Imagine for a second that you are shopping for a car. You know what make and model you want to buy and are looking to buy today.
At the first lot you visit you encounter a sales person that is the epitome of the “used car salesman.” You know the type–a little too friendly, has a little too much in common with you, a little bit smarmy around the edges, and lingers entirely too close as you check out the car in person. You can tell you’re nothing more than a giant walking dollar sign to this sales person. Chances are pretty slim that you will buy a car from this dealer unless they are the only outfit in town.
At a second dealership, the sales person appears long enough to say hello, offers a brief amount of information about the cars that are currently available and then disappears to let you browse in peace. You browse for awhile and then you have a question about gas mileage. The sales person is nowhere in sight. A quick cursory search of the dealership shows it to be largely deserted by anyone who can actually help you, much less sell you a car. Are you likely to end up buying a car from that dealership? Not if you can’t find someone to help you complete the sale.
At a third dealership you engage a sales person who seems genuinely interested in helping you buy the car you want. She’s friendly and knows her stuff, but she isn’t pushy or overly eager to close the deal. She answers your questions, gives you time to check out the car on your own, takes you for a test drive and offers to get started on the paperwork for you when it’s clear you want to buy.
Which sales person are you most likely to buy from? Exactly. The third one.
Now ask yourself WHY you are drawn to the third salesperson over the other two. The first sales person was too pushy and too worried about making the sale to truly help you. The second salesperson wasn’t interested enough in the sale to stick around and help you when you needed it. And the third sales person? Quite simply, she was helpful, informative, stayed out of your way during the evaluation phase and yet continued to move the buying process along and closed the deal when you were ready.
Your ecommerce site can take a lesson from each of the cars sales people noted above.
The pushy ecommerce site. Like the slick used car salesman above, a pushy ecommerce site all but screams, “BUY, BUY, BUY!” at its visitors without considering what the user actually wants or needs. Avoid over promoting current sales and specials, pushy chat pop-up windows, videos that start blaring at your visitors the moment they hit the site (without their having to start the video), and video “hosts” that you can’t easily turn off. In short, don’t focus solely on the sale.
The absent ecommerce site. While your site will never be truly absent unless your server fails, critical product information, calls to action and customer self-help resources can be decidedly missing from your site. Ensure that each product page on your site clearly asks the shopper to buy via “Add to Cart” buttons. Also, make sure your site displays clear links to customer service lines, technical support chat functions, and other self-help and technical resources from every page of your site. In short, make it easy to do business with you.
The helpful ecommerce site. Focused on the customer, the helpful ecommerce site provides the information necessary to make an informed buying decision, leads the shopper through the buying process and provides technical support and customer service when needed. This type of ecommerce site is most likely to convert a visitor to a customer and is also most likely to leave customers raving about their online shopping experience. In short, offer your customers the type of ecommerce site that you would prefer to order from.
To learn more about how to maximize the success of your ecommerce site, download the white paper, B2B Ecommerce Success – Seven Questions to Consider When Beginning an Ecommerce Initiative.