eConsultancy recently highlighted the top 7 reasons people buy from online ecommerce sites instead of brick-and-mortar stores. Based on research from MIT, Facebook, Google and Target, the key drivers of online shopping are:
- Value – 75 percent say online prices are more competitive. Can a small business always offer the lowest price? Clearly not, so how can you compete? eConsultancy says despite the emphasis on low price, 81 percent of those surveyed report they have paid more to get better service. If you can’t beat big-box retailers’ online prices, make sure you provide something else that’s special to make up for it.
- Open – 63 percent prefer being able to shop at any time of day or night. Be sure your site is up and running as smoothly in the middle of the night as it is during the day, and that you can handle increased traffic at any time. Also be sure that your customer service options—such as live chat or the ability to call and talk to a customer service rep—are 24/7.
- Delivery – 59 percent are persuaded by free delivery. That doesn’t mean you have to offer free shipping on everything, of course. You can keep it affordable for your business (while still meaningful to consumers) by setting limits such as “free shipping on all orders over $50.”
- Speed – 55 percent like being able to get products the next day. Again, that might be tough to offer, but in a separate eConsultancy survey about holiday 2012 shopping habits, 26 percent of consumers said they had paid extra for next-day delivery.
- Ease – 48 percent say online shopping is just easier. Make sure it’s easy by having a website that’s simple to navigate, allows for ease of sorting and searching, provides all the information a customer might want about products (including reviews from other customers) and has a wide range of product shots and even videos.
- Range – 46 percent like being able to see what’s in stock and available at a glance. Make sure your site is well stocked and your inventory management/fulfillment system is top notch. Also enable customers to sort for specifics such as size and color quickly.
- Choice – 40 percent cite the ability to buy new or otherwise unavailable merchandise. This is where small online retailers can really shine. Design your site, write your copy and develop your marketing materials so they emphasize the unique, custom or hard-to-find aspects of what you sell. Make it clear this isn’t your average big-box retail site—this is something special.
Keep these 7 key factors in mind, and you’ll do better at converting visitors to your site into buyers—and return customers.
Image by Flickr user ganesha.isis (Creative Commons)Google+