If a business relies on its website to make sales, as e-commerce websites in particular do, encouraging visitors to stay, look around and eventually to buy is crucial. Indeed whatever the purpose most websites need to know the desired outcome which some refer to as a ‘call to action’.
On many levels, research is essential to get this right. The business plan should already have identified the business’ ideal customer and ensured that proposition, pricing, quality and delivery are viable and can all be maintained.
There are several factors that influence customer behaviour, such as their reason for visiting the site in the first place and the customer experience. The desired outcome from the ideal customer may be their making an online purchase without further contact, or it may be their requesting a sales visit but their experience will depend entirely on the way the website is designed.
People, especially shoppers, are increasingly impatient and want to view the products as quickly and easily as possible. Especially at the start of their buying decision-making they are likely to shop around and compare prices.
But price alone may not determine where they eventually choose to shop.
There is plenty of research to show that among website visitors’ pet hates are auto sound videos that cannot be switched off, pop ups, misspelling and typos that suggest the business does not pay enough attention to quality or to detail and complicated navigation.
A study by Statistia found that 25% of shoppers leave websites without buying because the website is too difficult to use.
Increasingly, as more people use mobile phones and tablets to browse, a design needs to render well to these devices. Slow loading pages can be a problem and it is important to check this using a speed tester such as Google Page Speed Insights.
Assuming that all these website basics are not the problem, why then might customers be leaving without making a purchase?
Making the buying process safe and easy to use
The first step to finding out is to look at the website’s analytics to pinpoint at what point visitors are leaving.
If the analysis reveals that visitors are staying on the website and looking at the products it may be that the online buying process itself is too complicated or is not reassuring customers that their details will be secure.
It is important that the checkout process takes as few steps as possible and also that security certifications are prominently displayed.
Finally, shipping costs, if any, delivery times and returns policies should be clearly stated and, again, cause the minimum of inconvenience and cost to the buyer.
It’s a minefield but the rewards are considerable as Amazon has demonstrated.