Practical Ecommerce

Conversion: 15 Reasons Why Consumers Will Leave Your eCommerce Site

Editor’s Note: We welcome Darpan Munjal as our newest contributor. Munjal is president of Chicago-based LeapMatrix, which consults small and large ecommerce firms on conversion and usability matters. He also writes CommerceWiki, a blog aimed at helping ecommerce merchants improve their business. Munjal’s first article, below, was taken from that blog.

You can make a safe assumption that the reason I am visiting your online store is because I have an intention to buy something from you. All I need from you is to help me find what I am looking for and then take me from point A (product page) to point B (checkout). I am ready to fork over my money if you show me a clear path. So it is up to you to decide how easy or difficult you want my journey to be.

15 Conversion Hot Spots

  1. Don’t Require Registration. Do not force me to register during the checkout process. If I click on checkout, that is usually a safe assumption that I have made a decision to purchase. Please get out of my way so you can take my money as quickly as possible before I change my mind. Don’t present me with unnecessary registration steps or other information that would slow me down. If you want to give me an option to register after the checkout is complete, sure, I will consider it.

  2. Write for Humans. Remember that Google is not your target customer – I am. Don’t write your product descriptions or other content containing tons of SEO keywords with a sole purpose to please Google. Sure you need to focus on SEO but the product description has to make sense to customers first. At the end of the day, you might get a good ranking on Google but if consumers don’t understand the content on your site, you will not win.

  3. Watch Out-of-stock Items. Don’t let me add something to the cart if later you will tell me that it is out of stock. If you already know that something is out of stock, can you please show that upfront on the product page so we don’t waste each other’s time?

    Darpan Munjal

    Darpan Munjal

  4. Delete Empty Categories. Do you have categories that do not have any products online? Can you please disable those categories so that I don’t have to click those categories, just to find a “No Products Found” message?

  5. Clean-up Your Home Page. Just because you have a lot of promotions and products on your site, you don’t have to show all of them on your home page. Please keep the home page clean and focus only on few key promotional or merchandise messages that truly tell a compelling story. If you have more than 100 links on your home page, you are trying too hard.

  6. Establish an Arrival Date. It would be nice to know when I will receive an item – not just when you plan to ship it. You know my zip code – you know the delivery times with UPS and FedEx, you know your processing time – so can you please show me a date when I should expect to see the item at my door instead of having me do all guesswork in my head?

  7. Don’t Over-recommend. If I add something to the shopping cart, please show me the cart before showing any other recommendations or offers that I might be interested in. Don’t slow me down by showing 10 recommendations before I get to my cart page. I have a short attention span and if I get overwhelmed with too much unnecessary information, I might just leave.

  8. Be Careful with Email Addresses. If you take my email address during checkout, please make good use of it. For example, if would be nice of you to follow up few days later to check if the item arrived properly, and if I would be interested in writing a review for the item. I don’t mind writing an honest review – you just have to ask and remind me. Which is a good segue to the next point.

  9. Don’t Change Negative Reviews. If I write a negative review about a product, please don’t go out of the way to moderate the review to put a positive spin to my content. Please remember that customer reviews are supposed to be unbiased and any attempt from your side to hide or suppress the negative reviews is a sure way to lose trust with your loyal customers.

  10. Disclose Final Price Early-on. Don’t wait until the final step in the checkout to show me the final price including the coupon discounts, taxes and shipping costs. I would like to know that information at the shopping cart page so there are no surprises during the final step. If you need my zip code in the shopping cart page to calculate these costs, just ask me and I will be happy to provide that information to you. Which leads me to the next point.

  11. Avoid Duplicate Entries. If I have told you anything about myself such as my zip code, please try to remember it. Don’t make me re-enter that information at the time of checkout. There is a good probability that I will not change that information, but just give me an option to change it later if I need to.

  12. Help Customers Reach You. Please don’t try to hide your contact information just because you want to minimize the number of customer service calls. If you have an 800 number hidden somewhere on the site, please display it prominently. Customers need to know upfront that there is an easy way to contact you if something goes wrong with their order.

