Let’s admit it.

The online world is exploding with e-commerce stores and everyone (even their moms) are into it.

But then, as you might already know, designing a high converting e-commerce store is not an easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy kind of a thing.

These stores may look glamorous from the outside, but they are brutal to build from the inside.

You need to dive in, dissect and vet every minute detail from a customer’s viewpoint to make sure that customers stay on your site, no matter what.

Right from product descriptions to checkout pages to shipping cost, every action of yours should be directed toward satisfying your customers.

But then, I know that despite giving your 110 per cent, mistakes do happen; serious mistakes that could cost you traffic and conversions. And, the worst part is that business owners themselves are often not aware of these errors they’ve committed.

Here, I walk you through four serious mistakes that e-commerce stores unknowingly commit:

1. Drawn-out drop-down menus

Make no mistake. There’s nothing wrong with drop-down menus. In fact, drop-down menus are super common in the e-commerce universe.

It’s the drawn-out, elaborate, drop-down menus that almost cover the entire page are proving to be a huge problem.

As it turns out, drawn-out drop-downs suck. Not only do they appear weird and awkward, they also tend to overwhelm users to the point they find it hard to select their best pick.

Instead, you can consider “Country Selection” drop-downs as a replacement.

As per Baymard Institute’s findings, the ‘Country Selection’ drop-down is used by 47 per cent of the sites. And, as per their usability testing survey, three critical issues surfaced on these sites:

Exploding overview
With 20 or more categories popping “at once” such elaborate drop-downs not only confuses the users but paralyzes their thought process. Which means, they are not able to narrow down their options quickly.

Scrolling troubles
Imagine if the mouse-cursor appears outside the drop-down? Users, without a doubt, will start scrolling down the page instead of the drop-down menu. Plus, in certain browsers, you will find that drop-downs scroll, unstoppable.

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Conflicting UI
For all I know, the UI of drop-downs will not be the same for every browser and every OS. And not just in looks, even the functioning part will be different. For instance, on Safari and Chrome, users will have to hover on an arrow to scroll up and down, while Firefox comes with a traditional scrollbar. Some sites also come with custom-designed drop-down UIs which may cause issues.

According to UX experts, drop-downs should be avoided when there are more than 10 or fewer than five options. Text fields or radio button interfaces are considered better alternatives as opposed to drawn-out, lengthy drop-downs.

Long story short, elaborate drop-down menus could result in slower checkout completion times, and sometimes causes checkout abandonment.

2) Not giving a Tinker’s darn to breadcrumb navigation

According to a Hubspot survey, 76 per cent of the customers said that value easy navigation over aesthetic.

This is where breadcrumb navigation comes into the picture.

Breadcrumb navigation is generally used for large websites and websites that have hierarchically arranged pages.

As e-commerce websites tend to have a large variety of product pages that are grouped into logical categories, they should think of implementing breadcrumb navigation without much ado.

Benefits of breadcrumb navigation

Better user convenience
Breadcrumbs help users navigate a website easily. By providing a breadcrumb trail for all pages on a large e-commerce website, users can browse higher-level categories more easily.

Cuts down clicks to return to higher-level pages
If anything, with breadcrumbs you don’t have to use your website’s “Back” button and also you can give your website’s primary navigation a go-by. Because, this feature does help you return to higher-level pages with a fewer number of clicks.

Doesn’t monopolize the screen space
Breadcrumbs are horizontally placed, so they generally don’t hog your pages. The best part is that they aren’t affected by the content overload.

Keeps bounce rate in check
Breadcrumb trails inspire the first-time visitor, who has landed on your landing page, to peruse the site further. Let’s say, it the user lands on a page via searches. On seeing the breadcrumb trail, he may be tempted to check higher-level pages to view related topics. This, in turn, keeps bounce rate in check.

3) Making the ‘About Us’ page all about you

You might think that the “about us” pages should be about your business only. It should talk more and more about your product and services, the incorporation date, company’s board of members, blah, blah, blah, right?

Wrong. Contrary to your belief, your “About Us” should address your customers and their concerns.

According to the article “How “You” Will Generate Customers From Your About Us Page”, ‘About Us’ pages these days focus too much on:

  • How great their company is
  • How great their products/services are
  • How great their employees are

But then, such ‘About Us’ pages piss off customers — big time.

Your ‘About Us’ page should focus on what’s in for your customers. In all likelihood, such ‘About Us’ pages stop customers dead in their tracks.

People are more concerned about themselves and their needs. So, more than anything else, they would want to know how your business could help them lead better lives.

So, the ideal ‘About Us’ pages should do just that. It should talk about your business in such a way that it gives the target audience a clear cut idea as to how they are going to benefit by becoming your customer.

4) Not being upfront about shipping costs

It has been proven that product pages with shipping costs outperform those that do not display any kind of cost.

But the fact is, 43 per cent of the e-commerce sites do not display any kind of shipping costs or cost calculator in their product detail pages.

The result? According to the Baymard study, 21 per cent of the U.S. online shoppers abandoned orders, in the last quarter because they weren’t able to see the total order cost upfront before initiating the checkout.

To cut the chase, users want to know about shipping costs in their product details pages (PDP).

As per Baymard’s product page study, 64 per cent of the users are looking for shipping costs right on the product page itself, before deciding whether or not to go for the product.

There’s a large gap between what user needs and what the site implements.

The problem users’ face when you skip the shipping cost on your PDP

If PDP pages aren’t displaying shipping cost, users are in a way forced to add the product to the cart to get a fair idea about the amount they actually need to pay for the product. (But then, 16 per cent of the sites were found to not offer the shipping charges even at this stage.)

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This could prove to be an additional step for the users because having shipping cost on PDP could have made it easier for them to compare different products across sites at that stage itself.


And there you go! Four serious mistakes e-commerce sites unknowingly commit that could really put your customers off.

So, if your site is currently a home to elaborate drop-downs, and is not upfront about shipping cost, among other things, it’s better to iron them out right away if you wish to see steady improvement in the conversion ratios.

Any other mistakes that you could think of that’s turning away your potential customers? Share them in the comment section.

Image by leremy

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