What stops you from buying at an online shop? Well it is a question I’ve asked myself quite a lot recently, since I’ve wanted to understand shopping habits of my customers. I have access to the information of customer click-through from my own sites, to understand how customers experience and use my shop. Which is very useful information and helps me try to improve my shop and make it easier for you to use.
The part I can’t work out is how it makes you feel – I want you to have an amazing experience and of course purchase outrageously naughty cards. (I know my work makes many of of you chuckle!)
I’ve read an awful lot about buying online and of ways to entice your customers, improve traffic and sales but it all feels wrong. I don’t want to bombard you with lots of messages, promotions, sales and gimmicks because I don’t want to experience that myself when I’m shopping online.
I get frustrated when I come to a new site and I’m met with pop-ups every twenty seconds, where sites seem to offer perpetual discounts. It devalues your product and makes me feel like you don’t value me as a customer. The biggest culprit for this is Gap, I love their clothes but I now refuse to buy anything at full price because there is likely to be a sale on in a couple of weeks time. My argument is that if they made their products lower in price in the first place, would they need to keep offering discounts to gain more customers?
As a small business it’s quite difficult to offer sales as every penny counts but I also understand we love to feel that we’re getting our moneys worth too. It’s very tempting to offer sales and discounts but really are we just kidding ourselves?
It seems a lot of the online business advice wants shops to push towards these gimmicks and yet I bet they’re equally frustrated when they visit sites that do this back. Frustration is not an emotion I want you to experience when shopping with me, I want to make the process as smooth and easy as possible, so I’ve stripped it back and made it as simple as I could. (Though website building is not my forte! Remember I’m just a printer!) Yes I offer an incentive to sign up to the newsletter, where you can get 5% off of your order and I also have a pop up to share DYP via social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
I would love you to share my work with your friends and family, I wouldn’t be able to do this job without so many of you supporting me. But I also understand that it’s a massive ask on the part of your visitor and impedes your online shopping experience. I’ve tried to use plugins to let customers sign in from social media, or to integrate my shop within Facebook for example. Though if I’m honest I felt they were gimmicky and causes further dilution of the excitement of using the shop – another barrier to enjoying being online.
Do I have the answer? No not yet, I’m still relatively new to this and so I’m just blogging about my findings and musings about online shopping. I use a lot of my own gut instinct but I won’t lie that there are times it feels like I’m shouting into a void of noise known as the internet! The hardest part is trying to get awareness and raise my brand so that people find me. I don’t have a massive marketing budget, in fact it’s incredibly tiny and so that is why I find myself spending hours scheduling posts, or reading up on marketing so that I can find my audience.
So what does stop me purchasing online? Hidden postage charges, added taxes, page after page of checkout processes and pop ups. All of these things I’ve tried to address as best as I could with what I have available to me through my Shopify theme. Postage for example, is determined on the price of your shopping cart and country, as opposed to weight. I don’t add extra charges in and I limited the number of check out pages. Hopefully these things help make the experience smoother.
Ultimately though, you have to like what you’re buying and I need to be fulfilling a need you as the customer have, otherwise you wouldn’t have found me in the first place! So that feeds back into brand awareness and people being able to see you…I think I’m going to be some time at this game yet or win the lottery to have a larger marketing budget to gain a wider audience!
So on that note I shall go and mull some more!