Business Development & Marketing Finance General Turnaround

Why do visitors leave my website without buying?

the key elements of using online marketing tools successfullyIf 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.

Website basics

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

buying onlineThe 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.

Cash Flow & Forecasting General Rescue, Restructuring & Recovery Turnaround

The shifting sands of retail


There are signs of a re-balancing between online retail and physical stores as Asos posts its second profit warning in three months.

The rise of e-commerce was regarded by many as a nail in the coffin of the High Street because it was spared the costs of expensive rents and business rates, in-store staff and high energy costs.

However, in their enthusiasm, it seems that the champions of e-commerce may not have paid enough attention to some of the additional costs involved.

While prices may be cheaper online, there are some additional costs which are turning out to be significant.

Online retailers certainly reap some benefits from centralised warehousing as opposed to a High Street presence. However they have significant packaging and shipping costs, which are proving a burden when dealing with the issue of returns and who pays for them. The additional staff handling costs can also prove significant, especially when administering returns.

This is becoming a big concern for a volatile sector like fashion and clothing, where, for example Asos  in the UK returns amount to 39% and in Germany 58%.

A major issue is the size labels used on women’s clothes. Another relates to the difference between the item on a screen and the one that is received. I know several women who order many items at a time expecting to return most of them. They choose retailers with pre-paid return policies and often return as many as 90%.

There are two examples of retail outlets that have had consistently good performance even over the last few uncertain years: Next and John Lewis.

Both combine e-commerce and a High Street presence, but crucially, both have introduced a hybrid system, click and collect, where customers can order online but pick up their order in a store.

It will be interesting to see how the online retailers overcome the issue of returns.

Plainly High Street retail is not dead yet.