Help your e-commerce customers shop, not drop
Published 10:00 pm Monday, February 8, 2016
As with brick-and-mortar retailing, e-commerce is all about the customer. Eddie Davis, senior director of merchant services for PayPal, says small business owners need to listen to what their customers say about their online shopping experiences, and adapt accordingly.
“One of our recent surveys revealed that nearly half of online shoppers abandoned their carts multiple times in a three-week period due to high shipping costs, security concerns, and lack of convenience,” Davis says. And with the average cost of abandoned goods in U.S. shopping carts approximately $109, “that alone proves that it’s critical for merchants to make the checkout experience as painless as possible.”
Davis says that e-commerce “window shoppers” can be converted into paying customers by offering conveniences such as multiple payment options, secure transactions, and features such as free shipping, coupons, and special discounts.
“Consumers want the purchasing experience to be fast and easy,” he adds. “They don’t want to have to enter their billing and shipping information every time they buy something online.”
Here are some other ways to help your e-commerce site generate sales:
- Watch the competition. Tools such as Compete, NetPeriscope and Hitwise can help you monitor the success of their e-commerce sites. “The more you know, the better you can position your business or site to take advantage of any opportunities that might arise in a changing competitive environment,” Davis says.
- Add customer reviews. More and more customers use web searches to research products and prices. Reviews will boost customers’ confidence in your company and your product.
- Tune keywords to consumer attitudes. With consumer confidence at record lows, the language you use on your site needs to reassure and comfort the consumer. “It’s imperative that online merchants use language expresses good value,” Davis says.
- Test your templates. Tools such as Crazy Egg can show how users are interacting with your web pages. You can use this information to improve your site’s performance without having to invest in a complete overhaul.
- Review your metrics regularly. Compare year-to-year information to assess your program’s health and drive your marketing efforts.
- Optimize internal searches. Make sure less-popular items are as easy to find as top-sellers. Otherwise, prospective customers may abandon your site for a search on Google or other search engine where your business may not come up.
If you would like help with this process, or other aspects of your established or start-up business, the volunteers at SCORE are available to help. SCORE is a nationwide network of over 13,000 experienced volunteer executives offering free assistance to small businesses looking for mentoring, counseling, tools and workshops. You can read about SCORE at www.score.org. The Polk County Chapter of SCORE can be reached at 828-859-5456 or via email at email@example.com. Article submitted by Vincent Verrecchio, WNC SCORE Mentor, Polk County Branch