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8 most frequent errors in e-commerce

Not only high prices but also high delivery costs drive the customers of online shops away. These are 8 most frequent reasons for abandoning the virtual shopping cart. 

E-commerce vs the study of the Internet users’ behaviour

If we agree to believe in the findings of the popular Gemius study – in 2019, as many as 62% of the Internet users shopped online (an increase of 6% in comparison to 2018). The results of the study, conducted on the group of around 1600 respondents, indicate not only the key benefits of shopping online (round-the-clock access and unlimited selection time), but also show the fundamental errors in the field of UX (i.e., user experience), which successfully deter the users from a given site.

Apart from the issue of prices (e.g. delivery costs), the questioned Internet users also pointed out the importance of variety of payment methods, the necessity of registration, or the presence of pop-up ads. 

The findings of 2019 study largely square with the observations of UX/UI (i.e., user interface) specialists, operating on the Polish market. Let’s take a look at the key e-commerce errors pointed out by the Internet users and web designers.

8 errors of web designers:

1. Complicated Internet navigation

Usefulness and high practicality are the key pillars, on which the effectiveness of the website is based. Under UX underlies a maximum simplification of the purchase process. A user is to act intuitively, quickly and effectively – where “effectiveness” is understood as the finalisation of the purchase process.

Each impediment on the website – unusual menu layout or font size, unclear instructions – is a risk of discouragement or leaving the website. Poorly designed search filters – too general categories, requiring too much time or too detailed ones, from the users’ point of view – may also act as deterrents. Page speed still remains one of the key, Internet deterrents.

2. Product descriptions – too general content or insufficient product data

Insufficient product data is another reason for abandoning an online shopping cart. This issue is obvious, as online shopping should be based on trust and credibility. It is difficult for an online shop to be trusted and be credible if:

  • the product descriptions are too short and they do not include key information
  • the product descriptions are taken directly from the manufacturers’ websites (the risk of duplicate content)
  • lack of product fiche

Referring to online shops, one of the biggest problems may be a mismatch between the product descriptions and SEO (i.e., search engine optimization) rules. Our unique selection of products will fall behind the competition due to one simple reason – our products will simply not be visible in Web search results.

3. Lack of professional product images

The preferences of Internet users are still unambiguous – people choose offers and products which are visually attractive.

Coming back to the findings of the Gemius study

37% of respondents resign from online shopping due to the lack of possibility of physical contact with the product.

Such thoughts may only be resolved by the perfect picture quality (in order to improve UX, for example, 3D high-quality pictures are recommended) and by professional mock-ups. Conversely: poor quality pictures, with a poor resolution may guarantee a shop’s failure. Another issue, which is not consistent with SEO rules, is lack of alternative product descriptions (ALT attribute). 

4. Incompatibility of websites with mobile devices (RWD, i.e., Responsive Web Design)

Responsiveness, which is adapting shop’s website to mobile devices, is an essential facilitation from the user’s point of view.

In 2019, as many as 61% of Internet users did their online shopping using a smartphone (Gemius).

Considering the scale of mobile marketing interest, outdated websites, which are also incompatible with this kind of devices, fall behind the shops, which follow the RWD (Responsive Web Design) rules. Poor screen resolution, small font size, complicated layout or too big, slow-loading pictures may often irritate the Internet users. The next issue, which is very often problematic for young people, is lack of mobile app.

5. Complicated order process

Proper product placement will not help, if we complicate the order process. A constraint of creating an account remains an effective deterrent, which causes that customers leave certain websites quicker. Users do not like being forced to fill in the forms or submit personal data. An alternative option would be a detailed division of purchasing process (“Order in three steps!”) and a clear indication of benefits of registration, e.g. a detailed preview of an order or granting award credits.

6. Communication and customer service

A round-the-clock access to offers is one of the key advantages of online shopping. Unfortunately, from the user’s point of view,  a round-the-clock customer service would also be an ideal option. Any difficulty connected with lack of customer service between certain hours, may also be one of the reasons of leaving a certain online shop. Lack of e-mail address, lack of phone number, lack of clearly stated working hours of an online shop, too late responses – each of these problems may successfully discourage Internet users from shopping online  and expose a given shop to pejorative opinions.

Another important issue, which requires a comment is a method of complaint handling and well-thought-out communication during crisis situations. It requires jurisdiction, patience and understanding of consumer’s needs.

7. Lack of contact details

An issue connected directly with communication and availability. It is required not to hide manufacturer’s contact details – as a user does not have enough time to look for terms and regulations and shop’s privacy policy. Such an act may be a real concern and is inconsistent with rules of modern online marketing, which requires building strong relationships between a customer and a given brand.

8. Old-fashioned payment methods

In previously cited Gemius study, as many as 20% of Internet users declared to have abandoned online shopping cart due to the inconvenient (from their point of view) payment method.

In contrast, for more than a half of respondents (56%), a major motivator to purchase products in a given shop was a wide range of payment methods, e.g. by card, instant bank transfers.

Internet users are more and more interested in mobile payments. Briefly, the quicker and easier the payment process, the more chance someone will make a purchase.

The summary of our ranking gives quite obvious conclusions, which should be taken into consideration while creating an online shop.

Apart from the price issue, people usually leave online shops which:

  • are not trustworthy,
  • have a complicated purchase process,
  • do not offer modern payment methods.


E-commerce w Polsce. Gemius dla e-Commerce Polska, Retrieved January 17, 2020 from