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10 common pitfalls to avoid in a small business e-commerce website

There are estimated to be over 2.14 billion online customers and buyers in 2021. This amounts to 30% of the earth’s population! E-commerce capabilities for small business websites present a tremendous opportunity for you if you get it right.

Running a small business e-commerce website is a challenging task at the best of times, but during the Covid-19 pandemic, almost all businesses have had to move online to survive. This has meant that competition for mindshare in the online space has reached a feverish pitch during these last couple of years. Here are 10 of the most common pitfalls that plague most small business e-commerce websites.

Pitfall #1: Poor Visual Design

There is a vast difference between the websites of 1994 and websites in 2021. Long gone are the days of just having three CTA buttons added to your small business e-commerce website and calling it a day.

Today, you need to have an attractive, elegant, and functional visual design and User Interface (UI) not only to attract customers and gain traffic but also to increase your website’s SEO rank organically.

Your small business e-commerce website needs to be intuitive and easy to use, as well as aesthetically pleasing. Navigation needs to be simple and the overall layout should be neat, clutter-free, and sophisticated. An important rule-of-thumb is to ensure that users reach their destination in under three clicks.

Pitfall #1: Poor Visual Design
It is good practice to avoid automatic pop-up windows as well as video or audio files that play automatically without giving a user an option to pause them. Atula has a great team of Visual Design, Usability, and User Experience experts that can help design a visually fantastic yet intuitively functional website.
Pitfall #2: A Slow e-commerce Website

47% of your online buyers expect your small business e-commerce website to load within 2 seconds or else they leave! Even a one-second delay in loading results in massive abandonment at your e-commerce website.

Gone are the days of using simple hosting and putting up an e-commerce website. The choice of server location, server performance, the volume of HTTP requests, the number of JavaScript files, images, CSS, and videos have a huge impact on your website loading speeds. Additionally, great caching with a state of the art Content Delivery Network (CDN) matters tremendously for your small business e-commerce website performance.

This is no longer a game for DIY enthusiasts and home-brewed solutions. Getting professional help can mean the difference between your e-commerce site being a huge revenue generator and simply being consigned to the cyber dust-heap.

Pitfall #3: Insufficient User Personalisation

On a small business e-commerce website, personalising a customer’s experience can be a huge help with customer acquisition and retention.

74% of businesses believe that user experience is one of the most important factors for generating sales and conversions. Implementing customisation and personalisation options for your e-commerce website gives buyers a sense of control and a great experience.

Standard personalisation approaches include prioritising product categories based on the customer’s interests, targeting specific personalised products, implementing easy options like “one-click buy”, and auto-fill options for pre-existing customers.

Birthday discount schemes, personalised Call To Action (CTA) buttons, greeting the customer by name on a landing page, and adding personalised blog posts also helps generate traffic to your website.

Pitfall #4: Inadequate Product Information
Pitfall #4: Inadequate Product Information

Your small business e-commerce website is the bridge between an in-store experience and an online one. However, one key difference between a physical and a virtual experience is the absence of a store assistant to help and guide customers, providing them with relevant information needed to help them to make buying decisions. Your e-commerce website must have all the relevant information about products as well as your brand easily accessible to buyers. This includes descriptive as well as technical information about your products.

Tip: Keep technical information available at the click of a button but not directly visible to avoid clutter while giving users the option to go deeper if they wish! Additionally, avoid using generic content provided by manufacturers, since google immediately penalises such duplicate content. Get a writing team to craft excellent product write-ups that are unique.

Pitfall #5: Unnecessarily Complicated Checkout Process

The average abandonment rate at the shopping cart stage is 69.75% for Desktop users and goes as high as 85.65% and 80.74% for mobile and tablet users respectively.

The checkout is the most important step in the sales process on your e-commerce website. All the effort and money spent may result in nothing if this aspect isn’t executed correctly.

Ensure that your e-commerce website’s design uses clear indicative icons and graphics, includes a progress bar as well as a fully functional back button at

each stage of the checkout process and provides live chat support for buyers that need help.

For unregistered users, the registration process causes the most friction between a customer and a sale. It is a good practice to get a buyer to register towards the payment stage of checkout.

However, it is wise to collect a prospect’s email early on so that an abandoned shopping cart can be saved and a customer can receive an email gently nudging them to complete a sale. There are over 30 strategies used by Atula’s team of experts to optimise your checkout page alone!
Pitfall #6: Not having a responsive website
Pitfall #6: Not having a responsive website

57% of users will not recommend a brand with a poor, non-responsive mobile website. This is significant, given that as of Feb 2021, 55.65% of web traffic comes from mobile users!

Therefore, it is really important to have a small business e-commerce website that is optimised to work on any browser and device.

A responsive web design uses HTML and CSS to automatically resize your e-commerce website to perfectly fit a variety of browsers, devices, and device sizes. The tech team needs to set appropriate responsive breakpoints, use a fluid grid, and make sure that images, videos, and typography in your small business e-commerce website are responsive.

