Hans Smellinckx, multi-channel marketing expert

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January 12, 2009

Help my e-commerce site is losing clients

Losing-money In a recent report by Guidance, 36% of all holiday shoppers encountered problems when shopping online. They stumbled upon bad working flows, checking out problems or even technical problems. From all those that had problems, 13% said that they would leave a site if it wasn't working fast enough. This leaves me to the question, what are we doing wrong?


Statements like "we are only 1%" down or not reacheable per year" are one of the most heard excuses for justifying a not so perfect working e-commerce website. The figure on its own is extremely small, but imagine that you have every minute 1 person buying, than the 1% can have huge consequences. That means that you lost 5256 sold items. So for larger e-commerce websites, this can have huge economic consequences. Make the calculation for yourself:

365 days x 24 (to get hours in a day) x 60 (to get the minutes in an hour) x ratio of sold items/minute


People responsible for keeping your shop online are most of the time not accountable for the loss in revenue. Most of the time your e-shop is an extension to the brick & morter version, so it's not that important that your e-shop is 100% online. Wrong! More than 1/3 of your clients are first looking online before they buy in your fysical stores. So if you don't exist only, why would they than buy in your shops "offline". You just invited them to go elsewhere...

 It costs money

It's true that a close to 100% uptime strategy costs money. But let's take the first calculation again. If in that case you have an average spending of 20€ per customer... you just lost 20€ x 5256 = 105.120€ . Add this to the cost of your hosting today and may be you can afford than a better service provider. It does cost money, but it's nothing compared to the loss of revenue and to the amount you will have to spend to get that customer back. Why should a customer come back to your bad working e-store if the competition just did a perfect job.

Never worked out the figures

It's amazing how many times you see that companies just don't get into figures. How much it costs you or how much money you loses just by not having a web presence of 100% is just outrageous. We calculate everything by the smallest pennies, but how much we lose by something that can be solved perfectly...no, that's suddenly too much work. Getting this figure in place will certainly open the eyes and not only from your technical team, but also from senior managers.

We are the company and our clients will follow

Companies still think that whatever you put online, your customers will swallow it. Those times are coming to an end. Being "offline" is not the only concern anymore, it's also a question of... how good or easy can I get to the exit. So start a conversation with your clients and get them involved in the creation of your e-shop. Ask them how they want to shop, how they want to pay. It's more and more a story of your clients and not anymore about an internal strategy. e-shops like Amazon are doing well just because they are delivering what their clients want to get and not only the goods themselves: upselling with goods that similar buyers like you bought as well, cross selling with similar goods or goods that are a perfect addition to the one you just bought, newsletters with tips, information about hot new releases, price cutting etc etc.

I cannot connect with your brand

People want to hear the story behind, want to be proud that they bought your products. So only looking at your e-shop just from a technical perspective is wrong. You'll need to answer the question as well why they should buy in your store. This is not only because of you state your USP's (Unique Selling Proposition), but also because you fullfill a promise. If you want to get recognised, than get personal and get in touch with your clients. But certainly, don't give them the feeling that they are just an order number. Both in B2B and B2C there are people behind the order button, connect with them!

So, it's not only about getting your technical infrastructure in place, but also finding out how and who is using your e-shop. The more you know what your clients want to buy, the more you will be able to sell products. Sounds familiar... but why do I feel a number in most of the e-shops and why do we than still get reports where more than 1/3 of your clients don't get what they want!



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A mere online presence won’t serve the purpose of reaching out and impressing your target audience, to beat the competition you need a well designed website with a good search rank and for that you need help of companies which provide complete solutions search engine optimization.

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