Four Oversights That Frustrate Online Customers

It’s tough enough grabbing new customers and keeping them engaged. Today, any type of oversight, glitch or failure can poison a relationship and send a shopper scurrying to another merchant. Here are four of the most common mistakes a business can make that send potential customers running from a site.

Your site or app is behind the times. Far too many retailers are stuck in Mobile 1.0 rather than Mobile 2.0. This translates into sites and apps that are slow, cumbersome and dated. For example, Apple Pay, which has enjoyed modest success in physical stores, has zoomed in popularity online. That’s because a single touch buys tickets, products and more–without having to enter shipping, billing and credit card data. The solution? Become an epicenter for innovation and disruption. Tap into speech recognition, mapping, social media, digital wallets, geolocation, beacons and more to create a fast, innovative and fun experience.

Your site or app is painfully slow. When customers encounter a slow or non-responsive site or app, they flee. The time limit is about 5 seconds, research shows. As a result, it’s critical to test and monitor sites and apps and ensure they’re designed correctly for a particular device. It’s also critical to ensure that sites are scalable and adjust dynamically to changing traffic patterns. CIOs know all of this yet many sites and apps continue to experience problems. The solution? Keep an eye on everything.

Customers can’t find desired items or do the necessary tasks. Nothing infuriates customers more than an inability to navigate a site or app. The problem usually occurs because developers and IT staff lack adequate input from business units about customer behavior. But other factors can also arise. For instance, a search engine may not support natural language or the ability to understand word relationships. This may lead to the wrong results or too many hits. Another problem is a one-size-fits-all approach to navigation. A tablet is not a phablet, which isn’t a desktop Web browser. The solution? Study and understand the customer journey and design interfaces for specific devices and form factors.

A lack of integration between bricks and the clicks. We’re two decades into e-commerce yet many merchants continue to treat bricks and clicks as separate channels and sometimes entirely different business units rather than a single entity within a company. The result? Conflicting brand messages, inconsistent shopping experiences, an inability to apply coupons and promotions and, too often, a lack of real-time information about product availability. This means people place orders and then discover the item is out of stock. The solution? Link databases and build an IT and business framework that creates a uniform experience like an omnichannel.

Samuel Greengard
Samuel Greengard
Samuel Greengard writes about business, technology and other topics. His book, The Internet of Things (MIT Press) was released in the spring of 2015.

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