How many barriers do you put in front of someone trying to be your customer? 3? 5? If you’re thinking in terms of your physical location, reasonable barriers would probably look a little like this:
2. Handing over payment, which may or may not include entering a PIN.
When we go through the two obvious barriers in a physical location, we’re intentionally leaving out all of the barriers before someone gets to your door and all of the personal barriers preventing someone from purchasing a product. Maybe they can’t afford to spend $50 on a pair of socks – or don’t want to. Maybe they just think that sweater is downright ugly.
These barriers are always changing and while there are ways to help, like setting up shop in an area you know your target customer lives, you can’t force someone to come to your store and you certainly can’t force someone to buy that ugly sweater. (We’re just kidding about the sweater, by the way. We’re sure that if you are reading this and sell sweaters, your sweaters are awesome.)
But if someone makes it to your store and wants to buy something, they have to get in through the door and they need to give you a form of payment in exchange for the item. Yes, this is over simplifying, but that’s what we’re all about today.
E-commerce is a little different – and that’s not always a bad thing.
Having an online store, or making your business e-commerce capable, removes some incredible barriers for business. Without needing your customers to come to a physical location, they’re always within clicking distance. Without the limitations of floorspace, you can show off more product. With really neat analytics, you can discover quickly that people think your sweater is ugly and will use that information to stock different items.
The possibilities are endless.
That being said, there are many barriers that businesses unintentionally put up that are unique to e-commerce.
3 E-commerce barriers that you can get rid of
No one wants to log in when they’re shopping. It’s annoying; it removes that “window shopping” vibe; and it’s a quick way for a customer to think, “Nevermind then.” Consumers are smart and realize that if you want them to log in in order to purchase something, this means that you want to keep tabs on them. You can always offer for your customers to set up a profile for quicker check out, but forcing someone to create an account just to buy something is an unnecessary barrier.
Shipping stop signs
Ugh. Everyone hates when their favorite product won’t ship to their country. For Canadians, this is a normal occurrence, but every time, it’s frustrating. Making shipping easy and reasonable will make you some very happy international friends. Shipping shouldn’t be a secret fee you find at the very end of the process. If you press on and purchase anyways, it’s a sour taste to leave in your customer’s mouth. If the cost is too high and they leave, they will be annoyed that they wasted so much time on something that would ultimately disappoint them.
If you’re offering a deal, make it easy to apply to an order. For example, coupon codes should be able to be applied before you get too deep into payment methods and shipping addresses. I don’t know about you, but if I can see that I’m saving money right away, I would be way more likely to keep going to checkout. Show your customers that their total is less than they thought it would be. Let them punch in that coupon code right away to build momentum as they keep shopping. They might want to buy more because it’s less than they planned, but if they only know this once they’ve entered their credit card number, they’re not going backwards to buy another item.
Take advantage of the physical barriers you can remove by offering e-commerce rather than replacing them with other ones. Embrace your selling freedom! Ok, that might have been a little much.
If you ever need any help incorporating an e-commerce element into your existing website or even creating a shiny new one, get in touch with us. We’re a Greater Toronto Area web design and branding agency.