Do you want to get more sales? Are you making it convenient for shoppers to buy from you? I was interviewed for an article in The Guardian recently about payment methods. The article has now been released which you can read here. It’s well worth a quick read and taking the time to look at your own payment options. Are you offering a quick and easy way for your customers to pay? As the article says:
There is a huge 69% abandonment rate for online shopping carts is partly blamed on complex checkout and clunky payment processes that confuse customers. Once those customers are gone from that site, the danger is, they may never return.
How many customers may you be losing because you have a clunky system or make the payment process drawn out and convoluted? One pet hate of mine is when I want to buy something or book an appointment but to do so I must email the business first. Why?? Why not have an online payment or online booking system where I can make the transaction instantly? I don’t want to have to wait for the business to email me back and then go back and forth to book or pay. By this time, I may well have had buyer remorse or bought from somewhere else where I could buy more easily. Yes, there may be certain circumstances where this needs to be done and I am a total hypocrite here as I don’t allow immediate booking for one of my ongoing coaching services! But now I’m sitting here thinking about it I could streamline the process somewhat – guess what’s on my to-do list today? If you’re unsure how your customers want to pay, go ask them. Run a survey and find out what they want. Also, if you have an online store look at your statistics to see what your abandonment rate is. If it’s high, you know you have an issue somewhere.
Top tips for making payments easier
Make sure your website is optimized for speed, so it loads quickly
Make sure your website is responsive to mobile devices
Add call-to-action buttons making it clear how to pay
Set up a one-click payment process
Provide a FAQ page to address common issues
Have a live chat facility for any pressing questions
Have clear delivery and returns policies
Carry a secure mobile payment option – many customers no longer carry cash
If you only accept cash (aarghhh!!!) ensure you keep enough change with you
For cash only carry a receipt book – some customers may need one
I’d love to hear your thoughts and how your customers prefer to pay. Leave a comment below.
Your returns policy may be the last contact a customer has with you. And the last contact with a customer is how they remember you. And you want them to remember you for all the right reasons. If a customer buys from you and then has to make a return, make this experience as easy and as streamlined as you possibly can.
The returns experience can dictate whether your customer will buy from you again in the future or not.
I was an avid fan of two separate companies. Over the years I must have spent thousands with them. But no more. And it was all down to their returns policy and the stress this caused.
Both companies went out of their way to make the process as long and arduous as possible. Both companies failed to refund monies owed for a whole 4 weeks!!!
The first company, when I queried when I would get my money refunded quite simply ignored me. So much to the point that I took to social media to call them out and ask why they wouldn’t answer my emails. Their response? They blocked me!!!!
This was like pouring fuel on the fire! I was livid! I wrote to their head office and reported them to trading standards. I got my money back and a pathetic email saying there were delays with refunds. Not good enough. Even though I love their clothes, I will never in a million years buy from them again.
The second company were almost as bad. After returning a rather expensive item, I didn’t get my refund. I phoned and was told they hadn’t received the parcel. Luckily for me, I had paid for the return to be tracked. When I informed them of this, they said I would have to prove it! I duly copied the tracking and sent it to them. They responded and admitted they had received the parcel but only on that day that I had phoned. I could prove this was not the case and pointed out the tracking clearly showed they had the parcel a week ago and at which point they became rather hostile.
It took another 2 weeks for my refund to come through and my emails asking what was happening were ignored. The sad thing is that they had other items I wanted to order but after this awful experience, again, I will never order from them again.
Why companies do this is beyond me. They need to take a leaf out of another companies book that takes a completely different look at the refund process.
This was a company that I had reason to return an item. Firstly, I had the refund within 48 hours! Secondly, they sent me a note to say it made them sad they hadn’t been able to provide me with something I wanted to keep this time around, but come back, order again and they would give me priority delivery for free as a thank you.
What a difference!
I instantly fell in love with this company. I wanted to do business with them again and buy from them. They made me feel valued and that they genuinely wanted my custom.
Why returns can be good for business
At every stage of the buying process, make the effort to impress your customers, not to leave them feeling cheated and uncared for.
No, of course, you don’t want returns coming back to you but it’s far better to allow customers to make returns in the easiest way possible. If they feel your returns process is too difficult, they may hang on to an item they don’t really want and guess what, this will stop them from buying from you again as research has shown.
However, if you make the returns process easy, customers will feel confident in the knowledge they can get their money back if they receive something they don’t love and are more likely to place larger orders because of this. And they are more likely to keep these items that they wouldn’t have otherwise ordered meaning increased sales for you.
So even though you may lose money on the initial purchase, you have a higher chance of recouping those costs in the future.
What does your return policy look like?
Take a hard look at your returns process from a customer point of view.
