Shopping Cart Abandonment Rates and Solutions

I have been doing quite a bit of online shopping recently, and I noticed how often I got to a certain point in the shopping cart and then abandoned my purchase.  I have done quite a bit of research and analysis on my clients’ behalves on this very subject, so I am well aware of the major roadblocks that affect the completion of a sale online.  Experiencing it from the purchaser’s perspective inspired this week’s Five Minute Friday blog post.

What are the major causes of shopping cart abandonment?
The average shopping cart abandonment rate is a whopping 67.45% this is based on an average rate aggregated over 22 different studies and was last updated this month. Source: Baymard.com

Statista.com has come up with 14 principle reasons that shopping carts are abandoned

Reasons for consumers to drop out of an online purchase in 2012

What these Statistics Mean

Obviously some website visitors abandon for more than 1 reason but these reasons can be broken down into 4 main categories:

 

Issues Possible Solution
Price Issues Display a best price guarantee.

Avoid hidden costs. Display the final price.

Offer free shipping

Website Issues Test website navigation is user friendly and layout is intuitive

Ensure the website is mobile friendly

Host website on a reliable server and monitor server issues & timeouts

Payment Issues Trust is important – display security badges but test where and how they appearOffer multiple payment options

Ensure price is displayed in the home currency of the visitor

Other Issues Many people are just browsing – send a reminder email with a click to complete purchase option.

Simplify the process – make editing the cart easy and avoid compulsory registration

Show images of the products in the cart and offer customer support if buyers have questions.

I hope that these tips are useful, and I look forward to sharing more tips and advice next Friday. Until then…happy shopping and happy selling :-)

Some things to do AND to avoid at networking events

I’ve had a few emails following on from my last blog post about BNI.  That’s great.  Some of the questions were a little surprising however, so I felt that I should offer some advice to those who attend different networking events.  Here are five golden rules.

First tip – be a good scout and arrive prepared!

Find out what the culture is within the group you are going to visit.  By knowing what’s expected, you will make a great impression.  See if you can identify any of the attendees and if any of them would be on your introductions wish list, perhaps you know a person who could introduce you to that potential contact while you are all in the room together.  Bring your business cards and a small notebook so you can write things down as you go.  Don’t use those moments after a new introduction to scour the room for your next prospect – write down as much as you can about that chat you’ve just enjoyed and make sure to write down what had been agreed as a follow up.

Second tip – know what you’re going to say

You know that people will ask you to tell them what you do, so have something interesting to say.  You’ll have about 30 seconds to impress or they’ll mentally check-out of the conversation so don’t start telling people what you are – it’s much more interesting to tell them what you do.  So in my case I could say:

A)     I’m an internet marketing and sales consultant who focuses on systems and service       OR

B)      I help people make more money in their business and have more fun doing it

Which answer above leaves the door open for more conversation?

Third tip – respect other people’s time

DON’T BE A BORE OR A STALKER!  If you know people in the room that’s great, but avoid them.  The point of networking is to make new connections with people.  Look out for new faces, read name badges and do not stick like glue to the first person who’s nice to you and follow them around for the night.  Remember that everyone is there to make new connections.  Establish if you can help the person you’ve met or if they could help you.  If they would like to meet, exchange contact details and agree to make contact and arrange a conversation over coffee sometime in the next five working days (Don’t let the grass grow under your feet).  This allows you to meet others but also allows them the same opportunity.  Like I said, respect their time.

Fourth tip – ask about others first

Everybody loves to be asked about themselves and to feel as though you are genuinely interested in them (Which of course you will always be) – nobody likes to hear a person rattle on for ages about who they are or what they do.  As a rule of thumb, if you are trying to develop a relationship with a person it starts with you showing them lots of attention and listening rather than talking – think about having two ears and one mouth, use proportionately please.

Fifth tip – follow up

If you have met a great contact and think that you could help them and they could help you, please follow up on the items you had agreed to.  Your great start could come crashing to a bitter end if you fail to call them when you said you would or by failing to carry out an action that you had promised.  That’s why it is really important to take notes and have a system in place.  Great things rarely happen accidentally.

