How often are you inspired by a website? How often do you visit a webshop where you feel the shop is really helpful in choosing the right items? Where you really want to buy a lot of stuff? Even when you don’t really need it. Where you really get greedy?
When I look at most webshops I always get the feeling they want me to pick up any item and then rush towards the till. No stopping on the way, no distraction whatsoever. Cross-sells and Up-sells may happen, but within limits. Someone is thinking for me, but it most of the time I don’t feel it is me. Shop-owners and internet marketers call this conversion optimisation.
Browsing and window shopping
When we look in the real world at the shopping behaviour of people at a shopping mall or in a Highstreet, we see a very different pattern. Browsing and walking in and out of shops, trying different stuff and having a cup of coffee or tea to keep the spirits up and to talk to your friends. Most women know this as fun shopping. They feel it is a great past time. (And lots of men seem to hate it.)
I live in a mayor border town and every weekend people come across the border. It does not matter which nationality they are, one thing they all have in common: They browse, the window shop BEFORE they actually decide to buy. And yes when I look around, women browse more. Men stay out in the street waiting for their wives, girlfriends or daughters to come out yet another shop for women’s clothes or shoes, or bags or whatever we women think we need.
Every shopkeeper is trying very hard to inspire the window shoppers to come in and browse. Because when you’ve got them inside they can be inspired, they can be persuaded. They can sell.
Imagine what would happen if only people came in who already know what they want to buy. The shopkeeper only has to point the right aisle or shelf. They pick the wanted item and go directly to the till. No extra sales, no extra items to purchase. What would happen when the staff is not inspiring me, not helping me. I know that revenue would drop dramatically. But this is exactly what a lot of webshops are doing. They don’t inspire me; they don’t talk to me. It is if they scream at me: “You are welcome here only to buy”.
When we look at the overall online behaviour, we see that most people are just browsing. And when somewhere on their way, someone is offering the right thing, they just might buy it. They might visit a blog and get inspired by an article on products they like. Perhaps they will follow a link towards your shop. But this is all a lot of maybe’s. Why don’t online shopkeeper keep things in their own hand and inspire their visitors to become buyers, or at least inspire the visitor to come back often and feel welcome every time they visit?
To make things more complicated in your webshop: not all visitors are men or not all visitors are women. And not all men are equal, just as no woman is equal in the way they look and buy things. So to make your webshop compelling and ravishing you have to take all those different kind of people in mind. yes i know, this is an awesome task to do.