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12 easy ways to lose your ecommerce customers

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | May 8, 2015
Ecommerce, customer relationship and marketing experts reveal the fastest ways to turn off shoppers and offer advice for what you can do to ensure customers don’t leave your site and make their purchases elsewhere.

9. Checking out is a pain. "There is nothing worse than making your selection and then not being able to easily [make the] purchase," states Mark D. Nicholls, managing director & digital innovation practice lead, Information Professionals. "Checkout and payment forms that don't work, or don't work easily, are frustrating and will cause customers to give up," he says. "Too many upsells can also create frustration and lead to loss of customers. There's a reason why Amazon's 1-click ordering was such a game changer. It makes life simple and easy for buyers."

10. Help and contact info are hard to find (or don't exist). "It is critical for companies to have tools in place to respond immediately when a guest asks for help online," says Liz Osborn, vice president of Product and Solution Marketing at Five9, a provider of cloud contact center software. "For instance, having a chat application in place, or at the very least an easy to find 'Contact us' button, is essential to keep online visitors happy," she says. "It's the same as walking into a retail store, where you expect someone to be available to answer your questions. If there isn't, the experience is diminished and you may just leave, without the intended purchase." 

And don't make contact forms your sole method of contact.

"Contact forms present an unnecessary barrier between a business and its customers," says Sakita Holley, founder, House of Success PR, a lifestyle PR firm. "Ecommerce sites that only have a contact form and not an email address or phone number listed signal to potential customers that they don't really want to be bothered." Instead, provide "a contact email address and/or customer service phone number that leads to a human interaction," she advises. "Humans have a better chance of saving/closing a sale than an automated message."

11. You bombard customers with email. "A top way ecommerce companies lose customers is through poor quality and high quantity email campaigns," says Antonia Townsend, the founder & chief knicker officer at Enclosed, a luxury lingerie subscription club. "Every single email needs to be enjoyable and deliver value to the reader.

"Flooding a customer's or potential customer's inbox does nothing for anyone," she argues. And it can make you lose customers. That's why Enclosed sends "one 'Knickergram' email per month, genuinely striving to give our email recipients a beautiful, classy and value-added interaction each and every time. As a result, our Knickergram's open rates are twenty times industry norms."

To prevent customers entirely opting out and forgetting about you, however, "give customers an option to opt-out of daily correspondence but still receive the 'important' stuff [or weekly emails]," says Holley.


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