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.