Top 5 reasons why potential customers leave your e-commerce store

eCommerce stores have been around for almost 15 years, and yet to this day, many companies are still failing to ensure that every customer completes their transaction. And why? Because of the lack of attention to detail which they put into their online stores.

High Street Stores and Supermarkets spend tens, if not hundreds millions of pounds every year ensuring that their stores are kept ‘fresh’, expanding product range, investing in more shops, ensuring their branding is uniformed across all their outlets, and on staff training. Yet when it comes to their online shops, many stores are still lacking the attention to detail they spend on their high street stores. Yet consumers spent over £10 billion online in January and February and Office for National Statistics published last month showed internet sales in the UK running at £527m per week. Below are the top 5 reasons as to why consumers are leaving online stores and how to prevent them.

1. Spelling Mistakes

The number one reason why consumers abandon a online transaction is simply incorrect spelling and grammer.

Charles Duncombe states that one spelling mistake is enough to cut your online sales in half. If you take that into consideration when thinking that UK online sales is currently worth £527m per week, you may want to double check your sites! It may also lead to concerns about a website’s credibility to a consumer.

Your IT department/ Web Developers/ Web Designer should never double as your copy writers. Why? Simply because they know how to build and design your online store. They do not know all your products and they are not your product development team! You wouldn’t let your decorators try to sell your products to customers would you…

2. Load Times

The number one complaint from consumers in retail stores is long waiting times. The average broadband connection is the UK is now 6.8mbps. Yet online retailers are still failing to make their pages load fast enough.

Strangeloop – a company specializing in site loading times, published a report which showed that if a page takes longer than 3 seconds to load then 57% of customers will leave that site, and 80% will not return. A one second delay in page load time will account for a 7% loss in conversions (sales).

Try to reduce external assers calls. Introduce image sprites to reduce the number of http requests, ensure that all images are optimized for the web and try to use as much HTML5 and CSS3 to reduce the amount of images, and plugins for your site.

3. Bad Design

So your site loads quick, and you have hired a copy writer to ensure that all your information is correct. However is site design working? Is your site in-line with your corporate identity or even in style? Have you done user testing? Can your users get around the site with ease? Are their clear, defined steps to take when purchasing?

Sit down and think about what you are selling. Figure out who your target audience is online (not always same as in store!) and map out how they interact with the website. Discuss with your designer the layout using wireframes, and CTA (call to actions). Make sure your designer understands good website design and practice and one last thing… if your job title is anything other than “graphic designer / lead graphic designer” then you my friend are not a graphic designer.

4. Lack of Information

You look at the products on your site – they have an image, price, name, description, customer reviews. Great stuff. Try to find your links to your contact information, delivery charges and refunds procedure in 10 seconds! Go…

Nope? Oh dear! I recommend buying this book. Its an evenings read and on Web Computing degrees the first book on the reading list! Customers are worried about three things when shopping online. Returns – You are not a shop they can pop into – let them know how to return things. Contact information – They need to get hold of you. Maybe the product has been lost in transit, its turned up and broke, they want to ask more questions. Engage with them! Delivery Charges – Why online shops still charge for this I have no idea! You choose to sell it this way, so why make customers pay for your choice. However if you must do it – ensure they are given it in plain English! Its data so use of tables is allowed!

Make the changes, and get your mates to find them in 10 seconds! Go… Worked? Great!

5. Payment Methods

And of course I don’t just mean payment types but how easy is your transactions to process by customers? Have your forms got inline checks for mistakes? If an error occurs have you got a page which helps customers (we all that wonder when you hit submit, and an “Page not found” pops up if we have been scammed or if its been paid for!). Does your form re-populate with previously entered details? If not, why not?

Now…there are plenty of ways to take payment for products but you are online. Here are the four main ways to pay online:

  • PayPal
  • Credit Card
  • Debit Card
  • Google Checkout

Have you got all of these? If not, why not? Giving your customers as much options to pay ensures they are not put off if they are afraid of using one of the other methods.