7 E-Commerce Sins That Stop Customers Purchasing

  • Design, Technology
  • July 11, 2017
  • by Sam Graves
  • 6 minute read

In order to improve your e-commerce sales, it's important to know the common reasons why people don't buy. High cart abandonment rate and bounce rate with a low conversion rate? You may be committing one of the 7 e-commerce sins, find out which below.

1. Hidden Fees

Every online shopper has been there. After trawling through multiple pages and making a selection, being stung with an unreasonable delivery charge can seem an unfair surprise. By hiding costs that may be added on, there is a risk your brand and store may be viewed as dishonest. They key here is to ensure that shipping and any other charges on top of your product base price are shown as early on as possible.

On the first page of your store, make your delivery costs and offers clear. Many large e-commerce retailers have their shipping policy displayed on every page as a part of the template, no nasty surprises at checkout. Display any offers such as 'Free UK Shipping'. or 'Free Shipping' on orders over £X’ clearly, it’s likely to win you more fans!

A lack of transparency in the payment process can cause customers to bounce out at checkout. Check your store's analytics page to verify exactly where customers are leaving your store. 56% of shoppers said that being presented with unexpected costs is the reason they leave without completing their purchase. If your current dropout rate is similar, evaluate how your prices and charges are displayed.

2. Window Shoppers

This isn’t essentially a sin, however not capitalising on the opportunity is! Sometimes potential customers may just be sizing your store, maybe picking out a dream outfit and gauging the cost. But there are some ways you can turn this interest into future business.

Personalise the experience, with smart product recommendations based on visitor behaviour; what they looked at, what similar customers bought etc... Make it easy for people to discover things they might like. Ensure your website is enjoyable to use and follows usability best practices. Use a content-led approach to keep customers engaged, make blog content that is interesting, humorous or informative. Use a popup to capture email addresses, offering content or exclusive deals. This not only expands your marketing lists but gives you good call to gently remind your customer again about their abandoned cart.

3. Hard to navigate

Once people have selected what they want to buy, make it easy for them to checkout! Your shopping bag and checkout process should be short and easy to navigate. A top tip is to sit with a friend and watch them use your store, can they find everything they need easily? If customers can’t find what they need they will bounce from your store, and likely to a competitor. Search bars are an important factor here, as is a simple purchase process, preferably no more than 3 steps. Consider allowing a guest checkout option. What you lose in data you’ll more than make for in additional sales.

Also remember that customers have small attention spans. It’s not unusual for users to be engaged with 3 different screens whilst shopping (TV, mobile and laptop). However tempting it is to offer multiple upsell offers at checkout, newsletter signups or lead generation articles, try to resist distracting your customer too much during the checkout process.

4. No reviews or recommendations

As good as your marketing copy and product photography may be, customers will seek out peer reviews for education and information about you product. This can range to true fit sizing, durability, even customer service. Studies show that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Consumers want to make the right decision when parting with their hard earned cash, and product reviews are a key part of this decision-making process. And make sure you use real reviews, from customers who have purchased the product. You may even consider using a light incentive for customers to leave reviews, such as a percentage of the next purchase. This can be invaluable, especially if you are just starting out.

5. They don't trust you

Buying online requires a lot of trust. From safeguarding payment details and addresses to providing an accurate and high-quality product, retailers have to be ready to take responsibility and ownership when things go wrong.

All Shopify stores are PCI compliant, however, if you are using another e-commerce platform, check that this is the case. Display trust symbols clearly such as the Verisign or Mastercard logo and clear contact and office details. By giving your business a physical location, you can allay a lot of trust issues. A bullet proof money back guarantee or returns policy not only safeguards your business from any potential customer misunderstandings, it also gives customers a safety net, especially if it is their first time ordering from your store.

Are you active socially and update your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram regularly? Research shows that 84% of online shoppers refer to at least one social media site for recommendations before shopping online. With 2 billion active Facebook users, a Facebook page is essential for e-commerce businesses. Build likes and reviews organically by running competitions or special offers from Facebook and monitor response and engagement.

6. Too many options

The largest selection does not always equate to an increase in profits. Customers can become overwhelmed and indecisive when presented with an endless array of colours, fabrics and models. Busy websites, which promote other products or upsell aggressively run the risk of distracting customers from their basket and ultimately final purchase.

Consider what product groups work well together and which items should feature in tailored collections. Customise your collections into bite-size chunks, such as wedding/office/occasion collections and work on the basis that less is more when configuring upsell campaigns.

7. Slow or costly delivery

Whereas delayed gratification was often seen as a byproduct of the online industry, immediate delivery services, such as same-day delivery from Amazon, are becoming more commonplace. Free, next delivery offered free with a set spend level, has become a key decision factor when making a purchase.

“According to 77% of online shoppers, free shipping is the most important option during checkout, 60% add items to their cart to qualify for free shipping, and 61% would cancel their purchase if free shipping is not offered.”

ASOS and New Look and other giants have adopted a subscription model. For £10 a year, customers qualify for unlimited next day delivery. By utilising services such as Shuttle, startups and giants alike are starting to offer a same day delivery option. Click and collect minimises the inconvenience for shoppers who don’t want to miss their delivery. Delivery options and cost can swing the balance. Make sure your offering is better than your competitors and consider delivery offers such as free shipping over set spend as an important way to boost your AOV.

In conclusion, be transparent, responsive and offer great delivery. Social activity is important, not just as a marketing tool, but as social proof. Trust and ease of use are purchase factors, especially for mobile users.

Need some quick fixes for the issues mentioned above? Read our blog “10 minute actions to improve your online sales” in which we give pointers on how to increase your conversion rate and revenue in easy 10 minute steps.

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Sam Graves

Sam is an e-commerce expert and brings her know-how to the We Make Websites blog on a regular basis. Focused on providing quality Shopify and e-commerce advice, some favourite topics include CRO, SEO and best practice content marketing techniques.

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