We’ve all heard of the famous four Ps of the marketing mix – product, price, place, and promotion. These are the main concepts of every eCommerce marketing strategy that each business takes into the calculation before launching products or services.

By Warren Fowler

However, there is the fifth element that is becoming increasingly important in the eCcommerce world that consists of countless brands. This element is called consumer trust.

Various studies revealed a global decline in customer trust, while the number one quality people demand of big brands is honesty when describing their products and services. It clearly proves that companies need to create and implement a customer value proposition in order to prove credibility and authenticity.

Jake Manson, an eCommerce specialist at Best Essays, recently noted: “Despite so many warnings, a lot of businesses still don’t pay attention to consumer trust, so they keep playing mind games to seduce potential buyers. But this kind of practice can’t go on forever and all of them will have to pay for being dishonest sooner or later”.

Customers obviously love companies that show they care, but it seems like the number of those businesses is declining. According to the research, brand loyalty is more tenuous than ever since almost 50% of consumers said they were more likely to switch providers today versus 10 years ago.

That’s because most online retailers exploit shady marketing practices to grab the attention of online consumers. This goes both for the small companies and the biggest e-commerce stakeholders. Most of them are not able to resist the temptation, so they utilize legal but more or less immoral sales tricks.

In this post, we will show you 5 fishy eCommerce strategies every business should avoid. Keep reading to find out more about it!


Amazon must be a pioneer of all eCommerce tricks, both fishy and completely ethical. The company already experienced sort of a scandal because they promoted Amazon Prime service without keeping the clients informed about the repercussions of a free trial. Namely, the so-called trial version led customers to regular monthly payments, which made most people very angry.

This time, Amazon made a step forward and designed a pop-up window that covers your screen when buying an electrical product. That way, the eCommerce giant draws attention to the new purchase opportunity because it displays a big yellow “Add to basket” button.

While it is true that you can always click the “No thanks” button, it is obvious that some people get confused and end up buying one item too many. is one of the biggest electrical providers of electrical products, but their sales strategy raised too many eyebrows recently. The company has been offering discounts that were later difficult to detect and use during the checkout process.

The practice of offering discounts is everything but illegal, that much is true. However, evidently used discounts as a hook to convince prospects to complete the purchase but did not provide them with clear instructions on how to make use of the discount code.

Clas Ohlson

Clas Ohlson is a home store that applied a clever but fishy tactic. They used scarcity and urgency as the means to attract more customers. Clas Ohlson added a flashing “clearance” signpost to certain products to make prospects believe there are only a few low-priced items left on the stock.

However, it turned out that the signpost was active at the beginning of the year even though the discount promotion lasts until July 2018. It’s not a fair practice and customers who notice it will definitely turn their backs to the brand.


An eCommerce company called Very used poor and two-faced marketing strategy to misguide users and convince them to sign up for marketing content. They created a complicated signup form and used confusing instructions, so people who signed up actually accepted to receive promo content from Very and non-related third parties.

Pretty Little Thing and Boohoo

Just like Clas Ohlson, online retailers Boohoo and Pretty Little Thing urged customers to buy items before stock-out. They used tricks such as “Only a few items left” to highlight scarcity, convincing many buyers to conduct the purchase without really thinking about it. Unfortunately, this is a common eCommerce practice even though most companies have more than enough items available in the warehouse.


eCommerce is a highly competitive business where thousands of companies are struggling to win over the sympathy of target consumers. In such circumstances, it’s easy to surrender to the temptation and exploit certain tactics that can’t be declared 100% ethical.

In this post, we showed you 5 fishy eCommerce strategies every business should avoid. Did you ever use one of these tricks? Do you have other suggestions to share with our readers? Let us know in comments and we’ll be glad to discuss your ideas!

Warren Fowler is a marketing enthusiast and a blogger at Best Essays, who loves music. If he doesn’t have a guitar in his hands, he’s probably embracing new technologies and marketing techniques online! You can meet him on Twitter and Facebook.

eCommerce stock photo by William Potter/Shutterstock