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There are many times that I have been approached by clients looking to understand why their customers aren’t buying from their e-commerce store. This isn’t an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination but a gathering of some elements which I’ve seen impact on e-commerce sites.

1. You don’t have a mobile site

Having a site which users navigate by pinching and zooming is not good enough. In order to capture the increasing number of people shopping online using their smartphone your website needs to be optimised completely for use on  mobile devices.

A recent blog from Visual Soft eCommerce spells this out in no uncertain terms

“Despite mobile commerce delivering some 15% of online retailing globally, it has been reported that two thirds of mobile shoppers abandon their shopping bags at checkout.”

2. Your checkout procedure

It’s often cited that the longer a checkout process takes, the more users drop out. In a logical sense, the more steps there are, the more likely people are to abandon the cart. However, it is interesting to note that a majority of sites use around 5 steps in the checkout process.

From my experience it is not necessarily the number of steps but the clarity, or lack of it, that kills a checkout procedure:

  • Guide people through the steps -not just visually but use clear concise wording that makes it abundantly clear the user has completed each step correctly.
  • Include only vital fields in the checkout process – I’ve never understood the whole daytime and evening phone number fields which are often also followed by a mobile phone number field. Why do we have so many phone numbers?!
  • Remove distractions – Next time you checkout on Amazon you’ll notice they use an “enclosed checkout”. Essentially, this removes the navigation to prevent distraction from the buying process

For further excellent advice I’d recommend investing the time to read this excellent article –

3. Your prices

This may sound blindingly obvious, but check your prices against competitors. I’ve witnessed many an hour spent optimising sites for maximum conversion only to find the business in question has neglected to mention they are among the most expensive.

Obviously not everyone can, or should, be the cheapest but if your prices don’t compare favourably with competitors, then you must ensure your proposition for being dearer is clearly communicated online. Emphasise customer service, your returns policy, or whatever you feel appeals to your customer base.

4. You haven’t experimented with your marketing… so you aren’t getting enough visitors to the site

How much have you assessed your marketing strategy recently? Have you invested in any or some of the following?

–          Search Engine Optimisation

–          Pay Per Click advertising

–          Direct mail

–          Social media (paid and non-paid)

–          Public relations stunts

–          Email marketing

Of course everyone has a limited budget but experimentation with different marketing channels can often bring drastically different results. Experiment, but also ensure you TRACK and MEASURE your success or failure, which leads me to…

5. You aren’t analysing and reacting to your data

Check conversion rates, review buying patterns, evaluate how successful that email marketing campaign was. There are powerful analytics packages out there, but the free and increasingly flexible Google Analytics has some excellent tools to help provide data. When you have that data, REACT to it.

Using analytics tools to track how and where people are dropping out of your site and find out how many people are clicking on those homepage banners. They look lovely but is anyone actually clicking on them, are they providing conversions?

There are some excellent resources for harnessing the power of Google Analytics – here is a brilliant review of the resources available to you –

6. Your site is too slow

“But our website runs really quickly!” I’ve heard this phrase many times before.

OK, I’m sure it does, but what about on a 2MB connection that many people still use at home? I’ll come back to mobile as well, most of the population are still on 3G and whilst load speeds are slow because of the network itself, the impact of this could be lessened by ensuring you optimise pages to load as quickly as is feasible.

There are a huge number of ways you can achieve a better page load speed and there are plenty of articles out there that can help – This one is a good a place as any to start… –

I’ve touched on some specific and some broad points but in most projects I’ve been involved in one or more of the above has often been at the root of poor conversion rates.

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