Creating an ecommerce site has gotten less expensive and much easier. Proportionally, though, getting and keeping customers has gotten much harder because customers have more choices than ever before. If you want to make the sale, there’s less room nowadays for amateur and unprofessional mistakes.
Hard to Find Essentials
In most brick and mortar stores customers understand that if you return a product within a certain number of days with the receipt you will be recompensed. For offline stores, something as simple as the return policy can be missing in action. Returning a product to an e-tailer is not easy to begin with, so don’t turn your return policy into a scavenger hunt. Online customers know that shipping is a separate cost and are sometimes willing to pay extra for the convenience of getting things faster. Clear prices for shipping or a shipping calculator to give approximate cost shows that you care about the customer’s budget. If you try to hide or downplay these policies, it will look suspicious to your prospective customers.
Lackluster Site Content
Live salespeople can provide that personal touch that seals the deal and goes after the followup. Online, eCommerce businesses don’t have that level of personal contact. That’s why having making your site easy to find and having descriptive, accurate content means even more. SEO is one of the cornerstone eCommerce best practices because you need some way to attract customers to your site. It needs to be a part of a larger marketing strategy and targeted to find the ideal paying customer. If customers have their wallets open and ready, use good content to make them believe you are the only person who has what they want.
Make Checkout a Challenge
A customer is ready to buy your item but she faces one of two problems: either she can’t find the checkout button, or she needs to login first. Putting obstacles between the checkout button and a customer who wants to pay you is just bad business. There is a time to require login and a place to put the checkout button. If she feels that it’s going to be a challenge to give you her money, she will give it to someone else who makes it easy.
You’re Just Not Trying
There is still this false belief that products sell themselves. All you have to do is post a few items and watch the money roll in. In some ways, an eCommerce business can be even more demanding than a brick and mortar one. It’s easier to start up but the level of competition across the World Wide Web can number in the millions. In some ways it favors the smaller businesses but only if they are willing to provide a product or service that solves a customer problem. You need to ask for the sale by using a call-to-action. You also need to use appropriate cross sells and upsells. For example, if someone is buying a set of knives, a natural cross sell would be a cutting board or spices–not lingerie.
If you’re making customers work to buy your product or service, that negative experience can have a ripple effect that goes beyond one customer. People talk to each other about their bad experiences. Don’t give them fuel for the fire.