It’s every marketer’s dream. To have limitless visitors walk in through your store’s doors every day and have each one of them walk out as a paying customer. Ditto for an online store.
Unfortunately, reality is often different from wishful thinking. With average conversion rates between 2 and 5%, most ecommerce stores are light years away from converting every visitor into a customer.
Is it all your fault? Are you inherently doing something wrong to chase away customers? Well, yes and no.
There are ecommerce stores that do a terrible job of attracting and retaining a customer’s interest through flawed design and conversion principles. Then there is that great pastime that shoppers swear by, which is the bane of all business owners – window shopping.
There is no single secret sauce to great conversions. Conversions happen when websites get their basics right and push the envelope to tempt window shoppers who had no intention of shopping into parting with their cash.
Assuming you have already taken care to create a great product (or service), priced it right, and backed it up with excellent service and warranties, this is what you do to master the art of teasing in those window shoppers and making them buy at your store…
1. Showcase It Well, Make Them Want To Buy
Imagine walking into a run-down store where the products are hidden behind dirty old fashioned shelves with piles of unrelated clutter barring your way to the shelves.
That is what a customer experiences when they walk into a messy, cluttered and unplanned ecommerce site. Your website is your biggest marketing tool. Don’t let it put off your customers; reel them in using your site.
Keep the site clean and clutter free with products laid out in such a way that brings out the best in them. Use stunning, large product images that do full justice to the products you’re selling and allow the visitor to get a good feel of the product. Images are important! Our natural propensity towards great images is proven by the success of image oriented sites like Instagram, Flickr and Pinterest.
Your site copy plays an important role in convincing a visitor to make a purchase. Let the copy reflect your brand’s personality. Headline copy should pull the eye in and convey in crystal clear terms what your product is all about. Infuse a sense of urgency in the copy in appropriate places to help along conversions.
Playful product descriptions that tell a story about the product and how it can benefit the user make a lot more sense from a conversion perspective than boring old manufacturer descriptions. Another bonus of good, unique copy – it’s great for SEO.
2. Personalized Website Experiences
With the advent of Big Data and myriad tools to use it for business growth, there is a wealth of customer data that businesses now have access to. From which sites they browse to what items they buy, to where they live and where they hang out, the sheer quantum of data available is mind boggling.
This sort of visitor and customer profile data can be used effectively to create experiences for the customers that are personalized to their tastes and shopping patterns.
Create personalized website experiences with tools like Adobe Target or Monetate orPersonyze. Here’s an interesting example of a personalized webpage based on a visitor’s profile information. The visitor in question is an older woman, interested in dating men and based in Sydney Australia.
Another way to encourage a window shopper to make a purchase, or at least commit to a future purchase, is by helping them in making the purchase decision. Visitors who are researching a future purchase will be blown away if you can proactively reach out to them during their browsing session and with guided selling tools like iGoDigital.
3. Easy Navigation, Products Easily Findable
While many visitors may have lots of time to browse around and hunt through tens of pages to arrive at that perfect pair of black leather shoes, many others are in a hurry to get in, shop and get out ASAP. Something like your state of mind when you stop over for a loaf of bread at the local grocery store on your way back from work. You just want to get it done in no time.
Think like the customer when you design your online store’s navigation. Create logical product categories that give way to well-ordered sub categories to make navigation easy. Put in a search bar on your home page to enable even more impatient shoppers to directly search for exactly what they want and leave with their purchase quickly.
Remove unnecessary steps like registration in the middle of the checkout process. About 66.9% of all online shoppers abandon their shopping carts. Irritatingly long checkout processes are one of the key reasons for this number.
4. Tempting Deals and Offers
How many times have you walked into a store and walked out with stuff you didn’t really need, purely because you got a great deal on them? Too many times to remember, probably.
Window shoppers LOVE a great bargain. It validates their habit of window shopping and gives them bragging rights in front of their peers.
Always have at least one unbeatable deal live on your site at any given point of time. These can be funded by negotiating killer rates from your suppliers, by using marketing funds to subsidize the discount or even asking the supplier to co-fund the deal so you sell more product and both you and the supplier benefit in the process. Talk about a win-win!
5. Multiple Payment Options
Where would you rather shop? A store that accepts payments via cash and debit card only or a one that offers a payment method of your choice? Needless to say, more user friendly your payment policies are, the higher are the chances of making a sale.
In this era of the Bitcoin, no online store can afford to offer just one or two payment options. Sure, each payment option costs you money to host on your site; but not havingall the popular payment options always ensures that some visitors walk away without buying anything.
Accept payments via credit cards, debit cards, online bank transfers, PayPal and any other method of payment that your target audience prefers. Consider using a smart cash register like Shopify’s that accepts all the regular payment options with unique customer friendly add-ons like accepting partial payments. And importantly, clearly communicatethat you accept all payment methods to avoid any confusion.
6. Customer Testimonials, Logos of Clients
A surefire way to build trust in a customer’s mind is by displaying testimonials from real clients, with their real names and company details. It is proof that you are proud of your past work and feel confident enough to offer past customers as references that will help convince undecided new visitors. Product reviews by real customers is the equivalent of a testimonial on ecommerce sites.
How you display the testimonials is also of key importance. A two line testimonial right out of a template wears thin in comparison to a heartfelt testimonial that describes the customer’s journey with your brand and how they benefitted from their association with you.
Tell a story, not a couple of awkward sentences. Be creative and place them across various locations on your website that your visitor would likely interact with, not just the home page or a landing page. Ensure you include product reviews with every product that is listed on your site (OK, most products will do). It is reassuring to a visitor to read about a positive customer experience with a particular product and helps them in making their purchase decision.
Use logos of past and existing clients (especially if they are recognizable brands) on your website to build instant trust. When a customer sees that a brand like HP or Adidas trusted you with their business, they’d automatically think that there must be something worth checking out here.
So you tried all the tricks in the book, but a few visitors still managed to slip through your fingers? Don’t lose heart. For all you know they probably never intended to make a purchase during the last visit to your site anyway.
Now that they have visited your site and are aware of what they can expect from you, brand awareness is no longer a problem. Assuming you followed all the other conversion principles to the T, retarget these visitors with relevant ads of products they browsed for, in the form of display ads, Facebook retargeting or even email retargeting. Throw in a special offer to help seal the deal and see your conversions grow!