What Do Customers Want from an Online Store? Avoid These 6 Pet Peeves

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Ecommerce companies sink time and money into trying to get to the bottom of what customers want. The question can actually keep entrepreneurs up at night, trying to figure out how to tweak their websites to be more amenable to users. When you’re seeking your footing in the wild world of ecommerce, sometimes giving customers what they want from an online store is as simple avoiding their pet peeves. Here are six to start, based on a recent report from Corra.

Survey Says…

Surveying 1,000 U.S. online shoppers, the digital agency was able to provide a ranking of exactly what bothers customers most when they visit an ecommerce site. Here’s the breakdown of pet peeves related to finding products:

  • Poor menu design/missing subcategories (41 percent)
  • Missing advanced search filters (29.8 percent)
  • Products buried beneath branding (26.4 percent)

And of course, customers have other concerns when it comes to shopping cart functionality. The same survey showed these three pain points:

  • Opaque prices (33.1 percent)
  • Mandatory account creation (26.5 percent)
  • High shipping costs (22.9 percent)

While these are far from the only tricky areas for customers visiting an eCommerce site, they’re a great jumping off point for discussing how to maximize the user experience of your site.

build ecommerce website

Burying Prices and Fees

Cost makes or breaks a customer purchase; for many, it’s the difference between abandoning a shopping cart and completing the transaction. You can help customers avoid any deal-breaking surprises here by prominently displaying prices every step of the way with a readable font in a highly contrasted color. Listing prices near your calls to action (like “add to cart”) helps users find them right away. Be sure to clearly list fees, taxes and shipping costs in your shopping cart before you implore customers to “complete purchase.”

Requiring Account Registration

Requiring your customers to register for an account before they check out will negatively affect conversion rates. People view it as a hassle, particularly when they are buying gifts. Some will exit your site and seek out a competitor. Still, gathering as much data as possible is a desirable endeavor, so offer shoppers the option to create an accountor check out as a guest. If they choose the latter, let them do so, then offer them the registration option again after they’ve paid.

Clunky Site Navigation

Navigation should be a top priority when you’re considering how to build an ecommerce website. After all, the navigation bars at the top and/or left side of your home page are how most shoppers will find the categories and subcategories for which they’re searching. Pay attention to the overall structure of your site, and translate it into a usable system so shoppers can find what they need quickly.

Disappearing Shopping Cart

Customers could be on a “one and done” shopping mission, or they could be adding the first of many subsequent items to their cart. Either way, most will appreciate the option to continue shopping or proceed to their shopping cart—which should be in plain view at all times, preferably on the right side of your navigation bar.

Lack of Shipping Options

A quick rule of thumb for ecommerce shipping: the more flexible the options, the better. In addition to finding a way to keep shipping prices reasonable, take a hard look at your fulfillment strategies and adjust them as needed. For instance, free shipping thresholds often work well. You can also offer your customers slower shipping (perhaps 4-6 days instead of 2-3) for a lower price. If it’s a non-urgent item, they’ll appreciate the savings.

Forgoing a Search Bar

A search bar with both basic and advanced filtering functionality will drive conversions and leave your customers pleased about the sheer convenience of shopping with you. Think of the shopping process like a funnel and design your search tool to help customers move continuously through it until—bingo—they find exactly what they want.

If you can avoid these six pet peeves, more customers will find what they want from your online store. If you make sure the user experience comes first, conversions will surely follow.


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