Avoiding the Conversion Killer of Mismatched Expectations

You have made sure that when a customer walks into your store that their expectations will be met with a wonderful shopping experience. However, will your customer have the same shopping experience with you online?

By now, you know that eCommerce is the best way of staying relevant and scaling a brick-and-mortar retail business. What was once a novelty for your customer has become an expectation.

It’s not just an expectation that they can find you online, customers also have expectations for their experience on your site. They like to know where to click, where to buy certain products, the size of certain items, etc. If that doesn’t match up, or they can’t figure it out, it creates a problem.

In short, people like to know what to expect.

That’s why we’re sharing the most common customer expectation mismatches we’ve seen on retailers’ sites, and how to fix them.

1. Shipping Costs

A lot of times we think we need to offer free shipping or make it as cheap as possible, but that’s not always the case. What we do need to do is make sure we’re not causing false expectations.

We can do this in several ways:

  • By having an announcement banner located at the top of the screen that communicates a simple, flat rate for shipping.
  • Adding a brief notice of their options on the product page. This is where they really start asking those types of questions to themselves.
  • Your cart page should have a way to calculate the shipping costs before they enter checkout.

These all allow your customer to know what to expect before they start entering in their billing information. That way your customer has that in the back of their mind while they are shopping. It gives a sense of control of “I know what’s next”.

2. Returns 

It’s also just as important to address your return policy. If your customer doesn’t like what they receive, what will it look like for them to send it back?

One of the easiest ways to address this is by incorporating the return policy near the description on your product page.

If you’re using Shopify, there is a helpful app called Tabs by Station that allows you to add shipping and returns as a tab that is automatically added to all (or specific) products. You want to include this, even if you don’t accept returns.

Why on the product page? Again, this is where they start asking the logical questions, such as what happens if the item doesn’t work out. You want the information they need to make the purchase in one location rather than have them click away from the product they were interested in. We want to keep our customers on a buying journey.

3. Calls To Action

It is critical that any links and buttons that the customer clicks on takes them to where they expect. Let’s say that you have a button that says “shop kids clothes” but when they click it, it takes them to kids shoes. That’s not what the customer would be expecting. They might click that button so that they could browse some shorts.

Whenever we don’t have our expectations met, it causes our brains to become confused.

When we get confused, especially when we’re shopping online, we don’t try to figure out the problem. Instead, the simple solution is to click the back button, which you want to avoid at all costs.

Make sure as you are clicking through your site that your customer would be able to predict what the next thing would be.

4. Instant Connection

When people land on your site for the first time they are going to come to the conclusion about whether this place is people like them. If they don’t feel that instant connection, your site is going to struggle to get their attention, even if you have products that they are interested in.

Including imagery that your customer connects with is the fastest way to create a positive emotional connection. The home hero (that big banner at the top of your homepage) is one of the best places to start.

When selecting your hero image, think “what would make my perfect customer say, ‘YES! This is me!'” It’s crucial to create a site atmosphere that makes your dream customer feel as though they are in the right place. We know this can feel a bit overwhelming. Especially if this is the first time hearing how to create an instant connection with your audience.

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Free resources to jumpstart your eCommerce success

eBook: The Ultimate Retailer’s Guide to SEO

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Guidebook: Powerhouse Tools and Apps for Shopify Retailers

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