“Wait till you try this,” she said. “Forget olives, try these.”
In went a few pickled onions and a splash of the brine they were floating in.
“Now that’s a drink,” she proclaimed.
I’m one of these guys who drinks a martini dirty. Well, filthy. I like lots of olives and a splash of olive juice. So for my olives to be replaced by onions, I was a little skeptical.
A few sips in and a couple of onions chewed, I succumbed and said, “yea, this is good.”
Later that night as I laid in bed watching Hawaii Five-O, the original with Jack Lord, the onions made a repeat appearance. With each burp I remembered how good they tasted and I reached for the iPad.
Instead of searching “how to get rid of heartburn caused by onions” I searched for “gourmet pickled onions.” Up came a bunch of eCommerce stores selling the little white gems. I visited a few sites, some of which were in desperate need of a redesign and settled on one and started to place an order for a couple jars.
Before finishing, there was an explosion in McGarrett’s office and I got sucked into the rest of show never finishing the order. But something occurred to me as I went from site to site trying to make a determination as to which one is going to get my business. I was looking for the one that looked the most “legit.”
Instilling confidence in shoppers is an important part of running an eCommerce business. Whether you’re selling pickled olives for $12 a jar or designer dresses for $1200, your site needs to make the customer feel comfortable in doing business with you.
“But Scott, how do I do that?”
Glad you asked. Go pour yourself a cocktail and read on:
- Make a good first impression. How would you feel if you walked into your proctologist’s office and out comes the doctor – unshaven, wearing a dirty shirt, flip-flops and pants hanging down like a wanna-be gangsta? You’d probably run before he shoved several feet of rubber hose up your bum. The same is true for your website. From the moment a visitor lands on your homepage, you need to portray a professional image. Your site should be neat, well organized, easy to navigate, free from unnecessary clutter and visually appealing.
- Provide a phone number. The other day I wrote about the importance of having a telephone number on your site. A phone number should be given a prominent place in your website’s header – whether it be a toll-free or toll number. Having a way for someone to reach out and touch you is still very important even though shopping online is pretty impersonal and not so touchy-feely. By providing your customers with a telephone number, you’re saying “we are here to help you… call us!” By not providing your customers with a telephone number, your’e saying “we can’t be bothered…. go away!”
- About who? The About Us page is an often overlooked page on eCommerce websites. I feel it’s one of the most important. This is the page where you get to tell your “story” to your potential customers. This is your company’s autobiography, so use that space to tell your customers about why you got into the biz, how long you’ve been doing it, what your company’s mission is, tout any awards you won or recognition you’ve received, stress how well you’re going to treat all your customers… glow a little. Show off. Tell me a story. But don’t bore me to death.
- Policies. Ugh. This is the page I hate the most. This is the page that makes a customer fall in love with you or makes them want to run and not look back. When it comes to store policies, don’t make them so utterly confusing, difficult to follow or restrictive that you’re turning customers away before they even add something to their cart. In today’s age, the no-hassle return is pretty much the norm from the big guys. Those big guys are also your competition who you may lose a sale to. Don’t make your customer jump through hoops in order to return an item, you’re only going to piddle them off, cause them to write a bad review and never shop with you again.
- “I love this store because…” When it comes to testimonials, I go both ways. They’re good to have on your site to provide potential customers with a reassurance that your customers really do love you. On the other hand, I believe most consumers believe testimonials are complete bull dung. Why? Because, believe it or not, there are plenty of eCommerce store owners fudging them. Oh the horror! Just because I have something on my site that says, “My order arrived fast, was packed great, priced right and I will order again… Mary S. New York City,” doesn’t mean that Mary S. from New York City actually placed an order.
- Review me. Please? Product reviews carry much more weight than testimonials in my book, especially if they are from verified purchasers – which most product review applications check. The people who dig into stuff like this at Marketing Sherpa say that more than half of online consumers look at product reviews before making a purchase. Reviews should be a part of every eCommerce store.
- Trust me. Trust badges are another bone of contention with me. A few of them on your site are great, but when you start cluttering up your nav bar or footer with every hacker free, secure shopping, trust me because I’m on XYZ Shopping button you’re in overkill mode. To me the most important trust badge is a secure shopping icon. That’s it. Most consumers don’t give a possum’s bottom if you’re listed on UpFront, are a member of the Sheboygan Chamber of Commerce, or who you pay to host your store… they want to know you take credit cards and your site is secure. Be choosy when it comes to selecting what trust badges to show.
- Check me out. The final one on my list – the checkout. Make sure that when a customer clicks that “checkout” button that the checkout process isn’t foreign to them. You want to carry over the look and feel of your website into the checkout keeping colors, graphics, header images, etc the same to give it a consistent look and feel. Nothing says, “let’s get out of there” by going to an unbranded checkout that looks nothing like the site the shopper just came from.
Phew! That’s a whole wheelbarrow full of stuff to chew on. If you think your brain is a little soggy from reading all that, I’ve got cramping in my fingers and my bladder says it’s time to wrap it up.
Besides… I think it’s time for a cocktail. Since I never ordered the onions, I’m going to have to settle on a few olives.
Now isn’t that refreshing?