We make fast decisions on whether to engage or not with a website based on whatever we can make out in regard to the website in the very first moments. The responsibility for making a good first impression lies with designers, developers and site owners. Given the opportunity of pursuing a visitor which is really small, most designs don’t really fulfill the criteria of a perfect website that would satisfy every visitor’s interests. However, most websites do not exist just to impress visitors. Most websites exist to be efficient and sell. Whether it is to get visitors to subscribe to the blog feed, or to download a trial, every website ultimately exists to make a sale of some kind.
In the following post we will talk about how to optimize a website for generating more sales by analysis and detailed reviews. Like everything else science-related, this article will explore a step-by-step and practical methods that will increase your conversion rate on your shop.
1. Be Transparent About the Information & Shipping Costs
By several studies, it is expected that nearly 50% of users decide to abandon their purchases because of several reasons, including shipping costs, unsatisfying delivery dates and product related reasons. The biggest mistake that is committed by several sellers is that they aren’t fully transparent about their information and shipping costs, leaving important details for the last step of check-out.
These reasons cause frustration among buyers and keeps them confused about their purchase up till the last moment of the buying process. For this reason, it is absolutely necessary that it is required of you to be transparent in regard to shipping costs, delivery dates and any other important product info at the first step of the buying process.
2. Ensure High Page Speeds
Page speed is a critical performance factor for any website. But it’s equally important for shopping carts as well. Several studies relate that buyers wait for an average of a few seconds until leaving a page if it’s too slow. Almost 80% of those who leave will most likely never return, which is why speed is such an important factor that you need to ensure.
You can use Google’s Page Speed tool to analyze your page speed. The tool also recommends corrective actions that can improve the overall speed and performance of your web page.
3. Secure your Transactions
The high amount of online transactions in last years have imposed a set of various threatening factors for buyers and visitors. This is the cause of many shoppers being unsure about their purchases when not given the guarantee that the payment method and data storing tehniques are not safe enough.
Your shopping cart has got to be set up with a payment service that is popular yet secure, like PayPal/Skrill and Visa/MasterCard, by this ensuring the security of all transactions that take place. Try to minimize the information required from your buyers at the time of purchase.
Another small but useful tip is to add graphical representations of the supported payment methods (their logotypes) thus making it easy for customers to recognize the common symbols. Adding extra security like McAfee online certificates and securing your connections (https) is something that adds up to the credibility of your site and intentions in regard to user data.
4. Build Store Credibility & Confidence
If you are a popular shop such as Amazon/eBay, customers may not be reluctant to commit purchases on your site, mainly because of the available buyer protection services. For everyone else, it might be a challenge to inspire customers to pay online. Here are a few simple tweaks that are meant to boost customer confidence:
Show a Purchase summary
Many customers multi-task online. They could easily forget what they have already added to their shopping cart. It is never a bad idea to display somewhere on your site a summary of the purchase. This will make customers feel that they are in control of the purchase process.
Display the Progress
A progress indicator can reassure customers that each step in the purchase process is taking them closer to completion. It also shows an approximation of how long the process is and allows the customer to feel in control in regard to how he’s moving on with his purchase.
Display all fees upfront
Supplementary can relate to anything, like: shipping, packing, taxes, and the like. It is very stressful and strange to have extra fees displayed at the end of the purchase, providing the customer with the benefit of the doubt in regard to how correct you are in regard to him when displaying extra fees at the end.
Security & Credibility
There are several factors that make add up to customer’s credibility in regard to your brand and store. The most important technical aspect of a secure transaction is probably the SSL encryption that you have to add to your site, even if it won’t be cross-site, at least the payment page has got to have a SSL encryption to prove that customer data is safe and the vendor has been verified, with appropriate accreditation.
There are also non-technical aspect that regard credibility is the visual representation of security and trust, which are not less important. These features regard miscellaneous things such as: telephone number (shows availability of support and seriosity of a company), a team page (an about us page which would feature the team behind the site (if not too big) will add up to the impression of trust.
5. Direct the Customer's Actions
It is important to realize that the customer is good on his own in regard to making decisions on your site, but that would mean that we are OK with him leaving the site at any time, which doesn’t really suit our needs, thus the following techniques of directing the user towards task completion, in our case it being sale commitment.
Have a “Checkout Now” Button
While some customers may want to browse around, others may be ready to pay right away. If a customer is ready to pay at the moment being, it is your duty to send him to the payment form right away, as there’s no reason at all that would make you not let this happen.
Reduce the Number of Clicks to Check Out
Design a single-screen checkout form. If that is not feasible, reduce the number of clicks required to check out. The bigger the necessary number to reach the checkout form – the worse. Create an environment that is really sale-focused yet pleasant for the user, as these 2 factors cannot be concomitant.
Despite your best attempts, some customers will abandon the shopping cart. That is not the end of the world. Immediately upon cart abandonment, you can email the customer and encourage her to complete the purchase. If the customer is not registered, you can store the shopping cart information in cookies on the customer's computer. The next time she visits your site, you can prompt her to complete the sale.
New vs Returning Users
If we are talking specifics, it is important to determine the delimitation between new and returning users, in the manner which we could target and benefit of each category of visitors. New customers have got to be given a special approach compared to the returning ones, mainly because they are newcomers and might not show interest towards your shop, not talking about loyalty for your site.
HubSpot shared an interesting example by Sales Benchmark Index. Upon your initial entrance to the site, visitors were asked to self segment themselves by choosing their role. Upon the return to the site, the default entrance page would load the role they have initially selected. This is a great way to give return traffic exactly what they want.
If you don’t have the sophistication to personalize the experience for return visitors, at the very least make sure your new visitor micro interactions aren’t being displayed! Good news, if you’re a Shopify user you do have this technology at your disposal – so get to it!
Feature image curtsey of Natalie Schoch