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Updated 21 Nov 2017


The biggest e-commerce friction points you must fix when selling online

Internet retail is a highly competitive environment and if your sites are frustrating or challenging to use, your customers are going to find a less cumbersome place to spend their cash. 


Nicole Crampton, 28 August 2017  Share  0 comments  Print


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If you compare today’s online shopping landscape to five years ago, it’s almost unrecognisable. Online spending in South Africa is expected to reach R53bn by next year, from R37.1 billion in the past 12 months, according to new research commissioned by PayPal and conducted by Ipsos. They say that your customers aren’t going to fight against your systems just to make a purchase; they’re going to go somewhere else.

Related: The top 5 ecommerce trends you should look out for


THE NEWS

58% of adults who use the Internet in South Africa shopped online over the past 12 months, amounting to an estimated total spend of R37.1 billion, according to PayPal. This is a large market to be losing out on if your e-commerce site is clunky, slow and without cyber security measures in place.


Here are some of the biggest friction points in e-commerce that you need to keep an eye on: 

1. Low product interaction

Not being able to physically hold the product has always been a pain point for online shoppers. While you’re subject to certain limitations, you can try to overcome them by providing better images, descriptions, and even product videos. 

For example, Facebook 360, allows users to navigate 360-degree videos in their News Feed, this technology has offered a VR gateway for many brands. For instance, NARS now uses Facebook 360 to offer customers a new way to try on makeup through their smartphones. You can use this technology to showcase your product in an engaging and interactive way through a screen.

2. Don’t ask so many questions

Ask -so -many -questions

When shopping online, your customer is looking for a quick and easy experience. While you definitely want to collect data for strategic and analytical reasons, you don’t want to overstep. With each piece of additional information requested (phone number, address, employer, etc.), you run the risk of frustrating your customer. Only ask for the bare minimum and you’ll see much higher conversion rates. 

“During our checkout usability research study we found that customers feel their privacy is invaded when they’re required to submit seemingly unnecessary personal information. We found that 61% of the largest e-commerce sites in the US required such “seemingly unnecessary” information during their checkout process,” says the Baymard Institute. 

3. Unexpected charges when checking out

How often have you shopped online, put something in your cart, and been surprised at checkout with a bunch of additional fees? Nearly 70% of all online shopping carts are abandoned and research shows that high shipping costs are the number one reason that e-commerce consumers don’t complete their order.

Related: 3 Steps to cash in on ecommerce: Setting up your first online business

A recent study conducted by Etsy shows that buyers are infuriated by hidden shipping costs until checkout. The result was a decrease in orders on their site, revealing that customers don’t like to be surprised with extra costs.

4. Too few payment options

“Plenty of consumers, especially those in younger demographics, don’t like using credit cards to complete online shopping purchases. Some worry about security and data breaches. Others may not have credit cards at all,” marketing expert Kali Hawlk explains. “There’s no getting around the kind of friction caused when a customer literally can’t pay you for what they want to purchase.” 

The best solution to this friction point is to offer multiple forms of payment, from PayPal, to Bitcoin. The more convenient you make it for your customers, the better chance they will be able to complete the purchase.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Not being able to physically hold the product has always been a pain point for online shoppers, you can try to overcome them by providing better images, descriptions, and even product videos.
  • With each piece of additional information requested, you run the risk of frustrating your customer. Only ask for the bare minimum and you’ll see much higher conversion rates.
  • Nearly 70% of all online shopping carts are abandoned and research shows that high shipping costs are the number one reason.
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About the author


Nicole Crampton


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