Bad e-commerce websites can cost businesses thousands of sales every year. Discover the five tell-tale signs that could be killing your chances of maximising online success.

Online shopping is increasing at a staggering rate, with around 2.14 bn global digital buyers in 2021. That’s over a quarter of the world’s population!

As an e-commerce business, having a good responsive website is crucial. E-commerce is now an integral cog in the global consumer machine, and UX (user experience) is its top priority.

The proof? WIDSIX reports that 79% of online shoppers who reported poor performances on e-commerce websites will never shop at that site again.

To ensure you don’t fall into the company with the world’s worst websites, here’s an e-commerce website guide that will keep you in the fight for online sales.

5 signs of a bad e-commerce website

1. Bad website design

The most significant aspect contributing to a bad UX is found in the fundamental design of the website. Bad website design affects UX in multiple ways, including cluttered elements, poor navigation, and unappealing colours. A good e-commerce website design will show consistency, a clear structure and appeal visually. Plus, you really don’t have long to make a good impression. A consumer forms an opinion on a website after just 50 milliseconds (0.5 seconds). Therefore, ensuring the web design entices, engages, and welcomes your user immediately is key.

A good e-commerce website design will incorporate “white space” and let the products or services shine. This component enables breathability and welcomes your user to engage with your business. In contrast, bad e-commerce websites will put too many elements and text around the products or services, leaving visitors confused and overwhelmed. The key is to think like Apple. Their products are the star of the show.

The overall website design must also reflect your brand identity and appeal to your target audience. Make sure the design shows continuity with the rest of your branding, both online and offline. This includes any font, logos, typography and imagery. Everything needs to flow seamlessly and look coherent.

2. Slow loading times

A slow loading e-commerce website is a big no-no. Patience is not a virtue when shopping online. 40% of consumers will not wait more than three seconds before abandoning a site.

With the shopping cart abandon rate sitting at a staggering 68%, consumers won’t hesitate to take their business elsewhere.

If your e-commerce loading times are above 2-3 seconds, then you must consider optimising your website speed or else you’ll see sales slump by the wayside.

3. Grainy imagery

Nowadays, there’s nothing more off-putting on an e-commerce website than a grainy, pixelated image placed off centre. Poor imagery is an instant fail and can soon leave you ranking among the world's worst websites.

A lack of quality equals a lack of professionalism. And customers aren’t willing to trust unprofessional companies, especially when there are so many fraudsters around.

According to SitePoint, the brain processes imagery 60,000 times faster than text. As a result, imagery is a key part of the UX.

Interestingly, 47% of US consumers rate high-quality product imagery as the most influential factor when purchasing.

Consumers buy with their eyes. So, if you haven’t invested in a product or service photoshoot, you should immediately.

4. Keyword stuffing

SEO (search engine optimisation) is a major player when generating organic traffic to your e-commerce website. However, stuffing keywords into your product or service descriptions isn’t the answer.

Of course, you must apply your keywords and longtail keywords where applicable to rank on search engines. However, websites with too many keywords give off a poor impression of the quality of the content and are often penalised by Google. The keyword density sweet spot is around 1-2%.

Due to keywords being typically general to the product or service, they’re limited when it comes to information and detail. Remember, your user wants to find out more information about the product, not just what the product is.

Not only is it annoying to read the same generic keyword over and over, but it also shows desperation and a lack of quality in your text. This will cause a negative impression on your business and force users to flee your site.

You want the copy to flow, enticing and engaging your reader into buying something. You won’t persuade your reader to buy something by just repeating keywords.

5. Video Is vital

Video footage is now a big contributor to the online shopper’s decision to purchase. Just like imagery, make sure the video is high quality. Bad e-commerce websites will contain slow loading videos with blurry visuals and poor audio. Don’t make this mistake. Make sure your video content is at a professional standard.

Wyzowl reports that 33% of people prefer to learn about products by watching a video, and 69% of consumers believe a product demo best assists them when making a purchase. So, don’t cut corners on quality. You need an informative, professional and engaging video that brings your e-commerce website to life.

An e-commerce website guide

Now you know the bad, it’s time to cover the good. Here’s a simple e-commerce website guide designed to help you maximise sales:

• Website design – Aim for a clear structure, consistency, breathability (white space) and appeal visually.

• Fast loading times – Optimise your loading times to be no more than 2-3 seconds. You can do this by using Gzip to compress files, minimising the number of HTTP requests, cleaning your media library and optimising images.

• High-quality visuals – All imagery and videos must be high quality.

• Quality content – Be informative with your product descriptions, avoid keyword stuffing and use video for product demos. Integrating drop-downs are a great way to answer product FAQs at the bottom of the page without making it look too crowded.

• Update regularly – Always update your e-commerce website whenever any important changes take place.

• Smartphone friendly – Optimising your e-commerce website to be smartphone-friendly is now essential. In fact, 79% of smartphone users have made a purchase using their phones in the last 6-months.

• Run an audit – You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. Follow this free website audit checklist before creating a new site.

• Hire a professional – Use a professional e-commerce web designer for your business to remove any unwanted stress.

If you want any advice on building an e-commerce website, then get in touch with our team at Design in the Shires. We have years of experience in website design and an impressive portfolio to match.

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