According to the latest stats, approximately 1/3 of online shoppers are unsatisfied with their online shopping experience! The other quarter are, somewhat satisfied, rather like eating a greasy burger just because you're super hungry.
E-tailers drop the ball an awful lot when it comes to customer service. With so much of their focus on getting search traffic, SE optimization, getting people to their website by other means, etc... it appears webmasters are ignoring their back end responsibilities. The most important part of their business!
The ALL IMPORTANT customer service.
There is SO much opportunity to satisfy a customer and it isn't even difficult. It also isn't hard to make them very happy and remember your site and come back every single time they need your widget. So why is it that with so many simple and effective techniques that this ALL important step is being so highly neglected?
Again, 1/3 of online shoppers surveyed said the main problem was website content (lack of it) insufficient to complete research or to purchase a product online most of the time. Again, MOST of the time...!?
Nearing a massive 85% said they will rarely or never purchase a product without complete information on it; online or off. That makes sense. 74% will leave you in the dust faster than a pop-up can appear and go to a competitor that does supply all the information they are looking for. These are HUGE numbers people! Wake Up!
It seems that consumers DO want to buy online, but e-retailers aren't making it easy for them to do it. Sometimes, it seems like e-retailers seem to actually go out of their way to lose customers.
You NEED to think like the buyer, you know, the person you ARE when you are researching something to buy -- especially a higher end product. it seems the more money I cam going to spend, the more I want to know about the widget I am buying--nothing can be TO MUCH INFORMATION. I adore a salesperson who gives me their full attention, knows their product and can answer all my questions without having to run here and run there to either look it up or *I'll go get Joe, he'll know*. THAT irks me badly.
It would appear that many sites are severely lacking in the customer service department in many ways. If customers don't prefer the online shopping experience to brick-and-mortar shopping, it's because retail sites haven't done enough to make the online shopping experience a good one. Even an exciting one!
Let's face it, a lot of people just simply LOVE to shop; it is FUN for them. Online you can't smell the perfume, gab with your friends over lunch, try on clothes and shoes, the list is nearly endless. So how do you compete with that. Not easy, at least not with the true shooping lover, but for those of us who like online shopping conveniences (I HATE LINES!) --there is SO much to be done.
Here are 25 Tips/Ideas for a successful Site!
I feel the first 2 in my list are probably in and of themselves THE most important.
1- Have a box or email link or what ever method you choose for your prospective clients to ask you questions and then...ANSWER THEM!!! Not with some generic "we'll get back to you when we get around to it" - ICK!- but have someone *there* to answer people within no more than 2 hours. I have had this utterly Amaze people! Amd THAT is sad, to be Amazed by great client service.
2- Talk to them like they are people, not just some joe on the other end of an electronic connection - BE REAL and know you *stuff*!
3 - If you have a delivery time line for goods OR services, MEET it.
4- Make sure that ALL taxes (and shipping fees if real goods are involved and not a service) are up front - easy to see, read and find. NO fine print, not anywhere.
5 - If you can, build the shipping into the price and then you can say - FREE SHIPPING.
6 - Make your checkout/form-filing process LESS than 4 pages, preferably 3 pages.
7 - Do not ever ever ever SPAM your clients with offers! I don't CARE what any so-called guru says - don't do it! Don't *ASK* for email addresses for some trinket freebie.
8 - More ways to pay means more ways to buy - offer every method there is; credit cards, online checks, paya\pal, snail mail, etc....
9- Make your site a *friendly* place to be! Don't use anything stodgy, boring -- also don't overdue it with flash, blipping .gif, etc....Keep it neat and clean, and easy enough to follow a 7th grader could do it.
10 - Offer bill me on delivery.
11- Make sure the fonts are pleasant and easy to read.
12 - If you don't HAVE it, don't sell it. Meaning if you or your wholesaler are out of stock - take it down until it IS ready to ship.
13 - Searching a site is fundamental; it should be on every page.
14 - The landing page of the search better be relevant to what they searched for.
15 - Make Certain that your front end page especially, Loads FAST!
16 - Keep your keyword search boxes or lists or whatever to the LEFT. Don't hide them in the test.
17 - If you are navigating a customer away from a landing page.; use the target=_blank tag - ALWAYS! - You do not want them to get distracted and not go back to your page or try to find it - you want it to still be *up* there.
18 - Product or service information needs to be complete. Don't let your prospective customer leave your site with any unanswered questions. Make a list on paper, keep adding to it...think, think think.
20 - People are influenced by the quality of content (descriptions, copy, images and tools) on any website. Images are a must. Short videos are also great. But as I said above - TASTEFUL. Relevant and very good-looking. You have to have style.
21 - Have a great front page overview of your service(s) or product(s).
22 - The iron-clad money back guarantee that you had BETTER honor!
23 - A toll-free number for them to phone is very good.
24 - Have some reviews on site. Positive ones obviously ;}
25 - A very detailed, product/service specific description. If you are selling a lot of products from one site - this is going to take some time but it needs to be done.
So there you have it - 25 tips to getting and keeping customers online with e-retailing. Personally I have services and I have found that the very same applies to both other than you can't have a photo of a people search like you can a lawnmower. Service description is actually a bit more difficult and you need to really rock your words!
Hope this is helpful -- I DO know it is -- if you do it! - it will benefit you greatly.