There are now 126 Billion websites where you can buy anything from disposable diapers to nuclear weapons. More business is done on Internet in one month than France has done in last 10 years. You can email any human being on Planet Earth in less than 15 seconds.
Those are politician's facts - meaning I just made them up. My point is, we're living on a planet that gets more wired every day. As commercial says "We're changing everything". Maybe not. Some things never change, or maybe I should say they shouldn't change.
You can buy a pair of designer shoes on web and have them delivered right to your door, or desk. Or, you can go to a shoe store and get personal attention from sales associate, get shoes properly fitted, chat about one thing or another and leave with your purchase. Which is more satisfying experience? Unless you're a serious Type-A personality, it's got to be latter - and maybe even then.
Why? You got personal service from someone who at least seemed to be interested in your wants and needs and took pains to satisfy you. With former situation, if shoes prove unacceptable you have to email vendor for a return authorization and ship them back - about as personal as a parking ticket. At store, you know before you leave how happy you're going to be and maybe how much your feet are going to hurt.
Am I a Luddite advocating abandonment of web as a commercial platform? Not hardly. I'm suggesting there are ways to combine technology with attention to individual. Here are some possibilities:
1. How inviting is your homepage? Is it friendly, easy to read and reassuring? Reassuring? Yep. You doubtless know there are many more people wary of buying on web than there are those who do so fearlessly. So you need to put them at ease from first contact, just as you would greet and welcome people entering your store. Empathize with them regarding their concerns (riptoffphobia, I believe), act accordingly and you will improve your return.
My completely unscientific poll of web surfers confirmed my suspicions: People are put off, even threatened, by an abundance of whirling doodads, flashing thingamajigs, and critters popping in and out all over a site. You won't have a chance to provide personal service if they won't stay a while. You have to set scene in first ten seconds. How about a text-only welcome message that pops up while site loads?
2. Examine text on your website through eyes of a prospective customer. Bear in mind prospect couldn't care less what you want to sell, only what will satisfy his/her needs and wants. Pages of variations on "BUY NOW!" will seldom be read, much less acted upon. The questions prospect is usually asking are, "What's in it for me; what will it do for me?" and "How much is it?". Do you have some rewriting to do?