8 Sure-Fire Ways Of Spooking Potential Customers Out Of A Purchase

Posted by Hannah Stacey 31 Oct 14

shutterstock_202168384Some chilling news for you this Halloween: your website might be harbouring some demons even scarier than Perez Hilton dressed up as vampire Miley Cyrus (slightly NSFW).

It’s easier to creep potential customers out of buying something than you might think, and if you’ve given them a fright once, they’re unlikely to return.

Here are 8 sure-fire ways of spooking customers out of making a purchase.

1) Hiding extra costs in the checkout

Customer’s don’t appreciate nasty surprises, least of all unexpected shipping costs and other fees. Research by Worldpay into cart abandonment has revealed that 56% of customers will abandon a purchase because of ‘unexpected costs’ like postage and packing revealed at a late stage in the purchasing journey.

2) Spelling mistakes

Nothing says ‘don’t trust us with your money’ quite like a website littered with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors (especially on security-sensitive pages, such as within your checkout). When you’ve got hundreds or thousands of pages on your site, this can be hard, so use a tool like A1 website analyzer or Checkdog regularly to clean up your act.

3) Painfully slow page load times

There are a whole host of blood-curdling stats and facts about how page load speed affects conversion rates:

  • 79% of web shoppers who have trouble with web site performance say they won’t return to the site to buy again. [source]
  • Research by Zoompf revealed a clear correlation was identified between decreasing search rank and increasing time to first byte. [source]
  • A site that loads in 3 seconds experiences 22% fewer page views, a 50% higher bounce rate, and a 22% fewer conversions than a site that loads in 1 second. [source]

Is something putting a curse on your page load speed? Use a tool like Google’s PageSpeed Insights or Yslow to solve the mystery, Scooby-style.

4) Not supplying a customer support email address or phone number

Sometimes things don’t go to plan. Not being able to contact you - whether over the phone, on email, or on Twitter - is very likely to leave customers freaking out, and very unlikely to make them want to shop with you again. Make sure yours are easily findable.

5) Poor product images

When people shop online, there’s a certain trade-off involved; they’re giving up the ability to touch and experience the item they’re buying in real life in favour of convenience and choice. Poor product imagery - whether it’s bad quality photography, lack of different angles, obscure shots - will scare consumers out of making a purchase.  

6) Mobile issues

We’ve all seen the stats about mobile commerce, and having a mobile-optimised online store is rapidly becoming an expectation rather than a luxury. Pop-ups that won’t close in mobile? Slow mobile page loading times? Fiddly forms? These will all have potential customers running for the hills.

7) Your site looks shocking on certain browsers

Your online store might be a pleasure to behold when you view it on your internet browser of choice, but have you considered that it might look like a virtual bloodbath on others? With so many modern and legacy browsers out there it can be difficult to cover all your bases. The answer? Get clever with segmentation in your analytics platform - are you getting poor conversions from a certain browser type? If so, it might be time to take action. Here’s a great list of browser testing tools to help you on your way.

8) Not displaying trust marks and social proof

Evidence of reputable third party accreditation - security certificates, logos, badges, reviews - plays an important role in telling website visitors that you’re not shady.

Although there’s a school of thought that says displaying trust marks can actually remind users of the security risks of shopping online, testing suggests (as outlined in this article) that having some sort of third-party endorsement on your site can stop people feeling too scared to make a purchase.

Worried you're frightening your customers away? Check out our infographic: are you creeping out your customers? 

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