5 Examples of Bad Ecommerce Websites (Design & UX)

Do you have a bad eCommerce website? Is it performing poorly, not getting the conversions and ultimately wasting your money in the process?

When it comes to building an eCommerce website, there are a lot of options for users to choose from, and more and more retailers and businesses are coming online every year, switching up their business models so that online sales work for them.

Unfortunately, badly designed eCommerce websites are more and more common in 2020.. Poor design, badly laid out, and just plain ugly. Users hate them, and businesses won’t get the return they were hoping for by moving online.

In this article, we’re going to look at some bad website designs, and some good eCommerce website designs so that you can learn to spot the difference and improve your website to work better for you and your business.

What Impact Can Bad eCommerce Website Design Have?

I’m sure you (the person reading this) are exactly like me. I hate wasting my business’ money and not seeing any return on the effort I put in. But getting a new eCommerce website that is poorly designed will certainly have a negative impact on your business.

If, however, you would prefer for your customers to land on your website, buy things, and make your business money, then a better website design is crucial.

Having a poorly designed and maintained eCommerce website will not only impact your bottom line, your sales, but it also lands badly with your customers. Customer affinity and advocacy is a great method of building a customer base and a fantastic website is the perfect way to achieve that. What you don’t want is them saying to their friends “buy it from X, but their website is awful”.

Bottom line: bad website design is bad for everyone, you and your customers included.

Example One: Poor Product Descriptions

This is one of the most frustrating things about shopping online, users can’t actually interact with the product they are buying. Pick it up, touch it, test it, etc. Most users understand this and can’ get over it, but only if the product descriptions are good.

Let’s take a look at a bad product description.

Now, this one is a bit of an amusing example because the website in question, almost prides themselves on awful product descriptions, but if we’re looking at this from a more technical and SEO perspective, it’s clear that this is a bad product description.

There’s an argument to be had for not showing skiing details and material details on every single product, but in this case, the user has to do so much extra work to find information out, and for the price of the products they might not bother.

Let’s take a look at a good product description

Decathlon has it down when it comes to good product descriptions. They use the space in the top left to give a very brief overview of the product and what it is best used for, and they use this area to link to reviews (more on that later).

When a user scrolls down they are presented with a navigation menu that allows them to jump to each section (like technical information for example) or they can continue scrolling to see each section in turn, their recommended related products, and further down the page is the reviews section.

This is a great example of how to make it as easy as possible for your users to find out the information they need to about your product whilst keeping it on brand and as simple as possible.

Example Two: Bad Photographs and Videos

Having high-quality photographs of your products is a given, every eCommerce website should have good images, but just having lots of images doesn’t mean they’re actually useful.

Let’s look at a website with poor images selection

Sticking with our outdoors theme for a while, this is one of the UK’s leading outdoor equipment retailers, and one of the UK’s best tent designers. From these pictures though, you wouldn’t believe it. Sure, it’s useful to get the sketch with sizes, but there are no in-situ pictures that show what the tent is really like.

Let’s look at some good photos

Looking at this attempt again, a very similar tent, and you can immediately see the difference.

There are 11 images (as opposed to the previous example that had 2), and they show the tent from different angles, what it looks like packed, with an example of where your bag can be put, and there are two photos with people in them, one showing how to fit a pole and another how to tighten the guy rope, both showing the person in comparison to tent size. These images are a lot more useful for your user.

Example Three: Hidden Pricing

This is one of the things that really frustrates users, not knowing the pricing of a product.

Let’s take Xiaomi UK as an example. Xiaomi is actually very good at showing SOME of their pricing, but when it comes to buying a phone it is incredibly frustrating.

The user is presented with this beautifully designed page that is dynamic and well proportioned, but useful information like what the phone ACTUALLY costs and what the technical specifications of it happen to be hidden in the top right-hand corner, frustratingly right next to the buy button!

Whilst the “from £299” is appreciated on the landing page, it’s not particularly helpful when everyone knows that that will be the lowest price for the poorest spec in that model.

Example Four: Bad Categories

Have you ever gone onto a website to look for something, but you weren’t exactly sure of the technical terminology? You use the search feature and the designer has lovingly put everything into helpful categories that makes it much easier to search and eventually land on the page that you need?

A good website (of any kind) will always keep navigation in mind. Designing your website around an individual audience can isolate users and cause them to bounce from your site.

Unfortunately, this is not what happens when you search Wickes’ website.

Wickes is meant for tradespeople and, in their defence, they will assume that most of their customers will know exactly what they are looking for, but for the average DIY-er technical terms might not be known.

Try going to Wickes website and searching for “plank of wood” and look what comes up.

One product that looks like a bundle of wood and then pots of paint? This is frustrating to users and it’s purely down to lazy keywording and bad design.

On the flip side, we have this budget retailer.

A simple non-technical search for “wall plugs” might bring up electricals, but they cleverly realise their users probably mean rawlplugs, a specific type of DIY material. Not only do they show rawlplugs (with the wall plug keyword in each title) but they also show a link to the DIY category.

Simple navigation made easy.

Example Five: No Reviews

This example has it’s ups and download, but many shoppers now want to see reviews on products. For many eCommerce websites, having reviews online can lead to headaches, and it does definitely need to be something that is monitors correctly in your team. Who will read the reviews? Who will reply? Will you only allow through good reviews (hint: that’s a bad idea) and what will you do when you do get a bad review?

Reviews can add a lot of trust and authority to your eCommerce site, and it allows your own users to become your brand advocates, but beware of fake reviews.

There are, sadly, some shoppers who will buy products and then give it a negative review just to get a refund (whilst keeping the product) and these can be damaging for your business. Equally, if they leave a bad review and you aren’t seen to be doing anything about it, that can also negatively impact your business.

The best advice for reviews is to allow them where appropriate, but have a clear and well-defined strategy for replying. Just like you should have a good Social Media processes, you should also have a good review triage process, if only to show your other users you appreciate the time they take to post a review and that you’re actively helping customers who are less than impressed with their product.

In Summary

Now you’ve had a chance to look at some examples of good design and bad design for eCommerce websites, which did you prefer? If you’re leaning towards the good design (which we’re assuming you are!) then how does your website stack up? Have you made some of the mistakes you’ve seen here?

If you’re wondering about how to improve your eCommerce website design so that you make more sales and convert more customers, get in touch with us for a chat. Our friendly team will be happy to take a look at your website and work with you to improve what you already have or take on the task of doing a full website redesign so that you’re ready to face the next chapter in your business on the right foot.

We’re able to help with all kinds of aspects of eCommerce website design, from branding to marketing, under the hood, to the creatives on top. Get in contact with us today.

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