Have You Ever Tried to Buy Something From Your Own Website?
We’re all very familiar with the frustration of trying to buy something from a website that seems hell bent on doing everything possible to prevent you from actually making that purchase. Apart from wanting to take a hammer to your poor innocent computer screen, this frustration does lead to other bigger questions.
To me this is like the company that spends thousands of dollars advertising itself, yet when you ring them in response to an advertisement the phone rings out, or a rude sales person answers the phone and basically lets you know that they are too busy to talk. What is the point of investing a lot of money into a fantastic website, only to have the money making part of the site let you down?
As consumers when we try to make a purchase on a site and the sales process is just too technical, too complicated and illogical we start to ask a number of questions.
For starters we find ourselves asking the question “have the people behind this website ever actually used it?” I am sure the answer to this is often no. And by use it I mean taken out their own personal credit card and gone through the endless pages to make a purchase. Every board member of a company selling something on line should be tested to see if they can make a purchase – if they can’t, the site gets a fail.
The problem is that a poorly thought out website that puts more barriers in front of the customer than solutions, reflects very badly on the rest of the business. This leads to the next big question “if they can’t get this right, what else can’t they get right?”
In all fairness there are plenty of great businesses that simply can’t get their act together when it comes to their online presence, no matter how good every other element of their business may be, but that most certainly doesn’t make it a forgivable sin.
The next logical big question is “why can’t they get it right?” I think there are a few reasons. The first is often because the techie folk are in charge of the website and whilst I don’t want to stereotype, from my experience web developers are wonderful at telling us all of the things that can’t be done as opposed to all of the things that can be done.
I have finally realised after developing many websites over the past 15 years, is that pretty much anything can be done on a website, it is dependent on your level of creativity, the skill of your web developers and your budget. So if you know what you want and you have a reasonable budget, you need to make sure that you have a web developer that can deliver.
There really is no excuse for a website that makes it impossibly difficult for a customer to make a purchase, yet they still exists with more coming online every day. Any business that sells anything online needs to take a step back and look long and hard at the sales end of their website to see what needs to be improved to make the experience a whole lot easier for anyone with a credit card.
This means talking to customers (not getting them to fill in an online complicated survey). It means checking out a pile of other websites that sell online to see what they do well and what they do badly and learning from them.
A million dollar website can come unstuck because of a simple line of badly worded text that confuses the customer.
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