Some worthwhile points to consider if you have an e commerce website. The number one lesson of all is to make sure the user has a rewarding experience. That means one that makes them want to come back . . .. again and again.
By Todd Wasserman
We’ve all been there. You’re all set to buy something, credit card in hand, but for one reason or another you never close the deal.
Maybe the third time you were asked to enter your credit card number you gave in. Perhaps it was the exorbitant shipping costs. Maybe the site crashed.
The truth is, there are at least seven things that send potential customers fleeing in horror from your website, some of which were chronicled in this perceptive comic from The Oatmeal. If you actually want people to stick around and buy stuff from your site, you may want to take note of and avoid these common pitfalls.
1. Your Site is Too Slow
Every 2 seconds of load time on your site equals an 8% abandonment rate, according to Gomez, the application monitor from Compuware. If you drop your load time from 8 seconds to 2 seconds, your conversion rate actually jumps up 74%.
It’s easy to see why: Do you want to waste your time waiting for a site to load?
Unfortunately, there are a lot of reasons why your site is loading so slowly. Steve Tack, Chief Technical Officer for Compuware, says many ecommerce sites are overloaded with third-party plug-ins for Facebook, Twitter and ad networks — all of which can slow a site down. Another cause is cloud issues: If you’re using a content-delivery network (CDN), your site can slow to a crawl if your service provider is having issues.
2. Your Site is Too Complicated
If you’re asking consumers to take more than five steps to buy something off your site, then you’re asking too much. Compuware recommends the following:
- Welcome/cart contents page
- Bill-to section
- Ship-to section
- Payment module
- Confirmation/thank you page
3. Your Credit Card Entry System is Punishing
Here you may also want to take The Oatmeal’s advice about credit card entry fields. Is there anything more frustrating than entering your name, address, 16-digit credit card number and three-digit security code, and then restarting from scratch because you forgot your ZIP code? And yes, if most of your business is in the U.S., why not put the country first on the scroll instead of way down at the end, as it would appear alphabetically?
Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst with Forrester Research, says that there’s a standard sequence of information for credit card information. If you mess with that order (by putting the credit card number before the name and address, for instance), then users are apt to enter the wrong info because they’ve been trained to log such data in a certain sequence. Says Mulpuru: “Follow the industry standard.”
4. You’re Charging Too Much for Shipping
Mulpuru says that if you’re charging more than 10% of the total cost of the item for shipping, then you’re charging too much. “You’re probably depressing your sales significantly,” she says. “People are more likely to abandon your cart.”
5. You’re Overselling Your Tablet App
If a potential customer visits your website on her iPad, that doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s keen on downloading your iPad app. “Don’t over-invest in customizing your mobile apps,” says Mulpuru. “Unless there’s a clear value, most people figure, ‘Why bother?'”
An alternative is to optimize your site for the tablet experience, something that few are doing right now, Tack says.
6. Your Site Performs Horribly on Certain Browsers
You may be a Google Chrome fan, but there’s a world full of people who are using old versions ofInternet Explorer. Have you tested your site on those other browsers? “Many sites don’t perform well across various browsers,” says Mulpuru, “so people abandon them.”
7. You’re Hitting Your Customers With Irrelevant Offers
OK, you’ve completed the sale. This person has indicated that they’re interested in what you’re selling, so it’s natural to conclude that they might want to buy something from you in the future. So why not hit them with offers for things that they’re actually likely to buy?
Mulpuru recalls, for instance, that after she bought a bed from Costco, the retailer besieged her with offers for … more beds. While deals on pillows or sheets might have made sense, a bed is something you generally purchase every five or 10 years. Says Mulpuru: “At this point, I’m not in the market for more beds.”
What peeves you about ecommerce sites? Let us know in the comments.
Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Clicknique