When you launch your online store after months or years of developing what you consider to be a stellar product line, it’s time to sit back and watch the orders start rolling in. Unless the orders don’t roll — or even trickle — in.
If that’s the case, you need to ask yourself some questions about your products and the user experience of your online store. Once you identify your weaknesses, you can decide how to make your site easier to use and more appealing to customers.
1. Do customers want what you’re selling?
There are a lot of reasons why shoppers buy something: it delights them, it solves a problem they have, it adds value to their lives in some way, etc. Do your products do that? Are they unlike anything else on the market right now (in a good way)?
Look at your competitors. If they’re selling similar items at the same or lower price, you need to find a way to set yourself apart.
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2. Can customers trust your site?
In an era where fraud is rampant and stolen identities are all too common, shoppers are wary of sharing their credit card number on a site that doesn’t feel secure. Customers have become pretty savvy about evaluating online stores, and they’re not going to risk credit card theft on a site that looks like it was designed in the late ’90s.
It’s essential to invest in a site with clean design and easy-to-use tools. A beautifully designed site doesn’t have to be exorbitantly expensive, and it goes a long way toward proving to customers that your business is reputable and sophisticated.
3. Is your online store competitive?
Even if you have great products and a user-friendly site, there’s another issue that might be keeping customers from shopping at your online store: prices.
Look at the marketplace: Are your competitors offering similar products at lower prices? In addition to price, how is the overall buying experience? Do you offer hassle-free returns and exchanges?
If you’re not already doing so, consider offering free shipping during the holidays. It doesn’t have to be for the whole shopping season. Use your competitors as a guide, and then one-up them.
4. Do you make buying easy?
Even if customers are clamoring for your goods, the process of completing a purchase on your site might be discouraging them. If you haven’t tested the checkout flow from the user’s perspective, do it now.
Ask yourself: Is it confusing? Are there too many steps? Could it be more seamless? If you answer yes to any of those questions, it’s time for an overhaul.
5. Are you inviting customers to share their feedback?
Shoppers are wary of making purchases on sites with which they’re unfamiliar, so it’s important to foster a sense of trust.
A great way to do that is to ask customers to write reviews of the items they’ve bought and testimonials about your online store, which you can then post on the site. Seeing product reviews by shoppers shows customers that yours is a reputable, legit online store.