How to make your customers spend more

By Lance O'Grady

Every retailer wants their customers to spend more money, more frequently online. It’s a tough question, but if we look at the three most common thought processes customers go through when shopping online, we can make some easy changes to make their experience more comfortable and therefore spend more money with you.

Will it get here in time?

Delivery has always been one of the biggest hurdles for online retailers. As soon as they come to the site and find something they like, customers wonder ‘How soon am I going to get it?’.

Typically, when people are shopping online they have a particular occasion in mind, and as a result they want to make sure their new purchase will arrive before then. If payday is Wednesday and I start looking, the biggest question I’ve got is ‘if I buy it now, will it get here in time for the weekend?’

Communicating that you have overnight delivery is the easy part here. If you say that orders placed before 2pm will arrive the next day, it’s important that they do. No one likes a broken promise, especially when it’s written so confidently across the site. Occasional human error is acceptable, but if you can’t stick to what you’ve outlined, change it.

Your order fulfilment process needs to be streamlined to ensure that you can get orders out on time, every time. Obviously mistakes do happen, but if you find mistakes are happening too often it may be that you’re not ready to make guarantees of overnight delivery. Start slow and communicate a few days for delivery. Once you’re confident, bring it down to two days, then finally to overnight. It’s better to say it’s going to take three days and get it there overnight, than vice versa.

What happens if it doesn’t fit?

This runs through everyone’s head when shopping online. The feeling alone can send customers fleeing. Everyone seems to posses this fear where they worry retailers won’t take their clothes back and they will forever be stuck with clothes that don’t fit. Or they will take them back, but they’ll have to jump through hoops to make it happen. Not exactly feelings that inspire online shopping.

A clear, concise returns policy should be outlined throughout the site. Remind your customers at every step of the way that if there are issues they can easily return the products for the right size.

The key here is to make sure you stick to your promise of ‘easy’. If a customer tries to return something, retailers need to provide the same fantastic customer service as if someone was trying to buy something. There is a fear that many retailers have about their customers returning products (‘oh no, i’m giving money back’), however, if you can give them a great experience that shows just how far you are willing to go to keep them happy, they will come back again and again.

This is too hard. I give up.

This is one of the worst thoughts your customers can have. Basically, this is the feeling that shopping on your website is too difficult and all they want to do is give up.

Maybe they’ve got something in their cart and the checkout is too hard. Maybe they’ve seen things they like, but can’t get them into their cart in the first place. Either way, this is not what you want your customers to think about.

This one requires a little more effort to fix than the other two. Basically you need to look at your fundamental e-commerce offering and decide what you could do to reduce the challenge of shopping on your site. Read  my last article, Shopping online is meant to be easy for further reading on this.

These are just a few of the considerations any brand should make when trying to encourage their customers to spend more money. They sound simple, but you’d be surprised at the impact these changes can make on your business.

Think about your last really good online shopping experience. I’m confident the reason it was so good was because you didn’t need to think about the points above and you could just whip through the site and buy exactly what you wanted. Easy.

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