If your business is largely based on online sales, then chances are you’ve invested a great deal into your website, making sure your potential customers can easily find what they want from the comforts of their computer (or, as the case maybe in today’s tech-centric age, their tablet or phone). You’ve got a solid natural and paid search campaign that’s getting you clicks from interested customers, a well-organized website with proper categorization, and easy navigation that makes it simple and uncomplicated to check out.
So where are the sales?
Here’s the problem: as business owners, webmasters, marketers, whoever, we pay so much attention to the factors listed above – the ones that lead to successfully building your business through online channels – that we often overlook some of the more subtle, less noticeable aspects of e-Commerce that can sometimes make or break a sale. So it’s no surprise that we may find ourselves frowning a few months down the line when we check to see how our websites are working for us and sales are nowhere near where we want them to be.
A proper fix for this issue requires first identifying what may be causing it, and for this – as I did last week – I recommend you put yourself in the shoes of a buyer and go through your shopping cart, step by step. Here are some of the factors to look for that may be causing your online sales to stay lower than you’d like:
- When clicking ‘Add to Cart’ (or whatever equivalent you may have), make sure it’s 100% obvious that the item is now, indeed, in the users’ cart. Don’t make them double-check or guess that they’re able to make the purchase – aside from causing confusion or frustration, this may cause a potential customer to start having concerns about being double-billed.
- Make sure there are no unnecessary pages in the checkout process. It may be tempting to show a customer some other products they may be interested in before they make it to the payment page, but this will likely be seen as more of an interruption than a convenience – they’ve made up their minds and know what they want to buy. Something like this would simply be pushing too hard.
- Keep the questions to a minimum. If you don’t need to know it, don’t ask it. People generally don’t like to spend too much time filling out forms, especially when they’re trying to shop, so try to make sure there are no irrelevant questions on any sign-up forms you have as part of your shopping cart process. If you can keep it to the basics – name, address, contact information – do it.
When compared to the size and scope of building a website that includes your entire inventory, successfully marketing it online, and managing the issues that come with running an online shopping cart, these factors seem small and insignificant, often going unnoticed and unconsidered. But make no mistake: they matter just as much as every other aspect of your online marketing campaign, and could mean the difference between a customer buying from you or a competitor.
What do you think? Have you noticed these types of things when you’re shopping online? Have you gone through your shopping cart process and looked for these types of issues? Your thoughts are always welcome, so let us know!