5 Reasons Customers Don’t Shop Online  

Considering that just a few decades ago, online shopping was a foreign concept and Amazon was only associated with a river in South America, U.S. residents have changed their ways in a hurry.  According to an NPR/Marist poll, 69 percent of Americans have shopped online at least once, and 25 percent of them shop online once a month or more.   

As encouraging as that is, however, brick and mortar stores still lead their virtual counterparts in many areas.  To win over more shoppers, it’s critical to be aware of the reasons people are hesitant to shop online and tailor your business accordingly. You may not be able to address all of their concerns, but a few simple tweaks can turn reticent consumers into loyal customers.  


Concern #1: I want the product right away.  

This is a common concern for both men and women who say they miss the instant gratification that comes with taking an item home right then and there. Online retailers can’t replicate this feeling exactly, but free next day or two-day shipping is becoming more accessible, and that can get your product to the consumer almost as quickly as if they were to go to the store.  

There are instances when your customer can’t plan a day or two in advance and will need to go to a physical store, but you can still do things to keep them coming back to your online store. Most importantly, you need to build a relationship of trust with your customers so that they know their products will ship and arrive promptly. Whether you ship items yourself or have them fulfilled by Amazon, make it a point to send your products out on time every time.   

Concern #2: I like talking to a real person when I have a question.  

Amazon prides itself on its customer service, and you should, too. Your customers should know exactly who to contact when they have a question, and your customer service team should reply quickly and politely. Work hard to develop customer relationships through email marketing, answering customer compliments and complaints, and through your promotional work. If you are highly invested in being available to answer your customers’ questions, they may leave positive reviews that could sway other potential customers.  

Concern #3: I can’t try things on before purchasing.  

Customers may worry about a clothing item not fitting well or coming in a color that doesn’t match what they see on the screen.  These are legitimate concerns that online retailers need to purposefully address if they want to be successful.  

Start by having incredible pictures and product descriptions. Make sure to highlight details, fabric and construction materials, size, and shape. Some companies now share the measurements of the model who is wearing a piece of clothing so customers can better visualize how it might look on their own body.  The more information your customers have before making a purchase, the less likely they are to need to return an item.  

Unfortunately, returns happen, so you need to do everything in your power to make the return process straightforward and simple for your customers. They will be saving time and money if they can do the return on their schedule without waiting in line at the store.  

It’s important to remember that people trust other people, even if they have never before met. If your customers can’t see or touch an item before buying, they are likely to read through at least a few reviews to see how the product works in real life. Do whatever you can to get your customers to write honest reviews about your products and their purchasing experience. Even mediocre reviews are better than no reviews at all.  

Concern #4: I enjoy getting out of the house.  

Online shopping doesn’t have the social element or ambiance of going into a brick-and-mortar store. While online retailers can’t replicate the in-store experience exactly, there are things that you can do to encourage customer interaction. For instance, you can customize your online store according to the season or holiday and incentivize referrals and customer loyalty. Offer coupons and promotional items for customers who use your product on social media, and host contests for people who “like” or “share” your contents or products. You can also interact with your customers by responding to customer complaints and compliments in your review section. 

Concern #5: I can’t afford it.  

This first fear is based on a few different elements. Certain online retailers like Amazon require their customers to pay a membership fee in order to shop in their stores. Customers often balk at the yearly $119 price tag without contemplating how much money they are saving in gas, free shipping, and other services like Amazon Music and Amazon Prime Streaming.  

When you think about it, standard packages typically start around $3 to ship (though most packages cost much more), so if your customers only bought 40 of the smallest packages per year from Amazon, they’d break even. Chances are pretty good that they won’t only be buying small packages, so the number of products they would need to purchase to break even would be significantly less.  

As an online retailer, you are also helping your customers save money by providing a platform to compare prices. By researching before they buy, your customers can get the most bang for their buck. Additionally, they won’t be spending their hard-earned cash on gas money to get to the store. If they happen to live far from major amenities, saving money on gas is a major plus that can significantly offset the cost of the membership. 

To counteract customers’ concerns about the price of buying online, offer great deals, free shipping, and a customer-friendly return policy.  The convenience of online shopping is hard to beat, and your great deals combined with the ease of shopping that you offer can help customers warm up to online purchases.    

The takeaway 

There will always be a portion of consumers who love the physical shopping experience, but careful strategizing can help win more people over to the countless perks of online buying.   

For more tips about increasing your online sales, attend an Amazon seller event.  You’ll hear from former Amazon insiders and other leaders in the online selling world and have the opportunity to network with hundreds of top solution providers.