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drumspace's Avatar drumspace drumspace is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: UK
Posts: 12
Customers don't pay

Hi folks,

I'm a newbie here and have a very annoying problem which I don't know how to go about.

I am selling goods online, where people put them in shopping cart, proceed to checkout and pay at the end. Then I ship goods through the post.

My problem is that sometimes people place orders (form a contract with the shop?) and never pay for them (breach of the contract?). I also sometimes get orders via e-mail, where people commit to buy things from my shop, we agree on price and terms and then they pull out with no reason. In eBay there is a feedback system which protects sellers from customers pulling out.

Now, could anyone tell me how do I go about this, in other words, how do I encourage people to follow their part of the contact (to pay for the goods)? Perhaps you have some real-life examples?

Thank you in advance. I am looking forward to your answers

Tadas
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saads90's Avatar saads90 saads90 is offline
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Hi,

It is not clear how customer make purchases, can you please clarify and I will be able to shed some light on this.

Regards
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drumspace's Avatar drumspace drumspace is offline
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Hi, Thanks for your reply.

My website is built on osCommerce platform and customers have a choice of making payments via PayPal (credit/debit cards included), bank transfer, cheque and in some instances cash.

Hope that helps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by saads90 View Post
Hi,

It is not clear how customer make purchases, can you please clarify and I will be able to shed some light on this.

Regards
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chrisclayts's Avatar chrisclayts chrisclayts is offline
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I have an oscommerce site too and I only use Google Checkout and it works well, I would never use the other methods of "Bank Transfer/Cash" etc as I want them to make a proper committment I would feel that if someone doesnt want to pay through Google Checkout or Paypal then the chance are much higher of them wasting my time. Personally, I would ditch the other options for a time period (say 2 weeks) and see how that impacts your orders and also whether it gives you more time to focus on other things instead of chasing people that arent actually interested.

Just my thoughts.

Chris
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Purple Jigsaw 's Avatar Purple Jigsaw Purple Jigsaw  is offline
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I would echo what Chris says. Also the paypal system is heavily weighted towards the buyer - they can easily say that items didnt turn up and paypal can revoke the payment. More hassle than it is worth. Also, I think cheques will be made redundant in the near future - a lot of places dont currently accept them.

Try to stick to secure methods where you get the payment received through the checkout process and then you can spend the time on your business, rather than chasing payments.
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Kandiman Kandiman is offline
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More echoing I'm afraid. In your situation, I'd either only accept credit cards or I'd refuse to ship ANYTHING until payment has been received and cleared.

Never use an honour system; we live in a world without honour these days.
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drumspace's Avatar drumspace drumspace is offline
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Thanks for such honest answers guys! I will definitely consider eliminating some of the payment methods as it sometimes get confusing both for the customer and me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kandiman View Post
More echoing I'm afraid. In your situation, I'd either only accept credit cards or I'd refuse to ship ANYTHING until payment has been received and cleared.

Never use an honour system; we live in a world without honour these days.
Well, I do not actually ship anything before I get the payment. My problem is more to do with time wasting and of course nearly-made sales cause some irritation as well.

I'm wondering if a follow up e-mail with text "you ordered products from us, now you only have to pay" doesn't look too pushy?
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Kandiman Kandiman is offline
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I'd be more eloquent with it, but yes, that's a good idea as long as you don't pester. try a variation on the following:

"Dear <client's name>,

You recently placed an order with us for <give details>. Are you still looking to proceed with this order? If so, we can ship immediately upon receipt of payment via debit/credit card."

Then give the information you need to process payment and sign it. It's simple, not at all pushy and encourages the client to communicate with you.
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James Smith's Avatar James Smith James Smith is offline
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When selling on-line I wouldn't offer cash or cheque payment as its in essence too much bother and if someone has a bank account they have a bank card, so no reason they couldn't use their card in your store at the time.

More generally people will ask for a price on goods when shopping around. They may well tell you they are coming back even if they have no intention of doing so. This is normal consumer behaviour, just like people will fill the cart with a "fantasy order" and never check out. Its virtual window shopping. I imagine with your site (drums) this is far more likely to occur than with (say) a grocery site.

Probably better feedback would be to ask someone who hasn't completed a purchase why. That is to say did they find a better deal elsewhere? Did something put them off? (That is to say you can do something about it) Or where they just mucking about and wishing they where in a band and not sitting in their bedroom? This sort of feedback can be valuable.

So I would certainly follow up in a polite way inviting them to complete order, and giving some sort of deadline such as "we can only hold stock for your order for 7 days" also you can ask the question. You wont get much back, but you will get some responses.
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aa412's Avatar aa412 aa412 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drumspace View Post

My problem is that sometimes people place orders (form a contract with the shop?) and never pay for them (breach of the contract?)
Just want to pick up on this. A contract isn't actually formed at that point until money has been paid (consideration). The contract isn't finalised untill the offer (them offering £x) and acceptance (you agreeing to take £x).
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Adam2009 Adam2009 is offline
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Afternoon Drumspace,

I wouldn't worry too much about contracts of sale etc if someone is simply popping an item in an online shopping cart, reaches payment and then decides not to pay, there's nothing you can do - if you chat to the sales assisstant in currys for half an hour, then queue to pay, and at the moment you go to hand over cash change your mind there's nothing they can do. As the previous post says there is no contract in place.

So forgetting about all of that what you need to look at is why people are adding products to the cart proceeding to checkout and then dropping out.

The first thing you should put on your site is google analytics, a very handy and free tool, this will show you the page people are exiting on.

If we know where they are exiting it's much easier to then resolve but i've picked up on a few things which may help:

1 - A % of people do not like signing up for things. Your website offers no "shop and go" option, perhaps people with items in their cart are dropping away at this stage as they do not wish to sign up.

2 - It's easy to add items to the cart but actually quite hard to find the "checkout" button on your website, it forces the customer to click on the shopping cart symbol (the word shopping cart isnt hyperlinked either) and then it says checkout at the bottom of the list of products. As soon as somone has added their first item, on every page there should be a very clear checkout option, perhaps the easiest way for you to fix this straight away would be to include the words "Proceed to Checkout" under your shopping cart were it says "2 items" ...just change this to "2 Items. Proceed to Checkout".

Preferrably the shopping cart would be much more prominent over all displaying all the items currently within and with a proceed to checkout button fimly in view at all times.

3 - There is an image not showing in the top header of your site. As people start to proceed to pay things like that become more pertinent, they may think if you're having technical issues should they be typing in credit card details.


4 - I'd be getting rid of cash, trasnfers, chq etc fairly quickly, its hassle and it gives the impression its a very small business. I know you are a new business and just want to offer as much as possible in order not to rule out any customers. But in reality buyers are now confident with a simple credit card based checkout. All you want to be offering is card payments whether through, paypal, google, wolrdpay, sagepay - doens't matter at this stage. However as you grow it will again matter how you accept payments, only accepting cards via paypal and google for example will overall lower buyer confidence when compared to using your own online terminal.

On the issue of chasing up people who do not follow through the checkout you may just like to drop them an automated email saying: hi we have an order in your account pending, would you like any help at all, if not we'll close the order off. thanks very much.

And as far as email orders go, any one who emails id just be referring them to the site, saying buy on there any problems drop us a line.

Hope that helps!
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