Whilst we are on the subject of e-commerce and sales and all that retail jazz this week, let’s look at how to STOP people from buying from you. Because, after all, that’s why you have spent the equivalent of the debt of a third world country promoting your website, isn’t it? Not.

Ok, what are the main barriers to purchase? Once we have identified those, take a careful walk through your sales process, both on and offline, and see if you are committing any of the heinous crimes that stop people giving you money.

1) No price. Let’s face it, no matter what you are selling, people will inevitably need to know the price before they can make a step towards a purchase decision. And potentially what they will think is, “Ooh, it must be soooooo expensive,” and hence take a step back from the purchase rather than one towards it. Don’t make people ask how much it costs. After all, are you really that good at answering your emails instantaneously whilst they are still slavering at the mouth about your ‘must have’ product?

2) The wrong price. Checked out your competition lately? Are your prices on a par with theirs? Is your site visitor likely to have done a comparison check and found your products are more expensive? If you can’t be competitive, then at least make sure that all the reasons why can be found clearly in your product description…

3) No product description. This is the Interweb – they can’t pick it up, touch it, feel it, turn it over, or taste it. Describe your product down to the tiniest detail, after giving a summary for those people who just don’t care because they have finally found the item they were looking for.

4)  Hidden shipping costs. Don’t hide the costs to post and pack the item. If possible, have free shipping. Amazon do and they ship far more than you ever will. Don’t underprice it and then weight the shipping costs to make up for the loss. The purchase decision is made on the price of the item, and will be almost definitely changed if they then discover that it costs 10 times as much to post it than to buy it. Especially if your competitors are upfront about shipping costs.

5) Broken shopping cart. Do you always get the shopping trolley in the supermarket with the wonky and squeaky wheel? And how does that make you feel about shopping? How often do you put far less in your shopping basket and/or leave the shop because you are fed up with running into other shoppers, or being stared at is if that unbearable screeching noise is all your fault? Make sure your shopping cart works and is very easy to use. Simple things such as if they fail to notice the tiny little tickbox at the bottom that signs them up to your newsletter should not be a reason to reload the form when they hit submit, and remove all their carefully entered information.

6) Returns policy. Many people are totally unaware of their rights when buying online so make it crystal clear. If they want to send the product back, they can – tell them where to. If you give refunds within a set time only, tell them. If their grandchildren can return it after your death, tell them. If it doesn’t fit, work as they expected, or gets broken in transit, tell them you will happily resolve any problems. Give them confidence in you as a business.

7) After sales care. Love your customers, even after they have left your shop. If you are a bricks and mortar store, they would know where to come back to, so keep in touch with them, add them to your Christmas card list, tell them about any deals you have that might interest them, send a little note asking if the product arrived safely. Tell them you have assigned them their own personal helper if they have any problems at all in using the product or getting the full benefits out of it. Send them a link to a free online manual or the support forum for their product. Answer all emails from them promptly, just as promptly as if they were your sweetheart.  Coddle them, cherish them and love them. Within reason obviously – this is a CUSTOMER, after all!

Any more barriers to purchase you can think of? Let us know so that we can then all begin the process of finding them within our own companies and e-commerce set ups……

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ClickThrough is a digital marketing agency, providing search engine optimisation, pay per click management, conversion optimisation, web development and content marketing services.