Ecommerce growth has exploded in recent years, but plenty of shops are still failing to make sales and ultimately closing their doors. Your business is at risk if you’re making on-site and after-sale mistakes that hurt the shopping experience and damage your brand image. Here are five things that shoppers won’t overlook, but they all have quick fixes.
- Hidden fees
Unexpected costs and hidden fees can kill the shopping experience and send customers fleeing. One recent review of cart abandonment surveys found that unclear fees played a role in most stopped purchases. Getting a little more granular, 25% of shoppers say unexpected shipping fees ended their shopping spree.
You’ve got a few ways to tackle this problem. First, add shipping cost estimators to your shopping carts. You can do this by using a flat-rate fee and noting it in the cart or using web browser data to approximate cost based on user location. Or offer free shipping to everyone and bake the fulfillment cost into product pricing. That also gives you a chance to capture more revenue with expedited shipping options.
2. So many form fields
Are you asking for information you don’t need? This can come off as scummy to shoppers and may stop users from finishing the checkout process. That’s because it’s frustrating to type so much, and consumers are wary in today’s digital shopping age. Instead, simplify and tell customers why you need each item.
In most cases, eCommerce stores don’t need a phone number. You do need an email for verification and receipts. Tell customers that. And if your forms have high error rates, using inline validation as someone types will make them more likely to complete the form and checkout process.
3. Account required
One way to tackle the form challenge is to allow customers to create accounts that autofill their data. This is great if your website is full of repeat shoppers who trust you enough to create an account. Unfortunately, requiring an account can cause this effort to backfire for many shoppers in a hurry. A significant portion of your audience doesn’t want to do this without reason.
So, instead of requiring an account, turn it into an offer. Tie account creation with a discount on their first order. Note that they can save time and checkout easily by logging into an account on the checkout screen.
4. Stockouts and delays after purchase
From a fulfillment experience, one of the biggest things that hurt the repeat shopping experience are issues with that first order. One thing no customer wants to see is an “order delayed” email hit their inbox because you sold an out-of-stock item and can’t meet your delivery promise. Integrate your inventory tools with your website to automatically pull down products that aren’t in stock. Many make it easy to alert customers when you get inventory back.
The pandemic showed us that delays are going to happen no matter what. Successfully addressing these is a must for modern shops, which means following a proven delay email structure. Keep it short, honest, and give the latest information you’ve got. Make this part of a larger communication strategy to keep customers informed through your site, order confirmation, and order update emails.
5. Shipping mismatch with customers
People want many things from you that they don’t say directly. That’s tough because it causes your store to try and guess. One of these elements is shipping options, and people are all over the map. You need to study your customers to determine how they feel about shipping speed, cost, and availability.
According to a review of multiple studies, women and older shoppers are willing to wait longer than men and younger shoppers, and they buy a little more often. Men are more willing to pay for faster shipping or spend more on orders to reach a free-shipping threshold. These allow you to make the most of shopper preferences, which can translate into savings via lowering your fulfillment costs or increasing order value by enacting minimum order values for free shipping.
My kingdom for customer support
These mistakes and problems all come with one unifying thread: you can solve them by putting customer service and support first. Communicating with your shoppers before, during, and after a sale can help you avoid appearing shady or creating a misconception that causes cart abandonment. Not only should you put shoppers first, but you need to back that up with email and on-site support. Give people another reason to buy from you, not frustrations that make it easy to leave.
Jake Rheude is vice president of marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment.