The world of online purchasing is unlike any other environment. The internet offers customers – individuals and businesses – access to a huge range of suppliers within a few clicks. Mobile devices also mean customers can find out about the latest deals in the marketplace wherever they are, whenever they like.
Customer behaviour is therefore different from the person who turns up in a shop or phones your office. The internet customer wants a fast and efficient experience from start to finish. Anything less and they’ll go elsewhere.
Research, compare, buy
Customers use different devices for different parts of their purchasing journey. A mobile phone or tablet is ideal for browsing, researching and quickly switching between possible suppliers, however, many customers will not actually make a purchase until they are at a computer screen. To make this transition easy, websites should use Responsive Web Design so the same website offers the same functionality and navigation whatever it is viewed on.
At the early research stage there are many things that can put a customer off. Certainly customers will go for the best deal they can find – and they have many to choose from – but a poor experience, due to difficulties navigating the website or finding the information they need, will also lose you a potential sale.
Research has shown the majority of customers give online product reviews the same value as they do to personal recommendations. If your website enables previously satisfied customers to talk about their experience you’ll immediately be more attractive to new customers. Reviews also demonstrate your willingness to interact with your customers – another plus point for the online browser.
Even if your customer believes you offer the best deal you still might miss out on the sale. The average checkout abandonment rate runs at nearly 70 per cent. The cause behind this is that ecommerce processes can throw up too many hurdles for customers. If they need to pre-register and enter full account details before they can buy they might opt for another supplier where they can get what they want faster. Another turn-off is unexpected costs added to invoices – previously unmentioned postage and packaging for example. Such additional, undeclared costs don’t just put customers off this sale, it’s unlikely they’ll ever come back again.
Get your strategy right
The answer lies in considering your website from your customers’ perspective and ensuring the information they need is easy to find and will appear correctly no matter when or how it is viewed.
Be up front about your costs as well as any discounts or special offers you might have, and give your customers the option of going straight to the checkout with the minimum fuss, as well as registering as a returning customer: after all, if they like you they’ll be back and they’ll bring others with them.
To find out more about making your online shopfront effective, talk to the experts at LWS Marketing on 01903 790100 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.