Within BNI our members can avail of training and development in all of these areas.  This learning can be applied to other networking groups, your own business or even dating (But I wouldn’t recommend the latter).  People who get nervous about going into open rooms for networking events are normally suffering from the same type of anxiety that’s brought on by not being prepared.  Networking can be great fun and a massive source of dream clients.  Before your next event, have a plan, set a target for the people you would like to meet – even if that’s just a number and NO STALKING.  Keep moving around the room and be alert for new connections.

As a closing thought, networking should be treated in exactly the same way and any other marketing strategy.  You need to have a plan, know the desired results and measure your investment of time, energy or money.  It has never been so important to reach out to other local businesses and pull together so plan to visit networking groups and have a plan for what to do once you get there too.

Successful Business Networking

Getting together with other business people can make all the difference when trying to generate new business for your company. Why? Well, here’s a simple explanation of my point of view on this:

Take out your mobile phone and check how many contacts there are contained within your contacts folder. My guess is that it’s more than 250 people with the average being slightly higher than that.

Now imagine that I invited you to join me at a meeting with 20 other business people (All with their mobile phones / contacts in their pockets) where you will have an opportunity to request an introduction to a target client from a person in the room who your target client knows, likes and trusts.  If you call that target client after being introduced and your target client has heard how you add value for your clients, how likely is it that you will have their full attention?  That’s the difference between a qualified referral or introduction versus a “Cold call”.  I’m sure you love cold calling, right?

In a snapshot, that’s what BNI is all about, giving more business to it’s members and ensuring that qualified introductions are made When a BNI member calls a person to whom an introduction has already been made, they will have a genuine opportunity to do business.

BNI Galway | Networking group Galway | Find More Business

When we examine the way in which we do business today, it has never been more important to build great relationships with your clients and within the local business community.  Word of mouth marketing is the most cost effective manner of promoting your business and typically produces either most of, or the most profitable type of, business conducted in any organisation.

BNI is the most successful organisation of its type in the world.  There are currently thousands of chapters in operation with tens of thousands of members.  Members of BNI have passed millions of referrals and this translates into billions of euros worth of NEW business being done between the members.  Of the worldwide totals, over half a million referrals were passed in the UK and Ireland, resulting in over €270 million worth of business for our members IN THE LAST YEAR ALONE!

In GALWAY, BNI has generated over €4.2 million for it’s members between our four Chapters and we continue to increase this figure weekly.

We follow a structured agenda that is proven to maximise the business that is passed in any BNI Chapter that has been developed by BNI and refined over the past 25 years, all around the globe.  A part of the process is that members have the opportunity every week to educate their fellow members on the type of business that they would like introductions for and how to introduce them successfully to meet a requirement from other members contact spheres.  If I told you that a good introduction for me was an business person who sells their products online, how many people within your contact sphere do you think you could introduce me to?

At BNI we use the philosophy that “Givers Gain”.  If you give me a referral, then I will want to give you a referral in return and thus we work in partnership to win new business for our respective companies.  Being a member in a BNI Chapter gives you the power of a twenty plus member sales team who all know what type of business you are looking for, how you would like to be introduced, how you add value for your clients and who will actively listen out for opportunities for you to do business within their contact spheres.

If you could handle some more business and would like to join us for a meeting, or if you would like to find out a little more about BNI, please give me a call, my number is listed below, and I can show you first-hand why we say that “Missing breakfast can be seriously bad for your WEALTH” :)

Information that slips through your fingers like sand – unless….

I find myself getting into this type of conversation a lot.  I ask a businesses owner or manager “What is the main source of your business right now?”

I get a shifty flick of their eyes followed by very similar responses:

  • “I guess, it’s repeat customers….”
  • “Well, I run ads in local papers sometimes….”
  • “Hmm, the brand name above the door does it in most cases….”
  • “I think, it’s probably the Golden Pages….”

