Insights & Analysis, Mobile Business

Top 5 eCommerce fears and how to ease online shopping anxieties

BY Clara Lu 24 Apr, "14

Infographic Series - Why Are People Afraid Of eCommerce? Stop eCommerce fear in its tracks and make sure your customers’ trust issues don’t overpower their desire to shop at your eCommerce stores.

Prepare yourself for this - a whopping 9.1 billion (and counting) in online sales revenue is lost every year because of shoppers’ fears – what a heartbreaking figure.

According to this Cybersource survey, 73% of the respondents feel that shopping online is riskier than shopping offline, of which 90% get jittery and concerned when shopping on new or unknown sites.

Now imagine if you could overcome this barrier and gain market following from this group of apprehensive shoppers – wouldn’t that be a dream for your sales figures and business growth?

1. Is The Business For Real?

Imagine landing on an eCommerce site that looks like it has been created in the early 90s and abandoned since. It is the epitome of poor design and bad user interface with loads of unappealing graphics thrown everywhere, little content, and lots of advertisements overcrowding the page.

When I chance upon websites like these, I suspect something dodgy must be going on. There is no way I am going to trust the site and part with my cash. Alarm bells immediately start sounding in my head and my natural impulse is to zoom the cursor over to the left hand corner of the page and close it.

Address This Fear

Build trust in your potential prospects and stop people from bouncing away before they have even browsed your offerings by firstly, looking after your eCommerce site design. People trust what they see far more than what they hear.

Ensure that your site is clear and the layout is easy for customers to navigate and shop. For example, stay away from jargon heavy slogans and complicated highly detailed designs so consumers can be abundantly clear on what the product is, where to get more information, and how to purchase it. The Marshall Headphones site is an excellent example of clear presentation.

Ecommerce Fears - Marshall Headphones

Also, to build credibility for your online website, link it to your company’s social media platforms (especially the profiles that you are active on) to allow for alternative channels of communication and touch points. In addition, consider including customer testimonials to show that your business is not a fraud.

Furthermore, keep contact details readily available throughout the checkout process and have an ‘About Us’ page, preferably with photos of the team or a video of the founders. In fact, human photos have been proven to increase conversion rates of more than 95% for ecommerce businesses!

For inspiration, take a look at how Luhse Tea gives each of its team members an alter ego.

Ecommerce Fears - Lusetea

If you have been lucky enough to get any press coverage, don’t think twice before telling the world about it. Any third party endorsement on your website is going to boost your redentials.

Lastly, send out automated order confirmation and tracking emails, and offer step-by-step tracking capability of product fulfillment and shipping on your website after your customer have proceeded with the payment process.

2. Can I Shop Safely?

We hear about identity theft, Internet scams, and other security breaches all the time. Handing one’s credit card information over to even a known and trusted online store can mean a moment of panic.

Address This Fear

Ease this security anxiety with the usage of trust signals such as trustmarks, logos from external accreditors who assure that it’s safe to shop on your site. Some common ones include McAfee, Verisign, Paypal, BBB, and TRUSTe, which were found to be most effective in a survey by Actual Insights. Conversion specialist Karsten Lund proved this point by conducting an A/B test on an eCommerce store and registered a 32% increase in conversions with the presence of a trust badge on the site.

On top of that, use a well-known and respected payment gateway such as Paypal or Worldpay to capture all payment information, and add the payment system logos to assure your customers that they will experience a hassle-free and smooth payment process. Furthermore, include a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) button and a privacy policy on your website, stating clearly how you will use any information you collect so customers know that their information is in safe hands.

These elements, when placed at strategic locations such as the payment page or near the registration form, all rub off trust on your site and ease fears related to stolen credit card details.

Ecommerce Fears - Privacy Policy

3. Will I Like This Product?

This fear is based on customers not knowing what the product is really like – a tough one for eCommerce businesses as customers are not able to touch, smell, feel the product before they purchase it.

Address This Fear

You have to make the best out of the two things online shoppers can do – see and read. Just as some shoppers visit multiple brick and mortar stores before purchasing an item on the Internet, online shoppers need to have ready access to high-quality images and full product information so they can assess the item properly.

To put it bluntly, a customer buys a photographic representation of a product when purchasing online. The photo holds the promise of the actual item. Make sure your product pictures include multiple shots, clarity detail, depth, are zoom-able, and look absolutely stunning.

Video demos of the product also work great, but shoot it in a way that reflects your company culture. Viral is the word here.

In addition, employ the theory of social proof to your advantage because consumers are also prone to external influences such as other customers’ opinions when it comes to decision-making. Display positive customer reviews and video product reviews in a prominent spot, and insert links to other popular and related products viewed by similar visitors. These will go towards customer affirmation on buying the product and reduce cognitive dissonance with regards to buyer’s remorse (sense of regret after having made a purchase).

4. Is There Anyone I Can Talk To? Hello?

Ecommerce Fears - Human ToucheCommerce sites run the risk of giving an impersonal service approach as the buying process only involves the customer and their computer. The presence of a salesperson not only resolves the infinite queries of customers, but also persuades them to make the right decision. While eCommerce businesses are devoid of this virtue, there are many ways to replicate the human touch.

Address This Fear

Display your phone number or Skype username prominently on the homepage and train your customer executives to go beyond the script and really understand your customers’ needs. For example, Zappos encourages its online visitors to talk to its support staff – even if to just discuss the weather!

Utilise an online live chat plug-in on your site, the icon is a massive psychological assurance to the clueless customer. Just make sure you have got your team set up to keep the promise of 24/7 assistance. In addition, a lot of customer queries and problems can be addressed through a comprehensive FAQ and the help guide.

5. Do You Handle Returns?

Shoppers get waylaid by the fear that if they purchase an item and it’s not what they expected, they are stuck with the purchase.

Address This Fear

Reduce uncertainty by having a transparent process for handling product returns and stating out clearly what your shipping policy is. The best solution is to offer a no-questions-asked return policy, preferably with return shipping paid. When customers know that they can return the product, there is no reason NOT to buy. For instance, Understand Quran Academy used a 30-day money back guarantee icon on its product page to see a 32% increase in sales.

The consumer protection advocates at SiteJabber, a consumer protection service, put together this infographic of the top fears associated with ecommerce, along with some statistics on ecommerce fraud.

Remember to look fear in the eye, combat eCommerce doubts with these tactics, and take back your sales. Don’t let eCommerce fears stunt your business growth.

Top 7 Ecommerce Fears

Image Credits: 1 | 2

Resources: 1 | 2 | 3

Subscribe to our email updates

Get the latest expert advice and tools for your business

Maybe later, thanks!

Subscribe for insights into building world-class eCommerce companies