Aug 01 2011

What Changes to an E-commerce Store Result in Lost Business?

Category: conversion rate optimizationTom Shivers


Please take our opinion poll above if you haven’t done so already.

“One of the most common mistakes that can lose a lot of online business is deciding that the website needs a redesign, and doing things that kill a lot of the momentum that you have going – even if your website isn’t great. These can include eliminating pages which are well-placed in search engines or which customers have bookmarked, incorporating a lot of Flash elements (which don’t work on Apple devices and can’t be indexed by search engines), or even reworking pages which were very simple for visitors to understand, and making them confusing.” Philippa,

“I think not focusing on inbound marketing results in the most lost of business. Ive heard over 90% of online traffic is driven by search. If your site isnt search engine optimized, people cannot find you.” John Boyd,

“The thing that caused me to lose the most business was changing the name of my company and starting a new website. Its been six months and I havent quite caught up to where I was before. I have, however, started to round out my company by adding craft fairs and wholesale accounts to my mix so that I am not only relying on my website.” Jacqueline Gikow,

“For us it was social media ‘Experts’ who metaphorically threw a brick through our store window – they launched w/o a security certificate! And THAT is the express lane to ruining an Internet business!! Lesson learned! We are

“Lack of Transparency
If a site shares user information with outside companies, state that upfront and tell them why. If products can only be shipped to certain locations, note that early in the shopping process. Online shopping is built on trust, so site policies and purchase restrictions need to be communicated upfront to customers. If potential customers believe a company is trying to hide something from them, the chances of converting them into paying customers are very low.

Selling Ad Space at the Expense of Paying Customers
It’s tempting for online store owners to allocate unused page real estate for display and/or text ads, as these bring in a reliable source of income. However, outside ads on a shopping site distract visitors from the site’s primary purpose: selling the merchant’s products or services. Unless the site is purely content-driven, keep outside advertising to a minimum, if incorporating this at all.

Redesigning Sites to Mask Inferior Products
Often, clients will request a redesign of their site, without addressing their primary problem: deficiencies in their product offerings. But as the saying goes, “you can’t make a silk purse out of a cow’s ear”. A new site design can work to initially engage new customers, but without quality products to back it up sites simply can’t expect to generate the repeat customers that are so crucial to business.”

“I’ve found that the more information I provide a customer during checkout tends to lead to slightly less orders, but I also receive less customer emails. I think this basically weeds out any customers that in the end would turn out to be more of a hassle to deal with.

I feel a lot of things affect business lost online (i.e. item price, shipping cost, customer service, shipping times, inventory, reviews, etc..), but I think small things like the way you write or explain things on your website plays a role as well.

I’ve noticed by just changing the way I worded something, or where I place it on my website; definitely did have an affect on sales.”

“Hands down the number one instigator of change issues for eCommerce businesses small and large… your payment products being changed…gateway, cart, or host of either … ughh… nightmare for folks!

This is based on working with my own systems throughout the years and consulting to over 100 other online business initiatives and having access to testing with over 10,000 online business ventures. There are others that impact, this is the #1 change monster however.” Donna Rougeau,

“a) Company Policies related with Returns and/or refunds
b) Customer Service Policies and redefinition of processes
c) Pricing and shipping price Policies – usually once an organization has reached a certain mass its becomes emminent for them to revisit their pricing policies and sometimes “premium assumptions” yes a customer is willing to pay a premium if an organization is well established, is well recognized and delivers as promised but then the premium cannot be too huge else it might result in transfer of business to competition, for some organizations though this should could actually be releif (without them even realizing it 🙂 ) too becuase now they would have cut losses and reaching the BEP oan then towards profits.
d) Shift in SEO and SEM procedures and policies”
Ragib Hussain,

“Not answering the phone
At Simply Bags we answer the phone 100% of the time from 9 to 5 and repeat orders are plentiful. People like to know that people are on the other end of the website.”

Add your advice in the comments.

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One Response to “What Changes to an E-commerce Store Result in Lost Business?”

  1. Raquel Hirsch says:

    I am very curious to see what the opinion poll tells us — especially because we at WiderFunnel have tested many of these elements for our eCommerce clients and know what the data tells us.

    After all, the only way to now *for sure* what changes to an e-commerce store result in lost or gained business is through conversion optimization testing.

    Here are some case studies to make the point: