Kristen Gramigna, CMO, BluePay
You may be a small business, but customers expect you to have the same capacity as larger companies when it comes to technology, service and overall experience. Here are four common mistakes businesses make online, and how to avoid them.
Clunky user experiences. Slightly more than a year has passed since Google announced that people now use their mobile devices to search for online content more often than they do using desktop computers. In fact, this past holiday season, IBM reported that nearly 30 percent of Cyber Monday sales took place on a mobile device. Despite that, businesses still fail to provide consumers with a mobile-friendly experience.
A study by Kissmetrics reveals that 60 percent of mobile Internet users have encountered at least one problem accessing a website in the last 12 months; 51 percent said the problem caused their mobile device to crash. Assuming customers are successful in reaching your site, it also needs to be mobile-optimized in functionality, design and user experience. For example, mobile checkout processes should use PCI-compliant processing, including encryption and tokenization, to secure sensitive payment data. Customers should have the option to check out as either a guest or a registered user with simple sign on using email or social media credentials. Checkout forms should include only necessary form fields and mobile-friendly features, like drop-down selectors.
Not inviting customers to be part of conversion conversations. It’s your duty as a small business to give customers reasons to believe in what you sell, including access to the unbiased opinions of others. In fact, as the experts at Shopify point out, purchase hesitancy is a common hurdle buyers face when deciding whether to buy from any online business, large or small. Ease purchase hesitancy with user-generated website content — including authentic reviews from customers who have bought and used the product. Ideally, the user feedback will connect with a reviewer’s social media profile to validate that the feedback is from a legitimate and credible source.
Your site should also include searchable, community question and answer forums that connect buyers to other customers for detailed information about your product or service. This authentic and unbiased access to real buyers can all help prospects overcome concerns, find answers to their questions from other likeminded buyers, and feel empowered to reach their own purchase decision.
Not providing instant access to live help. A report by Oracle reveals that just 1 percent of customers feel that their expectations for service are always met. When asked what a business should do to meet those needs, 52 percent of those surveyed simply wanted an easy way to get answers to their questions. Nearly 60 percent said they’ve had a bad experience in the past because they wanted to connect with a business on the telephone, or email and could not do so.
Display the physical location of your business on your website, and the option to call and connect with a live representative on the phone, or via live chat. There are affordable virtual call-center tools small businesses can leverage to provide cost-effective, live support to customers who shop online outside of standard hours of operation.
Not being transparent about inventory or total costs. Design for Founders reports that lack of transparency is the No. 1 reason consumers abandon an online purchase, far outranking site usability issues. A point-of-sale system can ensure that you provide customers accurate, real-time inventory information online. Equip your site with technology that provides customized costs based on shipping location and preferred method of delivery. If you don’t have an item in stock, you may lose the sale, but you’re far more like to lose the customer forever if he or she completes the entire checkout process only to find an item is on back order.
Customers have a choice of where they spend their money online. If they’re willing to potentially buy from your business, you owe them a user experience that puts them first. Avoid these common mistakes, and you’ll realize a competitive advantage that will keep customers coming back.
[Image Courtesy: Pixabay]
About the Author
Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, a credit card processing firm. She has more than 20 years experience in the bankcard industry in direct sales, sales management and marketing. Follow her on Twitter at @BluePay_CMO.