In a recent study, Forrester Research has identified the three most common reasons underlying the failure of e-commerce enabled sites to get their visitors to initiate, or complete, the online buying process. The findings aren’t surprising at all — in fact, the factors identified are so fundamental that one wonders how so many online marketers still manage to get it all wrong.
The key findings are summarised here, but in a positive vein. They have been converted into actionable guidelines — represented as three pillars upon which a successful e-commerce initiative can be built and sustained.
Pillar #1: The Assurance of Security
Sadly, cyberspace does not have too great a reputation with regard to safety and security, that’s why online shoppers tend to be jumpy and nervous. Because of this state-of-mind, online marketers need to go that extra mile to assure visitors that it is one hundred percent safe to shop on the site. Yes, you would have taken all the basic precautions in terms of hosting your site on a secure server, and ensuring that SSL (Secure Socket Layering) is enabled — yet you must make it a point to talk about it… reiterate it across your site as a confidence building measure.
Remember, if your visitors harbour any discomfiture about safety on your site, the last thing they will do is to risk an online transaction.
Pillar #2: The Comfort of Simplicity
The Forrester study has clearly established a direct correlation between the number of clicks required to complete an online transaction and the number of people dropping out without completing the process.
The lesson is clear: visitors shy away from a complicated online buying process.
It is best to align with the way in which customers want to shop online. Typically, they start by browsing through the site, looking for specific interest areas. You should aid this process by offering logically created segments, intelligent cross-linking and user-friendly navigation. Thereafter, they want to select their items of purchase (by using the shopping cart functionality), make the requisite online payment — and exit as fast as possible. So all you need to do is to simplify the process in terms of the number of clicks required, and the quantum of information to be entered (especially for regular, registered shoppers).
A simple, smooth and quick online buying process ensures that customers will come back and shop again — which a prerequisite for the long-term success of any online shopping website.
Pillar #3: The Ease of Navigation
Another interesting fact revealed by the Forrester study indicates that if the overall shopping experience proves to be an irritating one, customers do not return to the site to shop again… which is, in fact, pretty much the same as what happens in the offline world.
The top five irritants identified by the study are:
- Broken or non-functional links
- Being informed at the tail end of the process that the item is out-of-stock
- Lack of browser compatibility
- Poor or illogical categorisation of products
- Non-availability of product photographs
On these three Pillars rests the overall success of any online shopping initiative. The history of e-commerce is littered with portals and websites that painstakingly evolved new innovative ways to engage the online shopper but faulted on paying attention to one or more of the Pillars — and ended up in Cyber Oblivion.
To commence or enhance online shopping initiatives on your website or portal, call Sonya at 9810138643 or write to email@example.com