They are fooling nobody – except maybe themselves :)

Straight away, I’m trying to work out what process is in place to measure sources of business because any business owner or manager that is focussed on those metrics can quote them off the top of their head.

I love to hear “30% of my business is repeat trade, 50% is walk-in business because I have a great location and the rest comes from different marketing and promotion campaigns that I run at different times of the year”.  There’s no sand slipping through those fingers.  Having spent a little time with them, that’s the level of focus that clients of EzSales develop throughout their teams.

Before we can establish the likelihood of your success in new promotional activities, we have to understand where your current business is coming from.  I do not want to start pushing your promotions away from a successful source.  In fact, the main reason I’m asking the question is to work out where you are spending your money and to see if we can take some of your current marketing spend and make it work more productively for you through other channels.

Sales ends up being a numbers game, so you have to be on top of your numbers.  You need a system that tracks every enquiry and qualifies the source of that enquiry.  This will drive your actions too.  If you see that most people are coming to you for goods or services because they were recommended by a friend, then the likelihood is that they have received a little bit of pre-selling.  They are already disposed to like you and your products or services because a trusted friend has recommended them to you.  If you’re not measuring the volume of business that you get through this channel, you could become complacent when it comes to customer service.

Equally, it has become expensive for businesses to continue to pay for premium listings with the golden pages.  If you were to stop doing that and spend the money in a different area it could be a risk.  If you assume that all calls you are getting for new business enquiries are coming from your Golden Pages listing, perhaps asking the question from a caller about where they heard about you could go a long way to establishing whether that it truly the case or not.

When building a cohesive sales strategy it comes down to a simple approach:

A)    Know where your sales come from (Measure and report)

B)     Identify if your competition are winning sales from you through other channels and if it is possible for you to compete in that space (I see no reason why not)

C)    Work out what business will churn of it’s own accord once your product or service quality remains consistently high – take that as a baseline of business in the bank (My guess is that any figure you list as business in the bank will be a fairly low one in current market conditions)

D)    Look at what costs will go behind driving business through other channels and break out your sales and marketing plan accordingly (This will make you focus on the return you get from the money you spend behind every activity)

E)      We’re back to Point (A) – Measure sales and report

F)      Rinse and repeat (Don’t lock your strategy in stone, but don’t change too often either.  Review the success of your activities and identify the impact in positive revenue growth)

I suspect that if you haven’t run this simple exercise recently in your business, then there’s a good chance that you are spending money from your sales and marketing budget without knowing what return it’s delivering to your business.  It’s money you’ve spent in the past and each year you pay it again.  Don’t get upset, get focussed.

By stepping back and looking at your sources of our success, we can learn what activities are fruitless.  Cut them out and increase effort and focus on the areas of your sales and marketing plan that give you the highest return and you’re well on the way to a successful strategy.

At EzSales we have simple, cost effective solutions.  We make it a priority to get the necessary systems and structures in place throughout your business to deliver measured results.  These bring focussed strategies that WILL increase your sales and will increase your PROFITS.

Focus or Fire Your Staff for a Winning Sales Strategy

Okay, as I said in the last post “Why you need to be all about the PROFITS in 2012?” the section on Focus or Fire Your Staff sounds a bit dramatic and based on the number of emails from people looking for a view on this, I thought I’d expand on my statement a little further.

You’ll note that I begin with the intention of FOCUS rather than fire. There’s a good reason for this, most people fail to do it. They have a valuable (And costly) resource sitting within their business that will never be unlocked because of a lack of direction and motivation. To illustrate, I’ll fall back on my role within hospitality businesses where the logic is easy, but the practice can be slightly more complex.

I go back again to my previous article (Linked above) and remind you that we have to review our costs. You have to decide if there is sufficient staff resourcing to cope with the business volumes and in hotels this is an easy one to understand. You know how many rooms need to be cleaned from last night, how many breakfasts to serve to the people who stayed and how many people are staying with you tonight? They’ll need receptionists to check them in / out and people to take care of their lunch / dinner / rom service. It’s Groundhog Day – but the numbers change slightly daily.

