If you own an online store or thinking of owning one, here’s something that you should make a note of.
Ecommerce is about making the buying process as simple and as easy as you can.
An ecommerce transaction that is completed means a few things:
1. The buyer has the intention to buy.
2. The buyer has adequate money or has the budget to buy.
3. The buyer lives in the area that you deliver to.
4. The buyer feels confident about your products.
5. The buyer is able to complete the check-out process easily without backing out.
Now the final step is the most important.
If the buyer fulfills steps (1) to (4), it still does not mean you get a customer.
Most ecommerce stores lose out when the buyer cannot complete the final step (step 5 above).
Why Do Buyers Get Stumped?
One of the reasons is that the ecommerce store is not designed for the buyer. It is mostly designed for the store owner.
The check-out process should not be full of obstruction or challenges. It should not make the buyer hesitate and think twice about spending money.
Many ecommerce stores have so many ‘hurdles’ that buyers have to jump over that the buyers will abandon and quit halfway because the processes are either too tough to understand, too much work (filling in too many unnecessary boxes) or too difficult to pay.
According to a study in 2008, most ecommerce buyers get peeved about:
1. Finding out the product is NOT available after they’ve put it in their shopping cart
(The easiest way to solve this is to get a clever system which automatically disables the BUY button when the item is out of stock. Luckily our ecommerce system has this and this helps save the owner from irate buyers!)
2. Malfunctioning websites
Don’t you just hate it when you’re 5 seconds away from getting your hands on the product and then the whole ecommerce site malfunctions and you wonder if your payment has gone through? Well, ecommerce buyers hate it when the site ‘dies’ on them. (Test and test your site thoroughly. Get it audited. Our system’s 100% audited so you don’t need to worry.)
3. No return policies or unclear policies
This is the onus of the ecommerce store owner. What is the return policy for the products? Do you even have one? A return policy puts the risk on the owner, not the buyer but it enhances the buyer’s trust in the company. Stating one’s return policy clearly gives that added boost of confidence to the buyer and yes, helps him buy more!
4. Unclear shipping information
When comes down to it, shipping information counts for a lot in ecommerce transactions. Let the buyer be very clear on what he is buying and HOW the product is sent to him (as he will be billed on the shipping costs). If I am paying for something, please tell me what it is and why I’m billed for it.
5. No email of acknowledgment
Buyers online need to feel secure and safe. They need to know that their product is on the way to them. So keep them updated and acknowledge where their product is at the moment. Is the order being processed? Is it being shipped? Even a short email helps satisfy buyers. (Our ecommerce system has a one-click email acknowledgment which helps you easily send out the emails to your buyers. This saves you from re-typing the same emails over and over.)
What Else Causes Buyers To Leave?
As an ecommerce store owner, ask yourself these questions:
1. How many steps does it take for your buyer to check out?
2. Does your product description answer buyer’s questions?
3. Do you meet other needs of the buyer (gift-wrap service, store pick-up service, delivery)?
4. How self-explanatory are the product photos?
5. How many payment options do you offer?
6. What is the quality of your product photos? (Sharp vs blur means a lot implicitly to a buyer)
7. How successful are you in relaying confidence to the buyer? (through store concept, colours, copy)
8. Do you allow buyers to zoom in for a better look?
9. Is there a section for FAQ or buyer reviews?
10. Do you clearly tell the buyer what the shipping costs are? How is shipping cost calculated?
11. How fast are you when it comes to answering buyer’s emails?
12. What about stock availability? How soon can a buyer get his items?
13. Do you offer alternative forms of spending such as gift certificates and coupons?
Make It Smooth To the Check-out Line
The key is: make it smooth all the way to the check-out line.
If you aren’t, other ecommerce stores are.
The key takeaway is to find out how much friction you’re causing for your buyers. If you are causing lots of issues for your buyers, you need to solve them with your ecommerce or shopping cart provider.
If you start with a good ecommerce system, all these issues are solved even before they exist. [Contact us if you want an ecommerce system that not only reduces your workload and helps you automate most of the stuff but also lets your customers buy easily in just 4 simple checkout steps!]
As an ecommerce store owner, your job is to allow your buyers have a great shopping experience.
Are you doing that? Or are you frustrating your buyers?