12 easy ways to lose your ecommerce customers

Ecommerce, customer relationship and marketing experts reveal the fastest ways to turn off shoppers and offer advice for what you can do to ensure customers don’t leave your site and make their purchases elsewhere.

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In today’s super competitive, I-want-it-now mobile world, you only have a few minutes (or seconds) to engage potential shoppers. And if your site isn’t mobile friendly, considered trustworthy or a dozen other things online shoppers deem important, that potential customer will go elsewhere.

But never fear. Help is at hand. Following is a list of the 12 fastest ways to lose online shoppers and what you can do to prevent potential customers from buying from your competitors.

[ Related: How Ecommerce Businesses Can Beat the Competition in 2015 ]

1. Your site is not mobile friendly. “With recent changes to Google’s search algorithm, businesses without a mobile-friendly site will appear farther down in search queries—in essence, eliminating them from relevance,” says Bill Nagel, cofounder & chief marketing strategist, Netsertive, a digital marketing intelligence company. “This is the fastest way for a business to lose a customer to a competitor as more than 90 percent of consumers use search to help them make a purchasing decision.”

[ Related: 12 Tips for Creating a Mobile-Friendly Website ]

To find out how mobile friendly your website is, “businesses can perform a quick mobile-readiness diagnostic check of their site through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool,” he says. “This exercise will ensure that a business can be found online and can attract more qualified shoppers in 2015 and beyond.”

2. Your site is too slow. “The simplest way to turn off potential customers is with a slow, non-responsive website,” says Dan Carney, vice president of Operations at Limelight Networks, a content delivery network provider. “A recent survey shows that nearly 39 percent of customers will wait between 3 and 5 seconds for a website to load until they get frustrated and leave. [And] nearly 41 percent leave after more than 5 seconds,” he explains. “If [your] website is not performing quickly, then the customer will simply give up.” 

To avoid this problem, regularly test your load speeds, and make sure your site is up to speed.

3. Your site is clogged with banners and ads. “Given the size limitations of [some laptop] and mobile devices, space is at a premium,” notes Paras Mehta, CTO, ShoeBuy. “Your customers want to know they have arrived at the right place, for the right product, right now. Don't make them sift through [or overwhelm them with] a sea of marketing [banners and ads].”

4. Visitors don’t feel your site is safe or trustworthy. “Neglecting to show verification [that your] website is secure can result in low conversation rates for your company and a lack of trust from consumers,” says Harsh Sood, CTO, Fareportal. Indeed, “customers [often] refuse to buy goods or services from a site that is not secure due to the risk of identity theft or fraud. To increase conversion rates, and ensure you and your customers' protection, invest in solid security and encryption software,” he advises. Or make sure your hosting provider has.

“Brands that lack clearly defined authenticity policies [and trust marks] are more prone to creating a negative brand perception that may result in a loss of customers,” adds Matt Krebsbach, director of Global Public & Analyst Relations at Bazaarvoice. A Bazaarvoice survey found that 29 percent of U.S. consumers will not purchase from or enter personal information on websites that do not display appropriate trust marks.”

[ Related: 13 Simple Tips for Improving Your Web Design ]

5. Your site is difficult to navigate. “There’s nothing worse than a website that is hard to navigate,” says Rob Garf, vice president, Industry Strategy & Insights, Demandware, a cloud commerce solution provider. “Retailers will lose customers if their sites aren’t easily searchable,” he argues.

“Get in the mind of the shopper,” he advises. “Consider how they will navigate [your] site to guarantee customers can find products they’re searching for.” And “test every element of the customer’s buying journey through every touch point on [your] site, to ensure high-speed and quality search functionality.”

To keep customers engaged, make sure they can find whatever it is they are looking for with just a couple of clicks.

[ Related: 7 Resolutions Ecommerce Businesses Should Make for 2015 ]

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