Your Site is Preventing Customers from Buying

By Jon MacDonald
4 minute read | Last Updated: May 11, 2016

4 areas where brands get stuck and can look to unlock their online revenue.

A few weeks back we wrote about where 98% of ecommerce revenue is stuck online, breaking down the symptoms of under-performing ecommerce sites into key areas where revenue is getting stuck. These Stuck Zones™ are the tip of the iceberg for brands to realize the incredible potential locked away behind the hundreds of specific sales killing tactics their websites employ.

As a quick recap, there are three Stuck Zones™ or areas we all too commonly see brands are leaving money on the table: Purchase Failures, Technology Obstacles, and Brand Specific Challenges. Lets dive deeper into understanding, and preventing, Stuck Zone™ 1: Purchase Failures.

Stuck Zone™ 1: Purchase Failures

Purchase failures include areas where customers desert the site, the navigation or UI isn’t intuitive, the content isn’t helpful, and the checkout process refuses to be simple and quick. Asking yourself “What is preventing my customers from buying?” is the best place to start if your site isn’t converting.

Here are some of the top areas our time-tested experience in ecommerce advising has surfaced as preventing customers from buying online:

Homepage misses substantial opportunity to connect effectively with customers

Prioritizing the content on a home or landing page based on the consumer’s goals—not the brand or marketing agency’s goals—will help the consumer get what they came for, leading to higher conversions, and more repeat purchases.

Increasingly, Google search results are becoming your brand’s homepage. When the consumer lands on a brand site from their search results, they expect to be able to accomplish the task they set out to do from that search.

Key elements that are not searchable, and serve as a traffic deterrent

Having the right content that helps consumers to fulfill their goals (and thus convert into a purchase) is only part of the battle. We often see failures with the types of content on ecommerce sites, too.

Some of the key elements on a site may be displayed only as imagery, or worse yet, include text embedded within an image. In no case should key items such as promotional areas or navigation items use images with the text embedded within them.

Google doesn’t read text embedded in images as text, it reads it as an image. Google also penalizes sites for not meeting accessibility standards (screen readers for the blind can’t read text within images) and for not being mobile friendly (shrinking images with text makes them impossible to read).

Product filtering system creates purchase roadblocks

Confusing or broken product filters are one of the biggest ways brands frustrate their consumers, killing their purchase conversions.

Orienting product filters around the tasks the consumer wants to accomplish with your products, instead of around marketing lingo and specifications that are meaningless to the consumer is a certain way to create purchase roadblocks. A great place to start is by filtering items based on actions the consumer to looking to complete, or the need a customer thinks they have. Snow Peak’s gear category does a great job of product filtering.

Site provides purchasing visibility on key factors at wrong time

Once a consumer makes their way through the product filtering and search system, the battle is all too often just beginning. The consumer often clicks through to the product detail page only to find that the product they just spent time searching for is out of stock. Or even worse, they make it all the way to the checkout page only to find the product is out of stock.

Unfortunately, most sites don’t display whether an item is in stock on the search results and product category pages, or as part of the filtering process. If your brand cannot allocate sufficient product stock to meet online sales channel demand, the consumer should be informed as early in the buying process that a product is out of stock and what alternatives are available.

What is preventing the customer from buying?

Brands can resolve the sales diminishers that lead to site underperformance, and improve ROI by focusing on resolving roadblocks within the three Stuck Zones™. Seeking answers to the question “What is preventing the customer from buying?” will start brands down the right path to resolving these common purchase failures.