We’ve all been in the situation where we have to buy something online RIGHT NOW but we just can’t seem to find it; for me it was a .71¢ O-ring for my dishwasher the other day. In the span of five minutes, I literally checked out a dozen websites that claimed to stock the part’s model number…yet each and every one of them were difficult to navigate and painfully confusing. On most of them, I couldn’t search by item number, couldn’t access the shopping cart and one didn’t even accept credit cards. Needless to say, that’s eleven websites that had an extremely motivated buyer walk away because they weren’t equipped to meet my needs.

Now let’s talk about your website for a moment. If I wanted to buy whatever it is that you’re selling, could I come right to your site and leave a happy camper just a few minutes later? If your answer is “no” (or even a “maybe”), then there is a good chance that you’re losing out on a heck of a lot of business. Let’s take a look at some of the more common website mistakes that destroy conversion rates-

A Confusing Checkout Process

shopping cartThe average online shopper invests an average of 3.6 seconds on any given web page when determining its overall value. In other words, that’s essentially how long you have before a possible customer is visiting your nearest competitor…and those 3.6 seconds includes page load times as well. Here are just a few problems that chase away customers:

–          Slow page loading times

–          Poor site indexing

–          Broken hyperlinks

–          Missing/poorly written product descriptions

–          Difficult navigation menu

–          No visible pricing

–          Complicated shopping carts

If any of these issues are present on your website, fix them immediately because they are literally costing your company sales. Always remember that shopping online is nothing like buying something inside a brick and mortar store; the very same customer will react completely different within the two different environments.

A Weak Call to Action

call to actionLikewise, what are you doing to show customers that your products and services are better than what the competition has to offer? If there is not an immediate incentive to buy on your website in one form or another, then you may be giving motivated buyers an excuse to check out the competition just because they’re not fully sold on your products. Now, don’t think that a call to action has to be some type of sale; that’s only one way to motivate a buyer. Some other approaches are:

–          Limited quantities

–          Superior quality

–          Incredible customer service

–          Easy return policies

–          Live chat help

–          Great product descriptions

–          Incentives for return customers

In any case, it is essential to have one or more ways to convince site visitors to buy immediately. Even if they fall in love with your products on the first visit, there’s no guarantee that they’ll even find your website again a few hours later.

Then again, your problem may be just the opposite. Don’t you just love those long-form, hard sale websites that claim they’ve essentially re-invented the wheel, discovered the ultimate money-making opportunity, and saved the world from an apocalypse? Okay, so maybe they’re not that bad but you know exactly the types of websites I’m talking about. If you’re trying too hard to over-sell your visitors, it often has the exact same effect as not trying to pitch them at all…the 3.6 second rule kicks in and they go somewhere else instead.

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Maybe you’re thinking that none of these rules apply to you because your website doesn’t have an actual shopping cart, but in many cases affiliate websites and service-based businesses are the worst offenders of intentionally blowing conversion rates. Take, for instance, a customer who sends an email query about a product or a service. Again, we already know:

–          The website visitor is likely a motivated buyer since he’s shopping a very specific industry and asking questions

–          The website visitor could make a commitment today if he finds a solution that fits his needs

–          The website visitor will be at a competitor’s website in 3.6 seconds if they don’t find good info

–          Since the customer is emailing the business with questions, they didn’t find good info

With those facts in hand, you’d think that these types of websites would answer emails in real time (or at least hourly), but many businesses go weeks or even months without getting back to website visitors. Even worse, these same types of companies will pay good money for “qualified leads” since they can never get enough business.

If your company has a website, social media account, or even just an email address, any type of correspondence from a customer is a chance for a quick sale, a referral, or a chance to build brand loyalty. Neglecting these types of leads is literally throwing away money and your competitors absolutely love you for it. If you’re looking for a quick way to boost your conversion rates, then look no further than your inbox.