Thursday, 13 September 2012

How to stop people leaving your site

When a customer visits your online store, there are a number of things which can cause them to gain a negative impression of your site, resulting in them leaving your store to go elsewhere.

Website Layout

As the main page of your store is most likely the first part of your site a customer lands on, it is important to make a good first impression. You want to have a site that has a clear layout and allows customers to easily see the different item categories you have on your site, showing a visitor how easily they can navigate to different sections of your site. You should look to avoid having all of your items on main page for customers to view. This just makes your website seemed cluttered and is a bit of a turn off.  However, you could have a small selection of products on your main page, showing the most popular items that your store has for sale. 

Easy Maneuverability 

When a customer visits your store in order to make a purchase, the easier you can make the whole experience for them, the happier they are going to be. The more pages a customer has to go through in order to complete the purchasing procedure, the more annoyed they are going to get. While many people say that the key to mobile commerce success is making the process as quick as possible, the same applies to your online site. One of the factors that affects this maneuverability is the ability for your website to load up in different browsers. Depending on the browser your customer uses, the appearance of your store may differ slightly, resulting in images and other content appearing distorted. Read our earlier post (Your browser is more important than you think when selling online) for more information on how to try and combat this issue.


It isn't just the speed of the checkout process that needs to be right to keep your customer happy, the time in which it takes the pages themselves actually load up is a crucial factor. Both on your online store and mobile store, if a web page takes too long to load up, the likelihood is that the customer is going to decide to abandon your store and try somewhere else. The general consensus is that for a customer to be happy with a page's loading time, the page needs to completely load up within three seconds. If you have done tests on your own page and have found that your pages take longer than this, one of the easiest ways to try and fix this is simply to reduce the number of images you have on a particular page. The more images you have on your page, the bigger it is, so the longer it is going to take to load. However, if you run an online store, your images are what's going to entice customers to make a purchase, so reducing the number of images you have may just not be possible. If this is the case then you should look to change your image files to GIF files as they are the smallest type of image file and will load up the quickest. You should avoid using PNG files and bitmap as these are the biggest types of image files and will result in a significantly increased loading time.

Another option would be to enable PHP caching on your site. Essentially what this does is save all of the information such as the data and images, when a person first visits the site, for retrieval at a later date. What this means is that when a customer visits your store for the second time, it will simply load up all the data which was previously saved, making the website load up much quicker. 

Provide As Much Choice As Possible

The more options you can provide a customer with, the happier they will be. This applies not only to the products you have for sale in terms of colour and size, but also payment and delivery options a customer can select. This variety in choice is going to allow you to attract as many customers as possible to your website and help you achieve the maximum amount of sales. While it may cost you more in terms of using more delivery options, the extra sales it will generate will result in you still achieving a greater profit. The same attitude should apply when selecting the payment methods your online store will provide. While many people tend to use Paypal in order to purchase products online, you should still give them the option to pay by other forms such as credit card, Sagepay and all other forms of online and merchant payment methods.

Provide Some Form of Security 

If a customer visits your ecommerce store and finds that there isn't adequate security to protect both their login and payment details, customers are going to be very reluctant to purchase from your store. When setting up an ecommerce store you should look get some form of hosting security. This means that all of your emails and other data within your store will be protected from any external attack. The next step would then be to  get yourself some form of payment gateway which will allow your customers to make a secure payment. When a customer makes a purchase, they enter the payment details, such as their credit card information, their details are then transferred to the online gateway to be processed and send to the buyer's bank to get authorisation for the payment. When approved, the cost of the product would then be debited from the users account in order to complete the payment process. Using a gateway allows you to ensure that this transaction is kept as secure as possible.

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