I love to shop online and I want to support independent retailers as much as possible. But I have to say that many of you are not helping yourselves.
When you are not an established brand name you need to make sure you give website visitors confidence to make a purchase. To convince them you are a reliable business – and someone they will want to do business with. So make sure you avoid these common mistakes with your ecommerce website.
Not enough information
It’s amazing how many online retailers miss vital details from their product descriptions (dimensions, how many in a pack). When making a purchase I’ll often have some very specific requirements and if I can’t find that information it’s no deal. It might be whether a bag has an internal lining or I’m looking for an item to fit into a restricted space.
Make sure you include every available piece of information (it will also help your search performance).
This is a mistake that lots of big name retailers make too (Ikea, please take note!).
Your phone number is a mobile
Sorry, it’s just unprofessional. I don’t mind if you’re a one person business working from home, as long as you take that business seriously. It costs around £2 a month to set up a geographic number using a VOIP service (try voipfone.co.uk) – which you can then forward to your mobile if you have to.
PS: Don’t be tempted by an 08xx number. Customers hate them as they generally aren’t included in mobile contract minutes.
You haven’t added any news or blog articles in months
When I see a blog that was abandoned in 2009 or that the last item posted under news was many months ago, I start to ask myself whether the business is still trading.
You haven’t told me what’s great about you
What makes you better than your competitors? If you haven’t worked this out yet, do it now. Once you have, make sure you tell your customers. It can be as simple as “3 reasons to buy from us” listed on your home page.
Also take a look at your “About” page? Does it tell me a bit about you, your team, the background to the business and your passion for it? Or is it just a bland “We are an online retailer of x”? This is your opportunity to really connect with your potential customers and give them that final push into making a purchase.
I want to buy from businesses I feel are worth supporting – let me know why that is you.
Your delivery charges are complicated or high
Once I’ve established that you have the product I want at the right price, the next thing I’m going to check are delivery charges. I groan every time I see “charges will be calculated at checkout”. I want to know now – before I give you my email, address and all the rest. Nor do I want to work through a detailed matrix of locations and order values. And I definitely don’t want to pay half as much again to receive my item.
Try to think customer perception over actual postage costs when setting your shipping rates.
And if you do offer free delivery on some orders, make sure you shout about it.
If you are doing all these things, then do follow me on twitter – I’ll follow back, and who knows, you might just have what I’m looking for next time I need to buy a gift or treat myself!