What to do when people use your online shop for ideas but buy elsewhere.

Written by  //  March 13, 2013  //  Daily Juice  //  No comments

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Oh gosh, Hannah sent in a good question. I get asked it a lot so thought I’d share my suggestions here. I certainly don’t have all the answers so please chip in with your thoughts too.

Hannah wrote:

“I’m an online retailer of speciality clothes for children. I work hard to curate a really good collection but I find that people use my site for ideas and then they go and buy elsewhere (for cheaper I guess.) I’m a really small business so I don’t get great wholesale prices, if I dropped my retail price to compete I’d be stuffed. What can I do?”

I think the best place to start is with 5 more questions. Here they are:

1. Where does your website traffic come from?

This can be a rather painful place to begin. But I always think it’s better to get the tough stuff out of the way first! So here’s the rub:


If most of your website traffic is coming from product searches on Google then people aren’t coming to you for ideas, they are using you as the price guide.


I know, I know, you’ve worked hard on your marketing and are curating a fabulous collection. They should be coming to you for that. But if they’re not you need to know.


You can get the info  you need from your website’s back end or Google Analytics. Get a techie person to help you if you need it. It’s really worth finding this stuff out early on

2. Do you offer a unique collection?

I don’t need to tell you that customers are funnyosities about delivery fees. They’ll do anything to avoid them. Including of course buying more to get it free.

If you sell a unique collection (ie they can’t buy all the same pieces at another retailer), and it’s stuff that people want, then they’ll be more inclined to buy it all from YOU (and hit the magic ‘free delivery’ shopping basket total) than buy from multiple retailers (and pay delivery on each purchase).

So make sure you’ve curated a truly unique collection.

3. Do people trust you?

Have you ever had a bad online shopping experience? Most of us have, and doesn’t it just put us off small unknown businesses?! Sigh. This makes life tricky when you are, er, a small unknown business.

So you need to do a few things to help people trust you. Here are four easy ideas:

1. Display a contact phone number on your website. I know it’s not convenient having people call you but customers feel much safer if they know they can get hold of you if they need to.

2.Pop testimonials on your website. Get your customers to write a few words about the quality of your service. Include a photo if you can. Video testimonials are the best, but that might be pushing it!

3. Write a blog on your website with useful info but make sure it sounds like you. People buy from people and if you sound real they’re more likely to trust you.

4. Have a Facebook and/or Twitter page so potential customers can check out how real you are (and know they can contact you in a public way, should things go wrong – that sounds awful, but it’s true.)

4. Do you have repeat customers?

Having lots of repeat customers speaks volumes. Among other things it tells you that they enjoyed the experience of shopping with you, like your stuff and trust you.

if you’ve not got many repeat customers it’s telling you the opposite.

So if you’re loyalty is a little low think about the buying experience from the customer’s point of view. Did you send the stuff quickly? Was it nicely packaged? Did it arrive safely? Did you pop a nice little note in? Did you send the right product?!

You might find that improving the buying experience alone stops people using your website as a suggestion box.

5. Do you have a tribe?

If you source great stuff for your shop, provide interesting info on your website, and do it all for a purpose (like finding products for anaphylactic kids) you can create a tribe of followers. And this is where you want to get to because this tribe becomes so loyal  they would sooner dance naked down the high street than buy from someone other than you.


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