In a difficult economic climate, those companies who are selling online have an upper hand. With online sales rising, and the average Brit spending an average of £1,083 online every year, online shopping is predicted to carry on forging ahead. So no SME can afford to ignore the benefits of a strong online presence to maximise sales. But if your website isn’t performing as it should, what’s going on? Read on to find out the five main reasons why you could be losing out on online sales.
Functionality and Accessibility
The technical framework of your site is vital to ensuring that you’re not losing out on sales. Issues such as poor links, slow loading speeds, server errors, sites that aren’t designed to be responsive to mobile users, or under-optimisation, all contribute to disaster. So make sure your site is properly constructed, performs well on a variety of devices, and is SEO friendly enough to show up in the search results.
Too Much Information
When it comes to the buying process, customers want the process to be as simple and quick as possible. One of the chief reasons for the success of Amazon is the one click sales process. Don’t force customers to ‘create accounts’ or fill in long forms to purchase. Name, address and card details should be sufficient.
Abandoning a cart at the checkout is the main reason for losing out on sales, so avoid this common failure to buy by doing the following:
- Keep shipping fees low
- Have clear ‘return to cart’ ‘save cart contents’ and ‘proceed to checkout’ buttons.
- Don’t allow the shopping process to ‘time out.’
- Make sure your customer service, address and contact details are clearly visible on your checkout page. Customers need to trust you’ll be there to support them if things go wrong.
According to Robert Wakefield of http://www.wysi.co.uk/ complicated or inconsistent navigation can cause users to feel helpless, confused or angry – which will do nothing to help your conversion rates. So always make sure that the navigation on your site is directing visitors in a coherent and simple fashion. The aim of your navigation is to lead them to places where they will take action. Too much choice, long drop down menus, using vague generic titles for pages such as ‘products,’ and lack of navigational consistency throughout pages only spells disaster, so ensure your navigational structure is properly set out.
Failing to Build an Online Relationship
In the old days, most of us would stick to a certain shop because not only could we get what we need at a reasonable price, but we liked the shopkeeper. This still stands online. The most successful online businesses are maximising their success by consistently communicating with their customers through social media and by email. Offer your customers valuable information related to your business or product, and be available to respond to them at all times. Avoid heavy sales pitches and treat them as a valued customer with worthwhile opinions of their own, and you’ll build trust and sales naturally.
Wendy Lin is a freelance writer and entrepreneur. She enjoys shopping with her girlfriends and spending time on their family boat in the summer.