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10 Signs You Need to Improve Your Online Store To Give It a Competitive Advantage In 2021

Things are changing very fast. In this new era of modern technology, it is important to keep up with the changes in the digital world. Since digitalization is the core of the e-commerce business, you must always be ready to change and adapt.

However, often businesses are too busy with the day-to-day operations that they miss some obvious signs signaling that their online business needs modernization. Once they realized that, it’s too late, and they lost momentum.

Are your business operations working like a well-oiled machine? Does your online store manage to engage modern buyers and deliver on their expectations of a seamless customer experience regardless of channel or place?

All these aspects are crucial for businesses that want to grow, evolve, and be more successful than their competitors.

This article will explain some of the most common problems your e-commerce business may experience, and the steps you need to take to solve them.

Over the past decade, I have personally helped many startups and mid-market companies digitalize their business, automate business operations, and implement all needed technologies to support smooth growth. By now, more than 300 companies have successfully overhauled their online business with our elaborate framework for analysis and optimization of online stores & digital businesses.

So let’s started with the main signs you need to recognize and act quickly.

Sign 1: Sales Are Going Down

Pulling the trigger on a redesign is no easy process. However, if your site is not showing year-over-year growth, then chances are that you are long overdue for an overhaul.

Actually, to be precise, if your sales are going down three months in a roll, that is a strong indicator that you need to take action. The goal of any ecommerce website is to convert visitors into customers, and if your website design and/or structure is a barrier to accomplishing that, it needs to be fixed.

Try to figure out:

  • The reason why sales are decreasing;
  • If there are some additional reasons, apart from the website, that are contributing to the low sales;
  • Whether the design is attractive enough, etc.

Once you figure out what is causing the decrease in sales, and you’ve laid out your new business plan and marketing strategy, ensure that you can measure success by one of the following:

  • Number of sales or leads from the online store,
  • Conversion rate,
  • The abandonment rate of shopping carts, and,
  • Value of each order, etc.

Sign 2: Outdated Design That Doesn’t Match Your Brand

The website’s design is one of the factors that influences your customers when buying your products because they judge your business based on the quality of the website.

If your website looks good, modern, and well-maintained, you’ve instantly made a strong first impression. It’s a quick-win for user experience!

It’s pure psychology. People consider eye-attracting and well-functioned websites to be professional and reliable. This quickly translates to efficiency, trust, and confidence in the customers’ minds.

Without a great website design, you’re limiting your reach and ability to increase your brand awareness and reputation.

Giving your website a complete makeover with a new brand-focused design and user experience in mind is essential to creating a unique identity for your business. As visitors encounter your website, they’ll see brand elements, which they’ll subconsciously associate with your business.

Sign 3: It Doesn’t Provide A Seamless Omni-Channel Experience

If your ecommerce business doesn’t provide a seamless and consistent experience across channels and devices, you need to consider undertaking a complete redesign.

Today’s consumers are not tied to a single channel. They browse in-store, shop online, share feedback through mobile apps, and ask questions for your support team on social media networks.

Tying all of these interactions together allows you to create a single digital profile every time a customer interacts with your business.

Everything is now happening in real-time, which is why the businesses that can offer immediacy, personalization, and accessibility to their customers will win out in the long-run.

Sign 4: It’s Doesn’t Function Properly on Mobile Devices

If your online store is not responsive, you should redesign the website ASAP!

As consumers’ trust in online shopping increases, they feel more comfortable making purchases using their mobile devices. Today, 3 out of 5 purchases are happening on mobile devices.

However, many ecommerce businesses do not provide flawless mobile experience.

If customers interact with your ads on their mobile device and land at an ecommerce store built to work on a desktop, you will lose customers. They will go to your direct competitors that can offer them a smoother mobile purchase experience.

That’s why it’s crucial to optimize your website for mobile devices. From what I’ve seen so far, most of the ecommerce suffers when it comes to speed, performance, and usability on mobile devices. If you have the budget, create a mobile app or a PWA (Progressive Web Apps).

Reason 5: It Takes Longer Than 3 Seconds to Load

Sometimes a website and its pages can take a lot of time to load, which is very annoying to customers. This is one of the main reasons why people might not even look at the products you have. Even though you might have a really nice website, the best products, and world-class service, this can be a big turn off for customers.

