In case you want my business - here are the ten things that bug me the most. Get these covered and you can count on me taking your shop into consideration when it comes time to buy something. As a bonus, you can also get all sorts of other non-US customers (aren't the majority of the web users non-US?).
1. Tell me up front if you don't want me as a customer.
Search, shop, pay -- and sorry! we only send to the continental US + Canada! Duh, I should have known (if you would have told me ANYWHERE on the web site). Worst offenders are the small shops that let you order, send you a confirmation and then email you later to tell you that they don't sell internationally. A simple link with "International shipping information" or even a text "no international shipments" would suffice.
2. Get my name right.
Yes, I have an UMLAUT in my last name, That's a "U" with two dots on top. It's not katakana - but it could be. If you let me enter it, please use it, don't change it to "?" or to some other symbol. If you let me sign up on your site with it, please let me sign in with it. Yes, that goes for forums as well.
3. Get my address right.
No, I don't have a 5-digit postal code, I don't live in some "state" (other than the state of confusion, in your shipping form), you won't match my postal code with your state list, my street number goes after the street name and yes, please get those umlauts right again (or tell me not to use them).
4. Exorbitant shipping fees
I don't live on mars, why do I have to pay $100 for a small item? Give me some options or tell me why it's so expensive. I'm not a cheap skate, but I don't like to be forced into something I don't want. Again, if you are going to double the total cost with shipping, tell me so up front.
5. Send the stuff to my location.
I live in Switzerland (that's like in Europe). Not Swaziland (that's like in Africa), nor in Sweden (in Europe, but not close enough to pick up on the way home), also not in Little Switzerland, North Carolina. I've had shipping companies get it wrong (customs stamps from Africa, lol), but it's often the shop itself that sends if off incorrectly.
6. You European shops --- if you promise to send to "Europe" then I will take your word for it.
Yes, I am geographically in Europe (like in the middle). No, Switzerland is not in the European Union. If you say you'll send to Europe, I will assume you mean the geographic boundaries, not some constantly changing political border. That covers you eBay'ers too. Grrrr!!
7. Give me a tracking number.
I know it's not going to get here tomorrow or the week after. That's life. I know it will get stuck in customs. I just want to know that it's on the way and I want a way to find out where. Yes, I've had packages not-delivered because the delivery man "couldn't find me" and then it landed in some storage for 2 weeks (no notification to anyone). This can happen anywhere, but when it goes international there are ways for the transport company to mess up along the way.
8. Metric numbers are a world wide standard.
Yes, I don't care if you drive "55" but I do care if your measurements are imperial and you do not state it anywhere. Oh an drop those fractions - what is 3/4" - 3 to 4 inches or 0.75 inches? Give us some metric numbers for the standard information, at least where it's not clear and where it's important. Even the "National Geographic" has metric numbers in most of the articles. You don't need to drop the old measurements, just add the metric one next to it - doesn't your shop software do that automatically? - 'diameter: 3/4" (19mm)' is easy and simple.
9. I would love to give you a date but I don't know how.
I don't know if this is really always so clear in the US, but outside of those borders we have many different date formats. A field for a date-entry needs to specify how you want those numbers (or text). "10.2.2007" is like February to me, it could be October to someone else - both would be valid, but which one would the server use? Tell me. And make sure that I can read the results in a way that is absolutely clear. If I enter "10.2.2007" then tell me that the shipping date is "Saturday, February 10, 2006". Or at least use popup-calendars.
10. Let me read your site the way I want to.
If you have the shop available in multiple languages, let me choose which one I want. My browser might be telling you that I'm German, but I might still want to access the English version of your shop. Language is no barrier - bad translations are. Don't switch language automatically, I will choose German if I feel like it.
and ... one in general that always gets on my nerves ...
Don't let my cart expire with your server's session.
I might take an hour to finish my order, answer the phone in between, eat some fondue, put the kids to bed, but I still want to continue my order. Let me do it at my own pace and don't force me to start over when I get back to it.
I'd love to buy more online. I'd love to spend more money in all those shops. I know there are a lot of non-US users who feel the same. Don't ignore me if you want more business.
Through SEOigloo's site I spotted a cookie company that had vegan cookies. My nephew is allergic to all sorts of things, including eggs - I would have loved to buy a boatload of them. But I can't. On Etsy I spotted some neat handmade jewelery, I would have loved to get it as a present for someone. But I can't. I would love to bring my company's business to smaller shops in the states instead of going to the giant distributors. I can't. Why does nobody want my business? Is my money not as good as Billy-Bobs?
Take advantage of the world-wide part of the web -- open your business to it!
Edited by softplus, 21 January 2007 - 08:10 AM.