Your ecommerce website may look great on the surface, but if it’s not functional for users, they aren't likely to stick around and make a purchase. Here are six things your customers just might hate about your e-commerce site, according to a survey of more than 1,000 online shoppers.
Pet peeve #1: Badly organized menus/categories. Forty-one percent of online shoppers dislike e-commerce sites that have poorly designed menus or lack sufficient subcategories for products. This makes it difficult to find the products they're looking for. Organize your menu in a logical fashion. For example, if you sell clothing, you might have main categories for Men, Women and Children, with subcategories under each for different types of clothing. You can even add sub-subcategories: For example, “Shirts” could have subcategories for short-sleeve, long-sleeved and sleeveless shirts.
Pet peeve #2: Poor search functionality. Search capability that's too basic, without filters to narrow results or enable advanced searches, frustrates 29.8 percent of online shoppers. The more merchandise you have available on your site, the more important it is to give shoppers the tools to drill down into specifics. Otherwise, a shopper who gets 51,784 results for "black pumps" will throw up their hands in despair.
Pet peeve #3: Unclear pricing. More than one-third of online shoppers get frustrated when an ecommerce site doesn't show prices adjusted for discounts or additional costs, such as tax and shipping charges. Don't make shoppers wait until checkout to find out how much their order will cost (or at least get an estimate).
Pet peeve #4: Having to create an account to place an order. Over one-fourth (26.5 percent) of e-commerce shoppers find this annoying. Shoppers may worry about their personal information being compromised or getting a barrage of marketing emails from your business. Those concerns aside, creating an account takes time, and adding an unnecessary step into the order process increases the likelihood the customer will abandon the cart. Instead, offer customers the option to create an account after they've placed their order, when they're not in such a rush.
Pet peeve #5: High shipping costs. Almost 23 percent of consumers say their e-commerce pet peeve is high shipping costs. Free shipping can be a deciding factor in where online shoppers buy. You don't have to offer free shipping every day on every item, but you should offer it for purchases over a certain dollar amount. Also use free shipping as an incentive in marketing outreach — it's one of the most effective ways to get people to your site.
Pet peeve #6: Difficulty navigating out of the shopping cart. Once they've placed an item in a shopping cart, 14.3 percent of online shoppers say it can be confusing to get back to shopping again. You can prevent this problem by including two options: "Continue Shopping" or "Checkout" after each item is added to the shopping cart.
To find out how functional your website really is, try bringing in a focus group of people from your target market, or friends and family members who have never used your site before, and have them search, browse and order. Ask for honesty, and you're likely to find some flaws in your website. Take steps to resolve the problems by making the necessary changes to bring your site up to par. If you don’t have the skills to do this in-house, consult website design experts for help.