5 Most Common Ecommerce Pain Points (and How to Fix Them ASAP!)

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Customers expect ecommerce brands to provide an exciting, speedy, and seamless shopping experience. 

Think about it. 

You’re asking shoppers to spend their financial resources on your platform and the last thing you’d want is for them to encounter challenges in the process, even minor ones. Especially now that consumers are careful about where they spend. 

That could end up with you losing business. 

So to make sure that your ecommerce store is providing shoppers with a quality shopping experience, it’s crucial to know what pain points you’re likely to face as an ecommerce business and how to solve these problems. 

Though certain pain points may be hard for your business to identify, customers will notice them right away, which could lead to conversion issues like cart abandonment. 69% of online carts are abandoned. 

That’s why you need to know what you’re looking for. 

We’ve listed out the top pain points ecommerce businesses encounter, and how you can solve for them quickly. 

When it comes to customer expectations, you need to be ahead of the game. These days consumers expect ecommerce brands to know their needs and ensure a seamless shopping experience across all platforms and devices. 

When you’re building your website, be sure to integrate customer intent into the design, layout, and process. If your ecommerce website is unable to show customers what they’re looking for immediately, you may lose them to competitors that can satisfy such desires. 

Avoid restricting shoppers to a tight product navigation process. You need to give your customers the ability to carry out searches by multiple parameters. For example, category, manufacturer, part number, brand, etc. 

Also, shoppers may be using varying devices that offer different navigational abilities, so ensure the necessary parameters are available for as many devices as possible. And that you consider the most common devices used when including search parameters. 

That said, here are the most common product discovery features that you’d want to ensure that your ecommerce store offers: 

  • Organize offer information for quality search results
  • Use pop-up interactive diagrams that come up with search suggestions
  • Ensure your store’s navigation is a lot more intuitive 

2nd pain point: hidden and expensive shipping costs

No shopper likes a negative pricing surprise. Especially if it involves a hidden shipping fee or handling charges. 

You need to be clear about any hidden costs with regards to shipping before the customer proceeds to checkout. The moment a customer finds out that they aren’t paying what they thought they were, their conversion may not happen and that could ruin an excellent customer experience. Your pricing strategy needs to be consistent. Let shoppers know what a product costs right away. 

The ideal customer expectation is that you should offer free shipping on every order or at certain price thresholds (e.g., $150 and above). 

But if you decide to charge for shipping, ensure that the fee is included in the product price before the checkout page. You’ll also need to find ways to reduce shipping-related costs, such as fulfillment costs and custom packaging, to ensure that your shipping costs do not result in abandoned carts.

Keep in mind that customers expect free shipping always. If you can’t do that be clear about your pricing. 

3rd pain point: poor customer service

We’re in an age that’s flooded with personal opinions and information on literally everything. 

These are delivered to us via channels like forums, blogs, and social media. 

All of such platforms contain reviews, customer opinions, and thoughts on any kind of business service or product via consumer conversations (i.e., word-of-mouth). 75% of Americans state that social media influences their purchase decisions. Because of this, you need to ensure that you communicate your brand identity across all channels.

Word-of-mouth and customer reviews offer you one of the most effective sales tools for your business, which is why it’s crucial to ensure quality customer service

In fact, word-of-mouth is amongst the 3 most powerful influential factors at all points of a buyer’s journey (see chart below).

Customers need to be able to trust your brand, and negative opinions about your brand from other people can affect this as word-of-mouth influences 20% to 50% of all purchase decisions.

This means if customers are satisfied with how you’ve addressed their needs, then they’ll spread the word about your product to other people they know searching for something similar.

They’ll also spread the word to others about their experience on your website if they’re unable to get a solution to their problems. That said, a poor experience on your online store doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll lose a customer. An inability or desire to offer something that solves a specific problem is enough to spread the word.

Customers are grateful when a brand ensures that things are made right when there are issues with their service. And the customer’s response is that they’ll tell others about their experience. 

Now, do you want customers to just say anything about your business or can you influence their organic conversations by your service? 

The great news is you can influence the customer’s conversation of your brand on social media and online customer reviews by taking your customer service higher. 

Here are 5 ways to do this: 

  • 24/7 customer service 
  • Free returns
  • Perks for patronizing your business (discounts, freebies, coupons, etc) 
  • Live customer support team, not robots
  • Encourage user-generated content that spreads the word about their customer service experience

4th pain point: no guest option for check-out

The value of time is money and this means every customer’s time is valuable. Most times, not everyone is ready to sign up for your online store’s cart platform. 

They may prefer to give you a trial run by making one purchase before proceeding to create an account or they could just want to buy something quickly and don’t have the time to sign up for an account. 

Insisting that the customer must sign up before they’re able to buy something on your platform is discouraging most times. This is especially true if your call-to-action reads ‘Buy Now,’ and the shopper is directed to the sign-up page, rather than the checkout page.

Your ‘Buy Now’ call-to-action is misleading and customers do not like being misled. It strips whatever trust in your brand away. 

What you may want to consider is which is more important — making sales or new user accounts?

Even if you want users to sign up to get their basic data, you can do so with a guest checkout page as well.  Once the purchase is complete,  redirect the customer to a ‘Thank you’ page that requests them to create an account. 

Here’s an example of what the thank-you page could say:

Thank you for buying from us! We’ll send your tracking ID to the email address you provided once it’s on the way. To make subsequent purchases easier for you, please create an account with us so we can save your card and shipping information.”

The crux of the matter is to offer customers a guest checkout. It’ll boost your conversions as they’ll not feel compelled to create an account just to purchase something when they don’t want to. 

5th pain point: lack of product content

Low-quality product information is irritating to customers. If people are on your ecommerce platform chances are that they’re searching for content on why and how your service or product will be beneficial to them. 

So with regards to product pages, here’s what customers expect:

  • Reviews from other buyers, testimonials, and every form of social proof
  • Brief and concise product descriptions
  • Product videos that give an in-depth analysis of the product

Your product information creates trust and builds credibility. And if customers can’t find adequate content on your platform about the product they may not convert.

Developing engaging, descriptive content about your products on other channels, such as social media, can influence buying behavior. So ensure there’s relevant content about your offer not just on your website but also on all other platforms. 

To do this use the points above and put content on all your platforms. And always remember to ask these questions with regards to your product content: 

  • Is the product information provided worth their time? 
  • Can customers easily search and find the information they need? 

The trick is to think like a customer. What level of detail with regards to product information would you require before you make a purchase? What kind of content would you need to ensure that it solves your problem before you buy? 

If you aren’t 100% sure what to say in your product descriptions, you may want to your product pages with an A/B testing platform to find the best converting content.

Discover other pain points through data

While we’ve done our best to cover the most common ecommerce pain points, it’s possible to have pain points that are unique to your brand. 

The best way to uncover such pain points is to have a look at your data. Using tools like Google Analytics, you can find out where customers are having issues or leaving your website in huge numbers. 

Once you understand your customer behavior, traffic source, and a lot more that such data provides you can align your shop to fit into their shopping expectations and ultimately boost your sales through a stellar customer experience

Conclusion

Ecommerce businesses are in constant competition with each other to provide the best customer experience. And in such a deeply saturated market you want to avoid making common ecommerce mistakes that can cause shoppers to abandon their purchase. Be sure to optimize your website to drive more sales and create customer loyalty. 

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Written By:

Raul Galera is the Partner Manager at ReferralCandy and CandyBar, two tools helping small and medium businesses run customer referral and loyalty programs. He’s been working in the tech sector for the past seven years and regularly writes about marketing, ecommerce and tech.

Read all posts written by Raul Galera