and more importantly, if it is what they are looking for. A detailed product description also helps that page rank towards the top in search engines.

4.  A complicated checkout process

There’s nothing like a complicated checkout process to frustrate your visitors and cause them to bounce. The most obvious goal for any an e-Commerce page is to make a sale. To make the checkout process as painless as possible, experiment with a short but efficient checkout page that only asks your customers for what’s absolutely necessary to make the purchase. You can defer promotional fields and microconversions like social media to the confirmation page.

5.  Low-quality or no product photos

Just like the product description, photos are an essential feature of every product page. The photos should be high-quality and provide different angles of the product. This allows the shopper to make an informed decision based on what they see, supplementing that product’s description.

6.  No reviews on products

Some e-Commerce sites have started adding reviews on their product pages, while others are late to the party. A lot of shoppers base their decision to buy a product on consistent positive reviews – it’s like “social proof” for the 21st century. Turn negative reviews into actionable insight for product development. In this way, user-submitted reviews help both the consumer and manufacturer.

7.  Unrealistic shipping prices

It may be easier to buy products online since you don’t have to leave your home, but shipping prices can make or break a shopper’s decision to purchase from your site. It is important to be transparent about how much a shopper’s order will cost – including the shipping cost. This can be done on the product page itself with a link, within the navigation menu, and on a page or pop-up that explains shipping policies in more detail.

8.  Overwhelming upsell

One of the worst things that an e-Commerce website can do is overwhelm a visitor by upselling. If a visitor is already buying something from your site, overwhelming them by upselling other items or services can deter them from checking out. It is always a best practice to upsell in a way where it can be beneficial or helpful to the customer.

9.  A long delay or no confirmation email about a customer’s order

Once someone orders from your website, following up with a confirmation email about their order acknowledges that their order was successfully placed. The most ideal situation is that an order confirmation email is sent as soon as the order is placed. A long delay or no confirmation email about a customer’s order confuses the customer into thinking their order was unsuccessful, and lends to a poor brand experience.

10.  Complicated navigation

The navigation area of your e-Commerce site is probably the first place where visitors go to find what they are looking for. If it’s complicated to navigate, they will most likely leave and bring their business somewhere else. Keeping your navigation bar simple and minimal will keep visitors on the site.

The importance of eCommerce optimization

Conversion rate optimization is a key way to improve revenue from your e-Commerce site, and it starts with understanding your visitors. Having a tool with built-in actionable analytics will help you understand your visitors’ preferences. It’s important to understand how each visitor interacts to your site in order to react quickly before mistakes like those above begin to impact your bottom line.

Can you admit to any of these shopping cart mistakes? Feel free to share your stories in the comments below!