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9 ecommerce marketing strategies done wrong

December 12, 2023

Abandoned carts out of control? Can’t get more customers for your shop? Too bad! Here are some more common pitfalls ecommerce businesses fall into and how to crawl out of them.

Standing out in the ecommerce arena is akin to finding a needle in a haystack. It's tough, and nobody’s going to hand you a magnet.

Throwing everything but the kitchen sink at your marketing? Yeah, that can bleed you dry without adding a single cart to your checkout. Enter smarter ecommerce marketing strategies—those that promise more bang for your buck without the cash burn.

What’s more, the Directual no-code platform transforms how e-tailers operate. You can implement high-ROI initiatives easy and fast—no coding degree required.

We've got a rundown on the top nine money pits masquerading as marketing 'strategies' and, more importantly, what you should be doubling down on instead.

So, buckle up, we’re diving in.

It’s all about the no-code & ecommerce ROI mix

Let's not mince words here—ROI is the scoreboard of your business game. It's cold, hard numbers that scream the truth about your marketing hustle. Losing sight of efficiency means pouring your budget down the drain.

Picture this: your latest digital marketing stunt pulls in $500,000 in sales. Pop the champagne? Hold up. If you've torched $1,200,000 to get there, well, you're in the red, my friend. It's basic math, not astrophysics.

You've got to keep a hawk's eye on what each dollar is doing for you—like, how many people are clicking that 'buy' button because of it. 

Cloud No-code platforms can be a game-changer here, streamlining your strategies with automation and insights without needing a tech guru. So, steer clear of wishful thinking and stay glued to the real score—the return on your investment.

By the way, here’s how fast you can build a crypto marketplace if you ever decide to dabble with the forbidden Web3 world:

Ecommerce strategies that just don’t work

Now that we've established the 'why' of ROI, let's dive into the 'what not to do.'

1. New customer carousel

Chasing new customers is the old bait and switch of ecommerce marketing. You think you're expanding your base, but if you're not holding onto the customers you've got, you're running on a treadmill—lots of effort, going nowhere.

Ignoring your existing customers? That's your ROI on a downward spiral because believe it or not, upselling to a customer you already have is up to four times cheaper than finding a new one.

Do this instead:

Boost your ROI by doubling down on customer retention. Roll out the red carpet with top-notch service, personalized perks, and loyalty programs. Make your current customers feel like VIPs, and they'll keep coming back for more.

You can easily achieve that hands-free with a properly set up AI-powered chatbot, by the way.

2. Big influencers = good

Sure, teaming up with a celeb or a social media heavyweight seems like a no-brainer for instant fame and fortune. Big names don't always mean big gains, though.

Mega influencers might have an army of followers, but they often lack the power to actually move them to action. And the cost? Let's just say it's not for the faint of heart.

Reports show mega influencers engage at a paltry 1.3%, a far cry from the mightier punch packed by their nano counterparts, who often boast engagement rates that can triple that.

Do this instead:

Tryo nano and micro-influencers. These are the guys with the gold dust—niche, engaged communities who hang onto their every word. Plus, they're more cost-effective, so you can spread your net wider without blowing the budget.

3. Pushing it with Push notifications

Think about the last time your phone wouldn’t stop buzzing during a meeting. Infuriating, right? Well, that's exactly how customers feel when you hit them with a barrage of push notifications. It’s a classic case of 'less is more.'

Nearly half the digital population could mute you forever after just a barrage of weekly messages. Push past that to a daily flood, and a third would straight-up ditch your app. There's a fine line between being on the radar and becoming the annoyance they can’t wait to silence.

Do this instead:

Push notifications aren’t the enemy—they're actually your secret weapon when used with a sprinkle of intelligence and a dose of relevance. Abandoned carts? Hit them with a reminder and watch a 17% click-through rate work its magic. Or how about nudging them about products they’ve eyeballed? That’s a proven recipe for a 14% uptick in clicks.

Segmentation is your ally here. 

Slice your audience, dish out custom content, and you might see conversions swell by 1.79 times. No-code tools like Directual can make segmentation almost ridiculously easy, automating the process and ensuring your messages hit the mark without overwhelming your customers.

4. Greedy monetization

Ever landed on a site so cluttered with ads and pop-ups it feels like a digital obstacle course? That’s a one-way ticket to the town of User Frustrationville. Overkill on monetization tactics, and you risk not just annoying your visitors but driving them away for good.

The pop-up’s own daddy, Ethan Zuckerman, basically wrote an "I’m sorry" note for unleashing them onto the world. If that doesn’t scream rethink, what does?

Do this instead:

Good user experience means money. McKinsey spells it out—stellar design nearly doubles revenue growth compared to the industry average. So, scrap the gimmicks. Forge an online haven that’s easy to navigate.

And sure, monetization is not a dirty word, but it’s all about the how. Sprinkle in monetization that adds value, not irritation. 

5. Not taking social proof seriously enough

You're in ecommerce; it's a no-brainer that your shoppers can't give your products the old squeeze test. So what do they lean on? Social proof. And it's not just talk—93% of folks take online reviews as gospel when clicking that buy button.

Ghosting on social proof? You’re practically handing over conversions to your competitors. Social proof is the lifeblood of ecommerce trust-building.

Do this instead:

Ramp up the user-generated content across all your platforms—yes, that means your no-code built site, your app if you have one, and across the marketing universe. Encourage the chatter, get your buyers to rave about their buys on the socials. Video testimonials? Gold.

The payoff is sweet—sites dripping with UGC see folks sticking around 20% longer and bouncing back for more 30% often.

Go further. 

Sweeten the deal for reviews. Discounts? Sure thing. It's like saying, “Help us help you.” Keep your product showcase sharp and your product spiel punchy. Got negative vibes? Don't sweat it. Flip it into a win, make your stuff better, keep your customers happier.

