Does anyone want my money?

There are tons of people out there who want to buy your product, if only you make it easy for them. It’s mind-boggling to see a consumer who is ready to buy dealing with many hurdles to actually make the transaction. More than 3 clicks to reach the page on your website, pop-ups offering to chat with a sales person, numerous forms to fill out before the checkout, etc. Consumers are so educated now that a “helpful” sales person sometimes is more friction than help. On the flip side of this, when you need someone to help you with a support question, or when you call a vendor, more then 65% of the time, nobody picks up the phone.

1. Do you sell what your customers want?

Do you have it all clearly laid out on your website? Your products and their descriptions? Can a person who landed on your page tell at a glance who you are, what you do, and how much it costs? If not, you will lose prospects in the blink of an eye. The old Good-Cheap-Fast is now Perfect-Free-Now. Online consumers are used to instant gratification. They have no qualms abandoning you. Everything counts. You have to look stellar, crisp, and professional. First impression is everything. You have to appear authentic and credible, have all the important pages like Terms of Condition and Return Policy easily accessible (and ideally, third party endorsements like the stella service seal) , as well as your contact information and answers to any questions your prospects might have. Kill ads, auto-playing videos, and pop-ups. Speed up loading time. Give enough key information in a few words to hook your customers and want them to find out more. Simplify, simplify, simplify. It's better to have one well setup product for sale than 10 confusing ones.

2. Can your visitors find what they're looking for in a couple clicks?

If you make people drill deep into your site, expect them to leave in frustration. If you make your checkout process too cumbersome, don't be surprised when they leave the fully stocked shopping cart and never return. On the other hand, if you make the process intuitive and entertaining, people will funnel in and go through with the sale, turning from shoppers to customers. This is where your branding effort will pay off. Remember we talked about the importance of branding, like picking your company's name and logo? You can get away with many things by simply playing along your brand story and enticing people to participate in it. For example, if your brand is humorous, have humorous messages directing people deeper into your website. if your brand is clean and business-like, remove the clutter and offer clean and direct messages. And so on.

3. Are you offering all possible payment methods?

Do you make it easy for your customers to give you money? The more payment options you provide, the better chance you have of people actually going through with the purchase. In addition to major credit cards, offer PayPal, Amazon or Google checkouts. Allow payments without setting up a new account. Most people have enough logins and passwords to remember. They don't need one more. Forcing them to do this will only alienate them. People are burned by the old marketing tactics like endless promotional emails, newsletters they didn't sign up for, or plain spam. Besides, people are busy. They want to buy what they came for and be done with it, not sit and fill out countless forms. Another note. If they fill out your form wrong, don't make them fill it out again by allowing the page to refresh. Simply display an error message in red and allow the transaction to complete. It's very annoying to retype all the information just because you misspelled the city.

4. Customer Service is the new Sales and Marketing

It's all about building relationships with your customers. You want them to have an easy time. You want them to come back. You want them to like giving you money. Make it as enjoyable and streamlined as possible and keep improving it based on every single customer's feedback. Customer Service is the new marketing, like the guys at StellaService.com are showing in the world of online retail. Be accessible at all times, respond to every inquiry. You never know who you're talking to and to whom that person will recommend you, even if they themselves won't buy anything.

Your to-do list:

  • Streamline your website. Remove any clutter and brand every single page to look consistent.
  • Pick up the phone. Check out services like Mightycall that allow every small business to provide stellar customer service.
  • Mystery shop yourself on an ongoing basis, and make it easy easy easy. Learn from these guys.
  • Keep testing. Keep improving. Keep responding to every inquiry. Keep smiling.