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Ten Things That Can Cost You An Online Sale



Chief Visionary Officer

It’s the most hated thing in e-commerce:  An unfinished shopping cart.

Every day, companies selling online loose tens of thousands of dollars worth of business to customers who almost—but not quite—complete an online transaction. And you may be doing things to cause this.

Here are ten things that an e-commerce business can do to kill a sale:

  1. Not having a secure site. Make sure you have an SSL certificate, and that it properly matches up to your website. If it doesn’t, It’s an immediate red flag to cautious shoppers.
  2. Charging for shipping.  If you’re Amazon, you can charge people for an annual prime membership and then say shipping is “free.” But you’re not Amazon, and a routine offer from your competitors is free shipping.  If you insist on a shipping charge, you may be giving business to other companies.
  3. Relying just on Paypal.  There are lots of people who refuse to buy through PayPal. Plus, their processing charge for your company is much higher than most online merchant services. Spend a little more upfront for a solid eCommerce platform, and you’ll get it back quick.
  4. Hiding your merchandise. If you consider your online sales as secondary, then they will be. Lots of companies don’t make the fact that they also sell online obvious, and viewers overlook their merchandise. Make sure your merchandise (or services) are promoted on your home page—and other places.
  5. Lack of detail.  People buy all sorts of things online now that they wouldn’t have considered purchasing anywhere other than a brick and mortar store, even just a few years ago.  Buy a mattress sight unseen? Sure. Because there’s plenty of information on mattress websites to make the buyer feel comfortable—explanations of product construction. Owner reviews.  Solid no-questions-asked warranties. If you’re not selling, it may be because you’re not telling enough.
  6. Crummy photography.  If you’re on Craigslist, you can probably get away with a cellphone snapshot from ten feet away. But if you’re offering something upscale, make sure you’re showcasing it with a good professional image.
  7. Confusing storefronts.  If you walked into a grocery store where half the dairy products were on one side and half were on the other, you’d find yourself thinking that these people don’t know what they’re doing. Same goes for your online storefront. Make sure it’s well organized and goods (especially related ones) are easy to find.  Test it. Test it again. You may be surprised at what turns people off.
  8. Killing unflattering reviews. You’re an adult—if you get criticized, stand up and take it. Then tell people how you’re working to fix it. A site with nothing but positive reviews throws up a flag—is the owner deleting anyone who has an issue?  You’re more credible if you leave the negative stuff in place.
  9. Not promoting your site. “If you build it, they will come” typically only works in feel-good baseball movies. You’ll need to make sure people know you’re online with good things to sell. Spend a little money on search. Cross-pollinate with social media. Have an e-newsletter to current customers. Even a little can make an impact.
  10. Not keeping your site fresh.  Offer promotions or “featured” products if you don’t want to discount anything, customers love to visit websites like Raise. Refresh or expand product descriptions. Add new images. It makes a difference.

RTL Digital Media has helped scores of companies improve their e-commerce performance. If you’d like an evaluation of how we could help you, click here to get the conversation started.

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