6. Website? App? Both?

Alright, the website or app standoff—it’s old school. Planting your flag solely in either camp? Risky business. Websites and apps are your ecommerce yin and yang.

Going full throttle with just a website? You’re snubbing a massive mobile crowd. All-in on an app? You’re missing out on the SEO jackpot that could open floodgates to traffic.

Do this instead:

You’ve gotta swing both ways. Dual wield your web presence and your app arsenal. 

Take Directual’s no-code approach—tie your website to a kickass app without breaking a sweat or the bank. It's a heavyweight combo that lets you muscle into every corner of the market.

And don't stop there. Go omni-channel. Mesh your social media into the mix, bridge that gap between your site and app, and watch your ROI rocket.

7. Over-discounting

So you're ready to go nuclear with price cuts? Slow down.

We get the vibe—a discount here, a promo code there, and boom, sales spike. But let's not kid ourselves. A race to the bottom price-wise is like setting your margins on fire and dancing around the flames. You're teaching your customers to sniff out deals, not value.

Slash those prices too much and folks start to wonder if you’re selling them the bargain bin rejects. Ouch.

Do this instead:

Stuck in a discount death spiral? Time to bust out the strategy canvas. We’re talking value-add, not price slash.

Double down on making shopping so smooth your customers forget other stores exist. Throw in the VIP treatment—personalized promos, killer after-sales support, loyalty perks.

Amp up your product's street cred—talked about this earlier. And for goodness' sake, stop firing off discounts like they're going out of style.

Also, grab social media by the horns. Spin your product's story, make it the hero. That's how you build an army of fans who can’t stop, won’t stop talking about your brand.

8. Paying for ads and getting nothing out of them

Remember when clicking on ads was as hot as reality TV? Not anymore.

For the ecommerce gladiators, Google Ads Search is milking you $1.16 a click, while Facebook's taking $1.70 for every tap. That’s premium coffee territory, my friend.

Rely on paid ads too much, and you’ll burn through your budget faster than a Formula 1 pit stop—with little to show for it. Customers can smell those ads a mile away, and trust me, they ain’t biting. Especially with the Adblocker being the most popular browser extension ever.

Locked into a paid-only game—you're missing out on the fresh, the new, the stuff that actually sticks.

Do this instead:

Scope out the ad landscapes. Find the underdogs with more bang for your buck—think platforms like X (formerly known as Twitter, RIP) where you're only dropping $0.38 per click. Don’t forget the dark horses like Reddit, Quora, Pinterest, TikTok, and Snapchat, where the cost of entry isn't playing high-stakes poker. They all have their own specifics and audience, sure, so study well before committing. 

But let's not stop there. Organic's where it’s at. SEO, content marketing, all that good stuff. It takes time, sure, but when it blooms, you’re the one with a yard everyone wants to hang out in, for free. That’s how you build a brand that’s more than just a flash in the ad pan.

9. Wasting money on zombie campaigns

So you've been trying to catch your dream customer’s eye—respect. But if your campaigns are more "miss" than "hit" and you’re still pumping cash into them, that’s not persistence, it’s waste.

Cutching onto dead-end campaigns is like burning cash for warmth. That money could be fueling strategies that actually do the job.

Do this instead:

Get surgical with your campaign analysis. Dig into the data. Without regular check-ups, you won’t know which campaigns are in a coma and which are ready for a marathon.

Improve, improve, improve, and to do that, A/B test. Try different creatives, different approaches, and different UVPs if you can. See what sticks.


Mistakes are like subscriptions in the ecommerce world—you’re probably signed up for a few. Sure, I’ve flagged some major marketing faux pas, but here’s the kicker—you’ll probably goof up anyway.

Why? Because there’s no one-size-fits-all in this game. What sends one store’s sales to the stratosphere might be another’s nose dive. Roll with the punches. Test, tweak, and sometimes toss your strategies. That’s how you’ll crank up that ROI and send your brand into orbit.

For everything else ecommerce, you’ve got Directual. Build your project from the ground-up if you haven’t one just yet, or improve it with Directual’s help. Head into one of our communities (links below) and start a chat with fellow no-code ecommerce citizen devs. We bet you’ll have loads to talk about.


Can no-code platforms improve ecommerce ROI?
Can no-code platforms improve ecommerce ROI?

No-code platforms like Directual streamline marketing efforts by automating routine tasks and providing valuable insights without the need for technical expertise. This efficiency can lead to higher ROI by reducing manual labor, speeding up campaign rollouts, and enabling a more data-driven approach to marketing decisions.

Can big influencers guarantee successful marketing campaigns for ecommerce?
Can big influencers guarantee successful marketing campaigns for ecommerce?

Not necessarily. While big influencers have wide reach, their engagement rates are often lower than those of nano and micro-influencers. Smaller influencers tend to have highly engaged niche audiences, which can lead to better marketing results. Businesses should consider working with these smaller influencers to maximize their marketing spend.

Are push notifications an effective strategy for ecommerce marketing?
Are push notifications an effective strategy for ecommerce marketing?

Yes, when used intelligently. Push notifications can be effective if they are relevant and timely, like reminding customers of abandoned carts, which can increase click-through rates. However, overuse can lead to annoyance and app uninstalls. Segmenting your audience and customizing content can increase the effectiveness of push notifications.

Do I need both a website and an app for an ecommerce business?
Do I need both a website and an app for an ecommerce business?

Not necessarily. Having both a website and an app allows you to capture a wider audience. A website helps with SEO and reaching desktop users, while an app can provide a more personalized and convenient experience for mobile users. Using no-code tools like Directual to manage both can simplify the process and make maintaining an omnichannel presence more manageable.

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