4 common mistakes made by online merchants

If your online store is suffering from a low conversion rate and a lack of return shoppers, it is a

If your online store is suffering from a low conversion rate and a lack of return shoppers, it is a good idea to look at the shopping experience you are offering your customers.

Understanding your customers, the industry, and basic human psychology, can help you with convert more shoppers into buyers, and garner more returning customers.

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Here are 4 crucial mistakes online merchant often make, and how to fix them:

1. Tedious checkout process:

A long and painful checkout process is proven to bring down conversion rates. Customers are not likely to enter their payment information on every purchase they make from a certain store, and they are looking for a more efficient way to pay. Sales can suffer significantly if you are unable to provide a fast and seamless checkout process.

Offering alternative payment options, such as PayPal or MasterPass is a proven method for speeding up the checkout process, as they store cardholder data such as card numbers and billing/shipping addresses. Having these options available to your customers not only provides for a fast checkout experience but also helps insure customer confidence. Seeing a trusted name of a recognized payment method whom the customer might already have an account with, is a great way to increase conversions and minimize the walkaway rate on your payment page.

Having a member signup option is another way to help with gathering return shoppers. Creating an account on your site with the ability to store user data will insure faster checkouts in the future. Social sign-in options like “Sign-in with Facebook” can also help with streamlining the sign-up process.  Check with your payment service provider or your development team to see how you can implement a member sign-up option for your store.

2. Your store is not mobile compatible:

According to reports done by Rogers and Forrester Research, mobile usage is on the rise. We also recommended adapting your store for mobile use in our guide for getting ready for 2014, and our tips for the holiday season. With conventional computing devices such as desktop and laptop computers losing market share to smartphones and tablets, your customers are taking their online needs to mobile devices, including their shopping needs.

Black Friday, Cyber-Monday, and Boxing Day all saw an increase in mobile purchases. See if your website is adaptable (responsive) to mobile devices or if you have the ability to offer a mobile version of your site. Offering a mobile friendly store helps with targeting your customer base who are rapidly converting to smartphones and tablets.

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3. Inadequate product description:

A major deterrent for online shoppers is a poorly designed product page. Customers are not able to observe a product online as they can in a brick and mortar establishment. A lack of product description can most likely end with the customer turning to a merchant who provides a more descriptive and detailed product page.

Offering an expanded description alongside high resolution and detailed photos of the product helps the customer with better understanding of the item they are buying. Customer reviews on the product page also give the customer a better idea of real world use of the product.

4. Hidden or unavailable contact information and terms:

One of the main reasons for low conversion rates is a lack of confidence between the customer and the store. Hidden and unavailable contact information is a deterrent to many shoppers. In comparing online shops to physical store fronts, a customer does not have the ability to confront the merchant in person, and relies on the available contact information.

Refund, return and privacy policies as well as terms of service pages are also sometimes difficult to find or even missing. The lack of these policies can cause suspicion among customers and a feeling the merchant is hiding something.

To solve to these issues, all you need is to simply showcase your contact information, refund policy, return policy, and terms of service throughout the store. A “Contact Us” tab should always be made visible throughout the store too. Refund and return policies should be made visible on every product page, and throughout the checkout procedure. A link to your terms of service should always be visible at the footer of every page on your site and clicked as agreed to upon each payment validation.

Understanding your customers and what goes through their mind when they place aorder on your website is key to having a successful online store. A quick, adaptable, and trustworthy shopping experience will help ensure a higher conversion rate and more returning customers.


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