The question shouldn’t be “How many staff do I need to cover the bookings for tonight?” – that’s reactive, not proactive. The real question will be “How many staff do I need to win MORE business today?” If the staff that you employ realise their importance to your sales effort, then the link between business and FOCUS becomes clear.

Set targets so that each person within each department knows exactly what is required from their performance on that day. Your team should know this and be working with you to help ensure that their performance matches your targets for them but it is your responsibility to empower them to do what it takes to deliver that result.

You MUST give them the necessary training and the benefit of your experience and guidance, but you have to trust them to come up with ways that they believe they can achieve better results. If they are not focussed on the Target, they will simply walk through the steps of their role – do simply what is required on a task basis, clock-out and go home. A focussed team work towards a target and know that their performance will influence whether or not the overall team will be successful – preferably for THAT DAY.

Setting targets as part of an overall sales strategy is a skill and I want to stay on point in this post – there are a number of givens now to be considered:
1. Your team are trained
2. They have the tools required to be successful in their role
3. Their performance has had a measure applied to it
4. Their performance has been linked to the overall business targets
5. The elements of points 3 & 4 above have been communicated clearly to your team

In this context, your team now have the skills and targets. You have to motivate them and each manager will have his / her own style for doing so. Now you can objectively assess individual performance to see if your team are giving you 100% effort. So it’s not completely down to the members of your team – you have your part to play in setting the stage for them and then you have to monitor their performance and communicate with them effectively.

If you have invested this effort into your team and still you have an employee who consistently underperforms, then you implement your own disciplinary procedures and either manage the employee back into effective performance or regrettably, you manage them out the door.

Keep in mind my original point on this. An employee who gives you 8 out of ten for effort is STEALING 20% of the productivity you require from their role. If we thought about lazy attitudes towards work in this context it would have a dramatic change in the way we approach it with our staff surely. If you pay a bar tender €90.00 for six hours work and he stole €20.00 from the till, you would fire him / her. If they take an extra 30 minute break or don’t bother going to greet guests who are stood at the door reading your food menu, why should this be treated differently. These things happen just as much because of a lack of FOCUS on YOUR part as they do when your staff are not focussed on the results that your business needs for success.

Keep your comments coming, I’d love to hear the feedback now that you understand a little bit more about my thoughts on this subject.

Why you need to be all about the P.R.O.F.I.T.S. in 2012

If you’re in business because you like to meet people and have something to do between 9am and 5pm – QUIT.  Go through the papers and find a steady, low risk job that allows you to meet new people every day and rid yourself of financial worry and responsibility.

If you’re serious about your business then the reason you get up early and go to networking meetings, engage with other business owners and try to make things happen, is because you want to have a profitable business.

Take seven steps to take control TODAY so you can enjoy P.R.O.F.I.T.S.

1.    P – Print / Publish your goals:

Understand what your goals and objectives are for being in business.  Identify what success means to your organisation and focus on the tasks and actions that will deliver that success.  This will be the answer in your head every time you ask the question “Why do I do this” so make it a good answer that’s meaningful to you.  Print those goals and share them with your team – stick them on your wall and Practice what you Preach.  When you’ve written it and shared it, you’re more likely to succeed because you won’t want to fail in front of others.

2.    R – Re-structure your cost base:

Everything has boiled down to price in recent times.  Bad when you’re trying to haul in sales but surely it benefits when it comes to paying your bills?  See it’s not all bad news.  Identify what could be waste, what could be more efficient and whether you need the product / service at all.  In times when we can anticipate a shrinking market, our first responsibility is to live within our means.  Control your costs on all P&L lines.

3.    O – Organise and Orchestrate:

Look at your systems and structures and if you have a team around you establish that they are organised in their systems and thought process.  Sharpen up your interaction with your clients and build your reputation as an amazing service provider.  Interact with the business and those involved whether customer, supplier or employee.  We’re all in this together and you might be surprised where help comes from.  By being in the middle of things you can orchestrate and control the factors that will be most important in the system you have organised.