Does the customer have to pay for the return, or do you cover the cost of this? Yes, there will be a cost to you if you cover the return fee but it can create extra orders for you upfront. Many customers check out the returns policy before buying and won’t even place an order if they have to pay for the return.
How long does it take for you to refund the money to the customer? Don’t play delay tactics here. Make it clear how long it will take for the customer to get their money back. Make it as quick as you can to build trust and confidence.
Do you offer an exchange service for an alternative item? Look for an opportunity to encourage the customer to receive another item for their money rather than a monetary refund. If you don’t offer free returns, consider offering free shipping on exchanges.
What else do you do? If like most companies, I suspect nothing. How about using the example above to turn it into a pleasant experience for the customer and another sales opportunity for you?
Examples of a good and bad returns policy
Who wouldn’t feel confident ordering from Lakeland with an incredible 3-year guarantee!!
On the other hand, Next, even though technically Next give the required 28 days to return an item, they state you must inform them you wish to make a return within 14 days! Legally ok but sneaky perhaps? They also make a charge for a return.
Do you have any experiences of a return that is particularly good or bad? Share below in the comments.
MLM or network marketing can be both an incredibly difficult business to crack and an incredibly lucrative one if you crack it. The percentage of people who really do make it though is infinitely small, so you are going to have to be one tough cookie if you want to join that elusive group.
And most ladies that I know who enter this industry simply aren’t prepared for the long haul. Also, unfortunately, there are some incredibly bad practices out there that justify why it gets such a bad name.
These include, amongst many more …
• Setting up a Facebook group for your products and automatically adding people to it without their consent. • Adding anyone and everyone, whether you know or them or not, as a friend on Facebook to add them to your group as per the point above or to then send them spammy private messages. • Misleading prospects that you are doing way better than you are to deceptively lure them in as a consultant. • Promising prospects it will be an easy way to make money from home and the results will be fast and the income huge. You and I both know this just isn’t the case. • Going into numerous Facebook groups to just sell, sell, sell!!!! It’s yucky!! No one likes it. It is doing you far more harm than good.
At the end of the day, keep it honest, keep it simple, build relationships and be prepared to give it plenty of time
Take a look through my MLM marketing tips below and if you need more help, get in touch.
MLM Marketing Tips
1. Know your target market
Know your target market for who you want to become a team member and who you want to buy your products. These are quite possibly two different people to start with. Who are they, what are their interests and where do they hang out?
2. Understand needs
If you want to sign up team members, understand their needs and what drives them to want to make a change in their life. What problem do they have and how you can solve it?
3. Find out their why
When talking to them, find out their why. What do they want that network marketing could provide for them? Is this financial freedom, time freedom, being in control of having their own business or something else? Find out the driving force that will keep them committed for the long term.
4. Be honest
When recruiting, set realistic expectations. It will take longer to find consultants but the ones who know the truth about the length of time and dedication it takes to make it will stick around for much longer than those who get sugar-coated half-truths.
5. Understand your target market
To sell your products, as above, know your target market and what problem they want to solve. Get specific on the benefits your products provide.
6. Niche down
Become the expert on a particular product range rather than trying to sell all things to all people. If one of your products has helped someone you know cure their eczema, research this subject, know the product and its benefits as to how it helps alleviate the problem. Focus on this in your marketing. If someone says they look and feel 10 years younger by using skincare products, again, research and focus on this one product range.
7. Focus on one thing at a time
If you try to promote too many products at once you will dilute your message and appeal to no one. (see point 6 above). Focus on products to appeal to your niche and promote to these people. By choosing one key product area, you can join groups that talk about the specific problem your product alleviates and become active in conversations.
8. Build relationships
DON’T try to sell immediately but build relationships so that people start to trust you and then over time you can introduce them to your products. (obviously, if someone is showing a strong interest in a product sell to them)
9. Get creative
Get creative with your marketing message. MLM posts all sound the same. Create something different to stand out from the crowd (within your company limitations)
10. Be consistent and persistent
Be patient and prepared to see this through for the long term. Success will be won through tenacity and perseverance. Create yourself a plan, write this down and stick to it! It will take time but the only way you will see results is to not give up.
Are you taking advantage of the Christmas shopping splurge? Especially those last-minute shoppers like me?
Whatever business you are in, think about how you can create interest in people buying what you have as a Christmas gift. Ok, if you’re an HR expert, this may not be quite so easy but for most small business owners, if you get creative you can come up with something that can be given as a gift.
Here a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
Easy to create and the perfect gift for any business to promote
Free gift wrapping service
If you have a physical product, a free gift-wrapping service can be a godsend for those who hate grappling with the Sellotape and scissors.
