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Five Reasons Why Shoppers Don't Buy

Feb 1, 2011
by Eric Leuenberger

We know there are a number of factors that come into play when a consumer makes a buying decision, and we study them from head to toe in order to increase sales. Some are more important than others, but all play a part in the ultimate outcome. However, have you ever stopped to think why shoppers do not buy from you?

Even if you have the perfect product in the perfect market, with demand and an ample source of potential buyers, there is no guarantee you will ever see a single sale. At some point, a storeowner is going to be forced to ask the question, "Why are people not buying my product?" Finding the answer to this question might be easier than it is to determine why they buy it. It is true, as with a typical buying decision, that there are all types of reasons people do not buy from you. You could start anywhere in the chain to piece together the puzzle, but here are five good reasons to consider when asking yourself that question:

1) No Credibility. They do not like you. Maybe you have not built enough trust or a high enough level of credibility with your prospects yet. Customers ultimately choose to purchase from a given online retailer based on their ability to trust the transaction taking place. Therefore it should be no surprise that all successful business relationships require building trust with the customer. If you cannot build trust with your potential customer, you will not get the sale.

When it comes to customers, you must make them feel comfortable and confident enough in your service, company and product to win them over. A certain level of trust is gained with credibility, but complete trust is not achieved through credibility alone. Start building trust onsite by placing the proper customer assurance elements in front of them at the precise moment throughout their buying cycle. During the checkout, on the product pages, at the point when you ask buyers to enter their credit card information, and at the order confirmation screen are just a few examples.

This strategy is called building customer confidence, and it goes a long way toward increasing sales. Customer confidence building includes website elements such as:

  • Customer points of assurance (customer phone number, contact info, etc.)
  • Proper calls to action (add-to-cart buttons, checkout buttons, etc.)
  • Clear display of store policies (shipping, returns, security, privacy, etc.)
  • Secure logos in the right locations (display of SSL certificates, padlocks, etc.)
  • Brand exposure through multiple distribution channels, both online and off.

2) No Need. Consumers do not need your product. You are selling drills, and they have all the holes they need. Or perhaps they do not have anything to drill holes in at all. Unless you make a product with no real purpose, someone is going to need what you sell, especially when it solves a problem they have. How big that need is can be a different issue, but so long as there is a need, there will be a crowd willing to buy it. If you determine that your visitors do not need your product, the next thing you have to ask is why not?

I would start first by analyzing the type of traffic you are attracting. Is it qualified to buy your product or not? If you determine the traffic is non-qualified, as in they have no need for drills at all, it would be wise not to waste any more time attracting that type of visitor. If, on the other hand, the traffic you are attracting is qualified and they still are not buying, it could be they either have all the holes they need, or just do not understand how your product can help them at the moment.

3) No Understanding. Shoppers do not understand what your product can do for them. The consumer is unsure of exactly what you are selling or how it can save them time, money, or effort.
Just because a visitor might be interested in one or more of your products does not mean they know how it will help them meet their needs. It is your job to let them know that. The mere fact that they are viewing your products likely means they have some feeling it can help, but they want to know exactly how it will help them achieve a particular purpose.

A critical strategy is to describe your product in terms of what it does, not of what it is. Benefits describe what a product does. These are functional aspects such as "opens with one click," "keeps you dry," "saves you time," etc. Features, on the other hand, describe what a product is. These are not necessarily needs, but rather customer desires; such as red, small, or lightweight.

Help a potential customer understand what your product can do for them by listing out the benefits they will inherit as a result of using your product. From the consumer's perspective, this is far more valuable than understanding what it is. Take, for example, an umbrella. The typical consumer does not buy an umbrella because it is red. They buy an umbrella that is red because it keeps them dry.

4) No Value. The shopper does not see the value in your product. People will pay extra for a product if they believe it is of value to them. Value could be things like, as in the case of the umbrella, the fact that it covers more space, thus keeping you dryer than other umbrellas; has the ability to open with just one click; it is lightweight; it is available in a variety of colors and styles. These all add value to the overall product, and will factor in the consumer buying decision.

Keep in mind that value does not just include the intrinsic features a product offers. Real value considers the complete customer experience from beginning to end in dealing with your company. The higher the value of your products in shoppers' eyes, the better chance you have of winning them over. You can add more value to your products in the eye of the consumer through things like:

  • Easy, no-hassle returns policies
  • Unsurpassed customer service
  • Free shipping

5) No Invitation. The shopper has not been invited to buy your product. We sometimes educate our customers to buy from our competitors because we do not ask them this simple question, "Would you like to buy that?" Instead, we let them walk out the door.

Sometimes a potential customer knows they need your product, they know how it will benefit them, but just needs a little persuasion to complete the purchase. Extend your hand and invite them to buy. Do not assume they are going to do that just because they are on your site. Proper calls to action such as "Buy Now," "Shop Now," "Add to Cart," "Check out now to get free shipping and fast delivery," etc., can all be forms of an invitation.

Presenting or recommending the best product to fulfill their need is another. Still another might be inviting them to try a free sample of your product, if that fits your strategy and product type. Quite possibly the most evident and effective form of invitation selling is through cross-selling products. Invite shoppers to add more items to their carts by presenting products and/or accessories similar in nature or complementary. This strategy has long been effective at increasing average order values.

Ultimately, although there are many factors that come into play, why people choose not to buy can be summed up in these five areas mentioned above. If you focus on looking deeply into each of these within your business, you will likely find the answer that will help turn things around. If nothing else, you will have one big head start in the right direction.

Eric Leuenberger is an ecommerce conversion-marketing expert and author of a leading Ecommerce blog at www.TheEcommerceExpert.com. He coaches storeowners using his online coaching system, www.EcommerceAmplifier.com, teaching them how to increase website sales using his proven six-step process. He can be contacted at 1-866-602-2673.

Topic: Business Strategies

Related Articles: shoppers  buyers 

Article ID: 1410

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