First level of help for online shop stagnation
Despite a high number of visitors, are people actually buying anything from your shop? Your products are impressive but no one wants them? In online commerce, good times can quickly turn sour when your online shop starts to stagnate. However, that doesn’t need to happen! In many cases, poor sales figures are not a sign of bad products, but often just a question of design and having a proper ordering process.
In the first part of our blog series, we showed you how you can actively increase awareness of your online shop and how to have a positive influence on visitor numbers. In this article, we’ll provide helpful advice on how to increase the purchase rate of your visitors. With just a few simple tricks like redesigning your shop and making the products more attractive, you’ll quickly succeed in ending the sales slump!
Why do purchases break down?
The reasons for low purchase numbers can vary greatly. The problem may lie either in the offer itself, in the shop’s layout or structure or just in the shop overall. For a targeted solution, you need to look at what’s stopping visitors from buying. In the event of customers leaving the shop before starting the checkout process, you should take a closer look at the following factors. Evaluate your shop according to the following criteria:
- Does my shop have an eye catching design?
- Is my shop clearly arranged and structured?
- Are customers able to easily navigate around my shop?
- Are my offers clear and attractive?
- Are there enough images available?
- Are the product descriptions detailed enough?
- Are my products too expensive?
Once you’ve answered these initial questions, the next step is to take a closer look at the interface. Analysing traffic and visitor behaviour can provide information on possible structural problems. This will require the use of an analysis tool, which should be either integrated in most online shop systems (eTracker for example) or be accessible through a link.
Let’s drill down a bit deeper:
How do your visitors behave?
- How do visitors get to your shop?
- At what stage do visitors stop within the purchasing process?
- Which products are popular – which ones aren’t?
When you look into the path of your visitors, they may encounter problems which you can easily fix. If for example, the ordering process always breaks down on a particular page, then take a closer look. What’s written? Is the correct information displayed? Would a visitor be surprised by the extra costs?
What do you know about your customers?
- Is there a lack of first time or loyal buyers?
- What are the most searched for categories?
- Are there certain groups who can be identified?
- Are customers purchasing one item or adding more to their shopping carts?
Make sure you place the most popular products in the forefront and do not make the mistake of putting slow sellers in the foreground, you could easily lose business. Take a further look at customer data – are there examples such as clubs, customers of a similar industry or same gender? Find out who your main customer group is!
Are you collecting reviews?
- Is there an area where visitors or customers can leave feedback?
- Do you actively request feedback from customers, e.g. by e-mail after a purchase?
- Do you publish customer reviews?
Almost nothing can help you more than direct feedback from your customers. There is always a reason for leaving reviews so listen carefully and take every one seriously. Don’t worry if it’s a bad rating or review, look at it with an open mind and find out why the customer was dissatisfied. Nobody is perfect – but everyone can improve.
Check your accompanying purchase options!
Nothing is more annoying than bureaucracy – this also applies to online shopping. The tedious input of customer data, invoice address, delivery address, shipping options, and payment data…can often lead to customers losing interest, so try and keep the amount of input required as low as possible.
Electronic payment providers like PayPal, Amazon Payments and paydirect, usually have a payment process of just a few clicks – the given address is automatically accepted and the payment is then carried out. Of course ‘classic’ payment methods need to be offered – depending on the target group however these can be hidden away in the background.
Are your customers leaving the purchasing process just before submitting the order? The problem may then be your general terms and conditions. These are often forgotten however, regulations on delivery dates, return and exchange options are very important and can be quickly negatively assessed by customers. Therefore it’s important that your terms and conditions are clear and simple enough to not hinder the purchasing process for your customers.
I would finally like to remind you of the following three points:
- Put yourself in the shoes of your customers and test the complete purchasing process of your online shop, from start to finish.
- Ask friends and colleagues for support! More eyes means the more you’ll see and through this method of approach, you’ll get to know your online shop from different perspectives.
- Look and compare other online shops to see whether you can learn or copy a thing or two.
I hope you are successful in discovering who your customers really are. If you have any further tips or feel that I’ve missed something, just get in touch!