9 Scary eCommerce Trends That Must Die
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At The Jibe, it’s our mission to power and build the most beautifully designed, user friendly eCommerce stores and have a disdain for anything less. In the spirit of Halloween, we’ve rounded up 10 scary eCommerce trends that we feel need to be laid to rest.
We suppose you could call us “eCommerce hunters.” Instead of silver bullets and crosses, we’re armed with data usability knowledge and eCommerce best practices.
We must warn you, some of these are in fact quite horrific and deserve a NC17 rating. In addition, we’ve got a scare’O’meter that ranks just how bad these eCommerce trends are.
1 Jack'O'Lantern is least scary and 5 Jack'O'Lanterns is most terrifying.
1. Carousel Slider
The carousel slider can be likened to that fair that rolls into to town that looks like it would be a good time...until you’re running for you life from terrifying clowns. In other words, looks alright but is a user's worst nightmare.
A carousel slider was once thought to be a good idea as a retailer could feature different campaigns, sales, or products in one easy to access place; above the fold, front and center. Sounds like a good idea right? However, this theory has been tested and debunked time and time again.
They’re bad for SEO, they slow your site down, the first slide only sees a good CTR, they respond terribly to mobile, and the list goes on.
2. Cluttered homepage
Retailers must refrain from turning their homepage into a slasher scene, making it very hard to look at. An online merchant may have hundreds of products they’d like to show off, the thing is, they don’t have to display them all on the front page.
It’s an eyesore and goes against good design principles as well as basic human psychology. Overwhelming customers with too many choices will decrease conversion, not increase it.
Instead, do as Net-a-Porter does and group products into different “stories” or create a look book like their digital magazine “The Edit.”
3. Icons to Make Navigation “Easier”
When executed poorly, the navigation looks like the scene from The Shining when Jack Nicholson breaks through the door and yells “Here’s Johnny.” I.E. a train wreck.
Build.com tested out two variations of their navigation, one with icons and one without. The variation without icons outperformed the other by 21%.
However, sometimes a retailer offers products that may be unique and an image may help with visual recollection. In this case, an icon or picture may be acceptable.
4. Manufacturer product descriptions
An easy way for a retailer to get filtered out of search engines is to use a product description straight from a manufacturer.
These descriptions go to every single online merchant purchasing the same products, which means there’s hundreds, possibly even thousands of retailers out there that–if they haven’t changed the description–have the same product description.
Not only is this a nightmare for SEO, but these descriptions weren’t written in a way that will sell a product; they’re technical, thats it.
Larger retailers that have thousands of products would be better off to keep them out of search engines and use the NO INDEX meta tag on product descriptions that don’t have a unique description.
5. Too Many Popups
Digital marketers love them, consumers...hate them? Well, not exactly. The purpose of a pop up is to offer something of great value, they should add to the online experience, not take away from it. When executed correctly, they help retailers collect emails from leads so they can continue to market to them.
However, they’re often poorly implemented, with many online retailers constantly missing the point of them. Often consumers are bombarded with 2 or 3 pop ups in a row as soon as they land on the homepage, making them an online shoppers worst “nightmare”–one that gives elm street a run for its money. This is especially bad for customers who haven’t yet interacted with a retailer’s store.
What’s worse is that Google has recently announced they will be penalizing online stores that display anything they believe will detract from a user’s experience on mobile. Proceed with caution.
6. Fake Reviews
It can be tempting to use fake reviews, after all, the statistics are there to prove just how powerful online reviews can be:
67% of consumers read 6 reviews or less before they feel they can trust a business enough to make a purchase. ( MarketingProfs ) 70% of customers consult reviews or ratings before making a final purchase. ( People Claim ) One third of consumers trust a stranger over a brand ( Forbes )
However, fake reviews can tarnish an online retailer’s reputation and with consumers becoming more critical, it’s imperative a retailer resists the urge to turn to sites like Fiverr.
In addition, many marketplaces are cracking down as well. Take for example the recent lawsuit that Amazon filed against more than 1,114 individuals who allegedly have posted fake product reviews on the site.
Amazon stated “Unfortunately, a very small minority of sellers and manufacturers sometimes try to gain unfair competitive advantages for their products on Amazon.com.
One such method is creating false, misleading, and inauthentic customer reviews...Amazon has conducted an extensive investigation of the defendants’ activities on Fiverr, including purchasing ‘reviews’ for products and communicating directly with some of the defendants.”
7. Bad product images
Besides video, product photos are as close as a customer is going to come to interacting with a retailer’s product, so doesn’t it then make sense for online retailers to possess high quality imagery? You’d think so right? But this isn’t always the case.
Too many online merchants have fallen victim to showcasing very poor quality images. Ones where the lighting is dim, the styling isn’t consistent, consumers can’t zoom in, or there’s only one angle. And retailers expect their visitors to convert.
An online retailer must display their products in the best light possible. Poor imagery will only make products look horrifying. Probably not how most retailers want their items to be perceived.
8. Forced Sign In
Although it’s been talked about ad nauseum, we thought we’d just quickly remind retailers that the average rate for shopping cart abandonment is 68%. Now that is terrifying. Like Exorcist scary, we know.
But while there’s many reasons why a visitor may bounce upon check out, there’s a few best practices that need to be set in place before jumping to conclusions. One of which is providing the option to check out without having to sign in; whether an online shopper has an account or not.
Kissmetrics, conversion slayers, have done many studies on checkout conversion. One in particular names the 4 massive barriers to checkout conversion. The first on that list? Forcing a customer to sign in.
Another study by checkout usability expert Christian Holst found 30% of users abandoned their cart when asked to register upfront. Clearly, this is a trend that customers find extremely annoying and only causes friction during the checkout process.
9. Non-Responsive Online Store
We thought we’d save the best for last. In 2016, online stores must be optimized for all devices. This shouldn’t even be a question in our opinion. The fact that some online stores were being developed without responsiveness in mind the last couple of years is terrifying to us.
With mobile optimized online stores 2.1x more likely to convert than non-mobile optimized ones, 40% of purchases now including the use of multiple devices prior to conversion, and mobile searches surpassing desktop, online stores must be optimized for mobile devices. No exceptions.
Scared yet? We hope so. These are trends that need to be taken to the grave and stay there. What trends do you think need to be laid to rest?