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E-Marketing Performance Blog

Taking “Phone” Orders Has a Whole New Meaning

Taking phone orders

In the early days of ecommerce it wasn’t too uncommon for many businesses to take orders over the phone. The ecommerce tools were limited, and setting up the ability to take credit card payments online was difficult, if not near impossible for many businesses.

But those days are long gone. Taking payments with a credit card is as easy as setting up a Paypal account, and there are a plethora of ecommerce solutions, many of which are almost plug and play.

The barriers that prevented businesses from making it possible for customers to place all their orders completely from their computers is almost non-existant. And the barriers that exist are minimal at best, even for those with smaller budgets.

With that said, I’m going to make a bold–and seemingly contradictory–proclamation:

Every online business must be able to take phone orders!

In case you didn’t hear that let me say it bigger:

Every online business must be able to take phone orders!

Still not getting it? Let’s go bigger and bolder (with emphasis!)

Every online business must be able to take phone orders!

Please tell me you got it before I break out my HTML 4.1 manual to add some 90’s flare to that statement!

Now that I got your attention, let me go back to what I said before that. I said it would be a “seemingly” contradictory procomation. Here’s the part where I give you the M. Night Shamalan jaw-drop reveal…

I’m still talking about 100% ecommerce.

See, I pulled a little sleight of hand on you when I said shoppers should be able to place their orders 100% “from their computer.” Notice I didn’t say “online”. Because that is exactly what I mean when I’m talking about taking phone orders. I don’t mean you need to try to get more people to call you on the phone to place an order, but to be able to place an order on their mobile phones!

If your website isn’t mobile friendly, you may as well be forcing people to call you every time they want to place an order. It’s the same hassle. Not convinced, let’s go on an imaginary journey…

Imagine you’re on a website. You like what you see, but you can’t figure out how to purchase the products. The only option you see is a phone number. How hard is it, really, for you to pick up the phone and place an order. It’s not, but you won’t. Neither would 90% of your customers.

Now image that someone wants to buy what you offer but, while looking at your website on their mobile device, they run into all kinds of issues. They have to scroll side-to-side, zoom in and out to read, and they find their fingers are too fat to click on the right buttons to complete the order.

It’s probably easier for those shoppers to pick up the phone and call you than it is for them to boot up their PC, find your website and continue their shopping. But 99% of the time you’ll have lost the customer.

So while you have have spent the last ten years improving your online sales process so shoppers don’t have to place their orders over the phone, now is the time to start thinking about taking phone orders again.

Mobile readiness is absolutely essential for business longevity and success, just as building an ecommere store was a few years ago. Most shopping now includes, in one form or another, a mobile device. And if your site isn’t mobile friendly, it’s just not customer friendly.

The saying, “what is old is new again” was never so true. Failure to ensure you’re site allows visitors to place orders over the phone will be the death knell of your business’ sustainability!

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

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