Halloween is just a week away. For retailers, the scariest thing that can happen doesn't involve spooks and monsters (those could actually be good tourist attractions). The biggest concern for many business owners and marketers is the fear that they may inadvertently scare away their loyal or potential customers. The current woes of Volkswagen and Samsung show the need to beware of huge mistakes, but even small mistakes in web design, advertising, and marketing can cost business owners customers. Here are four marketing tactics that might send your target audience in the other directions.

Creating Password Fatigue

If the past few months have taught us anything, we all really need to make sure we have more secure passwords for our emails and other systems. Consumers want to use systems with strong security measures but it's a double-edged sword. If you ask the average person, "How many passwords do you have?", they would be hard pressed to know how many or what they are were. A recent study from Janrain suggested that nearly three out of four U.S. consumers are suffering from password fatigue.

The best option for dealing with this issue is to use social logins when possible for websites. This means people can rely on the social media password which they are sure to remember and have a relatively strong amount of trust in. According to the above-mentioned survey, more than half (58%) said they often will not sign up to a new website if social login is not an option.

Shunning Mobile Commerce

Most business owners have grown to understand the importance of mobile devices. Just about everyone, including the business owners, have smartphones. And more importantly, mobile devices are dominating the time people spend online. However, some businesses haven't realized the importance of making it possible to shop and pay for items online. According to a study from HookLogic, nearly half (40%) of purchases are now made via mobile device, and that 60% of consumers are now making purchases on at least a monthly basis. Business owners with mobile sites that don't offer payment options may see their potential customers go to a site that does.

Inadequate Customer Service Options

In what appears to be an ever-growing attempt to cut staff where ever possible in big companies, some large retailers are using more technology based solutions for customer service issues. There are a lot of options to choose from and some of them are actually quite effective. The problem is, they aren't universally loved by all consumers. Some people want to speak to a live person, others are fine with live chat and there are even a few who don't mind failing a Turing Test when their live chat is being responded to by a Bot.

But there are a lot of people who do mind. According to research from the Ovum/BoldChat report, 'Get it Right: Deliver the Omni-Channel Support Customers Want', 60 percent of consumers want better choices for customer support, and relying too heavily on one method can be a costly mistake. The study found that 82% of those surveyed said they would stop dealing with a company after a bad experience.

Poor Delivery Times and Options

As was discussed a long time ago in another article, free shipping can be the deciding factor for many people on which product they look at first and/or ultimately buy. But we're not just going to rehash that argument. By now, everyone knows they should try to offer free shipping when possible. However, recent research also shows that slow delivery times can even outweigh free delivery.

A study from Dotcom Distribution found that most online shoppers' (87%) purchase decisions are influenced by estimated delivery times. Shipping times can be a touchy subject for online shoppers. Everyone likes a good price, but if it only cost a few more dollars to buy the product somewhere nearby, people may not choose to wait. To drive the point home, DotCom Distribution's data showed "that most shoppers say shipping speed is key to their decision making, and that 67 percent 'would pay more' to get same day delivery of items purchased online."

As with all things in marketing, every business owner will have to decide for themselves how much these tips apply to their business and target audience. But all the same, if you don't want to frighten away good customers, these are some things worth looking at. And for more information to help with holiday marketing, read this article on the need for integrated marketing and ad campaigns.