4.    F – Focus or Fire your staff:

Okay, so it’s a bit dramatic.  I’d prefer you focus your existing team.  However, at the end of each week you don’t sit down and decide on a scale out of ten for effort, that Mary only scored 7 this week so she gets 70% of her wage.  Who’s the fool?  It is YOUR job to set the rules of this particular dance.  You must give them an operating standard and the tools and training essential for them to complete the tasks.  I predicate my approach here on the understanding that as part of your cost-base restructuring you have agreed that every employee in your team is vital to your success.  It is THEIR job to meet that standard.  If they know what is vital for them to be successful in their role (Which is vital in some way to the success of the business), then it falls back to you to keep them focussed and motivated and to challenge poor performance.  Continued poor performance is denying you of a vital resource and this will drain your business and impact on morale of those who do perform for you.

5.    I – Implement your plans:

By this point you have now got a view of why you are in business, you have looked at how to achieve your definition of success (Making your business work for you), you have cut costs, established robust systems and structures and you have clearly defined what you need from every member of your team.  Great.  Who’s going to make sure all of that happens for you?  Simple answer is, nothing will happen unless you implement the plan.  Make it all happen every day and remember to place emphasis on the old saying “Customer is King”.

6.    T – Take advantage of your existing customers:

That comes in many forms.  The most obvious is to get them to buy from you more often, but there are other benefits to them already knowing you and liking you.  Get them to recommend you to friends, offer them a loyalty reward, ask them to follow your social media activity, send them special offers by email or best of all ask them to write you a testimonial.

7.    S – Secure those SALES:

Own your customers.  Deserve their loyalty.  Be great at what you do.  Most important, don’t forget to ask for the sale!  I’ve lost count of the number of times where I have visited a client at their premises who missed an opportunity to sell more items to one of their customers because they didn’t ask.  Bought a torch?  Maybe they need batteries.  It’s not rocket science and nobody knows your product range better than you.  See what other goods or services can be bundled together and have a strategy to sell them together wherever possible.  I’ll say it again. ASK THEM TO BUY, your customers will be delighted if you can solve more than one problem at a time.

If you can focus on these seven steps, then you will make a big difference to your sales in 2012 and the way your business is working to deliver those sales.  It comes down to one simple thing – is your business working for you?

Are you driving your business, or are you a passenger?

Since the start of this year I’ve heard a lot of the usual chatter.  In 2012 we seem to have turned up the dial on negativity about the volatile or shrinking markets in which we do business.  Let me give you one piece of advice – STOP THAT NOW.  It might make you feel better for a few minutes but it drags everyone around you down.

If you look ahead and see doom and gloom, then that’s what you’ll focus on.  It comes back to something that Henry Ford once said “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t – you’re right”.

The way 2012 pans out for your business is far more likely to be influenced by things that you CAN control than things you cannot.  Think about the service you deliver each day to your customers – currency exchange rates won’t dictate the level of connection you make with them, unless of course you open dialogue with them by whining about currency exchange rates!  Don’t bring people down, cheer them up!

When economies slump, as has been the cycle for the last hundred years, it clears out the deadwood.  Those businesses too slow to adapt, too worried to take risks and those that were built on sandy foundations to begin with, crumble and fall.

If your business is going to survive, thrive and grow you’ve got to stop worrying about the things you cannot change and start to look closely at what happens between your ears and inside your business.

If you break things down it comes back to the basic building blocks of getting your product and service to be outstanding no matter what your business is.  Remember the days of “Customer is King” – when exactly did that change?  In my opinion, it never has but it has never been so important to earn the loyalty of the people who are putting money in your pocket.  Get your staff focussed on that same simple lesson and you’re already on the road to securing the future for your business.

All of this creates a positive approach, a clear focus and direction and it sets you apart as a market leader.  Now isn’t that much nicer than being down in the dumps?  Do something with your business this year to be proud of.  Get focussed, stay positive.

That’s why I think we all should simply focus on P.R.O.F.I.T.S.  Let me explain a little more about that in my next post – WATCH THIS SPACE :-)