Developing a truly successful eCommerce website is no mean feat. Yes I’ve seen those tweeters offering online shops for £299 or less . . . and less, but getting it right is far more then just the shopping cart technology. Trust me, I’ve been there and got the T shirt. The one word that sums it up is TRUST! So here goes with Fizzy’s top 10 tips to ecommerce success . . .
1: Clear pricing
Tell ’em what is it going to cost – don’t hide the extras. Tell the customer what an item is going to cost, be clear, up front and just keep it simple. I was looking to buy some printed stationery and found 50 cards & envelopes at £49.95 – just right as I was looking to spend £50 on a gift. A few clicks later found out then coloured ink was +£10 per 100 and a printed border was +£20/100. But I was ordering 50, so is that +£5 and +£10? Are you as confused as I am here?
2: Product descriptions
A clear and sufficiently detailed product description is a good start. Is this really so difficult – well yes, it seems so. I was going to buy a pack of Christmas cards online but it didn’t tell me if they came with envelopes or how many in a pack.
3: Delivery costs
Again, tell them what it’s going to cost, plain & simple. Don’t hide your delivery costs or despatch times in the small print hoping the customer won’t notice. Again, like product pricing, be clear and keep it as simple as possible. Here’s some delivery charges I found hidden in an FAQ page:
|Order Value||2nd Class Mail||1st Class Mail|
|£0 – £14.99||£0.50||£1.00|
|£15 – £19.99||£0.75||£1.50|
|£20 – £49.99||£1.00||£2.00|
Why are they so precise about setting their delivery cost bands? Why not delight the customer and have one delivery price of say £1.50 – that’s quick and easy for the customer to understand. For the vendor, I guess the costs would average out over time.
4: Contact details
Who are you? An easy question, but many don’t want to answer. Here’s and easy tip. Easy you’d think – why oh why do so many websites not provide their full contact details. Whilst on the one hand they flout Consumer Laws, on the other hand, isn’t it common courtesy to le me know who I’m dealing with? What have you got to hide? Well, whatever you’re hiding you’ve lost my trust.
Trust cannot be bought. There are many companies that provide a ‘trusted website’ service so you can proudly display a trusted logos. But is there any substance to them? Unless you can trust the companies running the schemes then what difference does it make. Do you trust me because someone else you’ve never heard of says I’m OK?
Here’s one, and a very popular one with many members and annual best website awards, that has the following criteria to be a member . . .
‘We are looking for products that are original, all of which must be well presented and conveyed online. A high level of customer service is key to our discerning visitors. The site must be clear in its offering and easy to navigate. Telephone contact details as well as email contact details must be included.’
So they can hide behind an anonymous email address & mobile phone number, have an insecure checkout, have a scant regard for Consumer Regulations, but hey come on in and join up – we’ll give you a nice little trust logo to put on your website and everything will be just fine.
I never said these were easy ecommerce tips and building trust is one of the hardest things to achieve, however you get it right, the world’s your oyster.