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Mistakes Online Retailers Make And How Magento Can Help Avoid Them

The world of online retail has revolutionized the shopping industry. Almost everyone can buy just about anything they want, day or night, at the click of a button. Because of this ease and convenience, every retailer out there now has a digital front. With so many options for customers to choose from, retailers must craft an Ecommerce experience that invites customers to their virtual storefront, rather than a complicated, messy one that drives them away. This is true regardless of which Ecommerce platform you use to run your online sales.

Magento is one of the most popular Ecommerce platforms available, mainly due to its flexibility and ease of use. Even with these advantages, though, many Magento users find themselves making mistakes that can turn customers away to go someplace else. Before that happens to you, take some time to familiarize yourself with some of the most common design mistakes that can drive a customer away:

Complex Pages Designs

Without a doubt, first impressions matter. When a customer goes onto a page for the first time and has issues with how it is laid out visually, it’s always a bad sign. Poor design can come in a variety of ways, but one problem with combating this problem is that, to an extent, what looks “good” or “bad” changes with the observer. This is why elements like color schemes and shape choices matter are so subjective.

However, regardless of what your page is supposed to look like visually, there are some universally bad design errors. Overcrowding, for example. When a page appears to be overstuffed with items and descriptions and other things, it can be a turn-off. Difficult fonts, garish, clashing colors and poor photography are also page design issues that fail across the board.

Instead, shoot for an easy-to-read page that features bright, well-lit product images accompanied by clear, legible descriptions. Don’t cram things on the page but also don’t space them out too much — customers get frustrated when they constantly have to scroll down before they can’t fit everything onto the screen at once.

Poor Site Navigation

Just like customers don’t want to try and get around clumsily designed pages, they also don’t want to have to deal with pages that are difficult to navigate. We’ve all been there — pages full of broken links, confusing menus, pop-ups that get in the way and make it impossible to see or do anything. All of those issues (and more) fall under this category, and they are an immediate deal-breaker. Someone who is sitting there, credit card in hand, waiting to give you money should not have to deal with problems like these.

One frequent issue that causes navigation problems is when site designers decide to try and come up with a new unique way to get around. Even if it works, you typically end up with a site that new customers can’t figure out easily. And if it’s not immediately intuitive, they’ll take their commerce elsewhere. Instead, stick with well-known navigation styles that customers will immediately get.

Also, make sure to check your links from time to time to remove broken ones. A constantly shifting inventory can lead to situations where you no longer carry something in stock — and if you’re not getting rid of the links to those defunct pages you’ll run into this problem.

A third issue comes with the search. Customers love to use the search feature, but will quickly ditch your site if the search feature doesn’t work, pulling up anything or too many hits. Make sure your search engine is capable of handling customer searches without returning dozens of useless pages.

Not Mobile Optimized

In this day and age, you’d think that all Ecommerce sites recognize the importance of mobile optimization by now, but you’d be surprised. Many sites are still stuck in the days before cell phones took over, and their owners don’t recognize that a majority of Ecommerce transactions take place (either wholly or in part) on a mobile device. If your site isn’t rendering properly on a cell phone or tablet, customers will leave.

Thankfully, Magento can help optimize your pages for display on mobile devices, so you don’t have to worry about this.

No Customer Reviews

Customer reviews are essential. While buyers will look at editorial reviews and “official” recommendations, they are more likely to trust the word of other consumers like themselves. If your site does not allow them the chance to look at customer reviews, the customer will start to question what you’re trying to hide. At that point, you can pretty much bet they’ll go to a competitor’s site that does.

Magento gives you the option to enable customer reviews on your site — make sure you do this. This is the default setting in Magento, so if your customers aren’t able to do this it means that something was modified at some point.

Complex Checkout Process

If a user starts to load up a shopping cart, that’s great! But you’re not guaranteed a sale yet. Believe it or not, a majority of customers — over two-thirds — end up abandoning a cart without making a purchase. This could be for several reasons, of course, and not all of them have to do with your site, but several checkout-related problems can cause this.

For example, one a customer decides to buy an item, the last thing they want to do is click through page after page. Having separate pages for shipping, payment, confirmation and other stages of the process will only discourage people from buying — the more pages it takes to get through the buying process, the more likely they are to give up and leave.

Another issue that makes people abandon their carts comes in the form of hidden fees. Most customers expect free shipping, but when those fees aren’t communicated upfront and are instead tacked on at the very end they are often seen as an underhanded attempt to sneak something by the customer.

A third issue that can drive customers away is the inability to purchase without having a customer account. Many websites allow customers the option to buy using a guest checkout profile, and your site should, as well. Not everyone wants to create a profile everywhere they shop online. An alternative to this is the ability for customers to login and quickly create accounts using their social media profiles. This saves time and isn’t seen as anywhere near as much of a hassle.

Ineffective SEO

A final issue to discuss is ineffective SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and basically, it means that websites will never thrive if customers can’t find them. Any search on Google typically results in millions of hits — and yet most customers never make it past the first page or returns. So, if you want people to go to your site it needs to show up high in the rankings. This is where SEO comes in. By designing your site with SEO in mind, you raise the chances that people will see your site on the first page after a search.

How can you do this? There are several ways. The first is to make sure that your pages contain keywords that will trigger the search engine. You can do keyword research in several places online, including Google. Your website as a whole should contain keywords on its home page that will lead consumers there, but then every product page should also contain multiple keywords — the product name, obviously, but also in the product description.

Another important factor in SEO optimization is the addition of new content. A stagnant page that hasn’t seen a change in a long time gets recognized by Google as old and out of date, resulting in a loss of SEO. You can combat this by making frequent changes to your site — adding pages, swapping out photos and descriptions, etc. It doesn’t seem like a big deal but it matters.

Magento Can Help

As you can see, simply having an Ecommerce site doesn’t mean that the orders will start rolling in. Many roadblocks can get in the way of having a successful digital store. While you can’t fix everything, Magento development can help you in ways you haven’t even thought of yet. Use this platform to help create a sleek, well-designed virtual storefront that gives your customers pleasant shopping experience, and you know they’ll make sure to come back again!

Mike Patel
Mike Patel

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