New businesses often close their doors for good long before they become old businesses. A casual stroll down any neighborhood boulevard reveals an interesting mix of grand openings and spaces for lease. Shopping malls have the same problem when it comes to their inventory of retail stores. They are never stable for long. Someone’s favorite store is always having a going out of business sale.
Sometimes, it is very easy to guess the reason for a business’ early demise. The clerks were never around when they were needed. And when they did come around, they were rude or condescending. This happens a lot in electronics stores. Blue-shirted geeks might know a lot about the latest nerd gadget. But they seem to know little about how not to make their non-geek clientele feel awkward and out of place. We all say good riddance to bad businesses.
But there are other businesses that seem to have everything together and they still go under. These are the businesses that serve as a cautionary tale to those entrepreneurs that remain. If they can fail, you can fail. You have to figure out what it is customers really want from you and how best to deliver it. If you don’t, you will be one of those shops with an “Everything Must Go” sign and wondering what went wrong. You can’t please all the people all of the time. But you can please most of them by providing the following:
People are tired of having their sensitive data scattered all over the dark web. Much of that data comes from stores and websites just like yours. Small business owners don’t tend to make security training a priority because they, themselves, do not know how important it is and how vulnerable they are to attack. The newest threats are COVID-related phishing attacks. Before you know it, you have entered personal data on a phishing site that will soon have access to all the private data on your company and clients.
You not only need help shoring up your data security, you need help picking a security training company. Your employees need sticky notes all over their monitor just to remember how to log in every morning. They don’t know how to deal with phishing attacks. They need training because your customers should not be taken for granted. They will punish you for mishandling their data. If you can’t properly secure customer data, you shouldn’t collect it.
A Stress-Free Experience
If you want to provide a great customer experience, it needs to be a stress-free customer experience. This is especially true for ecommerce. If your website is confusing in any way, you have a problem. Confusing websites turn away customers. Some of the wealthiest companies in the world are guilty of having some of the worst websites. They can survive due to their popularity and momentum. You can’t rely on either of those factors, you have to simplify your site to reduce the friction between casual curiosity and the sales transaction. The shortest distance between those two points is a simple website.
Service After the Sale
Finally, what people want most is to know they have recourse when something goes wrong with a purchase they made from you. The best return policy is the one where customers don’t have to worry. They can know that their good-faith return of a product that didn’t work out will be free of stress. No one can ever know how well a product will work out for them until they get it home and try it out. It might take a few days of use before they get their head around the product and how it will fit into their lives. You can’t demand they return the original packaging when the product was in blister wrap. Physical receipts are difficult to keep up with. And no customer needs the stress of going through an interrogation about why the product didn’t work for them. If you can provide the customer with many happy returns, they will reward you by returning to do more business. Give them grief about a return and that will be the last time you see them.
Businesses fail for all kinds of reasons. Yours does not have to be one of them. Expect more grand openings in your future when you protect customer data, offer a stress-free customer experience, and make product returns as painless as possible.