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Jul 25, 2023 | 8 minute read

Avoid These 8 eCommerce Merchandising Mistakes to for Better Conversions

written by Elastic Path

eCommerce merchandising involves presenting products in a way that attracts browsers and turns them into buying customers quickly and efficiently. Getting it right is crucial to selling goods and services online.

Succeeding in eCommerce merchandising, requires a solid strategy that optimizes your product listings, enhances your customer experience, and ultimately drives conversions. However, bringing all these aspects together in the ever-changing modern world can be challenging, especially for brands that are rapidly growing or pivoting to meet new demands. In this blog, we’ll explore eight common merchandising mistakes that eCommerce vendors make. We’ll provide tips on how to avoid these mistakes, increase conversions, and increase sales, no matter your eCommerce merchandising objectives.

What is eCommerce Merchandising?

eCommerce merchandising is the process of enhancing the online shopping experience for customers. eCommerce merchandising involves creating attractive product displays, organizing product categories, and improving product search results – which should all contribute to boost sales and revenue. eCommerce merchandisers also analyze customer behavior and data to personalize the shopping experience, provide promotions, and recommend products. In addition, they work closely with marketing and sales teams to ensure the right products are promoted in the right digital channel at the right time.

The Challenges of eCommerce Merchandising

Staying at the top of the constantly-changing eCommerce merchandising landscape is challenging. Thankfully, there are plenty of strategies that can help. First, we’ll look at some of the challenges of eCommerce merchandising. Then, we’ll look at ways to overcome them.

Overwhelmingly Large Product Catalogs

A modern eCommerce business can sell an almost unlimited range of products. The sky might be the limit, but having a huge product catalog with too much complexity can make it a real challenge to manage and organize all those products effectively. A cluttered or unfocused product catalog can lead to confusion and errors in product descriptions, pricing, and availability.


Competition is fierce in eCommerce, and businesses must be innovative and creative to stand out from the crowd. Differentiating your brand, having a clear value proposition, and correctly positioning every product for its target market are all key elements to standing out from the competition.

Managing Inventory

It’s essential to manage inventory to avoid stockouts and overstocking. Truly effective inventory management requires accurate forecasting and demand planning to ensure products are always in stock and readily available for customers. There’s no more frustrating way to depress profit than to run out of an in-demand product just as sales start to spike. Inventory management, then, is a challenge every brand should prioritize.

Fulfillment and Shipping

eCommerce businesses need to ensure that orders are fulfilled promptly and shipped on time. Customers are used to same-day delivery and free shipping, so a slow or pricey fulfillment and shipping experience could spell disaster for your brand. Getting products to customers on time without breaking the bank requires a well-coordinated logistics and supply chain management system

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eCommerce Merchandising Mistakes to Avoid

Effective eCommerce merchandising requires a deep understanding of your target audience, your products, and your brand. Learn eight key eCommerce merchandising mistakes your brand needs to avoid in order to be productive and profitable.

1. Poor Product Categorization

One of the biggest mistakes eCommerce brands make is providing insufficient or unclear product descriptions. Consumers want to know exactly what they're buying and what features they can expect from a product. How does it feel? How big or small is it? Does it have a certain smell or sound? How do I make it work in the real world?

In an online space where customers can’t physically touch or use products, merchandisers can’t provide only basic information or unclear categorization. To do so is to leave potential customers in the dark, resulting in frustration and possibly cart abandonment.

2. Lack of Page Optimizations for Search Engines

If your website doesn't rank on the first page of search engine results for keywords that are relevant to your brand, online shoppers won’t learn about your brand or your products. Ranking for relevant keywords requires search engine optimization (SEO).

Ignoring SEO can cost you not only brand recognition but also valuable sales and revenue. If you’re not ranking for a keyword, one of your competitors probably is, and prospective customers may be funneled to their site and products. The solution? Create and implement a strong SEO strategy, full of relevant, unique content that boosts your visibility and ultimately attracts more customers to your site.

3. Failing to Incorporate Customer Reviews and Ratings

Customer reviews are integral to increasing sales and building consumer trust. By neglecting to include customer reviews on your website, you're essentially withholding powerful, flattering product knowledge from potential customers. Consumers want to know that your products past muster and are worthy of their dollars.. A lack of reviews could dissuade them from buying.

A bonus eCommerce merchandising tip: Consider embedding positive product reviews from Google or other sites directly onto your website. This lends your products legitimacy and showcases your customers’ satisfaction in their own words.

4. Ineffective Cross-Selling

Poorly executed cross-selling attempts can wreak havoc with your eCommerce merchandising execution. Done sloppily, cross-selling may feel irrelevant and cheap to customers, leading them to abandon their cart or seek out competitors. For example, customers shopping for a new laptop might be annoyed if they’re bombarded with suggestions for unrelated items, such as clothing or toys.

Conversely, effective cross-selling can increase revenue and improve customer satisfaction by offering complementary products that enhance customer experience. Personalized and targeted offerings, such as a protective case or extended warranty bundled with a laptop, create higher average transaction values and more satisfied consumers.

5. Complicated Checkout Processes

When shopping online, customers crave a sleek, effortless buying experience. A confusing, complicated, bulky checkout process can prevent them from finalizing their purchase.

Checkout problems can also increase the likelihood of user errors, causing frustration and disappointment with the shopping experience and your brand as a whole. These factors make it crucial to simplify and streamline the checkout process as much as possible.

6. Poor Image Usage and Quality

Images are essential to the online shopping experience, and customers rely on them to make informed purchasing decisions. Low-quality images may give off a cheap impression and spark wariness or confusion, causing customers to lose interest in the product.

Imagine a clothing website that only provides images of the front of a shirt, leaving customers unsure of what the back looks like. Or a furniture website that only shows product images without providing measurements or scale. These bewildering and potentially inaccurate representations can lead to customer dissatisfaction and returns, neither of which are good for your brand’s bottom line.

7. Failure to Leverage Personalization

With ongoing competition to attract online shoppers, consumers have come to expect a personalized experience that caters to their unique needs and preferences. By failing to provide this level of personalization, eCommerce merchandisers risk losing customers to competitors who do.

For example, suppose an online clothing storefront fails to personalize its recommendations based on a customer's browsing history or purchase behavior. They may miss opportunities to suggest items – the belt that perfectly matches the shoes, the pants that complement the shirt – that a customer would be interested in. This results in missed sales and lower customer satisfaction.

8. Lack of Online/Social Media Presence

Having little to no social media presence in your eCommerce merchandising strategy limits your potential audience. Most modern consumers conduct research online before making a purchase, which means that if your eCommerce business isn’t visible on social media, some potential customers won’t know about your products or services.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram provide an opportunity to build a strong brand image, engage with customers, and increase exposure. For instance, a fashion brand could use Instagram to showcase its products, attract new customers, and engage with existing customers to build loyalty and repeat business.

Avoid eCommerce Merchandising Pitfalls With Elastic Path

eCommerce merchandising is more than just creating an online store and stocking it with products. It's about creating an experience for your customers that drives sales and loyalty. However, navigating the complexities of eCommerce can be overwhelming, especially for businesses that are still trying to find the best eCommerce strategy for their brand’s needs.

At Elastic Path, we help you avoid common eCommerce merchandising pitfalls and give you the tools to create commerce experiences that propel your brand to new heights. Get in touch with our experts to learn more.