Last week we kicked off with part 1 of this 2 part blog post on why people don’t buy from an ecommerce website. We looked at the design of your site, the copy, how to make it trustworthy and how to encourage return visits.

This week we are going to look at the options that you offer, listening to your customers, testing and urgency. For those of you who are familiar with ecommerce you will notice that I have left out the shopping cart process – I feel that will probably need another post so we will leave that for another day!

1. Are you giving your customers enough options?

We are not all cut from the same cloth and we do not want all the same things. There are customers who are quite happy to pay an extra £5 for postage and packing and there are those that are quite happy to wait. Never assume that you know what a customer wants – give them the options.

Are there several payment options? Not everyone wants to pay by Paypal, not everyone wants to pay by credit card. Move away from what is easiest for you and offer as many different options as you possibly can. The more options you offer the more products you are likely to sell.

Do you have a free option? Unsurprisingly people react well to that!

Free postage and packing

Do you have alternative postage and packing? The same principle applies to postage and packing. It is easy to work out a flat cost for everyone but that isn’t necessarily what everyone wants.

Is there a wish list? The wish list will always be associated with Amazon but it is something can be adapted for any ecommerce site. As I mentioned last week users are not that likely to buy on their first trip to your website, having a wish list allows them to save items of interest for them to check back over later. How often do you completely forget wher it was that you found something that would make a great present for Grandma?

Is the item out of stock? One of the most frustrating scenarios on an ecommerce site is when you purchase something, head to checkout, get your card out ready and then get told that the item is out of stock . You should state clearly on your product page whether an item is in stock or not. If the item is out of stock them ask the customer there and then for their email and tell them that you will let them know when it is back in stock. Don’t lose potential customers through shoddy organisation, if they have a bad experience they are unlikely to return.

2. Are you listening to your customers?

Your customers will help you build the best possible ecommerce site that you can – ignore them at your peril. They know what they want and need.

Do you carry out surveys? Online surveys are a great way to gauge how popular a page is whether it is working and how it can be improved. If people like your brand, if they like you some will spend the time to fill out a quick survey. Have a look at this one from Tesco:

Tesco - Customer survey for successful ecommerce sites

There are loads of free and low cost ways to integrate these into your site here are just a few: Kissinsights, SurveyMonkey, Zoomerang.

Do you have follow up emails? Do it the old fashioned way. Follow up a sale with a friendly email asking if everything was alright with the transaction, if there is anything they would change. You could of course use this opportunity to include your social media profiles and newsletter subscription as a way of customer retention. If you want to learn how to create great email signatures – we have a guide for that.

3. Are you testing your site?

You can take what you learn from your customers and apply this with other ways to test and improve your site.

Website Optimzer: Although there is not time to go into it in this post (I promise I will in another) Google Website Optimizer is a free piece of software form Google that helps you optimise your site for better conversions. As long as you have a good developer the world is your oyster. Learn from your customers and apply changes to your site, track how this effects conversions on your site. Adjust. Rinse and repeat. You will be amazed at how the littlest things make the biggest difference.

User Testing: I can’t believe that more people don’t take advantage of user testing. If you haven’t heard of it here is what happens. You pay a small amount of money to an online company who go away with the your site (not literally) and give it to a bunch of people who have never seen it before. These people try and use your site successfully and all of this is recorded. You now have the ability to see how people are interacting with your site on their first visit and you can make the changes that are hampering your sales. Check out the following sites for more information: UserTesting, FiveSecondTest and SilverbackApp.

4. Is there a sense of urgency to the offers?

There are a number of psychological techniques that can be used  to help your ecommerce site be more successful. Urgency is only one, you can find some others in this excellent article.

Do you do ‘buy now’ and ‘one day only’: This by the far the easiest to implement of the kind of offers you can put on your site. If visitors don’t usually buy on their first visit how can you change that? If they think that the offer will be gone by tomorrow they are likely to buy today.

Applying some of these techniques to your ecommerce site can increase conversions and improve customer retention. Feel free to add any other techniques and thoughts in the comments below.

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