5 Things That Scare Customers Away from Ecommerce Sites

New customers are the lifeblood of online retail, which is why ecommerce teams invest significant resources in attracting new users to their brands. To wit: the IAB reports that of the $107 billion spent in digital advertising in 2018, 45% went to paid search. That’s just under $50 billion. So when you succeed in attracting new users, the last thing you want is to have them leave, never to return. What scares them away?

This is a topic that Something Digital investigates on a continuous basis. While the exact set of reasons differ by industry segment and customer type, we can say that on the whole, customers often abandon a site for one of the following five reasons.

#1: No Sustainability Messages

Today’s modern brands — Everlane, Allbirds and Casper — have an outsized influence on consumers. These brands have tapped into the consumer’s desire for ethically produced products, and feature their commitments prominently on their sites.

It’s a sound strategy. According to Nielsen, more than 80% of consumers say it is “extremely” or “very” important for companies to implement programs that improve the environment. And that concern for the environment has a direct impact on their behavior. How do we know this?

Recently, Something Digital systematically looked at our customers’ websites and discovered that the About Us page had the highest bounce rates. This is the place where modern, environmentally conscious consumers go to when they want to see how green a brand is. They leave the site if all they see is the founder’s story.

Sustainability may not be your top-line marketing message or even something your brand spends a lot of time thinking about, but the world is changing around you. Direct-to-consumer brands are doing for sustainability what Amazon did for package delivery, namely setting the bar for consumer expectations.

#2 Not Sure What Happens After They Give You Their Money

Your business might not be able to match Amazon’s next day or two-day delivery, but that’s okay. What’s not okay is leaving consumers in the dark about what to expect. Will their product arrive in two weeks? Will they receive a notice when their product has shipped? The truth is, most consumers don’t mind waiting, especially for considered purchases (and especially if they’re aware of the brutal impact Amazon’s next-day delivery service has on the ware employees who must fulfill those orders). They just don’t like the unknowns.

The site Sweetwater excels at setting expectations. The product pages for all of their products provide arrival information, which goes a long way in building trust. Shoppers know when they complete a purchase exactly when they can expect the have the item in their hands.

#3: Decision Fatigue

Choice is great, but too much of it can easily overwhelm customers, causing them to leave your site. I’m a fan (and loyalty member) of Nordstrom, but I admit that shopping for shoes on their site is a miserable experience. When I sort by my shoe size and then click on a subcategory, I reasonably expect the site to present me with the options that are available in my size, but that’s not the case at all. Instead, I’m dropped in the middle of hundreds of thousands of items, and it’s up to me to which come in my size. So even though I’m a loyalty member and it was the Nordstrom Anniversary sale, I left the site.

Guided selling is an ecommerce tactic that Something Digital can’t endorse strongly enough.  Guided selling comes in multiple flavors: quiz-based personality testing, questionnaires, or even chatbots that walk consumers through a decisioning tree. Regardless of the format, the goal is always the same: help the customer find a product that is right for him or her.

Check out our new Guided Selling eBook, produced in conjunction with Zoovu.

#4: Comparison Shopping is Too Hard

Cross selling is a tried and true tactic to stem abandonment. If one product isn’t quite right, or above the consumer’s budget, the retailer can still win that customer by presenting a similar one, perhaps with a different feature set or price point.

It’s a great strategy, but only if it’s easy for consumers to compare them easily. All too often, that’s not the case. Typically, when consumers look at one product and then another, the site will make it easy for them to find the original item again, but they can’t look at them side by side.

Sales will go up if consumers can see multiple options all at once, as Sweetwater does with its guitars. This should be the norm:

#5: Lack of accessibility

At some point in our lives we all experience impairments that prevent us from using a website or mobile app. We may have misplaced or glasses, or are trying to order a pizza from a mobile app but can’t see the screen in the bright sunlight. When that happens, we click away for a more friendly site. Some consumers will even sue the site.

In 2018, nearly 2,300 ADA lawsuits against businesses were filed in federal courts, claiming their websites weren’t ADA compliant. And it looks like Domino’s Pizza is going to take its challenge all the way to the Supreme Court, given that this past January, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed that the ADA applies to the chain’s website and mobile app.

We at Something Digital have long held that the benefits of creating an accessible site are manifold. By offering users the ability to access larger text sizes or by paying attention to contrast, your site can be used by a greater swath of people, including those who are temporarily impaired.

A best practice is to ensure our site visitors can always find what they’re looking for, and that means adhering to WCAG standards.

Get in Touch

Do you know why visitors are leaving your site? Do you have a strategy for reversing that trend? If not, send us a message.

Phillip Jackson

A multi-instrumentalist, Phillip is an avid collector of vintage guitars, keyboards and amplifiers and has a home studio located in West Palm Beach.