eCommerce Pain Points that Kill Conversions: Updated for 2020

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Reed Patterson


Edit: Updated 11/21/2019 to help businesses prepare for a successful 2020. Risk: Your website might have some eCommerce pain points that drive customers away and hurt your conversion rate.

Never forget that eCommerce customers are delicate. They expect fast, easy, and entertaining shopping experiences. If they encounter even one minor issue, they probably won’t stick around.

“You’re asking people to spend their money on your website. Do everything in your power to make it easy. Anything less and you risk losing customers.” – Reed Patterson, Lead Content Strategist at DotcomWeavers

While some pain points can be difficult for businesses to spot, customers will zero in on them immediately. To help you secure more online sales, here are 7 eCommerce pain points and how to fix them.

eCommerce Pain Points #1: Not Enough Information

Lack of content is one of the most frustrating problems that customers face. They want to know more – it’s why they’re on your website. They want to know how and why this product or that service will benefit their lives. Customers look for:

  • Short, benefit-driven product descriptions
  • Relevant, high-quality images of the product or service
  • Social proof (testimonials and reviews) from other customers
  • Videos that give them a deeper look

This content builds trust and credibility. If they can’t find it, they might abandon their cart. The solution? Use the bullets above and add that content to your site. Remember to ask:

  1. Is it easy for my customers to find what they want?
  2. Is my content worth their time?

When you think like your customers, conversions will follow.

eCommerce Pain Points #2: No Guest Checkout

Customer time is precious and not everyone is ready to create an account with you. They might want to test the water with a single purchase before diving in. Demanding that they create an account can be a turnoff. Worse still is if you have a button that says ‘buy now’ but instead of taking them to check out, it asks them to create an account. That ‘buy now’ button is, in effect, a lie.

Ask yourself: “Is a new customer account more important than a first-time sale?”

The answer is almost always NO, but guess what? You’ll still get their basic information via guest checkout. What’s more, you can always ask them to create an account on the ‘Thank You’ page after they complete their purchase. You can use this script verbatim:

Thanks for your order! We’ll let you know when it’s on the way. If you make an account we can save your shipping and card information, which will make your next purchase more convenient.

Bottom line: offer a guest checkout option. Your conversions will improve because customers won’t feel pressured to do something they’re not ready to do.

eCommerce Paint Points #3: Slow Page Speed

In eCommerce, attention spans are milliseconds long. You’ve worked hard to rank on the first page of Google and people are rewarding your efforts with clicks. But if your content takes too long to load, they will go elsewhere. Slow loading times cause frustration. Frustration kills conversions.

“53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than 3 seconds to load. 2 seconds is the threshold for ecommerce website acceptability. At Google, we aim for under a half second.” – Maile Ohye, from Google

The best way to eliminate this eCommerce pain point? Make your website faster. Fast load times make people (and Google) happy. Fast site = good user experience = higher conversions.

eCommerce Paint Points #4: Hidden Fees & Expensive Shipping

Unless it’s a pony, don’t surprise your customers. This means you should be upfront about shipping and other fees before the final checkout. When a customer thinks they’re paying one price and then finds out that it’s more, you risk losing the sale.

Ideally, you should offer free shipping on all orders or at least at a certain price threshold ($49 and up, for example). If you must charge for shipping, make sure the cost is factored into the price before you ask for their credit card information.

Remember: customers in 2018 almost always expect free shipping. If that’s not in the cards yet, at least make sure they know what they’re signing up for.

Pain Point #5: You’re on the Wrong Web Platform

In eCommerce, as in all things, you shouldn’t use what no longer works. You wouldn’t maintain a storefront that couldn’t accommodate in-person customers, so why run your business on a platform that hinders sales?

To be blunt, if the cost is your main concern when choosing an eCommerce platform, you’re thinking too narrowly. The cheapest option is (almost) always the most limited and most cumbersome over time.

For example, every customization on a platform like WordPress may incur backend communication problems in the future. Too many customizations and patching your site can cost more than it generates.

Focus on longevity, customization potential, and user experience. Instead of lower upfront costs, choose a platform that helps generate maximum revenue. 

How big is your company? What are your shipping and fulfillment requirements? What plans do you have to expand? Discuss these points with your developer. They’ll help you find the right platform for your business.

Pain Point #6: Poor On-Site Product Search

Customers expect companies to anticipate their needs and make it easy to shop. If your site can’t show users what they need right away, you risk losing them to a competitor site that can.

No two customers search the same way, so don’t lock customers into narrow product navigation. Instead, help your customers search by as many parameters as possible, like part number, manufacturer or brand name, category, etc. 

Plus, customers may be on different devices and have different search capabilities. The most successful companies we work with offer the following product discovery features:

  1. Add a Parts Finder to your website
  2. Organize product data to improve search results
  3. Restructure your navigation to be more intuitive
  4. Interactive diagrams

Pain Point #7: Outdated Customer Service

Consider this: the most profitable eCommerce companies are investing more and more in customer service. Why? Customer reviews and word-of-mouth (especially on social media) are your best sales tools, period.

If customers trust you and feel taken care of, they’ll talk about it. If it’s hard to do business with you or they can’t get answers to their problems, they’ll talk about it. 

A bad experience on your website doesn’t mean a lost customer. Doing nothing to make it right does. Customers LOVE it (let me repeat: they really love it) when a business goes out of its way to make things right.

So, what do you want your customers to say about your business? 

Here are 4 simple ways to take your customer service to the next level.

  1. Free shipping, free returns
  2. Live customer service representatives (not chatbots)
  3. 24/7 support
  4. Perks (coupons, freebies, etc.) for shopping with you

Look for Other eCommerce Pain Points

Remember to check your Google Analytics. Where are customers having trouble or exiting your site in big numbers? By understanding customer traffic and behavior you can optimize their shopping experience – and your sales!

Have more questions about improving your eCommerce store experience? Let us know in the comments!

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