Excellent.org lists the most common mistakes made by online retailers and gives tips on how to fix them in order to be successful with the online store.

These are the most common mistakes made by online retailers

An online store is now indispensable for most companies and is becoming increasingly important, especially in view of the interlinked use of online and offline. However, building and maintaining an online store is anything but simple. From the creation of the website to logistics and marketing to customer service, there are many adjusting screws that are involved in the success. Therefore, the most common mistakes made by online retailers and tips on how to fix them are listed below.

We have already addressed what is particularly important to German consumers when shopping online in this article.

Inadequate market analysis

The relevance of careful market analysis is emphasized again and again in theory, but in practice it is often neglected. For any business, it is absolutely necessary to closely monitor the competition and customers, as well as any developments. Appropriate adaptation to market events ensures competitiveness in the long run.

For example, the offer of the competition has a significant influence on the own. Again and again, the unique selling proposition must be made clear or even adjusted. Customers, with their needs, fundamentally determine the direction of a company. And standing still in the face of constant change in the industry would be fatal. Online retailers must therefore ensure that the market, with all its participants and influencing variables, is sufficiently researched.

Incorrect product calculation and pricing policy

In addition to inadequate market analysis, product calculation and pricing policy are often carried out with insufficient precision. For online retailers, the focus is usually more on buying and selling, and the selling price is estimated rather than calculated. These estimates often do not take into account storage and marketing costs, and any returns are not included in the price.

In addition, there is a certain price pressure caused by the competition. According to the right calculation, there should always be some room to go down, but under no circumstances should the price be repeatedly lowered. This would quickly put you in a downward spiral and you would soon no longer be able to sell your products profitably. Again, it is especially important to focus on unique features of the products as well as the company that will persuade customers to buy.

Ill-conceived warehousing

While this point goes hand in hand with pricing, it should still be listed separately. All warehousing is expensive and a lack of foresight in this regard can have significant negative consequences. Slow-moving items that remain untouched in the warehouse tie up important capital that could be used to advance the company. Ideally, therefore, an inventory analysis should be carried out and appropriate systems implemented to monitor the warehouse in the future.

Excellent.org explains what mistakes online retailers make, such as incorrect inventory management, the picture shows warehouse shelves

Wrong focus in marketing

Marketing is important, but mistakes can be made here as well. Often the focus is then on Google Ads and the selected keywords are disproportionately expensive. The successes achieved are then insufficient compared to the input and losses are incurred.

Instead, companies should focus more on search engine optimization (SEO). With a little work, this can significantly increase the visibility and ranking of a page and has advantages, especially in the long term. Social media could offer another way to gain more reach at a low cost.

Another aspect that can be attributed to marketing and is too often neglected: Cross-selling. With cross-selling, additional products and recommendations are displayed directly on the product pages to inspire users and encourage them to continue shopping. This offers another efficient way to increase sales.

Too few payment options

Over 50% of Germans have abandoned their online purchases due to doubts about payment security.[1] When it comes to payment options, it is therefore important to convey trust. You can achieve this, for example, by offering a variety of payment options. This way, each customer can choose the option with which they feel most comfortable.

Additional trustworthiness can be created, for example, by SSL encryption, other security certificates, a complete imprint and a comprehensive privacy policy.

Unclear & difficult to navigate online store

Often, online stores are difficult for customers to navigate overall. Instead of optimizing search and filter functions, online retailers quickly tend to focus on the design of an online store. Even if the appearance of a page and its structure are important, there are usually other aspects that are in more urgent need of an overhaul.

Too many pop-ups, which repeatedly disturb the customer in the ordering process, also have a disruptive effect. The creation of a customer account before an order can be placed, for example, also acts as an obstacle. It is better to offer the option at the end of the order to save the respective data for the next order.

A difficult-to-navigate page with a long and confusing ordering process causes stress among customers and is more likely to tempt them to abandon a purchase. You should therefore ensure that any steps and processes in your online store are as user-friendly as possible.

Excellent.org addresses the relevance of complete and detailed product descriptions in online stores, the image shows a person on a smartphone looking at products on the Internet

Poor information and images

Customers cannot hold the products they are looking at online in their hands and view them from all sides as they would in a store. An online store should therefore provide product information that is as complete as possible. This reduces the risk of customer frustration and can also prevent returns (and thus additional effort and additional costs).

Add real value to the product description as well. Make sure the information is as complete as possible with sufficient details. Especially more individual aspects such as your own experiences and reviews can be helpful here.

Images also provide a lot of information. However, if they are too small and any details cannot be seen, this can again lead to frustration. Furthermore, it can be helpful for users to have several images available. Here, the product could be shown from different sides or even in use. Short product videos are also increasingly finding their way onto product pages.


Even though online stores offer considerable potential, mistakes creep in again and again to minimize it. Online retailers should therefore regularly examine the market with all participants in order to be able to react to developments at an early stage. It can also make sense to regularly run through the ordering process in one’s own online store. In this way, weak points can be identified and subsequently improved.



[1] Statista: Umfrage zu Faktoren, die Kunden vom Kauf in Webshops abhalten (2014)