These days have seen a pronounced change in the way many people buy. We only need to look at the phenomenal demand to ‘book a delivery slot’ from the supermarkets to see that our target audience doesn’t necessarily need to touch and feel products before making the decision to buy.
So what factors are important for your audience before they take the decision to buy online?
Your target audience needs to know that who they are buying from are legitimate, trustworthy and provide quality products. Your job is to make sure your website removes fear and creates trust. This can be done through the content - testimonials, reviews and case studies perhaps, and consider an FAQ page that has more information on any questions/ experiences you’ve previously encountered and how you’ve answered / addressed them.
Make sure you have an SSL (secure certificate) on the website too. SSL certificates will not only give an added level of protection and hence trust, but they will also help with search engine rankings.
Simple User Journey
If someone has decided that they want to buy your product or service then it’s likely they are in the mode to buy now. They don’t want to have to navigate cumbersome systems, clicking multiple times to put something in their ‘basket’ only to be directed to another page that requires masses of information.
Yes, you want to capture their data and potentially make re-ordering simple for them next time they visit your site, but they might not be ready to do that yet. Incentivise them to ‘register’ by all means, but don’t force them to do it on the first purchase, help them to check out as a guest, it might be the decider between them reaching for the credit card or visiting another site.
Make sure you clearly show them where they are in the purchasing process too – “is it in the basket?” “what’s the total cost?” “Does it include Delivery?” “has payment gone through yet?”, all of these are questions that can be easily answered with simple ‘markers’ throughout the process making the journey to purchase smooth and straightforward.
There’s nothing worse than seeing the product you want, only to try and buy it and find it’s out of stock. It’s frustrating for the customer, and not helpful for your credibility if it happens on a regular basis. Consider a ‘flag’ level for when stock is low. You can be notified in advance of stock running out, giving you the opportunity to re-order with your suppliers, or take a view on where you need to increase productivity on the shop floor if you manufacture your products ‘in-house’.
Good customer Service
Your potential customers need to know that if something doesn’t go quite as planned (which these things inevitably can do) that you’ll fix the issue in the simplest and quickest way possible with the least involvement from them. People are increasingly time poor (in covid-19 centred times or otherwise) and anything that requires minimum input / effort from them will be well received. Make your returns or refund policy clear and easy to find and make it easy to contact you with direct email addresses or simple forms on the contact page.
So, if you think you would like to add an ‘order online’ functionality to your website make sure you understand exactly what you want the journey to look like before you decide on an online shop. Remember that changing the functionality of a website retrospectively can be costly – so a bespoke online shop may be the best way forward.