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Ecommerce is pretty competitive these days. And as with most cutthroat industries, mistakes can be fatal to sales. Examples include lack of branding, clunky checkouts, no visibility into who you are, bad customer service, and lack of community engagement.

We like to refer to these ecommerce mistakes as stinkers and sinkers. Here are a few stinkers and sinkers to avoid in your ecommerce store.

A Lack of Branding

Marketing experts say that it’s not about what you sell, but rather how you sell it. Anybody can sell T-shirts and pants online, which for shoppers means they can shop anywhere for what they want. There’s no reason to choose Store-A over Store-B beyond pricing or convenience. If this is the case, the shopper will be more likely to buy from an ecommerce giant like Amazon than a small business.


Establishing a brand identity, on the other hand, gives consumers a reason to buy from your ecommerce store specifically. Rather than just selling T-shirts and pants, your store sells “apparel for anime enthusiasts” or “athleisure for the sporty fashionista.” Both of these examples describe a style of clothing specific to a certain audience.

To unlock the power of good branding, e-stores need a strong brand name, a tagline, an attractive logo, cohesive messaging, and an alluring design. If you don’t already have a logo – or just want to update it – consider using a logo maker from Hatchful or Shopify; then match that logo style with your website design to keep everything clean and professional.

A Clunky & Cumbersome Checkout Process

One surefire way to sink your ecommerce store is a slow, confusing, or broken checkout process. This is the last step a customer takes, and for e-sellers, it’s the most important because it leads to conversions. However, if your checkout process requires users to create an account or just doesn’t work, a shopper is more likely to abandon their cart at the last second.

To prevent this from happening to you, be sure to use a hearty ecommerce platform. These services work tirelessly to ensure e-stores have the processing power to handle hundreds, or even thousands of orders at once; without slowdowns. Similarly, they standardize checkout processes (more or less) to keep things from getting too clunky and cumbersome.

If you built your checkout pages yourself, doublecheck the processes to make sure everything is easy and painless. Keep the number of pages and entry forms as low as possible; only asking for the data you need to complete the order.

Missing Essential Pages

Another ecommerce stinker is foregoing the essential pages shoppers want to see. Examples include an About Us page, a contact page, FAQ pages, sizing guides; customer review sections, and the like. Shoppers visit these pages to inform their purchases as well as ensure your e-store and its products are legitimate. Therefore, nixing these pages is a bad idea.

Providing greater visibility into your ecommerce website is essential to establishing a good relationship with your shoppers.

Poor or Lethargic Customer Service

Another ecommerce killer is poor or lethargic customer service. The internet provides consumers a quick and easy way to satisfy their needs and desires. Of course, shoppers will have questions from time to time. If your staff doesn’t field those queries quickly and accurately, your e-store could lose out on essential sales.

In that same vein, disgruntled buyers reach out to your customer service team to make things right. If your staff slacks on these interactions or just plain misses them, you risk losing a customer for life.

No Community Engagement

Research shows today’s shoppers prefer to spend their dollars with brands that give back. Consider offering your time or money to causes matching your store’s offerings. As an example, if you sell pet supplies, you can offer five percent of your profits to local animal shelters.

Awareness of these ecommerce mistakes will help you avoid committing these sinkers and stinkers.


From trending product photos with stellar hash tags that get hundreds of likes on social media and eventually shared by celebrities, to a mention on a morning talk show for national recognition reaching hundreds of thousands, there’s a staggering amount of potential exposure in today’s media landscape for all your competition…and you.


When it comes to being the most pervasive, share-worthy and memorable brand amidst a plethora of others with access to the same excessive amount of platforms, the pressure is on. Yet, the road to going viral doesn’t have to be a daunting one. Below are some innovative ways to ensure your brand stands out amongst droves of others.


Subliminal Connectivity

Dove Chocolate did it with wrappers bearing tidbits and sayings to read while indulging in their treats, Coca-Cola nailed it with names on their bottles suggesting who to share the beverage with, and even the malt-beverage company Mickey’s made a cannon ball of a marketing splash with puzzles under their caps.

Photo Flickr

Photo Flickr


These kinds of innovative brand fringes reel consumers in with quirky, highly effective activities that can sear a brand’s image into one’s brain through positive interaction. The fun and cleverness is associated with your brand and could influence future purchases, whether those buying are fully aware of it or not.


