10 Most Common Mistakes Businesses Make When Venturing into the World of Ecommerce

In 2023, Ecommerce retail purchases are set to rise from 14.1% to 22%. It is now crucial to take your business online, however how do you make sure you are getting the most from your online store? We have outlined the most common mistakes when starting with Ecommerce and how you can avoid them!

9 min read

So you’ve started your own business, had a measure of success and want to expand your reach. What do you do? You take your offering online!

All of a sudden you can reach millions of people from your small shop in you local town. With the rapid growth of the internet, customers are becoming more accustomed to shopping from the the comfort of their own homes and so it makes perfect sense for businesses to expand into ecommerce!

We understand that for many small traditonal retailers creating an online store may seem like an insurmountable task. However with an estimated 1.92 million digital buyers accounting for almost 15% of all retail purchases worldwide it is crucial that you take advantage of this shift to ecommerce and use this opportunity to sell more.

Thankfully, it has become easier to start selling online, however, there are still many common pitfalls made by businesses when starting with ecommerce.

In the following article we have compiled a list of the ten most common mistakes made by businesses when building an online store and how you can avoid them.

Out of stock items appearing as available

This one may seem obvious, but for small independent retailers, it can be a real headache. You have all your items in-store, and you’ve added them to your online store. But what happens when you sell an item in-store, and shortly after someone orders it online?

With AirPOS the two channels are fully integrated, but most other solutions are not, so unless you update your online store separately every time you make a sale - you could be making sales online that you don’t have the stock to fulfil.

For consumers, this has a much greater effect than just being refunded and told the item isn’t actually available -long term it puts great doubt in their mind as to whether they can trust your online store at all.

Many retailers feel that it will be ok as they can just update as they go along, but the reality is that when you’re busy, you simply won’t have time to do so. Particularly at Christmas time when you are a lot busier both in-store and online.

Poor quality or no images

In a survey, it was found that as many as 38% of shoppers will immediately leave a website if it looks unattractive. This is an easy fix, therefore dont allow yourself to lose out on sales for something that can be easily changed.

It was found that when shopping online, customers think that quality images of products are more important than product-specific information (63%), a long description (54%) and ratings and reviews (53%).

Remember, when selling online the level of competition goes from local to global and therefore you want to make your website as engaging as possible. You should go abvove and beyond to improve user experience. Good imagery will help to keep customers on your site and importantly help them to visualsie your products pushing them across the line to purchase.

If you consider online retail giant ASOS, they have recognised the importance of imagery in selling clothes and spearheaded the movement towards videos of their products (a medium that is growing by the day). This creative method goes further than an image allowing customers to see how garments move and fit on the body.

Another option for retailers which again started with ASOS is to show one item of clothing on multiple different models with different body types to makes it easier for the customer to visualise.


General imagery on your site is also an easy way to project the message and tone of your brand. With one click, potential customers will be able to guage what your business is all about and gives them an idea of how they would feel being a customer.

It's well known that customers are becoming much more concious of branding, with companies focusing on building their communitities making their customers feel that when buying one of their products they are part of something wider. Imagery across your site will help to convey your brand's personality and in tandem with a stong social presence you will be able to create a stong following of loyal customers.

No product descriptions

With an increasing level of competition you want to ensure your site is user friendly and professional, enhance the customer experience and give them no reason to bounce off.

Adding informative and enticing descriptions of your products is an easy way to do this.

For example if you are a footwear brand it would be helpful for a customer to understand the exact fit of the shoe, it's support and materials used as these are things customers would normally check in a physical store, impacting on their buying decision.

By not including clear and in-depth descriptions a site runs the risk of looking less legitimate, losing consumer trust, which isn't good for sales, as trust is super important for online retailers.

With so many options online you should utilise product descriptions to tell customers what your product offers that your competitors don't.

Slow checkout process

When we shop online we often add items to our cart impulsively. Often the biggest hindrance to actually following through with a purchase will be the length of time it takes to complete the transaction. The longer the wait the less strong the impulse.

In order to reduce the likelihood of customers leaving items in the cart it is essential to make sure that there are as few clicks as possible between adding to cart and buying the product.

Failure to provide more than one shipping option/rate

Shipping rates can prove tricky for many retailers, with the key not necessarily being the price of shipping, but not having enough options to choose from.

Often consumers like to see that there is a standard and express shipping option, meaning if they require it in a hurry they can pay the premium, or alternatively can ‘save’ money by only paying for the standard shipping method.

A big issue many consumers have is the lack of free shipping, irrespective of how much they’ve spent. Of course, the amount at which you will offer free shipping will depend upon the type of store you are running, but not offering free shipping for a comparatively larger spend is something that often puts consumers off.

On the one hand, it’s peculiar, because they’re already spending a significant amount; why would a little extra for shipping put them off, right? Wrong.

They’re already spending a significant amount, so they don’t expect to be asked to spend more for you to ship their items to them!