  13. Don’t Ask for Too Much Info. When I am providing my credit card information, you really don’t have to ask me what type of credit card it is because you can figure it out from my credit card number. Just show me the credit card type for confirmation and I will let you know if there is a problem.

  14. Simplify Security Checks. While you are thinking about that checkout experience, can you also do something about that Captcha? It is nice to know that you are concerned about our security and want to make sure that I am a human. But for the sake of humanity, please don’t make me decipher that 10-character Captcha image. Just try to keep it simple, if possible.

  15. Turn Off Advertising. If you display any AdSense ads on your retail store, can you please turn those off? That sends a mixed message to me as a customer. If you are truly an online retailer, your focus should be on selling products, not making a few bucks from customers who accidentally click on those ads and end up somewhere else.

Some of the above points may seem obvious but it is amazing to see even large online retailers who end up building complex checkout processes, overlooking some of these points just because they have a complex business. If you think from customer’s perspective, they really don’t care about complexities in business – they are looking for a simple and intuitive shopping experience.

Darpan Munjal

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  1. LightHouse November 3, 2009 Reply

    It would be amazing to me to see any online retailer show text link advertising on their site. The goal is to sell products not sell your customers to your competitor for a mere $.05. These are all basic points but i will follow your blog as well Mr. Munjal

  2. Michael Vorel November 5, 2009 Reply

    Excellent points Darpan! Conversions are essential to improve upon and often the most basic errors are overlooked by e-commerce sites. I resonate with your points on writing for humans versus what search engines want and to leave negative reviews to show unbiased reviews. Overall a great list to check before the holidays.

  3. The Collectors Hub November 5, 2009 Reply

    Great tips! Sometimes we add things to our sites to help us as a merchant without realizing it may turn off our potential customers.

  4. Heather Dawson November 5, 2009 Reply

    I also think the primarly reason people abandon a cart is because the price they see isn’t what they are ready to pay. They want to look around and see if they can find it cheaper or they want to see how much its going to cost them when they are ready to buy it.

    There is an opportunity here for merchants who know how to deliver the right offer that will encourage the shopper to convert.

  5. eoschlotz November 5, 2009 Reply

    Well done and useful article, Darpan. I especially recommend watching out for 1,2,3, and 10 – I know I have often abandoned shopping carts because of those issues. As a user experience fanatic, I would ask: who purchases things from your site and gives you money? It’s (only) the customer. Everything should be tailored to making them want to do business with you. And Darpan, I think your opening statement is overstated. If I visit your site it only means I am considering buying something and I am checking out the possibility of buying it from you. You’ve got to sell me on the product and on your company.

  6. Alex Mulin November 6, 2009 Reply

    I agree with Michael Vorel. This article is a great "to check before Xmas list".

    I never trusted web-sites that display ad-sense. It’s stupid to have them on a web-shop pages as they lead your visitors away of your web-site. For me this is a good sign that people behind a web-site doesn’t need me as a customer.

  7. Louis Camassa November 6, 2009 Reply

    Well thought out list. What kind of research have you performed on your assessment of point 1, "Don’t Require Registration"? If you look at some of the top sales producing websites out there like Amazon and Newegg, they require registration.

    Other sites like Staples, Office Depot, and Best Buy do not. How did you come to the conclusion that registration is a bad thing?

    I would hope that as people become more familiar and trusting with the web, account registration will be required on all sites. Its a great benefit when you can track your order status, re-order without entering all your information again, and receive feature benefits such as; wish lists, buyer rewards, etc…

  8. Kevin November 9, 2009 Reply

    Have to admit I have NEVER understood the concept of an E-Commerce merchant having Google Adsense on their site. Even Target is doing it now, and I suppose their thought process is that the consumer is still going to walk through the door Saturday morning and make a purchase of that item.

    But boy, I’d hate to introduce competition right on my product page. How counter intuitive is that?

  9. Jagath Narayan November 15, 2009 Reply

    Great article with tips on improving the customer experience. I like points #3 and #6 especially. Shows how important it is to maintain the inventory information up to date on the webstore.

  10. Faststream Techie February 25, 2012 Reply

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    So could you pl mail regarding this.ASAP Pl reply my email id