Ecommerce Purchase Paralysis What is it and How to Avoid It?

Posted On: 4th August 2023
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Read Time: 5 Minutes

You’ve spent a lot of time, energy and marketing budget getting potential customers to your site. Then, at the last hurdle, they abandon you. They made it to your standout product pages, and you feel that the product is great. But, people aren’t following through and making a purchase – what a nightmare!

This can be a result of purchase paralysis which affects a customer’s ability to make a purchase decision. Often, this can occur wherever there is uncertainty or cognitive overload.

As an ecommerce website owner, your job is to enable people to seamlessly purchase your products. The word seamless is key here. If your customer is left scratching their head, they will walk away. Your competitors will be quids in, while you’ll be left wondering why your amazing products just aren’t selling.

In this guide, we’re breaking down the common culprits that play a part in customers walking away from your webpages.

By knowing the common pitfalls, you can critically evaluate the product pages that you currently have. Hopefully, more people will engage with your site in the way that you want them to – namely, by making a purchase.

It can be easy to feel deflated or rejected. But this is the perfect opportunity to audit your site. You need to find out why your customers are leaving at the last hurdle. It could even be a simple fix. Find out everything you need to know about purchase paralysis and how to avoid it in our guide below.

How to avoid ecommerce purchase paralysis

Are you giving your customers too many options?

Having one really well thought out call-to-action (CTA) is 100 times better than having multiple options.

It depends on your business – no one knows your audience and customers better than you do. In some cases, it could be helpful to give users several options.

However, there should always be one call-to-action that stands out above the rest.

This should take pride of place on your page.

There’s a time and a place to offer choice, but the final stage in the customer journey is not it!

The more choices you offer your customers, the more time it will take them to make a decision. This is a well-known rule of website design known as Hick’s Law.

Key takeaway: Every landing page should have one conversion goal and one primary call to action.

Are you helping your customers choose?

Let’s say you have several products that are very similar. It helps to write comparison guides and make them accessible. That way, potential customers won’t have to leave your site to find out the information they need. Instead, they’ll be able to read your product comparison guide, understand the features and pros and cons of each product and make an informed decision. This could help secure you a sale. Assuming the guide is helpful and well written, they’ll also see you as an authority on your niche.

Provide all the right information

We’re not suggesting that you spam your audience with a novel the size of Tolstoy’s War and Peace. What will work in your favour though is providing clear details that matter to your customers. Things like prices, whether the item is in stock, delivery and payment options and whether a warranty is included, etc.

A top tip from us is to include a product star rating and reviews (if they’re good!). If you have a customer that’s not shopped with you before and is on the fence about buying, that might just help to sway them to click the ‘Buy Now’ button.

Make interactive choices as easy as possible

Let’s say you are an online clothes retailer. Make it as easy as possible for customers to choose a quantity and select a specific colour or size. A good way to achieve this is to offer filters so that customers can narrow down their options based on what they want and need. If a customer has to do any hard work to make a purchase, this is where you can lose them. Now more than ever, customers want convenience and simplicity. In fact, a study found that 70% of customers may be prepared to pay more for the sake of saving time and hassle.

Think about the terminology you’re using

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. In fact, this could confuse or overwhelm your customers.

Customers tend to respond well to the classic calls to action, such as ‘Buy now’ and ‘Add to basket’. These might seem boring, but they are predictable. Your customers will be familiar with this terminology and know exactly where the button will take them.

Key takeaway: Use consistent word choices across all your CTAs and touchpoints. Keep it simple and use words that your customers are familiar with.

Get the call-to-action designs right

The formatting of your call-to-action can make all the difference. Here are some of the key design elements to keep in mind:

  • There should be a good level of contrast between the colour used on your call-to-action button and the background. They should not blend in!
  • Get the sizing right on both your button and text size. Too small, and your audience will have to squint to read it. Too large, and your CTAs will look spammy and out of proportion with the content on the rest of the page.
  • Make sure there’s enough white space around your CTA. If your page is too cluttered, your customers may feel overwhelmed and leave your page.

Create the smoothest checkout experience

Quality check your checkout process. Try on multiple devices and browsers. Get other people involved in your checkout process review. Anything that isn’t clear or makes a customer work unnecessarily hard could be worth changing.

The checkout process needs to be as smooth as possible for your user. Automated fields for personal details, such as a delivery address, makes checkout easier and quicker. Also, don’t force your customers to set up an account in order to make a payment. Always give them the option to checkout as a guest. A smooth checkout process could be the key to securing more sales…

Help your customers make faster decisions

There are some clever hacks you can use to encourage users to make faster decisions.

For instance, you can highlight which products are ‘customer favourites’ or specify a ‘product of the day’. You can also use the classic ‘people also bought’ gallery when a customer heads to the checkout page. That way, you can upsell and make it easier for customers to pair products that go well together.

Ready to turn abandoned baskets into sales?

Hopefully, this guide has given you some starting points to help turn abandoned baskets into sales.

We get it – managing a website is like a full-time job. If you need a helping hand, the expert digital marketing and web design team at Echo will be happy to assist. Contact us today to enquire about our ecommerce services.

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Emma Gibbs at Echo Web Solutions
Emma Gibbs
SEO Content Writer
Writing is something that Emma has always loved, and enjoys using her passion for the written word to help businesses create easy to understand content that drives results.

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