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Grammar Mistakes That Will Make You Lose Customers

You know how you sometimes see such a well-designed website with gorgeous photos and a clean design, only to discover that it's littered with spelling and grammatical errors?

Yeah, customers see it too. According to research conducted by Tidio, 94% of 1,457 US respondents said they pay attention to grammar and spelling when browsing or reading online content.

Age-wise, pre-baby boomers (95.5%) are the most grammar-aware, while the Millennial generation is equally grammatically aware. Meanwhile, 94% of Millennials acknowledge they notice grammatical and spelling errors. A frequent misconception is that younger generations are illiterate in grammar due to their use of abbreviations and emoticons (such as the infamous "shrug emoji") while communicating. However, this research shows that the opposite is true.

It’s also worth noting that 97.2% of respondents say that grammatical errors have an impact on a company's image.

You can already see how this goes. According to a recent study from the online service comparison site Website Planet, businesses in the United States that have poor grammar and spelling errors on their websites would lose nearly twice as many potential customers as those that have typo-free websites.

Poor spelling and grammar on a landing page can cause visitors to leave quickly. The research indicated that visitors left at a rate of 8% higher than those on landing pages with proper spelling and grammar.

Usually, the spelling mistakes are not too hard to notice, but the grammatical ones are. It's easy to make those mistakes, especially if you're not a native speaker or you're writing in another language than your mother tongue.

Don’t worry, though; we’re here to help. Keep a watch out for the following grammar mistakes, which may cause you to lose potential customers. We will also share some strategies on how to best avoid these errors.

Mistake #1: Your vs. You’re

This is unbelievably common and sometimes we might make the mistake every now and then so let’s take a tip from Ross Geller. It’s actually quite simple to catch. As a general rule, "your" is a possessive pronoun (meaning it indicates ownership), whereas "you're" is a contraction for "you are" such as "You're my best friend."

You can remember it's your because you own it, but it's you're because it comes from "you are."

Example:

Your eCommerce business has grown so much since you launched it.

You’re (You are) making a mistake if you don’t proofread your content.

Even though it's an easy mistake to make, your customers will notice it. And your visitors will be less inclined to trust a store that makes such a simple grammar mistake. 

The same goes for "there", "their" and "they're". Lots of stores seem to be mixing up these three words, even though they have completely different meanings.

Mistake #2: Their vs. They’re vs. There

Their vs. They’re vs. There is another very common grammar and spelling mistake. However, there is a distinction between the three: contraction (they're), possessive (their), and adverb (there).

The word “their” is a possessive adjective, meaning it expresses ownership. In the line "The puppies are sleeping in their bed," the word their is a possessive adjective, indicating that the pups own the bed.

“There” is an adverb in the sense that it is used to characterize or modify a verb or adjective. The word there is an adverb in the sentence "There are two puppies sleeping on my bed," for example, since it modifies the verb are.

“They're” is a contraction of “they are''. For example, the term “they're” is a contraction of they are in the sentence "They're going for a walk after breakfast."

Examples:

    1. The puppies are sleeping in their bed.

The word their is a possessive adjective, indicating that the pups own the bed.

    1. There are two puppies sleeping on my bed.

The word there is an adverb in the sentence since it modifies the verb are.

  1. They're going for a walk after breakfast.

They're is a contraction of they are in this sentence.

Mistake #3: Than vs. Then

Both Then and Than are used differently in the written context, despite their similarities in sound. "Than" is a comparative conjunction used to suggest that one item is "better" than another. Meanwhile, "then" is mainly an adverb that is used to place actions in chronological order.

Example:

I ordered my shoes from Zappos, received them two days later, and then wore them to work.

I can run faster than you can.

Mistake #4: Wordiness

Most customers dislike wordiness. Sure, we want to provide them with all the information they need, but we need to do so quickly. Wordiness and fluff in sentences only confuse the message. Instead of trite adjectives and adverbs, use strong verbs and nouns.

