Setting up an e-commerce store is becoming increasingly easy, but there are many budding businessmen and women who are too quick to jump the gun. For basic tips on how to set up an e-commerce store, click here. Don’t fall prey to the mistakes of over-eager e-merchants past. Learn how to make your business a roaring success by following this guide to the most common e-commerce  mistakes, where we will take you through everything from keyword research to UX.

1. Neglecting Keyword Research

You could have the best products and web design in the world, but if your website is not up to scratch in terms of SEO, then it would all be a huge waste of time. You brand needs exposure from search engines in order for anyone to come across your page.

The art of keyword research involves understanding the terminology your potential customers are using to find the products you are selling. You want to rank on Google and get your products out there, right? Then you need to match your website to the correct marketing terminology. Here’s how to discover which keywords you need to rank for:

  • Create your shortlist: Start with the basics. Ask yourself and your friends exactly what they would type into search engines to find the products you sell.
  • Expand your list with the helpful hand of online tools: Übersuggest and Google Keyword Planner are two (of many) keyword research tools you can use to broaden your short list.
  • Google’s ‘related searches’ is another method you can use. Type in a few keywords, scroll to the bottom of the SERP and see what other search terms are suggested.
  • Use Google Keyword Planner to determine the approximate search volume for your proposed keywords, and whittle down your list to include 3 – 5 of the most powerful phrases.

Common Mistakes With Google Keyword Planner

Whilst Google Keyword Planner is the super sidekick of most digital marketers, it is not without its downfalls. There are a few things you need to watch out for:

  • The ‘Exact Match’ button: This button should be clicked to get a more accurate reading of how many searches a particular term gets in one month. Without ticking this button, Google will return a broad match keyword result. For example, if you were to search the strength of the term ‘red trousers’, the search engine would return other similar search results such as ‘red trousers London’ or ‘buy red trousers online’ and combine them.
  • You probably only want to find out how many people are searching keywords in the countries you ship to. Luckily, you can limit Google Keyword Tool to choose the exact countries the search engine will report on.
  • Even if you are ranking as number one on Google, you will not get every click from every possible search. For example, some page users may search for one of your keywords, but decide the results are not what they expected and then tweak their search terms. Keep this in mind when approximating how much traffic you should expect.

Now you’re ready to do your own keyword research to optimise your online store. Consider using multiple data points to shed light on search query volume. Other options include Google Trends and Bing Webmaster Tools’ Keyword Tool.

2. Not Listening To Your Users

Much like the perils of neglecting keyword research, not paying attention to the language and online habits of your target audience could be extremely damaging for your e-commerce business. If you want to make your brand a success, you need to tap into the minds of your users.

You don’t need telepathic powers to understand your users. Learn more about their experience of your store to know how you can improve your marketing strategy and boost conversion rates. Here are a few ways you can do this:

  • We all know that social media is a powerful selling tool these days. Did you know that it’s also a great way to learn about your users? Follow hashtags, get involved in conversation and generally see what your target audience is talking about and what their opinions are.
  • Create your product categories based on that keyword research. Don’t just leave it on the back burner. Product categories and descriptions should be teeming with relevant keywords.
  • Test your site with users to reveal more about their experience of site navigation and whether they found the buyer’s journey as seamless and convenient as it should be.
  • Usability is key to e-commerce stores. You need to be hot on creating UX excellence – don’t fall behind your competitors.

3. Lack Of Focus On The Buyer’s Journey

The buyer journey is one of the most important things to get right for your e-commerce business to be a success. At the moment, shopping cart abandonment is one of the biggest problems facing online merchants. In fact, the Baymard Institute reports that 69.23% of all online shopping carts are completely abandoned. Here’s how you can maximise your chances of making a sale:

  • Customise your shop face with an attractive theme that is easy to navigate, and include plenty of visual content to accurately display the products or services on offer. Shopify is an easy e-commerce platform for those looking to set up shop fast, as it has plenty of themes to choose from. Finding a web host and getting a custom-fit website is another alternative.
  • Establish a brand blog to offer valuable content to your customers. You could offer style tips, how-to guides or news related to your industry. Be part of the conversation, and use plenty of keywords – this will help with your SEO.
  • Your online store should include integrated payments with minimal fuss for the customer. A complicated or buggy payment experience is one of the main reasons for shopping cart abandonment!
  • Optimise your online store for use on mobile devices to keep up with the increasing number of customers who are going mobile. For example, you could use a fixed navigation bar and a sticky ‘add to cart button’ to encourage customers to make their purchases, and enable them to do so no matter how far down the page they have scrolled.

You can read more on why you should care more about performance testing for your website here.

Protip: Utilise the A/B testing method to see which page layout alterations have an impact on your sales. Alternatively, you could simply ask customers directly by email to ask how they rate their experience of using your online store. This data will allow you to implement any changes necessary to make those all important sales.


  • Keyword research is frequently overlooked by many e-commerce merchants – don’t let yourself fall victim of this, or you may be jeopardising your sales revenue.
  • Listening to your users and observing their online activity, for example by means of social media, is really important and will tell you more about their buying habits.
  • Don’t fall prey to overlooking the buyer’s journey. This should be one of your key priorities to ensure that your customers can easily make it through their buyer journey without a hitch.

What have you learnt about e-commerce from this article? Will you set up your own online store? Let us know in the comments.