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Don't Make These 5 Common Website Mistakes for Your Retail Business

Jesse Fröhling | November 2, 2023 |

Featured SEO
Don't Make These 5 Common Website Mistakes for Your Retail Business

Building a new website should be an exciting time. But in such a competitive market, getting it right can literally make or break even the most successful retail brand. With 25% of all retail sales worldwide predicted to happen online by 2027, a good-looking website that puts customers first really can be a game changer in the fast-paced world of retail.

E-commerce store sales are forecast to grow 56% between 2022 to 2026. But don’t get too comfortable! With so many online start-ups destined to fail and almost half of online shoppers leaving a website due to poor functionality, the pressure really is on retailers to get it right the first time.

It's clear that an easy-to-navigate and highly engaging website holds the key to increasing sales. So, whether you're a start-up retailer planning your first website or an experienced retail business looking to learn from past mistakes and drive future sales, here are five common website mistakes you need to swerve away from to stay on course.

Avoid These 5 Common Website Mistakes to Help Your Retail Business Thrive

  1. Unresponsive Website Design

These days, more than 60% of website visits happen via mobile. Focusing on the needs of online shoppers and the devices they use, responsive web design essentially means your e-commerce site can adapt to the size of the visitors' viewpoint, e.g., mobile, desktop, or tablet. So, before thinking about colors, fonts, and imagery, put usability and customer satisfaction first with responsive website design.

The most responsive retail websites feature lightning-quick loading speeds without any distortions whatsoever. By doing so, you can generate more mobile traffic, keep users engaged and on-site for longer, improve search optimization, and enhance the way you track your user journey to develop your unique retail offering further.


As recommended by the Interaction Design Foundation, here are three main principles needed to make your e-commerce store as responsive as possible.

  • Fluid Grid System

A visual way to accommodate different screen layouts.

  • Fluid Image Use

Responsive images scale up or down in relation to the device being used.

  • Media Queries

Media queries are a core technology embedded into responsive web design. It is a feature of CSS 3 (an advanced rule-based language used to style and layout web pages) that allows content displays to adapt to different conditions, e.g., different screen sizes/resolutions, orientations, and touch screens.

Use cutting-edge technology to make your retail site even more responsive. Savvy retail brands are using technology such as conversational AI for text messages to reach more leads and close more sales, too. With upward trends set to continue, taking a 'mobile first approach' to your new website is sure to provide a seamless experience across all devices, encourage new prospects, and tempt existing customers back into the fold.

  1. Uninviting Website Design

It takes mere seconds for shoppers' eyes to settle on key areas of a retail site and make their decision. So, first impressions are everything.

From outdated web designs to broken page links, missing photos, and call to action (CTA) buttons, there are numerous things you can do to make your website easier on the eye. Essential design elements needed to attract today’s online shoppers include:

  • Keep it simple and only include what’s necessary. The white space that breaks up headers, blocks of text, and images makes it easier for your readers' brains to understand.
  • Put the users' needs first with user-centered design, e.g., user feedback.
  • Use captivating visuals, e.g., photos, videos, infographics, and FAQs.
  • Understand different color meanings and their impact.
  • Use colors consistently and pick ones that align with your brand.
  • Stick to three or four colors max.
  • Keep CTA buttons the same color.
  • Keep titles the same color.
  • Properly place your headings to add structure and improve search engine visibility.
  • Choose a clear, easy-to-read font. (According to the latest Google Fonts analytics, the top three font downloads for websites are Roboto, Open Sans, and Lato.)
  • Thoroughly test new website designs before going live.


Untrustworthy Design Elements

With 99.9% of consumers reading online reviews before making some of their purchases, a lack of reviews on your website is a big no-no! In every industry, reviews are a powerful tool. For example, in the insurance industry, lead generation insurance is made much easier by family and friend reviews. In online retail, you can pull reviews from around the world. 

Positive testimonials from satisfied customers really do have the power to keep customers on-site and willing to make a purchase. And don't be tempted to fake your reviews, as savvy shoppers are sure to see right through them! Instead, tap into your happy customer base, build trust, and start reaping the rewards.

To create enduring relationships with new and existing customers, other trustworthy design elements your website visitors are looking for include

Page Structure:

  • Consistent page layouts.
  • A hierarchical website structure: a homepage, top-level (parent) pages, and then subpages (child pages).
  • Accessibility options, e.g., tag elements to support readability for users with screen readers and allow language change options.
  • Easy-to-find and predictable navigation menus.
  • Social media icons at the top or bottom of every page.
  • Little to no pop-up ads and banner ads.

