So, your big, beautiful web store is ready to launch, and you’re stocked up and ready to sell. You’ve got a great domain name, a nicely-designed site and an e-commerce solution that rocks. You “push the launch button” and get ready to try to keep up with orders!
What’s that? Despite all that pre-launch marketing and the huge inventory of beautiful products you’re offering, your inbox isn’t filling up? You’re not alone. Many an online entrepreneur has experienced a lack of sales conversions. The thing is, it’s not enough to have products and get traffic to your site. You need to convince the visitors to buy the products. Here are a few of the reasons that might not happen and what you can do to remedy them:
Problem #1: Visitors don’t trust your site.
The online shopping experience is fraught with danger. From credit card theft to phishing scams and Trojan horses, hundreds are victimized daily by a single click. These disasters make headlines quickly and with each reported incident; the public learns to look for certain things on the sites they purchase from.
What’s worse is that this problem has become much more complex over the past several years. It’s no longer enough to secure your website with SSL. Visitors now look for assurance that you’re who you say you are, that you don’t share any information with third parties and much more. It’s important that they find that assurance immediately and without it, you won’t close sales.
The basic remedy to verifying your site is to apply for and display “trust” certificates, aka “seals” from verification agencies. The difficulty is that there are several trust agencies that verify the status of an online presence on different levels. I’ve recently found a solution that successfully consolidates the process and issues their seals for each and adds another feature that provides immediate recognition across multiple sites.
I highly recommend visiting their website to see how it will work for you.
Problem #2: Visitors can’t find what they’re looking for.
This is one of the most common complaints from online shoppers. Quite often, an extensive inventory of products can be overwhelming. Even more often, visitors to your site are in search of one particular “hot” item, and if it’s not easy to find when they arrive, they’ll move on to find it elsewhere.
Making sure that the right items are prominent is a multi-fold process. First, you need to know what’s popular. Second, you need to stock it. Third, you need to promote it and Fourth, you need to make it as easy to get to from your home page as possible. That sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but for smart sellers, there are tools to help make the process easier, and I’m about to introduce you to one of the best:
This is one of the most comprehensive applications I’ve seen. To be more precise, it’s a suite of applications based on an intuitive search, suggestion, analysis and reporting system. It helps you get the right items in front of your potential buyers.
It’s available as a custom package, or as an add-on for popular e-commerce platforms. There are too many features to describe here, so do your site a favor and visit the instantsearch+ website to learn more.
Problem #3: Your shipping package stinks.
It’s important to remember that one of the chief reasons people shop online is because it’s fast and easy. That means that everything about the experience on your site must be as simple and efficient as possible. Unfortunately, shipping is often an obstacle that deters many buyers in the final stage of order, because it’s either too complicated or there’s no expedited shipping available.
The thing is, providing multiple shipping options for online buyers is a complicated process, dealing with multiple services and rates from multiple providers and often. You also have to determine whether to use flat rates or weight-based calculations. Then there are those other considerations. Like package sizes, insurance and… the list goes on.
Sure, providers like UPS, FedEx and USPS have APIs available. I’m willing to bet most of you just asked, “What’s an API?” That’s because unless you’re a developer, you won’t know how to use one.
Solution: Shipping add-ons
The best option for this problem depends somewhat on the software your e-commerce site runs on. Fortunately, there are several available for most platforms, -and they’ll save headaches for both you and your clients. Stop fighting a losing battle with shipping and get the right one for your website platform. Here are a few to start with:
Problem #4: Customers can’t interact with you.
Making yourself available through your online storefront is the equivalent of being visible when clients walk into a brick-and-mortar store. Shoppers want to know there’s a real person “behind the curtain” and that they can communicate with that person at any time.
Problems need to be addressed, questions need to be answered, and those things need to happen as quickly as possible. If not, your prospective customer is going to “walk out the door” and shop elsewhere. Unlike a physical store, the competition for your online shop isn’t limited to those within a reasonable distance. If your visitors can’t get in touch with you, they’ll be gone.
Solution: Make yourself available.
At the very least, your site needs a prominent Contact form. In many instances, however, that’s not good enough. If you don’t want to list a phone number on your website, consider adding a Live Chat plugin. This is the fastest way for visitors to reach you and those that need service will appreciate the immediate response.
I suggest taking a serious look at Zoho SalesIQ. It takes an innovative approach to real-time communications with your visitors, allowing you to get them going in the right direction. You can try it for free!
Problem #5: Your buyers don’t help promote you.
Feedback and testimonials are incredibly underrated. Even a rant from a customer can give you valuable insight about an issue that needs fixing. In contrast, a few prominent quotes like, “Excellent service!” can be enough to tip the scales enough to convert a shopper into a buyer. The problem is knowing how to get buyers to bother with sharing their thoughts.
Solution: Ask for your clients’ input.
Find an appropriate add-on for your e-commerce application that lets your customers submit feedback. When an order completes, include a prompt in the notification email that links to the form for them to submit their comments. Moderate the comments and display the best in a high-visibility location on your site. Check out the apps below for a start in finding the right one for your site:
This certainly isn’t a complete list of the potential reasons for a low conversion rate, but if you need a place to start, start here. Solving these five problems will go a long way toward increasing your sales.
Find more great tips like this on Erik Qualman’s new book, How to Sell on LinkedIn.