Are online sales slower than expected? Possibly you’ve created an enticing offer, but your e-commerce metrics are less than desirable? If so, you could be alienating potential customers before the sales process even begins.
[pullquote align=”right”]”Whether your company website was developed to increase awareness, drive sales or generate more leads it’s essential to ensure you are doing your best to encourage online shopping and overcome buyer hesitation.”[/pullquote]Conducting business online is considered status quo for many of us, however a large majority of consumers are still hesitant about making purchases online. According to recent online shopping data, “Online shopping has become increasingly popular over the past decade. In 2012, U.S. e-commerce sales amounted to 289 billion U.S. dollars, up from 256 billion U.S. dollars in 2011… A 2012 e-commerce market forecast projects online retail revenue in the United States reaching 361.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2016. Simultaneously, the number of U.S. digital shoppers [alone] is expected to grow from 137 million in 2010 to 175 million in 2016, according to eMarketer estimates.”
Whether your company website was developed to increase awareness, drive sales or generate more leads it’s essential to ensure you are doing your best to encourage online shopping and overcome buyer hesitation. But first, you must examine online purchasing behavior, understand which factors influence customer hesitation, and take proactive steps to overcome it.
Here’s a look at seven things your small business may be doing to fuel online shopping hesitation:
No visible telephone number or phone support.
Few companies can get away with not offering a toll-free phone support to customers; and those that do take extraordinary care (i.e., knowledge bases, social customer service, helpdesks, etc.) to compensate for reduced access and minimize guesswork.
However, there are cases where it is essential that customers can get a hold of your company via phone. For instance, are customers already hesitant about your industry? Do you own a local business where retail foot traffic is vital? Is your target audience more comfortable with phone communication? Do your products and services yield a long sales cycle? If so, it is in your best interest to offer a telephone number.
Consider that most customers feel more comfortable doing business with you if they know they can speak to a human being (even if they don’t need to). Otherwise, if your business model doesn’t lend itself to phone access then your company’s responsiveness, transparency and communication should break records.
Lack of trustmarks or press logos.
Subconsciously, when a customer lands on your company website, they are looking for reasons to trust that your claims line up with your actual product or service. If you don’t offer visible trustmarks (i.e., a label or visual representation indicating that a product, process, or service conforms to specific quality assurance levels) or press logos, that indicate third-party validation, you are making it harder for people to justify doing business with you. From secure shopping logos (SSL) to Better Business Beaurea (BBB) accreditation, or press logos from your latest media hits, ensure that you are communicating that someone else (besides you) can vouch for your business.
No testimonials, reviews or customer feedback.
If you have customers, you should also have customer testimonials; and they should be visible. If you fail to share customer feedback then you are saying to a customer, “Take our word for it.” And unfortunately, in today’s digital world, your word alone won’t go far in attracting and retaining customers. Instead, ensure you are addressing key concerns through reviews and feedback that is well-rounded and fair, using direct customer quotes and experiences.
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