This can also be very beneficial to the retailer. For example if you set a £50 minimum spend for free shipping, a consumer who’s already spending £40 will be inclined to spend an extra £10, as realistically they are only spending an extra £6.05 if the standard shipping cost is £3.95 anyway.

However the profit on the extra spend may well be more than the cost of shipping, so you’ve both increased revenue and profit! It may not be a huge percentage, but there is definitely a contingent of consumers who will abandon a purchase based purely upon the addition of a shipping cost.

Choosing a platform that wont scale with your business

Selecting a platform that’s quite basic and easy to use may seem the most attractive option when you’re first venturing into the world of e-commerce, but the issue with this that down the line when you’ve grown your organisation you’ll have to start all over again with a new platform.

This can prove both costly and very time consuming, which is why it’s crucial to ensure that your ecommerce provider will be able to grow and scale alongside your business as you require. This will negate the need for you to switch providers, potentially several times, as your business goes from strength to strength!

Not optimising for mobile

When creating a websites many businesses place all their focus on how it will appear on a desktop. However not optimising your site for mobile or taking this into consideration could dramatically impact your ranking and traffic. Particularly now, when 52% of time spent on websites is through mobile compared to 46% on desktop you don't want to risk losing customers who have came to your site through their mobile device.


Mobile optimisation simply means that the overall structure and body of the website changes and resizes itself according to the size of the screen ensuring your site can be viewed on all devices.

Not only will this allow more people to view your site and increase engagement but this can also decrease loading time and boost your google rankings.

A whopping 67% of shoppers admitted to window shopping on their mobile devices for fun and 77% of these people found that this browsing turned into impluse purchases.

However it is not simply the impluse buyers using their smartphones with as many as 49% of people saying they exclusively use their smartphone to shop.

If you choose not to optomise yoyr site for mobile you will be cutting off a huge number of customers. Not only those who will have a poor user experience and bounce off but also those who will not even be able to find it in the search rankings on their mobile device.

No SEO strategy

Many small business owners, particularly those who are not technically minded, dread the mention of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). With a quick Google search you will find many over complicated articles with a huge level of detail which can send any business into a tailspin. However building a SEO strategy does not have to be complicated

Search engine optimisation, will increase the quality and quantity of traffic driven to your site as well increase its ranking in search results. This is completely free to implement and easy to do if you follow the EAT framework. Google will rate your site based upon the content it includes.

Google will rate your site based upon the content it includes and they have discussed the importance of businesses following the EAT framework if they hope to rank highly on search results. The have advised businesses to consider,

  • “ The expertise of the creator of the MC (main content)
  • The authoritativness of the creator of the MC, the MC itself and the website
  • The trustworthiness of the creator of the MC, the MC itself and the website”

Even with little digital experience if you create content that follows this simple framework and try to work with other companies to build backlinks you will see improvements over time.

Tricky site navigation

Making it as easy as possible for your consumers to find what they need is absolutely essential. We now live in a world where everything is at our fingertips, and if it takes us too long to locate something we’re looking for, we know there’s likely someone or somewhere else that can show it/give it to us much more easily!

There’s no reason for consumers to have to search through ill-thought-out navigation headings in order to find the item that they are looking for.

Similar to the checkout process, the easier it is for a consumer to get as far as paying for the item -the better! From homepage to payment should be as quick and pain-free as possible. The fewer the number of clicks required from getting to the website to leaving having made a purchase, the better!

No social proof

Social media has become an incredibly cost effective way for businesses to market themselves, update their customers and expand their reach. If you have taken the time to build your online store, ensure your existing following knows about it.

If organised you can update your followers that you are working on a new site, give sneak previews, a countdown of days before launch. This anticipation will create excitement and guarantee more traffic on the day it launches.

Once your site has launched do not forget to continue pushing any updates on socials when things have changed on your site. This could be new product launches or if you have a blogging platform, pushing new content, anything to keep your following engaged and show that you are an active brand.

With many ecommerce platforms there is the ability to integrate your site to your social platforms making it easier than ever to keep the two updated and relevant.

AirPOS Ecommerce

"A platform that you cant beat on price and Ecommerce that is simple to use"

AirPOS recognised the growing need for ecommerce even in it’s easly stages which is why as well as a powerful point of sale customers will be able to create a online webstore, completely free of cost and sycronised to your backoffice.

This integration makes it easy to upload products, track sales both instore and online and importantly allow you to sell anytime anywhere.

Get in touch with a member of our team today if interested in creating your online store with AirPOS. We can talk you through the different unique features, run a quick free demo or send you across our basic 8 step guide to getting started.


Taking your business online doesn't need to be difficult and by avoiding the mistakes mentioned above you will be able to expand your reach, and sell more with zero fuss!

If you are still not convinced on whether you should venture into the world of ecommerce or whether this is a viable option for your business check out our comprehensive article below!