Importance of Details in E commerce

One thing I literally bug my clients about ( just ask them and they will regale you with the tales) is to give me the sizes and relevant details, for all the goods they want me to display for them when I build their web site. Sizes and details for everything, OK, why do I require such detail ?

The answer is a simple one, but one that is often overlooked.
The goods are online, and the only selling point is an image, which, unless it's set up with a thing beside it, that everyone knows how big it is, there is no way to know size just by looking at an image, on a great many things. There is no reference point.

How we are used to buying goods

We are used to buying goods, by walking into a store, seeing a thing, picking it up and examining it, and then we buy it. We never have to ask, how big it is ? We can see that with our own eyes, so it's never a question, but taking a cue from our catalog sales cousins, it's all about the details. The customer needs to see, in black and white, what size is this thing, How much does it weigh ? Give them, chapter and verse, in exacts, as much as is possible, so that they can make an informed choice. The sheer number of goods online I have seen that have no referent for there size or weight, is astounding.

Failure to give your customer this information, will cost you sales. The main reason, people will not buy blind, meaning they have to guess. If they have to stop and figure it out, you have lost the sale. They will trot on over to the next site that doesn't make them have to think about it. But there are mistakes that are commonly made, even when sizes and the like, are given.

Mistake one: General sizes

A common sizing used online, are things like "small, med and large", for example, in clothing, without the sizing range that entails. In a real life store, you can do this, as they can hold the thing up and see for themselves what the sizes relate to, in terms of their own person, they can even try it on. This is not the case online.

Give the customer details of say: a small will fit a size 2-5, Med fits 6-9, large fits 9-14, in american sizing. This gives them a base line idea of which size they need to order. Failure to give them this, is a recipe for returned goods, as they are forced to order by guess, and often find it doesn't fit when they get it, and back it comes, with the whole hassle of returns and refunds. Not to mention an annoyed customer.

Mistake two: Jargon and failure to explain the terms.

This one is real hard to avoid, unless you take a moment to think about it. It's the tendency to use terms that make perfect sense to you the seller, but may be meaningless to the buyer. As the terms are so common, in your industry, that no one even thinks about the fact the buyer, the one your trying to sell to, likely has never heard the term.

If you use say, a weight measure that is commonplace for your industry, but may not common knowledge to your customer.

Example: Dram, now unless you happen to know this is a unit of liquid measure that = 1/8 of an oz, its useless information. Now in a real life store, they have the bottle in their hand, they can see about how much is in there, an image of the same bottle however, tells them nothing and telling them in some measure like drams, is not going to help the average buyer, at least not in some countries. You will just annoy them, as you have told them its weight, but they still don't know the answer to the all important question of " so ... how much is in the bottle?" as you have used a referent, that may be meaningless.

The same goes for length, height, etc. Use common terms, or make references to common measures your customer is likely to have seen or understand.

Mistake three: Not taking into account a global customer base.

If what you sell, has potential buyers world wide, there needs to be conversion tables from one sizing range to another, as its not even remotely close to the same from country to country, this is for just about anything, from measurements, weights, to a persons dress or shoe size. Failure to take this into account, again is recipe for returns.

The same goes for pricing, if you don't have a means for them to convert your prices, into their currency, they don't even know what the price is. Provide some means for this, there are literally millions of sites that have such tools, a simple link to a currency convertor, and  you have given them the means. The same is true for languages, no means to covert it to theirs ? Means they cant even read the site, no matter what details you have on there.

Mistake four: Failure to be able to answer their questions.

This one is real problem, as far too many online merchants, don't "know" the details in question, as they drop ship and the drop shipper didn't give them that information, or they didn't ask for it:

Example: I recently was looking at a wheelchair cushion. Now the cushion in question was supposed to have a gel center, which for wheelchair bound persons is recommended, however the one bit of information that was not given, is how the gel pack in the middle of the cushion was compartmentalized ? It's pretty important information, but the site didn't say.

I wrote and asked the retailer this question, what I got back as an answer, was the same information that was on the site. Meaning they didn't have any idea of what was inside the cushion they were selling ! This is unacceptable. Ask the wholesaler such details, and if you can't get that information from them, you likely need another wholesaler. It comes down to, "know" the goods you are selling and have those details at your finger tips, and preferably put them online, right along with the goods.

Mistake five: Considering sales talk as "details"

I cant count the number of sites I have seen, that regale me with paragraph after paragraph of sales pitch, without really telling me a thing about the item. Sales talk is fine and dandy, you need a certain amount of it, but be certain that among all the sales pitch, are the details the customer needs. Line after line of sales talk is worthless, unless it also gives up information. If you do this too much, your customer will say ... "yeah yeah yeah, enough with the hype already, tell me about the thing ! "

But all too often, this kind of talk takes the place of relevant details. It seems to the merchant, they have said plenty, but if it's the wrong information, it's useless. A good hint, if you are forever getting letters from your customers, asking for details, it means they are lacking on the site itself, and it needs to be amended.

Mistake six: Too many details.

The opposite end of the spectrum, is having too much detail. If you drown your customer in verbiage, where they have to read a small book in order to learn about the merchandise, news, they are outa here. There is a fine line between just enough information, so they can make an informed choice, and too much. There are exceptions to this, but they are few.

Give the customer enough information, but don't make them have to read a user manual in order to buy something. We have all seen the infomericals on TV, that spend a half an hour to say, what could have been said in 5 mins. Be concise and be considerate of your customers time, and your sales figures will thank you.

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