Giveaways…Done WELL

No one can pass up freebies. So it’s one thing to be the brand associated with generosity, yet it’s a whole new level of promotion when a piece of swag is woven into consumers’ daily routines. They grab the swag from the event tote, or the tote itself, days after the event because it’s of use to them. You want your giveaways to be circulated, to be in use. When that happens the consumer is reminded of your brand continually, while other people coming into contact with them are introduced to your brand. An example of a potential useful promotional product would be portable power banks, which are far from stuff-in-the-desk-drawer material. Throw in an eye-catching design combined with the constant need for people to charge their mobile devices, and your actual return-on-swag investment looks positive.





Social Media (#duh)

It’s taking over the world! Well, that’s a bit dramatic. But there’s no denying social media’s direct correlation with a brand’s success, and companies’ constant ploy for prime social media real estate: likes and shares.


You want to provide valuable and sharable content first and foremost. Ask yourself if each post is either helpful or entertaining to the reader, as content should do one, or in the most ideal cases, both. This of course comes after you’ve honed in on your target audience, perhaps by conducting surveys.


Also be sure to use networks that support your brand image. Just because Snapchat is trending, doesn’t mean it’s aligned with your brand, or your brand’s audience.


Personality Is Key

Whether you’re a tech startup or mom-and-pop frozen yogurt store, pervading the personality behind your business is essential in differentiating yourself from the competition. To be effective your brand must be original, and ultimately have the ability to trigger emotions. Your brand persona may be something inspired by the story of how the business got started, or you can be more liberal and curate something unique, humorous, even zany, in order to carve out your own place in the industry, and above all stick out in consumers’ minds.


There’s no need to feel overwhelmed by others providing your same service or product, or seemingly limitless platforms from which to boast from. Put your thinking caps on, preferably with your logo on it, dig into what makes your name only yours and get to promoting that fabulous brand!


It’s sometimes surprising to see that people can go against a brand, or be so passionate about a brand that they see all others as abhorrent. It’s the latter that stands for customer loyalty and makes you more money. Loyal customers tend to spend more and bring in new business with positive referrals and word of mouth.

Branding plays a crucial role in enhancing customer loyalty, which is critical for success in the turbulent marketplace. Since loyal customers stick with the brand they know, businesses need to execute branding in a way that promotes business image and leaves a memorable effect on customers. Here are 4 branding ideas that have the potential to take customer loyalty through the roof:


Create a contest

Contests allow your customers to showcase their happiness and talent, and when you pick the right theme, showcase your products. A photo contest, for example, can be hosted on your website or even in a physical location such as a coffee shop. It will likely result in lots of happy customers sharing pictures, which can be used in marketing materials, or just displayed in your office.

A San Francisco pizza chain, Pizza Orgasmica, hangs photo frames of customers and has also published a gallery on its website of people who share pictures wearing the brand’s t-shits from around the globe. Such contests are easy to execute and don’t require you to spend an arm and leg on branding.

Incorporate your brand into packaging

Branding can be incorporated into the packaging of your products. Custom printed packaging for retailers can be used for more than just brand promotion. They are also for product differentiation and eco-friendly image development. Additionally, it can help retailers provide technical information and re-order information about products with ease. The brand logo and artwork can be applied on custom boxes in a variety of ways.

That’s how Apple’s iPad branding was executed, and it left a significant impact on customers. The packaging is driven by a great design and user-friendliness. Apple utilized custom packaging to deliver its promise of a great product while implementing a smart branding strategy. The image on the cover of the packaging featuring a life-size photo of an iPad does a great job in fulfilling customer expectations.

Branding through a cause

Giving back to the community by supporting a cause will build your brand image as a business that cares. Choose a cause relevant to your business. For example, if you run a pet shop, then a no-kill animal cause would be a perfect fit. Promote the cause and your brand together through special events.

For instance, a pet shop owner can ask customers to buy a pack of pet food while your outlet donates 20 percent of the sale to the animal shelter. Promote such events on social media and through press releases to increase the visibility of your brand’s support to the cause.

Utilize special days

While the holiday season is the prime time for branding, you don’t have to be limited. That’s because you can increase customer loyalty by promoting your brand on other holidays.

For example, you can offer a special deal to customers on Valentine’s Day, or a surprise gift in Easter eggs on Easter holiday. The same can be done on the fourth of July for anyone wearing patriotic clothes.