Follow Shakespeare's example and never use 10 sentences when two would do. You should also make sure to use words like "that," "just," and "quite" sparingly. Always proofread to keep your copy informative, accurate, and concise. Remember, because customers are bombarded with information while they're looking for products, they want information that is easily digestible.

Example:

Instead of saying all this:

The best-tasting retail coffee, in the opinion of many, is micro-roasted, as is the case with ours. The techniques used to make this coffee variety are carefully planned to bring out the best in the coffee beans.  Traditional store-bought brands can't compete with the depth of taste of this particular brand of coffee.

For our unique mix, we exclusively use organic coffee beans. When it comes to growing and producing beans, there are no synthetic fertilizers or chemicals used. This results in cleaner beans, cleaner air, cleaner land, and eventually a cleaner world for everyone.

You could say this:

Our coffee is micro-roasted, which is often regarded as the best tasting coffee available in retail. Each stage of this coffee's production is designed to bring out the best in the coffee beans, resulting in a coffee that is rich in flavor and unrivaled by store-bought brands.

Our exclusive blend uses only organic coffee beans, which means cleaner beans, air, land, water, and eventually a better planet for all of us. No synthetic fertilizers or chemicals here.

Mistake #5: Misplaced commas

Another common grammar error we found in eCommerce stores were comma splices, too many commas and, in some cases, a lack of commas.

Comma splices occur when two independent clauses are joined by only a comma. Think about it this way: the comma has its own purpose. Joining two independent sentences isn't one of them.

For example, “We are experts in eCommerce, we know what works best.” This is incorrect and should be divided into two sentences like this: “We are experts in eCommerce. We know what works best.”

Sometimes you won’t need a comma to separate the two independent clauses, but it would be better to use one anyway than to use a comma splice.

For example, “We used to work with other brands but now we have our own store.” The clause “but now we have our own store” doesn’t need a comma, but adding one makes the sentence clearer and prevents it from sounding like a run-on sentence or a comma splice.

Too many or no commas

Punctuation (particularly commas) can change the meaning of a sentence, and/or create confusion. Just look at this example below:

As you can see, the presence or absence of commas can alter meaning. These punctuation marks may change something kind and harmless into something menacing.

Now that we've covered some of the most common mistakes, let’s take a look at a few strategies on how to keep a watchful eye on our grammar and spelling.

5 Ways To Catch Grammar and Spelling Mistakes

There are many things you can do to catch grammar mistakes you might miss reading normally. Here are five of our favorites.

  1. Read it backward. Since our brain fills in gaps based on the context, it helps to break that context to see things as they are. The efficient way to do this is to read the last word of every sentence, then the second-to-last word, and so on. If you do it out loud, you'll see if anything sounds off.
  2. Read it aloud. Again, the brain fills in gaps and can make sense of what doesn't make sense. You'll be able to tell if something doesn't sound right or if there's an awkward pause when reading a sentence.
  3. Give yourself a break before proofreading. You may even want to sleep on it—there's plenty of clever research showing that sleep improves creativity, learning, and problem-solving.
  4. Proofread a printout of your writing instead of reading on a screen (or have someone else do it). It's easier to spot errors on paper than on a computer screen because your eyes can wander over the text more easily. The best option is to get someone else (a friend or coworker) to proofread for you since it's hard for us to catch our own mistakes this way.
  5. Use a grammar checker. The first step in catching your grammar mistakes is to make use of a grammar checker tool like those available online or simply the ones in your Word and Google Docs apps and software. It should help you catch the most common mistakes and errors, such as misspellings, typos, homonyms, etc.

TO SUMMARIZE

In summary, whether you are a new eCommerce store that's just getting started or an eCommerce veteran with years of experience under your belt, spelling and grammar mistakes can still have a serious impact on your credibility.

We hope this article has helped you to outline your thoughts on why spelling and grammar are important, along with a few tips on enforcing a strict policy in your store. Good spelling and proper grammar will help ensure customers don't leave your site due to typos, making sure that you can retain their trust and ultimately convert them into loyal customers.

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