This is a follow-up post to How Your Home Page Impacts Sales for e-Commerce Sites. We will be posting a series of these articles with specific details on how each section of your website can have an impact on your online sales.
Including contact information on an e-Commerce website probably seems like an afterthought, especially when compared to decisions regarding development and design, but – like just about every other element on every other page of a business-centric site – it can be a factor that makes or breaks a sale for a certain sector of customers.
Something I’ve learned over the years of running a retail and online business is that different people have different shopping habits, and some individuals prefer being able to get in touch with a business directly when they’re browsing what they have for sale online. They may have a few general questions, or they may want to confirm something specific before making a purchase; they may have a complaint, or they may want to provide some constructive criticism from a shopping point of view that they think might improve their experience on your website next time.
To simplify the matter: there are a multitude of reasons a potential customer might want to talk to us before they buy, and we need to be prepared for that by making it as easy as possible for them to do it. If we don’t – well, I don’t think it’s necessary to spell out what happens with customers when they don’t find what they’re looking for.
To avoid that, here are some simple tactics you can implement to ensure customers can get in touch as quickly as possible to address their questions or concerns.
- Make Your Contact Information Easily Visible on Every Page of the Site: For maximum efficiency, and to ensure customers can contact us as easily as possible – even if they’re in the middle of shopping – we can simply have our address, phone number and email information placed in the header, footer or sidebar of our site. If a question occurs to a customer halfway through their transaction, they won’t have to navigate away from the page, but simply look (or scroll) to its position and voila. The key here is to not confuse your customers: make it easy to spot!
- Include Department-Specific Numbers/Emails if You Have Them: It’s less likely to be the case for small businesses, but if you have separate departments that deal with different issues related to your online sales, list each one along with their numbers/email address. The last thing you want is an angry customer that wanted to speak to someone in customer service and got sales instead.
- List Your Hours: Be sure to specify when you’re available to reach by phone or email. List your business hours to give customers an idea of when it’s best to contact you and, if possible, when they can expect to hear back for replies that will take some time to process and find a satisfying answer for.
It might not seem like much, but for some customers, how easy it is to contact a business can have a significant impact on whether or not they shop with them. If it’s too difficult or frustrating to figure out how or when to call or email, they’re gonna go somewhere that makes it easy.
Make sure you’re giving them every available option and making it as easy as possible to get in touch with any questions, concerns, feedback or suggestions. It’s a small effort that could make a big difference to your e-commerce success.
What do you think? Have you ever experienced difficulty contacting a company and ended up taking your business elsewhere? Do you make it easy for customers to get in touch with you? Your thoughts are welcome, so let us know!