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January 25, 2019 - Comments Off on Don’t put barriers between your customers, their money and you

Don’t put barriers between your customers, their money and you

Do you walk your customers’ journey regularly?

Or compare it to what your competitors are doing to see who’s best?

Do you ask for feedback from your customers so you can see what they think of you and your competitors?

And do you act on that feedback to pre-empt potential issues before they cause a problem?

This Christmas one online retailer lost:

  1. a £50 transaction
  2. one customer and their goodwill - forever.
  3. …all of which very avoidable

Think of this multiplied thousands of times when you’re looking at the varying results from retailers for Christmas 2018.

Great products get you so far – simple friendly experience gets you further. You need both.

Here's the story…

I forgot my login password at checkout with a basket of items while shopping for presents online before Christmas. Halfway through trying to sort it out I remembered I’d had exactly the same experience with this company at the same time the previous year. They make wonderful products – evidently why I gave them another chance and returned to them – but they’re really not making it easy either to transact or to sort issues. A few simple disconnects in their customer journey ruined what should have been a seamless experience – and have also now broken up our beautiful relationship because I won’t bother again.

£50 of products in my basket at the checkout didn’t get sold and that £50 instead went to a competitor – who now has a place on my roster / in my email / on my phone – since they too have lovely products – but they also have a fully functioning site.

Here’s the melodramatic note I left on the company’s contact page after they’d wasted my time and made me look elsewhere.

“I'd consider having a phone number on your site - this is a seriously unhelpful website.

You promised to send me a new password - most websites in 2018 send this through immediately - but not yours. I'm impatient - like most online customers. If you haven't sent me a new password within a minute or so I assume you're not going to and your system doesn't work - and no it's not in my junk mail. And no I haven't received it within 15 minutes now either.

Just a little CX feedback for you - but this is part of my general xmas shopping hour or so - Not on The High St has also featured - they DID send me an instant reminder – so I shopped with them. You won't let me progress to the checkout with the products I want to purchase from you because your system recognises my email but I can't remember which password I used several Xmases ago when last I bought from you. Which means I'll have to find somewhere else to spend my £50 with. I seem to remember the same experience happening to me on your site last Xmas too.

And so you promise to get back to me via email within 24 hours! Wow! Again - that's not much of a claim in 2018 - if I were you I'd check out what other retailers are doing - to benchmark yourself against the kind of features and benefits they offer their customers. The ones that make it easiest for their customers will be getting most money. It's Darwinian.

I get that you're a small business - but perhaps you should be more accessible to your customers - they have the money - times are tough in retail as I'm sure you realise - don't be erecting barriers between them, their money and you. Goodbye!”

January 17, 2019 - Comments Off on An Ecommerce Checklist

An Ecommerce Checklist

Thinking of starting an ecommerce website/business? Here's a few questions to get you thinking (in no particular order).

  1. Why do you want an ecommerce website?
  2. What has led you to this decision?
  3. What are your expectations of having an online store?
  4. What is your USP?
  5. Are you competing on price?
  6. Who are your competitors?
  7. Who are your current customers? (age, demographic, socioeconomic)
  8. What is you average basket spend?
  9. Where do they live?
  10. How/who will you drive traffic to it?
  11. What is your turnover/profit now?
  12. What do you expect the turnover/profit of the online store to be in year 2? (probably rule out year 1 making any profit)
  13. Where will you be advertising?
  14. Do you have a social media strategy (beyond writing stuff to drive traffic)?
  15. Do you have a (permission based) customer database that you can email market to?
  16. Do you have an EPOS system, if so what data do you have, what can you export in what format?
  17. What accounting package do you use?
  18. Would you expect to be able to download sales data to integrate with your accounting package?
  19. How many SKUs do you hold?
  20. How many SKUs per product on average?
  21. Will you offer your whole product range/a subset or a restricted range?
  22. Do you want to have a search form on the website?
  23. Who will be responsible when a product is sold out for updating the site to unpublish the product (potentially out of normal working hours)?
  24. Do you have an established product/SKU coding scheme?
  25. Do you have a set of store policies/procedures that you can carry over to the website, e.g. reporting structure, daily sales etc?
  26. Do you offer warranties and guarantees?
  27. Do you want to offer promotion codes? with what sort of discounts?
  28. Do you want to show featured products on the home page?
  29. What countries will you be selling to?
  30. How will you fulfil orders?
  31. Who will fulfil orders?
  32. What carrier will you use?
  33. How will the products be packaged?
  34. Are you insured for losses in transit?
  35. What promises will you make, e.g. 24 hour delivery, free returns etc.?
  36. Will you use a different telephone number to your current one, e.g. an 0800 freephone number?
  37. Will your shipping be based on weight, cost or size?
  38. Is the delivery charge built into your cost or is it added at checkout? Will you offer free delivery above a certain amount?
  39. Who will be responsible for running and maintaining the online store on a daily basis (including after hours and weekends)?
  40. Who will write your content?
  41. Who will provide product photography? or do you have a decent enough camera and are proficient enough to take quality product photography?
  42. Do you have any software that you can use to crop and resize images before you upload them?
  43. Do you use a PC or a Mac?
  44. Who will provide product categories, descriptions and prices?
  45. Who do you expect to upload your initial content including products?
  46. How will product photography be provided?
  47. When you have a new product that needs photographing, who will do it and what is their turnaround?
  48. What other websites do you like and why?
  49. If you have a current identity do you want to keep it and if so do you have artwork and guidelines for its use?
  50. How do you expect customers to pay?
  51. Do you want to use PayPal or do you want to go directly to your bank account via a merchant account?
  52. Do you have a business PayPal account or alternatively an ecommerce merchant account with your bank?
  53. Do you understand the advantage/disadvantage of using PayPal versus a payment gateway that connects to your ecommerce merchant account?
  54. Who do you bank with? (this is important if you're going to use a payment gateway as not all shopping cart software is compatible with all banks 'out of the box')
  55. How will you deal with PCI compliance?
  56. Have you discussed this site with your bank?
  57. Do you want customers to have to register on your site?
  58. What will you do to keep your customers data safe?
  59. How many pages other than product pages will you need (e.g. about us, location etc)?
  60. How many products do you want to put on your site to start with?
  61. What are the categories for your products?
  62. Do you have a sitemap or navigation plan drawn up?
  63. Do you want your products to appear in Google Merchant Center?
  64. Do you want to send your products to price comparison websites?
  65. Do you intend your site to carry advertising of any sort?
  66. Do you have a domain?
  67. Where is your domain hosted?
  68. Do you want to continue with your current hosting set up?
  69. Have you bought an SSL certificate (necessary for secure transactions)?
  70. Do you have other online presences that need integrating into the site e.g. twitter, Instagram, facebook etc.
  71. Will you want a blog/news/updates page?
  72. How will you launch the site? quietly to one person at a time, with a party, or somewhere in between?
  73. What media routes do you use that will be useful to publicise your new website?
  74. And of course ...
    What's your budget?
  75. Why did you decide on that figure?
  76. How much have you budgeted for ongoing updates/marketing/maintenance etc.?
  77. Who will maintain and administer your website (inhouse, external, level of expertise etc)?