So, if your website is taking more than 2-3 seconds to load, consider this as the time to hire a web design company to improve your website speed and performance.

Believe it or not, the speed of your website affects every metric you care about. Bounce rate. Search ranking. Conversion. Customer satisfaction. Even revenue.

Sign 6: It Lacks a Scalable Infrastructure

As your company grows, nothing scales automatically, unless it is systematically set up for scale.

To expect your online store naturally evolves with your business growth, for instance, is a false assumption many businesses make.

Your IT infrastructure has to be set up properly in order to scale. You also need redundancy.

Redundancy is of huge importance as you try to keep all of your information online and all of our communications are done in one form or another over the internet. You need to have backups for whenever a system crashes or an email gets deleted by accident. Don’t wait to learn it the hard way.

If your business doesn’t invest heavily enough in your company’s online infrastructure, it’s high time to take action and hire a reliable development company. They will help you put the right infrastructure in place – systems, procedures, and storage space. Thus, your company will be able to keep its pace and make optimal use of your resources.

Sign 7: Not being agile

Strategic action plans are important to achieve your vision but they can’t be written in stone either. Unforeseen situations occur, market trends change and aggressive competitors can pop up out of nowhere. Consequently, you may need to change course quickly at one point or another.

A strong IT infrastructure and communication system can help you iterate. Making small, daily, incremental changes that are aligned with your company’s long-term vision and that contribute to your most important KPIs, is the best way to ensure agility.

Sign 8: Your competitors have already redesigned their sites

If you want to retain and increase your market share, you should always know what your competition is doing. Some industries are more competitive than others, and the business that does not keep tabs on what their competitors are doing will soon drop from customers’ radar.

This means that if your competitors update or redesign their websites every year, to keep up, you’ll have to make similar updates. People always like something new and exciting, and that new version could be much more fascinating for them.

Sign 9: Your Website Traffic isn’t Converting into Sales

If your website is not performing well in terms of conversion it is time to re-evaluate and make some updates in order to capture your user’s attention and turn them into customers.

Conversions are just about the most important metric you’ll need to watch as you plan on building your business and increasing revenue.

Average ecommerce conversion rates are 2% – 3%.

If you don’t have the necessary conversion rates, then it’s time to seek the help of an ecommerce website design company. Conversion doesn’t just happen: you need to optimize for it to hit massive goals and KPIs for the year.

Analyze your current conversion flows on the website. You need to be conducting A/B & multivariate tests to understand what’s driving conversion and what’s hindering potential purchases.

Look at top site landing pages, top exit pages, and heatmap reports to identify top performers and how to make them even more effective. Then dig into how you can apply that knowledge to underperforming pages.

Sign 10: Long or Complicated Checkouts

There are many ways the purchase decision can go awry and prevent your visitors from buying. An inefficiency in the checkout process is one of the major setbacks.

Eliminating any unnecessary steps from the purchase process or anything else that slows it down or offers opportunities for errors need to be your immediate priority. This way, you will bring new customers to the table and make a purchase.

Several studies prove that a complicated or lengthy checkout process is one of the main reasons people abandon shopping carts. In fact, a complicated checkout is the third highest reason for incomplete purchases right next to shipping costs and account creation.

There are various tools and plugins available in the market, which not only simplifies the checkout process but reduces the overall shopping cart abandonment rate of your website. What can you do?

  • Don’t let your customers feel distracted by information not related to the purchasing process itself.
  • Display trust signals, with custom trust badges, testimonials, happy customers.
  • Go for one-click checkout.
  • Avoid shopping cart abandonment by making guest user sign-ups compulsory.


Ecommerce businesses looking to dominate the market must always be ready to change and adapt.

In the business game, it’s not about who can spend the most, but who uses the technology to accomplish the most with the money and resources they have. Remember, for every problem you encounter; there is a technology that can solve it.

Keeping your online store fresh and well-performed can put your business on the path of differentiation, innovation, and extraordinary success. If you want to stand out from the competition, I invite you to carefully examine your business with our Framework for analysis and optimization of online stores & digital businesses. It will help you understand what you need to do to strengthen your online business and boost operations in 2021.

Elena Velikova

Elena Velikova

Co-founder & CEO

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