Security and Privacy:

  • Clearly displayed website security information.
  • A padlock in the address bar or a valid certificate.
  • Easy-to-find contact information.
  • Clear links to your privacy policy and terms of use in the footer of every page.
  • Relevant trust seals, symbols, and badges.
  • Any security or anti-fraud measures. This includes SOX compliance (derived from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act), which states the requirements to ensure the accuracy of a company’s financial reporting, or the COSO framework for internal controls.


  • Genuine and natural photos rather than cheesy stock photos.
  • Grammatically correct content that is free from any errors.
  • Content that 'humanizes' your brand, e.g., personalizing your ‘About Us’ page with a 'Meet the Team' section.
  • Loyalty programs and interactive mobile apps.

Not dissimilar to the way an outbound calls script promotes order and consistency inside fast-paced call center environments, a detailed design plan brings order and consistency to your website.  Taking the time to put a proper design plan with proper design hierarchies in place while prioritizing design consistency really is worth its weight in gold.

  1. Little or no pricing research

As visitors and existing customers weigh up your offering, pricing products with little or no research can be an instant turn-off for sharp-eyed consumers on the hunt for the best price. So, when you carry out your target market and competitor research, don’t forget to add a pricing strategy to your market research to determine what customers are willing to pay—now and in the future.

Additionally, consider exploring drop shipping for free as a cost-effective strategy to expand your product offerings and increase your profit margins without holding excessive inventory.

The average cart abandonment rate is 70.19%. Visitors reaching as far as the checkout page doesn't always guarantee a sale. 

Having a significant effect on customer behavior, when it comes to retail website pricing, it's also important to consider the following.

Product Display and Search:

  • List all costs upfront.
  • Provide the option to filter goods and services by price (low to high/high to low).
  • Add a sense of urgency, e.g., time-limited offers.
  • Optimize for mobile. Automate any mobile app development processes with providers like Databricks.

Checkout Process:

  • Create a straightforward, mobile-friendly checkout procedure.
  • Adding a progress indicator will help shoppers keep track of where they are in the checkout journey and what lies ahead.
  • Make applying discounts easy.
  • Guest or express checkout options.
  • Multiple payment options.

After Purchase:

  • Immediate support options, e.g., live chat. After all, according to Kayako, live chat has become the preferred method of communication over phone, email, and social media; 41% of customers prefer live chat, and on mobile, it is as high as 50%.
  • Flexible return policies.
  • Real-time logistical tracking and delivery times. In 2022, 68% of global consumers were more likely to buy a product online when offered free delivery. Additionally, around 37% of consumers were more likely to make a purchase when offered a next-day delivery option.

Preferred method of customer support



  1. Lack of SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of revising a website to improve online visibility and the quality and quantity of organic website traffic. Effective SEO strategies also help you to learn more about your customers and reveal key demographics like customer age and location.

Essentially making it easier for your target market to find you, common website mistakes concerning SEO include lengthy page titles, long meta descriptions, and keyword stuffing. Effective ways to optimize your retail website for SEO include:

SEO Hygiene and Page Optimization:

  • Descriptive and unique page titles.
  • Concise meta descriptions that are 155-160 characters long.
  • Improve page loading times.
  • Add a sitemap.
  • Avoid too much scrolling and flash content.
  • Review analytics and focus on fixing high bounce rates.
  • Use a simple URL structure. You could perform a domain name search to find the perfect domain name for you.
  • Use breadcrumb navigation to help visitors retrace their steps through their online journey.

Content Optimization:

  • In-depth keyword research.
  • Integrating long tail keywords into your content.
  • Create quality backlinks via link building.
  • Putting a content strategy in place.
  • Remove duplicate content and pages.
  • Create evergreen content that's relevant to a wide range of readers.
  • Optimizing product pages and their descriptions.
  • Optimizing images, e.g., alt tags, size, quality, using keywords in file names.
  • Add calls to action (CTAs).
  • Encourage users to leave reviews.
  • Using product, product availability, review, FAQ, and price schema.
  • Make it easy for customers to share your content.
  • Blend online and offline retail with an omni-channel approach.

Additionally, to maintain a consistent brand image and professionalism in all customer interactions, consider implementing an email signature generator for your team. These tools help create professional and brand-consistent email signatures, reinforcing your retail brand's identity across all communication channels.

Common Website Mistakes For E-Commerce: First Impressions Count

The popularity of mobile shopping, AI, and social media isn't going away any time soon. So, online retail businesses need to embrace these essential elements through effective retail website design in order to thrive rather than just survive.

Combine the points above and eliminate unnecessary stress and heartache. It's that simple!