Do You Know What Your Shoppers Expect?

By Melanie Prough on Thursday, January 27, 2011
Filed Under: Zen Cart Tips

This is a very keen subject for shop owners, as many never even consider this…. While developing an ecommerce store for clients we hear terms like this from the clients all the time:

  • I think
  • Our industry does/does not
  • Our customers do/do not
  • This customer said
  • That’s we we call that inĀ  our industry/niche

Now, these seem pretty common, but a good developer will have questions for these responses such as:

Client: I think our customers already know our shipping information.

Me: You know, or you think… where is your data proving this theory?

Client: Data?

Me: Yes, displaying your shipping information in a clear and uncluttered way has been proven in many case studies conducted by reliable companies. So if you want me to ignore this, prove to me that your specific customers don’t need or expect this.

Client: Our industry does not require the technical data on our products, we all know what they are.

Me: So every single potential buyer on your website already knows these are 12 volt capacitors?

Client: Well, no not exactly, but we have all return customers and they know.

Me: Oh, I see, you have no desire to build your business any further, you are completely satisfied with your current level of sales?

Client: ummm

Client: Our customers do not search for part numbers. They all search for the manufacturer.

Me: So if I have a Lexmark printer I am going to come to your website and browse the 200 Lexmark cartridges until I happen across the correct one?

Client: Yeah, we have pictures to help them.

Me: Click… oops we were disconnected.

On our old website this one customer said the “Add to Cart” was confusing for the button, so we changed it to “Add” as clearly they were confused by the “cart” part.

Me: Oh… I see one customer thought the coffee was too weak so you guys made mud for all of your customers?

Client: No, we are just trying to please everyone.

Me: You can’t, this is a game of percentages and if you confuse the 85% of normal (intelligent) shoppers by your “Add” button to serve one customer who is clearly a less that stunning example of an online shopper.. Then you must not be seeking to grow your sales any right?

Client: Wow, never thought about it like that.

Client: In our industry this is simply called a resin.

Me: Really, how many searches for resin do you get?

Client: Well, I don’t know how to check.

Me: Opens Google analytics… Hmm zero searches for resin in the last 90 days and Google thinks we are searching for injection molding materials when I search for it.

Client: Oh, they search for things like resin award or resin plaque.

Me: and you expect Google to guess Resin award from a product called simply resin?

Client: Sure it’s Google right?

Me: No Google reads text in a mathematical process to determine what pages are about and rank them accordingly … The text is not there it cannot rank.

While these are seemingly funny, it is a very accurate picture of what my job is really like. I indeed allocate a great deal of time trying to save clients from themselves. I only ever win these battles when A. I can prove the statement or B. I manage to call on the logic in such a fashion that while they may not understand, it seems to make sense. My own personal opinion is that I should never have to convince clients of these things… They certainly are not paying us for our lack of knowledge… Correct?

The whole purpose of this post is to attempt to educate you a bit regarding the “expectations” of shoppers. Many times these expectations which in a brief second can determine how a shopper “feels” about your business are based on sometimes less than logical shopper expectations. This being the whole reason studies are done to determine what shoppers want, need and expect. Then on a site by site basis you need someone like myself to help you determine what works best with your company, products and shoppers. These decisions are not likely the final word on the matters, but at least they are made using the available information and experience of someone who does “this” for a living. Then, the next key is to measure these things and continually improve your site.

What to shoppers really expect?

A great deal of what shoppers expect seems so boring compared to the technology we have at our disposal, but in the end we are here to make money selling our products. So Oneupweb did an excellent case study and published a white paper to tell us just that! The white paper called “Revolutionizing Website Design. The News Rules of Usability” used 100 websites in 4 different industries for patterns and characteristics.

The piece on ecommerce is certainly what interests us most. they gave some very easy, KISS, rules for your thought processes. I really love these.

  1. Familiarity breeds trust.
  2. Obvious is good.
  3. Bottom-Line : Functionality.

How about this awesome graph of top 10 consumer expectations that influence purchase decisions?

Click to enlarge

I want you, the shop owner to change the way you think… I want you to think less about all the cool toys and think more about making every shopper feel safe, trusting and willing to open their wallets. Highly suggest you download the whitepaper and I will be happy to engage any questions you may have.

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