It’s safe to assume that in most cases, an online business would like to increase sales of their products. Let’s evaluate some of the different ways a customer to an eCommerce web site would feel more comfortable making a purchase. If a site owner, or conversion expert, clearly identifies the potential objections or questions that a visitor may have, and simply answers them (sometimes even without words), higher conversion rates can and do occur.
1. Third-party testimonials or corroboration
A potential customer may feel more at ease purchasing from a company that a friend has previously made a purchase at. This could involve having sharing tools to share purchases in Facebook or on Twitter.
Even having a Facebook page with lots of fans that show up in the sidebar of the site could help a visitor feel at ease that the company is real and legit. A list of true unsolicited testimonials is and has always been an effective strategy for increasing conversion.
Including recognizable logos of clients or partners can go along way in helping a potential customer feel at ease.
Linking to product reviews is also effective.
2. Making contacting the company very simple
A phone number and other contact information should be very prominent on each and every web page to help customers know that the company is easy to contact. This incidentally helps with SEO as well.
If a customer needs sales or product information or after sales support, they should have several means at doing so without having to jump through any hoops.
Contact options can include: a toll free number for all countries being served, a list of staff and easy way to contact each one, a simple contact form, a ticketing system, live chat for sales and support, and so on.
3. Provide all necessary details about the products
Most of the time people won’t want to have to contact anyone and wait for a response to get specific information about a product. In the online world, people can’t see or touch the product that they are buying so providing as much information, written and visual (images & video) can help in the buying decision.
Think of information as well that a customer may not have thought of that is relevant to a product. This could eliminate returns and make a customer comfortable knowing that the company has a solid understanding of people’s needs when it comes to their product line.
There is a balance though where information overload can become a concern. Linking to more information, or using CSS tricks for quick hiding and displaying of more information may be appropriate for those that seek it.
4. Provide shipping and other costs as early as possible
A lot of times the cost for shipping is calculated depending on how many products are in the cart, the total value of the items, or more often the weight of the products. If that is the case, naturally the company can not provide those costs before checkout.
However, in the case where shipping is free when the customer spends a certain amount, that is good information to provide up front. Make it known and the customer may stick around through to checkout knowing they won’t have to enter personal information (location) before learning the cost of shipping.
5. Let them know of unusual policies
If a company has unusually good return policies for example, it is important to let the potential customer know. Perhaps the visitor has the question in mind: “What if the product isn’t right for me when it arrives?” – by letting them know they have a full year to return the product, for example, can help them make the decision to buy because that concern will then be moot.
6. Tell them they won’t get blasted with email
When a subscriber considers signing up to a mailing list they may have the initial fear that they will be spammed, because who doesn’t get spam these days?
Even a quick notice beneath the sign up form that mentions your spam policy can reassure the visitor enough to sign up, when otherwise they may not have.
7. Is the web site secure?
When someone provides their financial details into a web site they need to be comfortable that their information is secure.
This is where an automatic stamp of security with today’s date (from the SSL provider), and perhaps a Better Business Bureau membership, can increase conversions by making a visitor feel more comfortable.
8. Tell them when the sale ends
Because an item is in the cart does not mean it will be purchased. There are still questions running through the potential buyer’s head.
Adding a short tag to a product in the cart saying that the sale for the product ends in 24 hours, or free shipping for an item will no longer be available tomorrow, can create urgency and lead to a sale.
9. Upsells and cross-sells
Amazon and the Apple iTunes Store are famous for letting people know what products other people purchased who bought the same product currently being browsed.
Besides that, showing related products and products that can be bundled for a discount can increase conversions and the final amount being spent by the customer.
10. Seamless checkout experience
Making the checkout process smooth, safe and simple is key. Depending on the store it may even be best to allow the customer to enter their billing information on a payment processor site like PayPal, Google Checkout, 2Checkout, or Authorize.net.
This alone can make people more comfortable because they are providing their credit card details to better known companies.
11. Retarget those who abandon the cart
I know it’s cliche to provide an 11th item in a list of 10… the proverbial bonus, but here it is.
Consider retargeting or remarketing customers that leave your site. You can “cookie” them and automatically run display ads on 3rd party sites that they visit, even if the site is unrelated, and even if you do not have an advertising relationship with the site.
Many content driven sites run ads that several companies bid on for ad placement. You can place retargeting ads with companies like Google, AdRoll, and Simpli.fi among others.