So, you’ve run a few successful Facebook ad campaigns and tricked some people into visiting your online store. Living, breathing, human beings. Congrats – you’ve nailed the easy part. Getting traffic to your website is one thing; getting them to purchase is a whole other kettle of sharks.
Earlier this year, I put out the feelers in the Like-Minded Bitches Drinking Wine Facebook group. I asked the group what stops them from buying when they’re shopping online. I got a few hundred responses but I’ve narrowed the list down to 10 main things. 10 very simple reasons why people aren’t buying from your online store. And, guess what: none of them has anything to do with the colour of your call-to-action buttons or the size of your header font.
Some of these reasons are so simple that you may have overlooked them. I did. This isn’t a comprehensive list of why people aren’t buying from your store, but it’s a good start. If you’re really keen to get your website optimised for conversions, you should get a professional in. And no, this isn’t me trying to up-sell you; conversion rate optimisation isn’t on our services menu.
As for the 10 reasons why people aren’t buying from you… Without any further ado:
1. Your product photos suck
Was the dress white and gold, or blue and black? I have no freaking clue. What I do know is this: Dressgate could have been avoided with better lighting and a half-decent camera. That’s not to say that you should go out and buy the top-of-the-range Canon EOS. Get a Nikon instead (#teamnikon)… I’m joking.
You can take decent photos with a compact camera. I’ve seen perfectly fine product photos taken with an iPhone! It’s all about getting good lighting. If your product is dimly lit, a good camera can’t fix that. You’ll never capture the detail that you’d get with good lighting. On the flip side, you don’t want to photograph in direct sunlight either. Unless you want harsh shadows and blown-out highlights, that is.
If you’ve got the time on your hands to DIY, this tutorial is a great place to get started.
2. You don’t offer the right payment methods
Those of us in the start-up space are so familiar with payment methods like Stripe, we forget that your average Joanne only trusts Paypal.
Your neighbour John, well, he only uses Amex. He needs the points so he can travel to his grandkids on their birthdays. Bless him.
Kat down the road, she’s your stereotypical millennial. Kat won’t complete checkout if she has to get off the couch and fetch her credit card from her handbag.
You get my drift.
Customers like to use a payment method that’s familiar to them. A huge number will only use Paypal because they think it’s the only one that protects them as buyers. I know the fees are high, but if you don’t have it on your website, you’re missing out on sales.
Then there is AfterPay and ZipPay. These are Australian options, but there may be overseas equivalents. Essentially, your customer can purchase something from your store in instalments. You get paid up-front. They don’t pay interest. Everybody wins.
The catch? You, the retailer, have to pay a % commission. It’s worth looking into, as I’ve heard some great success stories.
3. Your returns policy is vague, harsh or non-existent
I’ve run an online store and I know how much returns stink. Unfortunately, as much as the customer is not always right, sometimes you have to play ball and let them think they’re right. Regardless, you need to have a clearly worded returns policy on your website. And it needs to be in accordance with the ACCC laws (or whoever the consumer body in your country is).
Oh, and it needs to be easy to find. Like, my 87-year-old grandma who can’t use a computer and doesn’t speak much English should be able to find it… Ok, maybe not. But it shouldn’t be hiding down some rabbit hole that I can only find in paragraph 12.8.7B of your Ts & Cs. Chuck it in your footer links and link to it in your FAQs.
4. Your shipping costs real money
If your store is in Australia, I’m sure you’re well acquainted with our expensive postal system that delivers so slowly, I’m certain they’re running the whole operation on foot. Yep, it’s not cheap and it’s not fast. Come to think of it, it’s not overly reliable either.
The thing is, 99% of customers don’t realise how much it costs to send a parcel*. They’re already coming to terms with the fact that their shopping cart situation escalated very quickly and now they’ve got a $300 problem on their hands – without adding your $20 shipping fee on top of it all.
(* This statistic is only half made up. Whenever anyone asks me how much it costs to ship something, they’re always shocked by the answer.)
