Halloween is right around the corner and, this year, we’re holding the tricks and giving out some spooky treats. Last Halloween we shared some of our favorite ecommerce horror stories. To continue the tradition, we are sharing another series of spine-chilling stories that we’ve heard from the dark side of ecommerce.

Every one of these stories is based on true events. Read on at your own risk… 

Night of the Living Power Shoppers

It was just before midnight on the eve of Black Friday. Pupper Pantry, a new dog food brand, was all set for their first ever post-Thanksgiving sale.

At midnight, shoppers began pouring into Pupper Pantry’s online storefront.

Everything was going well and sales were through the roof…until they came. A giant horde of ravenous power shoppers began storming Pupper Pantry, laying waste to the website’s speed, stability, and functionality.

Pupper Pantry realized that their website could not adapt to such a high level of traffic. Despite their best efforts, they couldn’t fight back against the traffic apocalypse and their site soon crashed, leaving several frustrated dog owners (and sad dogs) in its wake.

What had the potential to be the brand’s most profitable event became their undoing. Sadly, the tragedy could have been prevented if the company had better prepared for the Q4 rush.


The Labyrinth

Miguel was a gearhead, classic car fanatic, and experienced online shopper. One night, Miguel was looking for new accessories for his vintage car when he came across a strange site called aMAZE Auto.

The storefront looked interesting enough. No stranger to adventure, Miguel decided to poke around the site, hoping to find the product he was searching for. While the site navigation seemed clear at first, it quickly became disconcertingly user-unfriendly.

Miguel found himself lost in a dark labyrinth of dead-end product categories and broken links. The confusing navigation menus, absence of faceted search tools, and lack of clear calls-to-action pulled Miguel even further into the confusing, maze-like user experience.

Desperate to escape, Miguel kept going deeper and deeper into the abyss. 

“Where’s my product, where’s my product?” Miguel kept muttering. 

Before he could come to his senses, Miguel was enveloped by the darkness of the labyrinth…never to be seen again.* The convoluted automotive website has claimed yet another shopper’s time. There are those who say it’s still out there, lying in wait to entrap another innocent customer in its unnavigable depths.

*On that website.


The Money Monster

One day, bicycle retailer Wheel Good stumbled across a mysterious open source platform. The platform developer offered Wheel Good a deal they couldn’t refuse—the developer would build a fully customized website for Wheel Good’s massive and complex product catalog. Believing they were future-proofing their business, Wheel Good accepted the service and jumped headfirst into the world of digital commerce.

Everything was fine…at first. Then the site began to undergo changes that the brand couldn’t explain. With every update, something new would break, costing them business and frustrating their customers. But that wasn’t all. The site was slowly, subtly starting to drain their budget. Even small things like adding new features and adjusting the front-end quietly grew costs inside the platform. Their fully custom open source site had become a monster.

One fateful quarter, the monster amassed a terrifying $400,000 in build costs. Although they tried to fight back with fixes and feature compromises, Wheel Good’s entire budget eventually fell into the sinister money monster’s clutches. 

For Wheel Good to escape their nightmare and regain control of their site, they will need to slay the monster from within. A limitless SaaS platform might be the only hope left for them…


The Long, Dark Checkout

Samantha considers herself a fearless shopper. Undaunted by slow shipping times, high prices, and unattractive websites, she is always ready to jump at a purchase.

One evening, after “carting” items on a new and unfamiliar site, she notices something dreadful with the checkout. The checkout process that stood between her and her purchase seemed…almost impossibly long and cumbersome.

But Samantha was determined to make it through, to persevere, to click through every step of that abominable 10-page checkout. The journey started out quiet at first, but soon Samantha started hearing whispers of surprise shipping fees and seeing the dark shadows of too many form fields.

After countless hours of form fills, Samantha reached the payment page, exhausted. To her horror, she found that none of her preferred payment methods were supported. Even worse, the page asking for her credit card information was unsecured! With her safety (and patience) in danger, Samantha had no choice but to abandon cart. 

To this day, no one has made it through that endless checkout with their cart (and sanity) intact.


The Cursed Platform

Once upon a time, a home goods company was looking for a new ecommerce platform to house their storefront when they came across a popular traditional SaaS platform.

The platform had everything they could have asked for: a nice appearance, an easy back end, and a stable foundation.

“It’ll be a beautiful home for your products,” the SaaS platform sales representative told them. “You’ll never want to leave…”

There was something eerie about his words, but the company was so excited that they decided to buy the platform. While the platform seemed perfect for the first few weeks, the company soon realized that they’d made a horrible mistake. Each time they tried to add in more product SKUs and new features, the platform wouldn’t allow them. They were boxed-in…trapped by a limited platform with insufficient capabilities.

It is said that those who take residence in a SaaS platform cannot grow within the small confines. If only the company had moved into a different platform that had the stability and security of SaaS and the flexibility and scalability of an open source platform. If only such a platform exists. 


The End

When your ecommerce store has a problem, you might blame it on issues like SEO, low traffic, and poor content. However, it may be time to look under the bed and confront the real monster—your ecommerce platform may be the one responsible for all of your nightmares.

Tired of getting tricks? Switch to an ecommerce platform that feels like a treat to showcase your products and reach your ideal customers.

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Posted by Contributor