You may have seen recently our study on the percentage of SaaS companies that have errors on their homepage. If not, I recommend that you check that out.
With those findings under our belt, I felt that the next logical type of business to audit is e-commerce. E-commerce companies after all have dramatically grown over the last few years, and consistently since 2012 on essentially a logarithmic curve:
If we accept that 85% of millennials are less likely to buy a product advertised with errors and women are 81% less likely to buy a product advertised with spelling/grammar errors (link), then having a website as free of spelling and grammar errors as possible would seem to be business-critical to e-commerce companies.
Our collected data does not support that.
Before I go any further, a big thank you to Ed Fry, former ‘Ed of Marketing at Primer, who provided us with a list of 2,000+ e-commerce company URLs who have at least 10,000 organic visits per month to their website. You’re the real MVP, Ed. Thank you.
How Many E-commerce Homepages Have Spelling And Grammar Errors?
Let’s not bury the lede:
- 93.37% have possible spelling errors
- 91.15% have possible grammatical errors.
Of the 1,841 e-commerce homepages we crawled for errors, there were just 122 with no spelling errors and just 163 with no grammar errors. 🤯
This means that just 6.63% have no possible spelling errors and 8.85% have no possible grammatical errors.
Compared with SaaS homepages though, e-commerce businesses are doing a better job:
|Percent with no errors – SaaS||2.75%||5.63%|
|Percent with no errors – e-commerce||6.63%||8.85%|
The Most Common Errors Found
Let’s cover quickly the most common grammar and spelling errors found.
Just like the SaaS homepages, the most common grammar errors were improper m-dashes, improper quotes, spaces in the wrong place, and commas missing or added where they shouldn’t be.
For spelling errors, a lot of the most common errors seem to be non-standard ways of writing common terms that are not widely accepted, but are being used in a branded way for a lot of the companies we looked at.
What All This Means And Why You Should Care
If we accept that the following are all true, then this is a big problem for e-commerce companies:
- Women are 81% less likely to buy a product advertised with spelling/grammar errors, while 77% percent of men feel the same way.
- 85% of millennials are less likely to buy a product advertised with errors.
- 83% of people with a household income of $75k and up would be less likely to buy a product advertised with mistakes.
The websites included in this study are not small websites. They include:
- LiquidDeath.com (they had no grammar errors, actually!)
- MooseJaw.com (big in the outdoors space)
Let’s try to put some real numbers to how big of an issue this is.
The above stat of “85% of millennials are less likely to buy a product advertised with errors” is a bit nebulous, so let’s say 85% of millennials are 20% less likely to buy a product that was advertised with errors.
According to Digital360 again, “US total retail sales reach $4.55 trillion in 2021”. 19.1% of that (the share of retail sales that are e-commerce) is .86 trillion, or ~$860 billion. Millennials are ~21% of the US population, so let’s say that they’re responsible for 21% of spending (it’s likely higher because we’re all having kids, buying houses and cars, etc).
So that’s one hundred eighty billion six hundred million ($186,600,000,000) dollars that millennials spend. But if 85% of those millennials spend 20% less on sites that have errors and 91.15%+ have errors…. that is a LOT of money being left on the table by e-commerce companies.
The methodology for this study was the same as our previous study of SaaS homepages:
- We received a list of e-commerce domains from Ed Fry.
- We copied the domains into Google Sheets.
- We pasted them into Screaming Frog and started the crawl.
- After the initial crawl finished, we removed the URLs that did not resolve (most of those have been acquired) or redirected.
- We then took the URLs that redirected to a different URL (most common was that they included WWW in their URL, and we did not have Screaming Frog follow that redirect chain) and put them into a new list and added WWW to the URLs.
- We then took those URLs and ran them through Screaming Frog.
- After both crawls, we spot checked
- Once this crawl was finished, we brought the data together in Google Sheets for analysis.
In total, we ended up with 1,841 e-commerce website homepages to analyze. The results are seen above.
What To Do Next
If you’re an e-commerce company and want an easy way to make more money, you need EditorNinja.
Check out our Single Document Editing option to get your web page professionally edited and returned in just 1-2 business days, or if you have a lot of pages let’s talk to discuss how we can help you.