It’s tough. You’re competing against mega websites, like The Iconic. They offer free shipping and can get their products to your door quicker than you can say “Australia Post”. Even if you’re not a fashion retailer, customers have been so spoilt that they now expect free shipping as standard.
If you can’t afford to offer free shipping, there are alternatives. Try a “free shipping when you spend $X” deal. Or offer free shipping “for 48 hours only”. You don’t know unless you try.
5. Your website doesn’t work on my [insert device type here].
I don’t know about you, but I do all my online shopping on my phone while watching Netflix with a glass of Shiraz in hand. Some people will visit your site on a computer, but these days most are on a phone or tablet. Check your website analytics and see what device the majority of your users are on. Chances are, they’re not even at home; they’re sitting at the bar, waiting for their Tinder date to show up.
Make sure your website not only works on other devices but that it’s easy to navigate too. Most WordPress themes these days are responsive. In layman’s terms, that means that the contents resize according to the screen size.
If I have to rotate my phone screen in order to use your website, it’s not responsive. Fix it.
6. You add extra fees on at checkout
Fun fact of the day: In Australia, it’s illegal to display GST-exclusive prices on your website if you’re registered for GST and selling to consumers (not to other businesses). Yet so many businesses still do it. Illegality aside, customers hate it when they get to checkout and supreeese! Merchant fees, GST, handling fees, car washing fees… Whatever you want to call your fees, it’s not the good kind of surprise.
If you do have to pass on fees to your customer, try to incorporate them into your pricing instead. Keep the nasty surprises at bay.
7. I need a map to navigate your checkout flow
So, you got your living, breathing humans to add your products to their cart, and now they’re in your checkout flow. You’re so close to sealing the deal that you can almost feel their money in your bank account already. Don’t stuff it up now.
Your checkout flow should be simple and natural, with as few distractions as possible. That means hiding the navigation menu (so they don’t take a last minute trip to your blog). Save the up-sells until after they buy (hey Vistaprint – take note, please).
Make it crystal clear what the next step in the checkout sequence is. Make the buttons HUGE if you need to. Get some friends together and watch as they navigate the checkout on your website. You’ll be surprised how different people interact with your website. If you don’t have friends, Peek User Testing is a great freemium tool to play around with and get real, human feedback on your website.
8. There is a real possibility you might not be a human
I read people’s about pages for fun. I’m not even joking. I swear, I have a social life and I’m somewhat normal. I just find other people’s stories so fascinating. If I read your about page and you have an awesome story, or sound like someone I could be friends with, then I’m 3,000 times more likely to purchase from you. I didn’t even make that stat up.
Even if you don’t think your story is cool, you should still have an about page with your name and a photo of yourself. I like to know I’m buying from an actual human, and not some scammy bot located halfway around the world. Bonus points if you’re local, so include a location and a phone number if you can. I’m not going to call you, but I like to have the option.
9. Your pop-ups are all in my face
Your online store and I have just met. We’re slowly getting to know each other over some small copy and awkward calls to action when… Woah! What kind of girl do you think I am? No, thank you. I will not sign up for your newsletter. I don’t sign up for mailing lists on the first date.
Pop-ups are the online equivalent of that guy who hassles you into signing his petition on the street corner. They make you close yourself off and want to walk away as fast as possible. Anything to avoid entering a conversation with a stranger.
If you still want to collect people’s emails, try a different type of form. One that sits in a bar at the bottom of their screen. One that slides in. One that pops up as they’re about to leave your website. My bet is that you’ll get more sign ups too.
10. Your product descriptions suck
A huge mistake is assuming that, because someone has clicked on your Facebook ad and made it to your product page, the marketing part is over. No way, José.
Your product page needs to sell it to me even more than your ad did. I’m interested in your product, but why should I hand over my money to you? What is this product going to give me? How will it improve my life?
If you aren’t very handy with words (we all have different strengths, so this is no biggie), then you should consider hiring a copywriter. Think of it like this: Would you hire an incompetent sales assistant if you run a physical store? Probably not. Your sales page is your sales assistant, but with more potential.
February 5, 2019