Every website has a lot more shoppers than buyers. Online business owners have addressed this problem by studying consumer preferences. Here are some of the top reasons visitors don’t always become customers, and suggestions for improving on any limitations that apply:
o Ease of use. Shopper’s don’t spend time trying to navigate a site that is confusing, difficult to use, or requires too many clicks to complete a transaction. Business owners can encourage shoppers to finalize sales by simplifying the process. Buttons, especially “add to cart” and “proceed to checkout”, are best displayed prominently, preferably above the fold. Changing quantities, colors, and adding and removing items or changing shipping method should be easy to accomplish. Check-out instructions should be clear and simple. Customers appreciate the efficiency and respect for their time that a smooth purchase experience provides.
o Functionality. Websites that don’t work the way they should will not only lose sales, but discourage future visits from potential customers. It may be worth the investment to hire a knowledgeable web master to design and maintain the storefront and shopping cart. A smooth-running website not only increases sales, but also frees the business owner to focus on other activities that can ultimately lead to more traffic and more conversions.
o Availability of information. Is an item in stock? How soon will it ship? What is the cost? What shipping and payment methods are available? Consumers are more likely to complete a sale when they are provided with sufficient information to answer all their questions about a product or service. Providing an FAQ page is one way to provide answers. A convenient link to detailed information about specific products also helps. Many websites also include a contact form or live-help telephone number for customers with additional questions.
o Multiple payment methods. Businesses that accept multiple forms of payment show significantly higher sales. Accepting credit cards, whether by setting up a merchant account or by using a third-party service such as PayPal, is crucial. The benefit of using PayPal is that it also allows customers to pay by direct transfer from their checking accounts, providing yet another option.
Business owners who put themselves in their customer’s shoes will develop insight and be positioned to make positive changes that can lead to higher conversions, increased revenues, and greater profits.