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By Lee Carnihan, Marketing Manager, Curveball Media.

When a customer leaves your website without buying something, it could be for any number of reasons.

The product was out of stock. They couldn’t understand your size guide. They couldn’t find what they were looking for. They found a better offer someplace else. They were browsing at the office but had to abort to get an important piece of work done.

The list is potentially endless. It could be all those things or none of them. And it can be hard to know what the reason was that people don’t hang around to tell you.

To find out, you can use things like secret shoppers, UX consultants, and DIY tools that record web visits for you to analyse later and figure out what might have caused a drop-off.

But all is not lost

Technology might have changed a lot in the last hundred years, but human nature hasn’t. So, it’s worth checking you’ve got the basics covered. Meaning, check that your web site’s content is addressing your customers’ fundamental objections.

Things like:

No FOMO. No hurry. No money. No time. No fear. No need. No desire. No belief. No ability. No understanding. No awareness. No feeling. No steps.

And “no” can mean different things in different contexts for different brands and different customers.

Take “no FOMO” for example.

You wouldn’t want to scare your customer into buying from you that’s for sure. But letting them know the availability of your product, especially if it’s in very short supply and not due to be replenished soon, may help them to make a better decision. They may choose to wait or buy sooner than they were otherwise planning to.

Airlines do this. Cinemas do this. Theatres do this. They display the number of tickets available or if the product has sold out. Sometimes the price changes with the availability, sometimes not.

When online retailers present customers with that information, it can help them in a number of ways: if there are still tickets left, it may urge them to buy one, especially if they feel like they can’t possibly miss out. Maybe it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for them to see their favourite band, visit a tropical island or enjoy The Last Night of the Proms?!

No hurry!

Connected to no FOMO: online clothes retailers regularly display special offers to make people aware that something is only happening or available for a short time e.g. the Boxing Day sale only lasts one day (theoretically.)

What each online retailer has to do is figure out what role FOMO and time (hurrying or not hurrying) play in their customers’ buying decision, and decide what content and functionality to offer them in response.

For theatre sites selling tickets for very popular shows, maybe they could allow customers to be notified by email when tickets go on sale or allow long-standing theatre patrons to reserve some in advance of their going on general release.

Maybe online clothes retailers could allow a sneak-peek of what items will be in the Boxing Day sale by email the day before (yes, Christmas Day!) and allow them to be reserved.

Those are just some ideas for those two objections.

For clarity

I’m not saying you should make people fear missing out or make them hurry as if those two objections were always present in every buying experience, or as if instilling FOMO or making people hurry was appropriate in every online buying experience.

Sometimes your customers may need to be assured that they will not miss out if they don’t hurry.

What I’m saying is that you need to understand what role FOMO and not hurrying play in your customers’ buying journey.

Then you’ll need to figure out how to address those objections in your site content, buying process and functionality.

T is for Test

AB testing is a great way to figure out what content, process and functionality your customers respond to best, what is appropriate and what is profitable for you. You can use Google Optimize for that for free as well.

It’s nice to be understood

Addressing your customers’ objections fuels hope and the belief they have been understood, and that fuels their interest, desire and buying behaviour.

But it also sets an expectation: if they believe that what you’re offering will solve their problem and meet their needs, you need to deliver that.

Have a listen to the podcast of the talk I gave to hear about all the objections above, and the slide deck shows you some of the ways online retailers address them.


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