We often talk about customer experience, improving conversion rates, or user engagement, but never focus our attention on what NOT to do. It is very easy to have tunnel vision when focusing on growing your business that sometimes we forget to use our product or website like a customer would.
What if there were things on your ecommerce website right now that your customers just hate? More than likely one or more of the points mentioned below are utilized on your website. But it isn’t your fault really. We tend to copy what appears to “work” from similar businesses. We follow the same design patterns and we use the same ecommerce platforms so we oftentimes choose the path of least resistance.
Well, we wanted to know what the average customer dislikes when shopping on the typical ecommerce website so we decided to create a survey to find out. We conducted an unscientific survey asking folks an open question of what they disliked the most when shopping on an ecommerce website. Here are the top four things we heard:
This was no surprise. I can’t even think of the last time I visited an ecommerce website that didn’t immediately popup messages asking me to either join their mailing list or get today’s special discount.
I do understand the power behind the popup. It gives store owners a way to collect email addresses and also communicate to their customers about special sales that may be happening. But I think customer experience could be suffering in some cases. It can be pretty annoying when your goal is to look at the new season’s selection of denim overalls but you first have to dismiss the giant popup blocking your view.
Perhaps another way to accomplish this while maintaining a good customer experience is to consider sliding this popup onto the screen if the user scrolls down say 25% on your page. Or maybe showing a popup that only covers half of the screen. These are a couple ways that you can grab their attention without completely preventing them from browsing your website.
Note: Also keep in mind that Google has officially (as of January 10 2017) started punishing websites that use intrusive popups on their mobile websites.
Out Of Stock Products
Sometimes having an out of stock product is a good thing. It means that you have a product that customers love and are actually buying! And for the most part, customers are used to dealing with seeing products that are out of stock.
However, a pet peeve that some people pointed out is when out of stock products are still listed in a way as if you can place a backorder but you actually cannot. For example, let’s assume those same overalls that you’ve been eyeing are listed as out of stock. You are still able to select your size, color, and even click the Add To Cart button in some cases. But instead of actually allowing you to place a backorder, a small message simply states “Out Of Stock”.
Why not allow customers to place a backorder? Or if the types of products you sell are one of a kind or you don’t have a backorder system in place, at least let the customer choose to get notified when that product or something similar will be in stock.
This is something we’re all too familiar with in the SaaS space, but apparently it’s pervasive in the ecommerce world as well: Slow web page loading times.
Most of the JS scripts provided by 3rd party companies do a good job of ensuring that their scripts load asynchronously (we do this at Survey55). This means that the script will load while the page is also being parsed, as opposed to making your page loading wait until the script is loaded. Typically, the JS snippet would contain an async attribute. If possible, another good tactic is placing the external script at the bottom of your page’s code, right before the closing </body> tag. This makes it so that the script begins the loading process after the important stuff on your page starts loading.
Featured Photo Landing Page
Here is an interesting one that is present on a few ecommerce websites I visited. When you arrive on their homepage, there is a large image showcasing a particular featured category such as a spring collection or maybe a living room environment. While typically beautiful, clicking on the image rarely takes you to the main featured product that it was featuring.
Some might argue that the intention of the photo was to showcase a category. However, if you think about it from a customer’s point of view things are seen differently. If you were on your favorite clothing website and a featured image had a model wearing a set of overalls (yes, overalls example again) you adored, your first instinct is to click on the image and hopefully be taken directly to that product or outfit the model is wearing. Unfortunately, this is typically not the case. Usually you’re taken to a product listing page that may indeed have the product you were looking for, but you end up having to hunt around the page to find the exact listing.
This sounds trivial, but as you know every little bit amount of friction is a possibility for a customer to leave your website and not buy anything.
The importance of customer experience rings true for every aspect of your online store. This can be quite irritating as you must perform a balancing act between gathering the important data you need while ensuring your customers have a positive customer experience.
Do you know what your customers think about your website? Create a survey to find out!