When I first started building online stores for clients, almost nobody ever shopped online. I've learned a few things over the years that I think can help you figure out why your online store is bleeding customers.
I've been working with ecommerce sites for over 15 years and after debugging my share of payment processors (third parties that handle credit card transactions for online retailers), I've gained some empathy for the poor developer, like me, trying to make that site work.
I do most of my personal shopping online, unlike most Canadians (only one quarter of those who shop online are frequent online shoppers). I have a habit of researching products extensively and have a soft spot for the made-in-North-America products that are becoming more common in fashion and related fields. For those and for technology, I'm a lot more likely to be looking for something very specific. That means a specific model number so a specific TV, or this shovel and not that shovel. Under those pressures I've moved the bulk of my non-grocery shopping online.
While I'm browsing your online store, here are some things that I might notice and cause me to leave your site without buying anything:
1. Payment screen incongruencies.
If the payment screen is on a different server or embedded using an iframe I'll notice.. but usually forgive differences in the template. It can be really hard to match.
An iframe is a shortened term that basically means an inline frame. This can be seen visually as a frame that pops up when you are ready to pay. Often, these are used to show information from a different website or server.
The problem? In the case of security, iframes are the target of frequent attacks. Hackers are trying to gain access to sensitive information, such as credit card info, login info, passwords, etc.
Your best bet is to avoid using them when possible. After all, you wouldn't want your customers to stop shopping because of faulty security processing the payment.
2. Improper website encryption.
If your website isn't encrypted using SSL (an https connection) then I'll definitely see it and be very disappointed because it means that the transmission of my personal data is not being protected between your website and your payment processing system.
It's actually quite easy for anyone who isn't even a web developer to tell if your online store isn't secure. It only costs a few hundred dollars a year to make sure your site is secure and I'd say it's worth if it people aren't buying from you. You're probably losing 10 times that in sales by not having the proper encryption.
3. Missing Canada shipping quotes.
If you can't give me a shipping quote to Canada, even if it's high, I'll be sad because sometimes I just want something and don't care what it costs... but you have to tell me what it's going to cost! In fact, the number one reason why online shoppers abandon purchases is unexpected costs so tell me how much shipping is going to be before I enter in my credit card information.
If you can't or won't ship to Canada tell me up front. If you do, don't make me call you to ask because I won't. I will go look elsewhere.
If you're building an eCommerce site then the workflow is the most important part. make sure it's error free and lets people get through. Any friction and users will drop off. Don't be afraid of payment processors that redirect users off the site as long as they're trusted (Paypal, Square, etc).
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