So many e-commerce websites make costly mistakes that turn-off visitors resulting in far less sales than expected. If your e-commerce website doesn’t convert well, all the money you have thrown into design, branding and promotion goes waste. In this article, I am going to share with you specific strategies to convert more visitors into customers.
Your e-commerce website can be engineered with right type of information and communication to turn it into a selling machine.
The reason I call it machine is because once you have the right stuff in place, sales shoots up automatically without your daily involvement.
In this article, I am going to show you specific strategies to turn your website into an online selling machine. After reading this article, the way you look at online sales will change forever…for better. At the end of this article, there is a bonus waiting for you. Since I know how valuable this content might be, the free download will help you make this learning stay with you for a long time.
Lets’ get started.
Don’t be another “me too” online store
In a world of abundant choices, you need to differentiate your online store. Everyone sells apparel, home decor, spices and cell phones. Why would someone buy from your online store? In one word, the answer is – “uniqueness”. Your uniqueness multiplies your brand value and gives your customer a strong reason to associate with your brand. Uniqueness will instantly set you apart and visitors will be interested in what you have to offer.
For example, Nextdaycoffee.co.uk shows it’s uniqueness by focusing on coffee delivered next day. But when visitors go inside the site, they sell a lot more stuff.
What’s unique about your online store?
Remember that the uniqueness can be invented and it is something you can craft based on your customers dreams and expectations. Also, being unique is not enough. Your uniqueness should be communicated prominently in the form of a slogan or a tag line.
Present Irresistible offers
Once a visitor gets interested in your brand, your homepage should engage them immediately. A visitor usually decides to continue or leave a your homepage within 7 seconds. You don’t really have much time to get the next click. Each offer needs to be attractive enough to serve as a gateway to get the visitor inside your store. When you think about offers, don’t just think about discounts. You can craft innovative offers that trigger hidden emotions.
Zappos does it brilliantly on their homepage.
Their main banner shown below displays a matching pair of footwear for a couple. As a result, it has instant emotional connect with the audience. Every couple wants to see themselves as a perfect match for each other and Zappos precisely tap this emotion.
Search & filter: The savior for purposeful shoppers
According to a research, online shoppers are mainly categorized into three types – addictive shoppers, casual shoppers and purposeful shoppers. You might be able to attract addictive shoppers and casual shoppers through special offers. But the purposeful buyers are looking for specific products and they want to find stuff quickly. For them, a keyword based product search is essential.
For example, jadeblue.com has a prominent search bar in their header.
Product listing: It’s time to switch gear
Once the user is in product-listing page, you need to switch gears. Now your online store needs to keep them engaged and that’s where psychological triggers come into play. There are a number of psychological triggers you can use in your online store, and I am going to show you 5 important ones below:
Contrast: Using contrasting products listed near each other, you can make certain product stand out and invite user’s attention. For instance, you can put up a special offer product in the middle of undiscounted products. This gets user thinking about “what’s so special about this product?” which drives them to click for more details.
Overstock shows attractive discounted products in between non-discounted products.
Scarcity: Showing limited stock message such as “only 2 left” or “sold out” alert creates a sense of scarcity and generates strong buying signals. The visitor starts thinking that there is something about this product why it is selling so fast. Result, she becomes interested and clicks to know more about the product.
Urgency: You can use timed offers that expire within certain duration to create a sense of urgency. For many retailers, this trick has resulted in highest sales through last hour. Overstock uses this trigger very skillfully on their website.
Surprise: You can bring an element of surprise and increase interest by mixing certain products into another class. For instance, if a customer is shopping of shirt, you can put up a tie or beautiful set of cufflinks to go near it. This keeps the visitor interested and encourages them to buy more merchandise. Indochino does this very well. They combine shirts and trousers with suites. As a result, someone buying suites instantly wants to buy extra shirts and vice versa.
Give them a reason: People don’t just buy a product; they buy the reason behind it. And you can cook the reason even if the visitors don’t have one. Using a bit of creative imagination, you can bring them a unique perspective to buy products.
Mod Cloths does a great job by showing girls what they can gift to guys.
The messaging and products gives them a reason and a new point of view to look at the products i.e. gifting to their boyfriend or husband. Suddenly, she remembers the upcoming birthday of her boyfriend/husband and starts to make up her mind on what to buy.
By now you have successfully pulled the visitor to click on the product and here comes the product detail page in the buying journey.
Product detail page: Devil is in the detail
No matter how much the visitors likes your product, they invariably come with some objections before taking a buying decision. Here are some examples of common objections (for an apparel store):
- “What if the size does not fit”
- “What if they don’t ship on time”
- “What if I do not get desired quality”
- “Can I get this product cheaper somewhere else”
- “Do they ship to my location”?
- “Has anyone bought this product before? What’s their experience?”
Unless you handle the objections effectively, your customer might just not buy your product even if they want to. Your product detail page is all about handling objections, and ensuring that the buyer makes a purchase decision ‘doubt free’.
Target.com not only handles these objections but it also recommends user what else to look at.
Your product detail page should display information such as:
- Product availability
- Expected to delivery period to visitor’s place
- Price guarantee or discount offer
- Social proof from people who have already bought the product
- Detailed description including any specific markings or badges that establish trust
- Visual representations such as logos to re-assure user about quality standards.
- Size chart or fitting instructions for apparel
There could be others depending on what you are selling. Take some time to make a list of common objections and systematically counter each objection by communicating it clearly on this page.
The shopping cart: Eliminate risk
Every online store on this planet lose sale due to shopping cart abandonment and in every store, there is a room for improvement. According to Coremetrics, average conversion rate in e-commerce websites from visit to shopping cart is 8% while conversion rate from visits to completing the shopping is 4%. This means 50% people interested in buying a product do not complete their shopping. Apple.com does a great job of presenting a checkout page:
Once user adds an item to the shopping cart – re-assure them for delivery, price and customer service. The shopping cart page is where you “end risk”. Feed the visitor with a healthy dose of assurance by communicating customer service numbers, price assurance, quality policy and money back guarantees (if any).
The checkout: Trust and simplicity wins
Trust, safety and ease of input play the most important role at this stage. The checkout experience of your e-commerce website should build trust and make it effortless for them to enter their personal information. According to Baymard institute ranking, Crate & Barrel has one of the best checkout pages globally:
Let’s explore the key aspect of a great checkout page:
1. Security assurance: Majority of visitors worry about security of their data and authenticity of your site. To counter this fear, you need to highlight security features of your site by showing messages such as SSL encryption, security logos, privacy messages and credentials (BBB, featured media, etc.).
2. Make input simple and clear: Make it extremely clean and simple to input information. Make all the key details related to their shopping is crystal clear. Contact information and customer service numbers communicates transparency and reliability.
3. Isolate the checkout: Treat your checkout like a sacred step. Make it devoid of links, navigation menus, offers and even the standard footer to prevent user from getting distracted.
But what about the visitors who don’t buy from your online store?
Let’s explore this avenue and find out how to convert non-buyers into shoppers.
Capture non-buyers: What’s your giveaway?
It’s a harsh reality – Most visitors are not going to buy from your online store when they your store for the first time. According to a research conducted by Google, it was found that 47% of ecommerce revenue comes as the result of a multiday purchase process and 65% of total revenue comes from purchase process consisting of more than one step. This means, most users look for similar brands in your category and do some research before buying from you. This extended timeline of purchase decision-making can be leveraged by you to build relationship and turn your customers opinion in your favor.
In order to engage with your casual visitors (non-buyers) collect email addresses of every person visiting your site. That way you can continue engaging with them after they leave your website without a purchase via email. You can offer free giveaways and special offers in exchange of their email address. Modcloths.com does this very intelligently by offering several discount coupons in exchange of email address.
Once people are in your email list, you can continue building relationship and influence their buying decision by sending them a variety of informational and promotional content.
Your online selling machine needs regular oiling and greasing
It does not take a formal marketing degree to understand your customer and their buying behavior. You can keep a close eye on how users travel through your website and understand their behavior by leveraging tools such as Google Analytics. Think of your e-commerce website as some sort of network of interconnected roads having two destinations.
- One – that takes user out of the website without shopping.
- Two – that takes user complete a purchase.
When you closely see click-through patterns, you will notice certain shopping behavior. Eventually, it will allow you to discover new ways to optimize each step of the process so that more people go where you want them to go, that is – completing the checkout.
It’s important to visualize your website as a series of interconnected steps – a process that assists users in their buying decision. Right from communicating your uniqueness to the checkout page, each step brings them closer you brand, allowing them to buy from you. By now you have understood how each step plays a unique role in the overall buying journey. But it doesn’t end here.
I promised to give away a free bonus. And here it is.
Your FREE Bonus
To make this learning permanent, here is a bonus for you. A complete map of buyers journey on your online store and important “sales triggers” in each stage of the online sales journey. Click on the image below to download the