Getting traffic to your website is one thing; getting them to purchase is a another.

This isn’t a complete list of why people aren’t buying from your store, but it’s a good start.

1. The Product Photos suck

It doesn’t matter whether you take your pics using an iPhone or an HD camera, your photos need to be:

  • Good Quality – well lit, clear, detailed
  • Consistent – fit in with your branding, and all have the same theme. I’ve seen some retailers that use photos their
  • The products should be portrayed at their best. For example, is clothing going to look better on somebody, or as a flat lay on the ground? Definitely on somebody. And if it’s on somebody, make sure it’s flattering. Pin it at the back if you have to, without being misleading of course.

2. The shipping options aren’t attractive, and by attractive, I mean FREE

Your customer has a cart full of products, and they get to your check out, ready to spend their pay check on your website, but they are hit with a $20 shipping charge as they reach the last step. They exit the page.

Who wants to pay $20 for shipping, on top of the cost of their cart full of guilty pleasures that they shouldn’t be buying anyway.

E-commerce giants who can offer free express delivery are increasing customer expectations to the point that they now expect free shipping. I understand it’s just not possible for some businesses due to the nature of their products, but if you can’t afford to offer free shipping on all orders, at least try “free shipping when you spend $x amount”, and if you can’t do that, subsidise your shipping costs – or you’ll lose.

3. There are additional fees at the checkout

If I get to the check out and the total cost is less than I expected, saving me money, I’m going to fill out my credit card details faster than you can say ‘Bargain’, BUT, if I get to the check out and there are processing fees, handling fees, taxes or any sort of price increase, i’m going to think about whether I really need these products in my life, and possibly leave.

This can all be avoided by incorporating fees and shipping into your prices instead, to reduce customers second guessing themselves at the check out.

4. The website is confusing to use

Customers should be able to flow through your website as seamlessly as possible from one step to another. Go to the shop, view a product, add to cart, check out, pay.

This means:

  • minimise distractions
  • make it obvious how to get from one step to the next
  • keep it simple stupid: don’t add any unnecessary steps or functionalities

5. The website isn’t responsive, and isn’t easy to use on my device

I don’t know about you, but in my spare time I like to do online window shopping (and sometimes accidentally buy something), about 70% on my phone, and 30% on my laptop.

Check your website analytics and see what device the majority of your users are on. My own e-commerce website stats show 80% of my visitors are from mobile, meaning, yours most likely are too. With this in mind, it is absolutely essential that your website not only works, but is optimised for a variety of devices and screen sizes.

6. They don’t offer the right Payment Methods

Some people like to shop online using their credit card to get rewards points, while others only trust Paypal because they feel like it protects them if the transaction goes wrong, don’t forget those that will only purchase if you provide lay-by options like Afterpay, so that they can pay off their order over 4 weeks.

Customers like to use a payment method that’s familiar to them, or suitable for them. Maybe you don’t use all of these platforms and payment options, but others sure do, and if you don’t have them, you’re missing out on sales.

7. The Returns Policy is confusing, harsh or there isn’t one

Yes, returns are annoying but put the shoe on the other foot and think about it from the customers perspective. Would YOU buy something from a website that didn’t offer returns or exchanges for any reason? What happens if the item arrives faulty? Or if it doesn’t fit you?

You need to have a clearly worded returns policy on your website (most websites have it in their footer), so that your customers know exactly what you will and won’t allow if they want to return or exchange, and it needs to be in accordance with your countries laws.

8. There is information missing from the website that I want / need to know

This one is common.

One time I was trying to buy a pair of shoes from this website I somehow got on, but couldn’t find their about us page anywhere. You wouldn’t think this was a such a biggie, but no ‘about us’ page meant I also didn’t know what country they were from, which meant I didn’t know what currency the products were displayed in, and I also couldn’t tell if it was a legitimate website or not. So I left.

Another time I wanted to buy some cosmetics from an American website, but I couldn’t find a ‘shipping information’ page. How much would shipping cost to New Zealand? How long would the products take to get to me? I couldn’t find out, and I guess now I will never know.

Iyia Liu