It’s safe to say I’m online A LOT. Especially this time of year. Between holiday shopping and my regular Googling of how to be a better parent (what did our moms do before the Internet?) I’m on my fair share of websites.
In the past 48 hours, I’ve run into two that left me feeling inspired to write a blog post about the online shopping customer experience.
Website #1: Sleep Training
Picture this: It was 1:27 a.m. I’d been up since 11:39 p.m. with my son trying everything in my power to get him back to sleep. The poor guy was out of whack sleep-wise after our Thanksgiving travels. Since returning home, I was averaging a total of 3-4 hours of sleep every night.
This was night 3 of enduring a marathon cry-soothe-sleep cycle in the wee-hours of the morning. I was reaching my breaking point and knew we all needed help.
So, as I heard sleepy but persistent cries from the nursery next to my bedroom, I visited the website of the sleep training coach I’d been referred to that day. On the website, things looked good. I was happy to read about her philosophies and ideas for how to help little ones like my guy. The problem? The only call to action was for me to call her.
I can’t imagine that I’m the only sleepless, desperate mom who visited her website in the middle of the night looking for a glimmer of hope. In fact, I am willing to wager a bet that if we looked at her analytics, she’d see a spike in traffic during the witching hours.
Calling isn’t an option at that time of day.
After digging deeper (only because she was a friend of a friend) I finally found a contact form and used that to get in touch with her.
Lesson learned: Consider the stage of the buying cycle your customer is in when she’s on your website. Then, tailor your call-to-action around that. Not around your personal preference.
Website #2: Shopping
The next day, I was sitting crosslegged on the futon in my son’s playroom (formerly our formal dining room, but that’s what happens when you have kids). He was having a great time on the foam mat in front of me and I took advantage of the few moments I had distraction free by pulling out my iPhone.
It was time to do a little Christmas shopping for my little guy.
I started poking around Pinterest to find what I was looking for, when up popped a picture I hadn’t expected but really liked. I immediately clicked over to the website from the pin and started browsing.
BOOM! Up came a popup offering me $10 off my first purchase of over $50 if I just handed over my email address.
Fine. I did it (but grumbled under my breath a little bit because I know that Google is in the process of punishing websites that interrupt customer’s on websites like that, making their browsing experience from a mobile device way more difficult than it should be).
I clicked out of the box after fat fingering my way over the tiny little X more times than I care to admit.
Back to shopping.
As I scrolled through the site, I got curious. Really curious. This was what we were looking for but I had a price point in mind and needed to be sure it didn’t break my budget. So, I clicked around. And clicked some more.
After what I consider to be triple the number of clicks I should’ve had to make to find the price on these items, I finally found help – sort of. The price was buried under another gateway. I had to give my email address again to be granted access to see the prices. It was cumbersome and difficult, especially for a mom who had limited time to glance at the toys on the page.
Lesson learned: Be respectful of your audience’s time. Use your content to answer all of their questions and objections. By hiding vital information, like the prices of your products, you’ll turn potential buyers away.
What Does the Customer Experience on Your Website Look Like?
When you’re writing your sales copy or designing your website, it’s easy to get caught up in your own wants.
- You want a phone call;
- You want an email address;
- You want to hide some make-or-break information from your potential buyers to keep their interest for longer.
Although this is a common trap to fall into, it’s a risky one and one that could be costing you money – big time.
As you rewrite your sales copy, thinking carefully about the experience your customer is having the moment she lands on your website.
- What is she doing at that moment?
- How much does she know about what you have to offer?
- What does she need to know about what you offer to make her decision?
- How easy is it for her to reach out to you with questions?
- How easy is it for her to give you her credit card information?
The more you focus on your customer’s online shopping experience, the more you can build a website that flows naturally and makes you money.