Have you ever tried to buy something from a blogger, only to find it’s difficult to accomplish? So many bloggers want to use their sites as a way to earn. But often, without even realizing it, bloggers create obstacles that discourage readers from buying.
I had a frustrating experience recently when I won a coupon in an auction for some doll clothing my daughter wanted. It illustrated for me how easy it is to drive potential buyers away.
Here are some of the roadblocks I encountered as I tried to buy my daughter these doll clothes:
- No electronically delivered coupon code. If you do promotions for your blog, make sure you can deliver them via email or right on your blog. When I paid for my coupon, I was told I had to come pick it up in person — pretty inconvenient. Then when I got it, it had no coupon code. It just said “good for $40 at my store.” I was stumped on how to use it! If you want to have sales or offer discounts, you need a flexible cart system such as e-junkie where you can easily provide discount codes. (Yes, that is my affiliate link.)
- Not enough contact information. If your contact page only has a fill-in form, that can be a big problem. Many people hate filling those out, and sometimes they don’t work. Which is what happened to me — I filled in the form, but there was no response. I scanned the site and found no street address, email address, or phone number. I had to do some Google searching to find a phone number to call, which I only did because I knew it was a local entrepreneur. Ordinarily, this problem probably would have spelled the end of my attempt to buy on this site.
- Confusing store layout. If you offer a store on a blog, it should be well-organized within a single tab or two or visible in a prominent sidebar box. Instead, this doll-clothing seller had about 20 different tabs for clothes, including a slew of categories that were hidden under a drop-down menu under one main tab. We almost missed seeing over half her items as a result.
- No About page. A strong About page warms buyers up and makes them feel welcome by showing a picture of you and telling your story. It was discouraging the see the About page for the doll site was blank. If I hadn’t already had the coupon in hand, I probably would have gone elsewhere right off.
- The mystery email. When you’re sending email from your blog, it’s important to have an email address that includes your blog name, and a subject line that alerts the reader that you’re writing about their order. Eventually, this seller sent me an email — but I never saw it, because her email didn’t have a useful address, and the subject line didn’t jump out at me. Her message was lost in the hundreds of emails I get every day.
Eventually, I spoke to this seller on the phone, went to her house, and picked up the doll clothes. This is not the way ecommerce is supposed to work. My daughter is heavy into getting new outfits for her dolls, but we’ll likely try some other seller in the future after this experience. It only takes one negative experience to send a possible shopper away.
What roadblocks have you run into trying to buy from bloggers? Leave a comment and describe your pet peeve.