How to Lose E-commerce Users in 10 Steps

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Being successful with e-commerce is a balance between doing the right thing and not doing the wrong thing. There are certain steps we can take to retain the interest of our users on our store. For the purpose of this post, let’s ignore them and do the opposite. This will be a guide on how to lose e-commerce users.

Never to return.

So if you are someone who is more interested in losing users than in converting them, this list is for you. 

How to lose e-commerce users in 10 steps

Step One: Don’t secure your e-commerce site

Nothing screams, “run”, like a site that says, “not secure”, beside the address line of your browser bar. The lock you see now is a sign that the site is encrypted to protect your sensitive information against hackers.

An SSL certificate will give you the padlock. If you don’t have this trust signal, you’ll be sure to lose some users who value their online safety. 

site not secure google chrome
Google Chrome’s signal for a website without encryption

site secure google chrome
Google Chrome’s signal for a secured site 

If you want to lose your users, then don’t get a free SSL certificate with Let’s Encrypt, a non-profit certificate authority run by the Internet Security Research Group.

Step Two: Weigh your site down with loaded plugins

A sure-fire way to lose a large amount of your users is by making them wait as long as possible for your site to load.

One of the most effective ways to slow your page speed down is to install a lot of plugins, requiring large amounts of code to run on your site. A lot of features offered by some plugins can be added through small code snippets in your WordPress theme functions.php file. 

Don’t go for lightweight, high quality plugins which won’t slow your site down. One tip would be to definitely not test your page speed before and after you download the plugin, so you have no idea how an extra plugin impacts your page speed.

Step Three: Have a lot of Annoying Pop-ups

Nothing deters a user like coming to a website to view your main content only to have it covered by a huge and distracting pop-up. Great.

Not only will you lose points with your e-commerce user if you shower your website with these annoying CTAs, you will also risk your search engine results page (SERP) position. Making content less accessible with these “intrusive interstitials” as labelled by Google will have a negative effect on your SEO. 

Step Four: Have A complicated Cookie Opt-Out Banner

This point will annoy your user with not only a banner or a pop-up, but also with even more work just to try and opt out of any of the tracking that comes with the cookies used on your page.

Sending your e-commerce user down a rabbit hole of legal jargon on various third-party websites will definitely frustrate your users enough to give up and leave your store for an alternative. 

Side note: Qreuz did a study of the 50 most-visited clothing e-commerce sites and found that only 64% of them had any cookie notices at all.

A collaborative study from University College London, MIT and Aarhus University in Denmark found that only 11.8% of websites meet the minimal requirements based on European law.

This study was carried out by scraping the designs of the top 5 consent management platforms based on the 100 most visited sites in the UK.

Step Five: Use Repetitive Stock Images

Why give your e-commerce users a real feel for the product you are selling with various high quality images of your product in different lighting and surroundings, when you can just use the same dummy image everyone uses?

So what if users are afraid of being stuck with something they don’t like. 

That’s right. If you want to lose them! 

Step Six: Complicated Design

Not focusing the user experience of your e-commerce store will set you up for some hard losses. You will be blind to the reality of your user interface, so we suggest you ask a friend to navigate through your store while you watch them, giving no feedback. This will be a good eye-opener for you to see how intuitive your site really is and how it can be improved. 

It is also important to not design your site for mobile specifically. This will help you lose your mobile users, too! 

Learn more about optimizing your mobile e-commerce store. 

Step Seven: Include No Social Proof

We are hard-wired to not want to be left out. Including social proof such as ratings, reviews, testimonials, or even information about how many others have bought this product will all have an influence on your user’s choice to buy.

You can integrate Google customer reviews onto your WooCommerce store to add an extra layer of trust and familiarity with this feature. According to a survey by Bright Local, the average consumer reads 10 reviews before feeling able to trust a business.

If you don’t want to validate your user’s interest in your product, then leave out all elements of social proof on your site. You will be sure to lose even more e-commerce users without it.  

Step Eight: Have Unclear Policies

Privacy policies. Shipping policies. Returns policies.

Having clear and transparent policies easily accessible on your website is sure to build trust between you and your user, making them more comfortable to hand over their hard-earned money.

So if you are trying to send potential customers away from your e-commerce site, then you should really ensure that you have put no effort whatsoever into your policies.

Step Nine: Spam Email Subscribers

If a user is interested enough in your e-commerce store to give their email address, then be sure to lose that interest by spamming their inbox with a series of unpersonalized and unrelated bulk emails.

This will be a great way to be punished and marked as spam by your subscribers. You will also achieve a bad reputation with email filters, ending up repeatedly in your subscribers spam box.

If you are into the idea of spamming your subscribers then make sure they aren’t welcomed to your subscriber list by sending them a personalized welcome email upon subscription.

As important as it is to say thanks for signing up, it is also important to set your user up for success. So if you want to lose your users, then don’t send them a welcome email like the one below, so they don’t get the most out of your business from the very start. 

example welcome email for users on you e-commerce store
Source: HelloPrint welcome email via Getvero

Step Ten: Complex Transaction with Unexpected Fees

If, somehow, you haven’t lost your e-commerce users yet. This step is sure to do it. Let’s make the process of actually paying for the items in their cart as complex as possible.

Be sure they have to make an account first, losing 28% of your users and then a further 21% by keeping the process complex.

Oh, and don’t forget to surprise your users with expensive and unexpected tax, shipping and payment fees.

reasons for e-commerce cart abandonment
Full Insight: Reasons for Cart Abandonment

Let’s just assume you don’t want to lose your e-commerce users at the transaction stage, then you will need: 

  • Clear CTAs: Make sure the “Proceed to Payment” CTA is accessible 
  • Multiple payment options: Especially on mobile, integrate mobile payments, such as Google Pay, Apple Pay, Visa Checkout, Alipay, etc.
  • Delay account creation: Allow “Continue as Guest” and prompt account signup after transaction has been completed
  • Reassure security: Include trust badges, so your user can go through the process without any doubt

The Takeaway

Jokes aside, don’t let all the effort you put into your digital business be scuppered by any of the above steps. You have worked too long and too hard to lose potential customers by ignoring these avoidable pitfalls. 

If you liked this article, be sure to check out our Conversion Rate Optimization Master Series for more resources on how to grow your digital business. 

What do you often see e-commerce stores doing “wrong”? Leave you advice in the comments section below!

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