Are you running an online store with physical products? Ever wonder what the top pet peeves your customers may have? Well, I can’t answer that question directly, but I can tell you I interviewed 10 online shoppers and asked them what irritated them about online stores. Here are the top five answers:

Having a product listed as available when it’s out of stock.

This was one of the top complaints I heard from my panel. As an online seller I know how difficult it can be to keep track of inventory when selling on multiple platforms, which is why it’s very very important to check inventory regularly, or to limit how much inventory you’re listing on each platform. For example, if you have 20 available, it may be a good idea to list 10 and 10 on each platform (so there is no risk of selling out). If you only have one item left, it may be worth it to list that particular item on the more popular platform only. If you create custom items, you can list things as “exclusive” on different platforms. There are many options here.

Taking too long to ship or having a long “processing” time.

Buyers expect there will be a delay when purchasing online. What they don’t expect is a two to three WEEK wait time for the item to ship (unless it has been noted somewhere on your site). Assign yourself regular shipping days, and then make sure all items are shipped accordingly. Personally, I ship on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday with a 1 – 2 business day processing time. My schedule becomes:

  • Items purchased on Sunday and Monday will ship Wednesday.
  • Items purchased Tuesday and Wednesday will ship Friday.
  • Items purchased Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will ship on Tuesday.

This gives me time to prep, pack, print, and ship without rushing. Some people find that shipping every single day, at the end of the day, is easiest for them. Others find a schedule works best. Figure out your shipping schedule, and then stick with it.

Marking an item as shipped, and then waiting a week to drop off at post office.

This one was actually a big pet peeve of mine as well as my panel. It is very frustrating when a seller marks an item as “Shipped” but takes another week to have the item picked up or dropped off. Here’s an important note: Your buyer will KNOW if you took too long to drop off their item at a post office, and there’s nothing worse than receiving that glorious “Your item has shipped!” notice when, in fact, it has not. If you’ve provided tracking information, your buyer will likely use it (and it will show that the item has not been dropped off yet). If you did not provide tracking information, the post office will stamp a date on the package for the day it was actually processed. Marking your package as “Shipped” is not a Get Out Of Jail Free card for procrastinating – you risk losing a customer if you procrastinate dropping it off.

Charging way too much for shipping to compensate for a low price tag.

There’s nothing a client hates more than finding a seemingly good price for an item, adding it to their cart, and then shipping be outrageously high. Sellers, if you cannot afford to sell the item for a lower price tag, don’t. Instead of lowering the cost and bumping up the shipping, find an alternative to convince buyers to buy from you. For example, offer free shipping on purchases greater than $100, throw in a free bag with purchase, offer 30 day money back guarantee, or record free video tutorials for the product. Put yourself a step ahead of everyone else and offer something that you feel comfortable giving.

False advertising or making a product appear to be better than it actually is.

You have to admit, when you find an item online that seems absolutely perfect for resolving your XYZ issue, you are excited about it. Well, how do you feel when you receive that item and it turns out it was falsely advertised, or made to seem more exciting than it actually is? Not great, right? Well, your customers will feel the same way if you falsely advertise a product. Use your words carefully here and provide ACCURATE pictures. Give them the facts but sell it at the same time. Your item may be colorful, easy to use, all natural, or convenient – great! Sell it that way. Don’t try to sell your item as Super Sleek and Attractive, SUPER Easy To Use, 100% ORGANIC, or Will Help You Save The World – unless it’s true.

I hope you’ve found value in today’s post – it’s nice to be able to pick your customer’s brain from time to time. It’s even nicer when someone else does the dirty work for you.


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