Mistake 1: No Live Chat
Long gone are the days when all you needed to be a successful company were an 800 number. In fact, in this age of instant text communication, most people don’t want to call and wait around for someone to answer the phone — and it doesn’t matter how good your hold music selection is! For a buying public habituated to instant gratification, live chat is a must-have feature of every auto parts and accessories website and one your fixed ops marketing department needs to implement post-haste. If you see people leaving your shopping cart, consider implementing live chat to answer any questions they may have and to offer help. If they go through your site and still can’t find answers, you really can’t blame them if they go elsewhere.
Mistake 2: Asking for Too Much Information
Whether it’s in online sales or on a date, TMI is never a good thing. Your potential customers become uneasy if you ask for too much personal information at checkout. This is especially true with all of the high-profile data-breaches that have been in the news this past year. If you want to gain your buyer’s trust, only ask for the bare minimum of information needed to complete their order. And, if you’re really stuck on gleaning more information about your customers, be smart and wait until the purchase is made. You can then offer an incentive to share more with you and you won’t be jeopardizing your sale.
Mistake 3: CAPTCHA This
In case you’ve never heard of it before, CAPTCHA is an extra step in the checkout process that demands buyers select certain images or enter a sequence of random numbers and letters on a site to prove they’re humans and not robots. Why does this matter? Well, it all has to do with spam but you really have to weigh the cost versus the benefits. Given the fact that many people struggle to decipher the blurry images and inverted letters used by CAPTCHA systems, you could be putting your sales at risk. In fact, research shows that this frustration cuts customer conversion rates by more than 3%.
Mistake 4: Forced Account Creation
Closely related to mistakes 2 and 3 is the annoying and utterly unnecessary act of requiring your potential customers to create an account. The auto parts and accessories market is overcrowded as it is and competition is fierce so why make it any harder to convert visitors into paying customers? When recent research shows that 22% of shoppers abandon their carts if there is no guest checkout then you have to be pretty daft not to give them that option. Capture all customers and rely on a good post-purchase strategy to try to retain rather than annoying them by asking for more information than they have the time or are willing to give you.
Mistake 5: Overzealous Fraud Prevention
Fraud and identity management systems can struggle to keep up with today’s fraudsters, and these unsophisticated platforms can lead to “false positives” that insult good customers. In addition, even if you don’t have one of these costly services scanning incoming orders for you, many smaller shops and dealerships will simply cancel an order if the billing and shipping addresses don’t match without doing anything else. In other words, a lot of online parts sellers are actually losing money on a great number of transactions because they’ve paid to acquire a customer through marketing and ads, they pay a processing fee to a credit card processor and then they just cancel the order outright without bothering to send an email or pick up the phone. Oh, and did we mention that they’ve probably lost a customer for life? Whatever you do, don’t be lazy and reach out to every suspect buyer before cancelling sight unseen.
The Final Analysis
In today’s competitive marketplace, you literally have to fight for every order. If you can take steps to avoid these five mistakes, you’ll be well on your way to converting more visitors and increasing your margins every day.