There's good news and bad news…
Let's start with the bad news, and there's a lot of it, before we move on the good news of how to fix it. About three-quarters of online shoppers are unsatisfied with their online shopping experience. The other quarter are, partially satisfied.
Sort of anticlimactic, isn't it? The good news is there's a lot of opportunity for satisfying customers, even making them very, very happy.
Here is more bad news.
Three-quarters of online shoppers surveyed said website content is insufficient to complete research or purchase a product online always, most, or some of the time. Nearly 80 percent rarely or never purchase a product without complete information, and 72 percent will take off to a competitor that does supply that information.
It seems that consumers really want to buy online, but retailers aren't making it easy for them. Sometimes, it seems like retailers go out of their way to lose customers.
When I did find product reviews or pages, the information I wanted (price and specs, mainly) were either garbled by nonsensical info or was nonexistent.
If researching for myself, I would have long before that said, "Screw it. I'll just go to the store myself." All of them lost a potential online customer.
Problems like these aren't uncommon. In fact, it seems many sites are severely lacking in the customer service department. If customers don't prefer online shopping to brick-and-mortar shopping, it's because retail sites haven't done enough to make the online shopping experience a good one.
Are you ready for more bad news?
Here are ways many sites have failed to serve their customers:
1. Only 37 percent offer multiple images views of products.
2. Only 33 percent offer customer reviews.
3. 62 percent have difficult to read fonts.
4. Only 43 percent offer free shipping.
5. Almost two-thirds do not offer in-stock information on the product page.
6. While just over half of online retailers have physical stores, only 10 percent offer in-store pickup.
7. One third have a checkout processes with more than 4 steps.
8. Only 58 percent correctly answer an e-mail question within 24 hours.
9. Around 80 percent don't seem to get that more ways to pay means more ways to buy. 20 percent offer pay-by-check, 10 percent offer Google Checkout, 20 percent accept Pay Pal and 18 percent offer Bill Me Later.
That's a lot of ball-dropping. Fortunately, it can all be corrected to give your self a leg up on the competition. Hint: Just inverse some of those numbers above to understand what you should be doing.
Here are some more tips:The landing page is crucial. You should have a landing page relevant to the search term. Yes, this is going to take some time to develop. But it doesn't take any time for a potential customer to abandon you. In fact, it takes half a blink to form an impression, and if that page isn't loaded in under four seconds, it takes less than half a blink to hit the back button. Just remember, information seekers scan from left to right, top to bottom, so keep those keywords, beginning with the search link, to the left and not buried in chunks of text. Make sure it's clear where links lead, especially if navigating a customer away from a landing page.
Product information should be complete, answering all the customer's questions. A survey found 77 percent said "buying from a particular merchant is 'very to somewhat' influenced by the quality of content (descriptions, copy, images and tools) on a particular website.
Images are vital. One day, when smell-o-vision, holographic imaging, and virtual reality tactile-experience suits are reality, we can better recreate the actual store-bought experience. Until then, we have pretty pictures, even video demonstrations.
One more list and we're done.These ten features and functionalities are the most important to customers, according to a survey.
1. Product overview
2. Merchant's guarantee
3. Stock status/availability
4. Quality of image
5. Customer service links
6. Product specific information
7. Long description
8. Size chart
9. Toll-free number
10. Ratings and reviews