Remember the days when you would go to the grocery store and there would actually be cashiers at the registers waiting to ring up your merchandise? Remember when there would be someone ready to bag your groceries for you and put them in the cart for you? They would ask you silly questions like, “Can I help you put these in your car?”, or “Would you like your milk in a bag?”
Times have really changed. Now you walk into your local WallyMart and find 20 registers with only 2 of them running. So, you decide to stand in line and wait for the self-service area thinking you might get out the door a little faster. Sure, they have someone there to help you, but only if you make a mistake. Then the light blinks on your register signifying to everyone that you made an error. If you’re lucky the attendant will be paying attention and will come over and give you the dumbass look as they swipe a card and fix your boo boo. All while 20 people stand behind you staring you down because they are also trying to get the heck out of there.
I often ask myself WHY? Why do we allow ourselves as consumers to be treated like this? Why are we not shopping elsewhere and why are we not demanding better service? Who put those self-service registers in and why do I use them? Answer…It’s partially our fault.
In today’s digital world we have grown accustomed to a few things that have changed the way we do business. One of those things is controlling the amount of human interaction we have. We have become passive control freaks. This is why many of us prefer to text instead of calling someone. It’s an easy way to control and limit the conversation. This is why many of us are not stomping our feet for better customer service. In the physical world we will accept poor customer service in regular transactions as long as it limits our human interaction. It’s crazy when you think about it, but I am guilty of it as well. I find myself often getting frustrated with clerks that want to engage in small talk. I simply want to get what I need and get out.
We have also grown accustomed to instant gratification. Our phones have made life so easy and efficient, we expect our transactions to be instant. We want to find the item, buy the item (one-click if we can) and move on to the next thing. Large e-commerce entities know this and spend tons of money developing methods to make transactions as easy as possible. This work is all for ease of business and it is something that smaller businesses usually overlook.
In the e-commerce world ease of business can relate to many things and all of them accumulate to your customer’s experience. Small business owners usually create a website and are so focused on the aesthetics and message that they simply forget about the taxonomy of the site and how easy it is to operate. If someone cannot find what they are looking for quickly, you have a much lower chance of making a sale. Focus on quick steps to conversion and your customers will thanks you for it.
Another major consideration should be the checkout process. If your customers get all the way to the cart and cannot find a continue shopping button, or they have to constantly put in their payment information for every visit, you are losing sales. If they see unforeseen charges, or pop-up windows they have to close, you are losing sales. Make the end process the cleanest process.
All of these things mentioned above combined with having correct product images that are specific to what you are selling. Showing the items in use so the customer can see the product in action. Good product descriptions, Installation and instruction data, sizing charts and fitment information, simple return policies. All of these things combine to make it easier for the customer to buy your products. These are the things that the customer will remember. In today’s world this is the definition of ease of business.
It’s a changing world out there, so keeping up with the times is important. Make sure you focus on these things in your business and you are sure to see an increase in conversion and customer retention. Happy customers happy life!