It happens all the time: customers leave online shopping carts filled with carefully selected products and don’t buy a thing. Why does it happen? Is there anything a business can do to prevent this from happening? What can you do when it does happen? This article will focus on changes you can make that will reduce abandoned shopping carts and increase your overall conversion ratio.
Engaging the Customer
The first thing you need to do as the owner of an e-commerce website, is learn how to engage your customers. Your job is to convince them that the products you sell, and the prices you are offering, are better than what your competitors have to offer. If you are unable to do this first step, you’ll never be successful in any type of sales.
Take a tour of your website and look at your product offerings and shopping methods to see if you are doing all you can to properly promote your products and show them in the best light possible. Is your site well designed? Does it flow easily or is it difficult to navigate? Do you offer full-color photos with multiple angles and thorough descriptions of your products? Do you allow customers to post reviews of your products? These are things that you should consider adding to your website that will immediately make a big difference in your conversion ratio.
The first rule in sales is to overcome the objections of your customers – even before they make them. Your job is to anticipate what the customer will want, how he will want it done and what it will take to create a positive shopping experience. One of the most common reasons why customers will abandon a shopping cart is due to shipping costs. Many websites don’t mention the costs of added sales tax and shipping until the very end. Today’s shoppers usually have a budget in mind, and if all the shipping costs, taxes and fees hike the price up too far, they will usually just leave and look for a better deal at another website.
Successful businesses make all shipping costs and fees very clear from the beginning, and will even offer options for customers to qualify for either discounted or free shipping based on performance. Including the shipping in an item’s description next to the price, can help prevent shipping sticker shock, thereby reducing abandoned carts. The more information you give to a customer, the more they will know what to expect and the more comfortable they will feel in making a purchase.
Creating A Secure Environment
Believe it or not, the design of your website has a lot to do with the comfort of your customers. A website that is professionally designed with the consumer in mind will yield much better results than a site that offers poor navigation, layout and function. If you aren’t getting a lot of sales, it’s time to look at your website and consider hiring a professional.
The goal is to keep moving the consumer forward. Your home page should initiate interest; carry the customer on to your products; move them to add items to a shopping cart; and then conclude with the purchase. If a customer becomes frustrated with the navigation or has concerns about security at any point – you will lose the sale. The process needs to be simple, seamless and easy. Shopping should be a fun process and when your customers aren’t delighted with your website or your offerings, you can bet they’ll look to one of your competitors instead.
When visitors come to your site, you need to make the final purchasing process as easy as possible. It is tempting to require registration, as email collection and the ability to contact customers about future purchases is a huge part of Internet marketing. Another way to overcome this hurdle is to allow customers to make purchases as guests. When they make their purchase – giving their email address, mailing address and personal information – you can collect the information at that time and still contact them at a later date to more fully register with your site.
The overall message to e-commerce businesses is to keep it simple. The more straight-forward and up-front you are with your customers, the more confidence they will have in your business. Confidence breeds sales and, after all, making the sale should be your primary objective.
Need help improving the customer experience on your e-commerce website? Call New Bedford Internet at 508-415-8648 for a free consultation and an evaluation.