E-Commerce Mistakes that Make You Look Like a Complete Beginner
When it comes to buying online, customers want to know that your e-store is a place where they can order confidently and securely. Unfortunately, many of these same customers never complete a purchase at your store.
Recent studies show online shopping carts are being abandoned at a staggering rate of 59%. When you consider that over half of your potential customers may not be buying from you at all, what can you do?
The best thing you can do is look at your ordering process. If you have any of the "gaps" below in your shopping cart - it's time to look for a better e-commerce solution.
1. Forcing users to register before completing an order - It's understandable that you want their contact information to be able to send them catalogs, updates and so on. But forcing the user to register before they check out is just throwing a flaming hoop right in the most crucial part of your ordering process. Make registration optional. Your ideal target customer will register anyway because they're interested - not because you made them.
2. Too many steps involved - What's that, you want to send me an e-mail confirmation before I check out? Oh, and I have to stop what I'm doing, go check my e-mail, verify my account and then wait until you manually approve it? Forget it. I'm going somewhere else.
Alright, that's a little extreme, but I'm sure you get the point. The total checkout process from the moment I click Add to Cart to the moment I click Place My Order should be no more than 3-4 steps. A brilliant example of this is at Amazon.com. Their ordering simplicity is what keeps people coming back again and again!
3. Out of stock - If something is out of stock, don't wait until I've added it to my cart to tell me. Show me on the product page so that I can look for alternatives. Or better yet - order some more and let me know that they're on their way! There are many shopping carts that let you easily manage and update your inventory on-the-fly.
4. Pictures that don't enlarge - How many times have you clicked to see a larger version of a product, only to discover that there IS no larger version? People want to get up close and personal with your products - that means being able to view details, colors, design - whatever they want. Most shopping cart programs allow you to specify a regular-sized image that automatically goes to the larger version when clicked.
5. Pages that take too long to load - In this day and age, with broadband "picking up speed" around the world, long download times are not as much of a factor as they used to be. That said, it's also good business sense not to bog your customer down with dozens of products on the first page. One option would be to let them choose the number of products on a single page. By clicking a simple link, customers can choose to view 10, 20 or even all of the products if they want.
When you let the customer choose, it gives them a greater feeling of control, security and confidence in placing their order with you. And that's exactly what you want!