There are many reasons why consumers use the Internet. About 83% of US consumers go online to research before they purchase a product or service. Users can be researching product features, prices, reviews, select products and services, placing an order, making payments, among other things.
In most cases, whatever the reason for searching, users are usually looking for a solution to a problem.
As a small business entrepreneur, you need to discover what customers are searching for and position your solution in a manner that will make them buy. However, even with your marketing efforts, there are certain factors that can make your business fail online regardless of your target market. Here are our top 5 picks:
1. Perceived Risk
This refers to the amount of risk a consumer will have to contend with when buying your product. Many consumers shop online for products that do not require physical inspection. The customers cannot physically touch, see, smell, or taste your product. When the anticipated risk of buying your product is high, consumers may opt to buy from physical stores.
Risks, whether anticipated or real, can be caused by system failures or human errors. To minimize the perceived risk, have a clear shipping and returns policy on your website.
2. Consumer Attitude
Consumer attitudes are largely affected by their intentions and may determine purchasing behavior. In some markets, users have not fully embraced online shopping. Studies have shown that attitude towards online shopping determines online purchasing behavior. Therefore, inasmuch as your product may be outstanding, you have a professional website with great content and so on, your business can still fail if your target customers have a negative attitude towards online shopping.
3. Subjective Norms
Failure to understand your consumers’ purchasing behavior can lead to poor sales and ultimate failure of your business. Purchase decisions are emotional ones. You therefore must design and enable your website support system to perfectly suit the way your customers get information and their purchasing behavior. Visual stimuli, as well as sound and text communication, can significantly affect consumers’ actions. Subjective norms should be used to capture the consumers’ perceptions of how to influence family, friends, peers, etc.
4. Domain Specific Innovativeness
This refers to how quick your business is at adopting an innovation compared to your competitors. Internet technology is constantly changing, and sometimes consumers may need to stretch a bit off their normal shopping routine. New online shoppers have to get comfortable with searching, evaluating and purchasing products at your website. This new experience can be overwhelming and seem difficult to them.
Be innovative and make it easy for prospects to shop at your online store even if they are doing so for the first time. On the same note, adopt new technology to improve customer data security while at the same time facilitate an easy checkout process.
5. False Online Offers
Most consumers shop online because they want a discount. Although gifts and incentives are good promotional tools, you must deliver what you promise. Some businesses fail because they do not give consumers what they promise. This makes consumers lose trust in them and look for other businesses or even physical stores which are true to their word. If you promise discounts, money backs, warranties, free samples or other offers, make sure you stick to them.
The above are some of the factors that make most small businesses fail online. Some of the factors can be controlled while others cannot. To succeed in your business, give your target market a good reason to shop at your store instead of at your competitor’s.