e-Commerce 101: Simple Tips to Convert Shoppers into Buyers

It is no secret that conversion rate is a main concern for any retailers. Still, I found that many online sites fail at being pro-active when it comes to answering the most frequent questions of buyers. To illustrate what I mean, let me share the online purchase that I made this morning.

I can’t use my KitchenAid food processor anymore because the security element that is inside the main bowl handle is broken. This prevents the motor from starting. Since we couldn’t fix it, I decided a buy a new bowl. I prefer to order it online instead of driving through traffic to get it.

First, The Bad

I started my search at KitchenAid Canada. They sent me to Whirlpool for ordering the parts. There, I needed to look at snapshots of the user manual to find the part number. Then, I searched for the part as they instructed me to do. Here is all the product information they provided before I could add the bowl to the shopping cart. By the way, the “review a technical bulletin” is not available.  More importantly, show me one customer who will use the word bulletin.

bad shopping experience

My biggest issue is the color of the bowl is missing. Before ordering it, I want to make sure that I selected the bowl with the Empire Red handle. For people who are not into small kitchen appliances, the color selection is a huge selling point for KitchenAid small appliances. Their color selection plays a major role in their marketing messages. It is the reason why I bought a KitchenAid food processor and a matching blender.

I can’t understand why, even with the outdated technology that they used, Whirlpool couldn’t mention in their catalogue or their shopping cart the most basic characteristic of the bowl I was ready to order. Plus, there were no mention of shipping time or rates. I took the time to read their policy pages but Whirlpool don’t seem to think that buyers care about shipping costs and delivery time. Lastly, if I ordered the wrong bowl, my return would be subject to a 25% restocking fee. Very old school!

All those contribute to my lack of confidence in the capabilities of Whirlpool to fulfill my online order. So, I continue my search for an online store in Canada that carries the replacement bowl I need.

Now, for The Good

The first thing I noticed is that the small appliance parts industry is in a time warp. Be prepared to go back in time. Once I accepted that fact, I went ahead and ordered a replacement bowl from a Nova Scotia store that I don’t know.

Even if their Website is dated, their catalogue lacks product descriptions and many of their processes need improvements, Easy Appliance Parts did a few things right. They answered the most fundamental questions that all online shoppers have before placing an order.

First, the product page mentioned that it will be shipped today since the product is in stock. They answered one of my main questions right away. Secondly, they highlight when and which number to call if I need to speak to someone, before or after my purchase. Third, they mention their easy returns policy on the search product form.

What I like the most is their order confirmation message. Posting that type of information online is really important for first time buyers at a store. Easy Appliance Parts went further than telling me that I will receive an order confirmation email. They told me right away what is happening next to my order. I know that it sounds obvious but reading this made me feel confident about my purchase. And I don’t have to open their email and go down to the bottom of their email to read it.

after ordering feedback

Food for Thought

No matter how great your marketing campaigns are or how convincing your storytelling can be, you need to reassure online shoppers that you know what you are doing and that you deliver a great customer service if you want them to make a purchase. All these factors contribute to your conversion rate. If you ignore these details, you risk losing sales from people who are ready to buy. Ask yourself, do you cover the basics?

Update Aug. 23rd, 2013: I received my replacement bowl this morning. My food processor works again. Hurrah!