Offer a gift with a purchase
Choose something you have that is of low value for you to provide but of great value to the recipient to entice them to buy. This could be a sample of your product or a complimentary trial of your service.
Create a gift bundle
Pull together a number of your offering and package together to create a festive gift bundle. Offer this at a special price that is lower than if all the products were purchased individually.
Create a Christmas themed product or service
Do you have something that you create a festive theme for? If you are an artist then it’s easy. Create some specially designed Christmas cards or gift tags. If you are in the service-based industry think about something along the lines of a ‘Christmas stress reducer massage’ or similar to say thank you to the person who has prepared the Christmas dinner.
Create a stocking filler
At this time of year, people are always looking for last-minute stocking fillers. This could be one of your vouchers or a small or lower cost item.
Create a Christmas gift ideas page on your website.
So many people get stuck for ideas but have a price bracket in mind for what they want to spend. Set up a separate page on your website for your products and services and pop them into different pricing brackets.
Gifts under £10.
Gifts under £50.
Gifts under £100 etc.
Make sure you explain the benefits of buying your offerings for the Christmas period.
So there are a few ideas to get you going. Do you have any of your own? Leave a comment below with a link and I might just share it for you on social media.
Do you regularly get asked the same questions over and over again? Set up an FAQ page on your website with answers to the most frequently asked questions and then direct incoming inquiries to this. It will save you a lot of time and effort.
Questions will differ from business to business depending on what your customers or clients ask you.
If you have a bricks-and-mortar shop it may that you need to give directions to your shop or let customers know where the nearest parking is and what it costs. If you have an online business it may be that you need to let clients know about your working hours, the best way to contact you and how to make a booking or cancel an appointment.
To help you get the most out of your FAQ page, use the three top tips below.
Prioritise your Q&A’s
You could end up with quite a long list so may sure you prioritise your questions with the most common ones at the top. If the list really is getting out of hand, think about putting questions into sections. A section on location could give both the directions and parking information. A ‘working together’ section could include questions on working hours, terms, and conditions, booking, cancelling etc.
When you are giving the answers to the questions listed, make sure you reiterate key benefits to the reader rather than just cold, boring facts. This FAQ section can be a great selling tool where you really overcome any objections a prospect has so make the most of it.
Keep answers short and sweet
Remember to keep your answers short, sweet and to the point. You don’t want to go off on a ramble that leaves the poor reader more confused than when they started. Try and keep answers to just one or two sentences where possible.
Consider using video for answers that need a more in-depth explanation. Again, keep it as short and sweet as possible but it can be easier to get a point across clearly in a video than trying to explain it in text.
Keep answers updated
Do make sure you diarise to keep your information updated on a regular basis. You don’t want visitors rocking up to your shop if the nearest car park listed on your site has closed! Yes, it happens!
It can also be a good idea to include a form at the bottom for readers to ask a question that is not listed and if you are sitting at your laptop frequently, think about having a live chat box to answer questions in real-time.
Do you have an FAQ page on your site already? How about sharing to give us all inspiration? Pop the link in the comments box below.
Recently, I posted a challenge in my Facebook group and in my newsletter to find a hero.
The post went:
Who do you admire? Who would you love to be like? Go print off a picture of them and pin by your desk. When you are feeling out of sorts and de-motivated, take a look at their picture and ask yourself what they would do. Put yourself in their shoes and model yourself on their behaviour. They wouldn’t have got to where they did by not putting in the effort so think about the action they would take in your position and go do it. This simple trick can really help you keep motivated when working from home.
And inevitably, after posting this, I was asked who my hero was and I am going to share that with you now.
Love her or loathe her, my hero is Victoria Beckham. I admire her for her complete determination to build a brand around herself and for winning awards for her work despite the immense criticism she is constantly under. No, she can’t sing, but that didn’t stop her finding something she was really good at with her clothes and perfume range.
I also believe she is the driving force behind her husband’s career and he wouldn’t have gone as far as he did without her. I have huge respect for her in the way she handled the news about her husband’s alleged affair. She conducted herself with dignity and held her head high even though she must have been torn apart inside. Her family means everything to her and she does everything she can to protect them.
Finally, I love her sense of humour. Yes, she looks serious all the time in photos and is criticised for this, but this is part of her branding and her career. The critics just don’t realise this. However, in interviews and on other occasions, she is regularly seen letting herself go and having fun at her own expense.
Here’s a pic of her on my vision board.
I know that when I am feeling sluggish and feel like just moping around in my lounge pants with no makeup, if I take a look at her picture, I instantly get a boost as I know for Victoria to be successful, she didn’t have such slovenly standards. I soon get in the right frame of mind again.
This is such a simple trick that really does work. So, tell me who is your hero? Who inspires you? Leave a comment below and let me know.
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