Atula has deep expertise in developing responsive e-commerce websites for multiple customers and we bring all that learning and expertise to your e-commerce website!

Pitfall #7: Minimal SEO implemented poorly

You can either spend most of your capital on advertisements and paid promotions or smartly optimise your small business e-commerce website to secure a top rank on Google’s search results organically.

Google uses over 200 ranking factors in its algorithm to assign a Search Engine Result Page (SERP) rank to a website. Your e-commerce implementation team needs to be familiar with these variables and find ways to optimise them in your e-commerce website.

However, not all factors contribute equally to your e-commerce website’s SERP rank. Some factors like mobile usability, page speed, keywords, security contribute more than others like keywords in the domain name, domain expiration date, Adsense, or H1 tag rule.

Additionally, using meta no-index tags, canonical tags, keyword stuffing, rich snippet spam and similar black hat SEO techniques can negatively impact your e-commerce site’s rank. SEO is a complex and specialised game, given Google’s propensity towards whimsical and abrupt changes in the rules. Smart business owners will get help from a team of SEO experts like Atula to help them stay ahead of the Darwinian game of SEO hide and seek.

Pitfall #7: Minimal SEO implemented poorly
Pitfall #8: Using Outdated Tech leading to Technical Glitches
Pitfall #8: Using Outdated Tech leading to Technical Glitches

Retail site owners do not realise the losses they incur due to faulty e-commerce websites. 52% of online shoppers abandon a website and visit a competitor’s website!

Technology is the fuel and the grease that keeps the e-commerce engine running. Your launch page, checkout page, and everything in between should be free of technical glitches. Layout bugs, faulty interactive features, page errors, and site maintenance are enough to frustrate the most loyal customers.

Having your e-commerce website built using modern technologies is a critical aspect of the smooth running of your online business. For instance, 59% of online shoppers claim that Artificial Intelligence (AI) based user experiences influence their buying decisions. AI can help user personalisation, improve recommendations, and initiate automated campaigns to increase reach and generate leads.

Additionally, using chatbots provides 24/7 assistance to consumers and sends shipping and tracking information to them. Using a cloud CDN can improve content delivery speeds and make your e-store more adaptable.

Assistive technology and audio commerce can take your business to new audiences like the youth and the visually impaired demographics.

For instance, implementing speech-to-text technology in your search bar can enhance the usability of your e-commerce website. All this, in turn, adds to your business’ growth. Here again, it pays to hire experts to help you deliver a state-of-the-art, world-class experience based on cutting edge technology while you get freed to focus on the business side of things.

Pitfall #9: Lack of Social Proof
Pitfall #9: Lack of Social Proof

In 2021, the lack of social proof on your small business e-commerce website is a big no-no. Your prospects need to know what your existing customers and buyers feel about your products and your brand.

Social proof is based on normative social influence factors of social psychology. For example, positive customer testimonials and reviews dramatically enhance your brand’s image among prospective customers.

Using positive social media posts of your products from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram helps build confidence in your prospects. Adding factual data about your brand like sales volumes, social media followers, and the number of positive reviews helps to build a bond between your brand and your buyers.

Active, implied, and story-telling social proof techniques are some unique ways to help your prospects and customers convert. Needless to say, getting a team of boss-level technology savants like Atula is critical to taking your business to the next level.

Pitfall #10: Underestimating the value of PPC campaigns

American online retailers spend up to 76% of their ad budget on Google’s Pay Per Click (PPC) ad campaigns. This number acts as a vote of confidence in PPC campaigns by business owners.

Google uses an auction-based bidding mechanism to rank ads and position them before organic search results. This means that with a PPC campaign, you can get to the top of the search page! Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter also offer highly targeted PPC campaigns.

Social media PPC campaigns offer unmatched audience refinement capabilities for highly specific targeting. You may choose an audience from a specific demographic, location, age, gender, and relevant interests while planning your PPC campaign.

Pitfall #10: Underestimating the value of PPC campaign

The ROI on PPC campaigns is quite amazing. PPC audiences are 50% more likely to buy your product as compared to organic visitors, because the buying intent is higher among those who click an ad.

The challenge, in this case, is that your e-commerce marketing team must strategise these campaigns down to every single detail such as goal, target audience, and the landing page of your e-commerce website. Also, each platform has its magic incantations that must be used to make the most of them. Get Atula’s team of marketing and advertising magicians and soothsayers to help you extract every ounce of juice from your PPC ad campaigns.

  • Thinking of implementing a new small business e-commerce website for your business?
  • Tired of your glitchy, outdated small business e-commerce website that gives zero results?
  • Want to get a highly trustworthy and competent team to leverage technology that delivers results?

Give us a call on 0207 101 4351, send us an email on, or contact us on our website and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free consultation on building an elegant, world-class e-commerce website that delivers results and lives up to its full potential. At, we have enough experience to understand your exact needs. We can design an e-commerce solution tailored specifically for your success.