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Anton Hellkvist, Key Account Manager at Klarna

Dear entrepreneur, is your screen hurting your sales?

By Anton Hellkvist Key Account Manager, Klarna

Let’s talk about the screen you stare into as you do the heavy lifting in your workday; when you are uploading new product pictures, preparing your next newsletter, putting together a new marketing campaign, analysing statistics of webpage visitors and sales, or making changes to your webstore.

What screen is that?

It’s not on a mobile, is it?

No – I’m talking about the computer screen. Maybe it’s a Mac, maybe a PC. Maybe it’s a laptop, maybe a powerful office computer. But still. it’s a computer screen. And if you stare into it too much, it may destroy your sales. Let me explain.

For too many entrepreneurs the computer screen is the reference point when they do design work, when they test functionality and when they do evaluations of the shopping experience. In other words, as they make updates in their store, they check their computer screen to make sure it looks good, and if it does, they are happy. If this is how you operate, you are probably losing sales as we speak.

When I stumble upon this kind of web store from my PC, I may think “wow, this feels premium” – until I later revisit the store from my mobile.

Then it’s a disaster.

All kinds of problems show up that make me want to scream out of frustration.

* The text is too small. It’s difficult to read – even for me at just 30 years old.

* The buttons are small. I press the wrong one by mistake because my fingers aren’t wonders of precision.

* I can’t swipe product pictures with my thumb like I intuitively feel like doing.

* Instead of finding the products I’m interested in, I get overwhelmed by an unstructured mess.

* Every page is very text heavy, so I don’t feel inspired at all to browse products in the store.

I’m not going to say it’s not your fault.

Because it is.

You are responsible.

Or, at least, your brain is. It’s set up to make this mistake. Psychologists call this trap an Availability Cognitive Bias. That means our brains are wired to overvalue that which is immediately present. Because you mainly use your computer in your daily tasks and projects, you are programmed to overvalue its importance, in this case believing your customers are using their computers as much as you are. You believe your dear computer is a good tool or reference point for evaluating the shopping experience of your customers.

It isn’t.

Here’s why – and why it destroys your sales.

When you are working, you’re in a producing state of mind, whereas your customers are coming to your web store in more of an exploring or consuming state of mind. There’s a big difference in how you experience things when you are focused on producing, as opposed to consuming. When consuming you are mainly doing so on another screen: your mobile.

Customers prefer to browse and explore products on their mobiles these days, and even complete the payment processes, unless the merchant makes it difficult for them.

So where do you start if you realise you have been letting your computer screen influence all your decisions?

My suggestion: Start with mobile in mind when you design the buyer experience, and display products based on the natural flow from a buyer perspective.

Buyer criteria and buyer flows differ depending on the product in question. Let me give you an example. When buying a house, the first thing you’d consider is probably location, then price, then size. At the very end of your selection criteria you might look at the architect or designer of the house. If, on the other hand, you were purchasing art, the selection flow would be reversed. You’d first look at the painter (i.e. designer/architect), then the piece itself and its size, then the price. Customers browsing your webshop have their own set of priorities, and since real estate on your mobile is scarce and you only have a few inches in which to share your key message, it’s critical that you get it right.

Going through your sales funnel should be as enjoyable as finding a great song on Spotify, regardless of what device your customer is using. The point is to be clear and not overwhelm. Start with the buyer’s initial criteria, and then provide filters and pictures to help them find what’s relevant. Remember to use your mobile phone – not your computer screen – as your reference point throughout this process.

When it comes to the payment process, some merchants I meet argue that people just browse on their mobiles and then complete their purchases on their computers. This is incorrect. The majority of all purchases are on mobile today. If your webstore has a much larger portion of sales coming from desktop than mobile, it means there is a problem with your mobile shopping experience and you’re missing out on potential sales. 73% percent of online fashion buyers in Sweden complete their purchases via mobile. What does that tell you?