The e-commerce industry has undergone exponential growth in recent years, but it still lags behind retail in more ways than one. And until e-commerce businesses band together and agree to make some changes, the industry will fail to realise its full potential.
Four points of friction e-commerce must smooth over
Compare current online shopping to five years ago and it’s almost unrecognisable. There have been many improvements and developments, but the industry is still far from perfect. Here’s a look at some of the biggest friction points that need to be solved: 1. Poor product interaction
One of the biggest disadvantages of shopping online versus in a store is that customers don’t get to touch and feel the products they’re considering. For some customers, this is a major turnoff and ultimately convinces them to find a retailer that sells the product in a store.
While you’re obviously subject to certain limitations, you can try to overcome this point of friction by providing better images, descriptions, and even product videos. Some e-commerce businesses even go as far as providing a 360-degree view of the product. The more detail you’re able to provide, the fewer questions and hesitations the customers will have. 2. Requiring too much information
Online shoppers aren’t keen on providing more information than they have to. While you definitely want to collect some data from your customers, be wary of overstepping. With each piece of additional information requested (phone number, address, employer, etc.), you risk running the lead off. Only ask for the bare minimum and you’ll see much higher conversion rates.
This issue is closely related to another problem that’s fairly common: requiring customers to register in order to complete a purchase. You should never require a customer to create an account. You can give them the option to do so, but wait to deliver this prompt until after the transaction is complete. 3. Surprise charges at checkout
How many times have you personally shopped online, put something in your shopping cart, and then been surprised by a bunch of added fees and charges at the final checkout screen? It’s super frustrating, right?
“Most customers prefer to know the total cost of their purchases, including taxes and shipping, up front. Displaying the final purchase amount early in the buying cycle is one way to prevent customers from getting unpleasant, annoying surprises after they enter their credit card information,” High Risk Pay
explains in this blog post
. “If customers decide these last-minute updates to their purchase prices are too high, they may be frustrated enough to leave your site without completing their purchases.” 4. Limited payment options
“Plenty of consumers, especially those in younger demographics, don’t like using credit cards to complete online shopping purchases. Some worry about security and data breaches. Others may not have credit cards at all,” marketing expert Kali Hawlk explains
. “There’s no getting around the kind of friction caused when a customer literally can’t pay you for what they want to purchase.”
The best solution to this problem is to offer multiple forms of payment – including PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and possibly even Bitcoin. The more convenient you make things, the better the chance that your customers will be able to complete a purchase. It’s time to take action
The longer you wait to solve these issues, the more sales you’re going to miss out on. From an e-commerce business owner’s perspective, you should view these points of friction as opportunities. By overcoming them, you can give yourself an advantage over the competition (who is likely still making these same mistakes).
Are you ready to take action?