5 Ways Your Website Might Be Misleading Potential Customers

You would never intentionally mislead your potential customers. But a lot of brands do it without even realizing it. Their websites don’t give visitors the whole picture. Or they give visitors misleading—or outdated—information.

They’re not doing it on purpose. They just don’t have the right tools—or they’re not using those tools to their full potential.

Here are five ways your website might be misleading potential customers right now, plus what you can do about it.

1. Hiding major retailers 

Direct-to-consumer sales give you the best margins. So it’s no wonder many brands choose not to highlight retail partners on their websites. By not showing other places people can buy your products, you increase D2C sales.

But think about why that works. Either it works because it makes finding your products on another site more inconvenient than buying from you, or it works because visitors assume your site is the only place they can buy your products.

You might be OK with that. But you should know: your potential customers already have preferred retailers—and if they’ve never bought anything from you before, that’s definitely not you. So when you hide major retailers, some visitors may go look for you on their preferred retailer’s site. And others will just leave.

D2C sales are nice. But using a where to buy (WTB) solution to highlight major retailers can increase overall sales by streamlining the path to purchase.

2. Not displaying stock information

Suppose you do have a WTB widget on your website, and your potential customers can see the major retailers that sell your products. Maybe you even show them local retailers they can buy from. So they click through to the product page. Or they physically go to the store.

But when they get there, they learn that your products are out of stock.

That’s a frustrating experience. And the only reason they had to go through it was because you didn’t tell them your products were out of stock. If one of your products is out of stock at a retailer’s store, you should make sure your visitors know.

3. Showing
outdated stock information

Similarly, some WTB tools don’t pull information from your retail partners frequently enough to provide up-to-date stock information. This can be worse than not providing stock information at all because outdated stock information is blatantly misleading.

Imagine someone takes the bus to their local Walgreens to buy your product because your website said it was in stock. But when they get there, it’s not. You didn’t just waste their time: you showed them they can’t trust your website—and by extension, your brand.

4. Not displaying reviews from retailers

Consumers are used to seeing a lot of reviews on quality products. But a lot of brands only display reviews from their own website. Whether you curate these reviews or not, consumers will probably assume that either you’ve hidden all the negative reviews, or your product isn’t very popular. 

Your retail partners have two big advantages when it comes to ratings and reviews:

1. They’re a third party, so consumers generally trust their reviews more
2. They have a ton of customers, so they tend to have a high number of reviews

When you don’t display ratings and reviews from retailers’ websites, it’s like hiding what the public really thinks of your products, or hiding how popular they really are.

Think about it: if you’ve only accumulated a handful of reviews on your website, but you have hundreds (or thousands) on Amazon, you want your website visitors to see that! Not displaying all those ratings will lead people to assume your product is more obscure or untested than it really is.

And of course, on the flip side, if you have a lot of negative reviews on other sites and you’re pretending like they don’t exist, that creates distrust in your brand.

5. Highlighting old pricing

The first price someone sees acts as an anchor and helps them decide what something is worth. When that first price isn’t the actual price, it can be pretty frustrating—especially if the first price was lower. 

Some brands don’t like to show pricing. But if you do, you need to be sure it’s always current.

WTB tools that don’t update pricing information frequently enough run the risk of displaying outdated pricing information to your customers. If that old price is lower than the current price, it creates a bad experience when people click through to a retailer’s site. Alternatively, if the outdated price is higher than the current price, it will discourage some people from clicking through—and maybe deter them from purchasing your product altogether.

Your website is most likely to mislead customers this way during and after a sale, when your price on a retailer’s site has recently changed. The more products you have and the more retailers you offer them at, the more likely you are to mislead your customers with outdated pricing.

That’s why you need a WTB solution that pulls pricing data multiple times a day—so you never miss a change.

Give your visitors information they can trust

A good where to buy solution ensures your customers can always turn to your website for accurate, up-to-date information about where your products are available. In our free ebook, The Manufacturer’s Guide to Online Where to Buy Solutions, we walk you through everything you need to know about these valuable conversion optimization tools.

Get your copy today.

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