While shoppers have become increasingly comfortable making purchases online, there are still hurdles to overcome. Trust remains a significant issue, as does complication and doubt. While catalog shopping has been around since the days the railroad (mush less the internet), people still have issues about purchasing things sight unseen.
Eliminating barriers to conversion is all about overcoming those objections so people feel more comfortable transmitting their credit card numbers in exchange for your goods. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Trust Is a Must
Security remains one of the largest concerns for people shopping online. Make an active effort to humanize your site to get around this. Use your “About Us” page to tell your story, run photos of yourself and everyone who works with you on the site—plus your dog. (People love dogs. If you don’t have one, go get one.) Seriously though, use that page tell the story of why you went into business and lay bare your business philosophy.
A social media presence is an absolute must. In addition to giving your customers an opportunity to get to know you, it can serve as an excellent tool for promoting specials. Social media also gives your followers an opportunity to say what they like about doing business with you in an open forum. Along those same lines, cultivate customer feedback quotes you can run on your site to demonstrate others have made purchases and were satisfied.
Trust badges from organizations like the Better Business Bureau, PayPal, Norton, McAfee and other recognized entities can help put shoppers at ease regarding security issues as well.
2. Dispense with Doubts
Let’s face it, when you do something like open a furniture store online, you’re asking people to send you money in exchange for items they’ve never seen—let alone touched with their hands. Providing large, sharp and well-composed photographs will let them see every pertinent feature in bold relief. Make your descriptions detailed enough to answer key questions, yet not so verbose they narcotize. Post video tutorials to help buyers see the product in action so they can feel better about ordering.
Depending upon the nature of your merchandise, you might even offer a free trial period. Either way, a generous return policy goes a long way toward alleviating concerns shoppers may have about dissatisfaction.
3. Simplicity Saves Sales
Every extra step you ask a customer to take between deciding and typing a credit card number is one step closer to be a step too far. Your checkout procedure should be as simple as possible, while still getting you enough information to bill the customer and ship the item. If you want to enroll them in your loyalty program or sign them up for your newsletter, let them buy the item first—then ask for the extra information.
4. Eliminate Hidden Costs
Few things are more frustrating than being lured in by a $99 price only to learn it’s actually $150 when taxes, shipping and ancillary fees are baked in at checkout. Shoppers feel deceived and respond by making the purchase someplace where the merchant is more up front about all the charges.
Shipping costs disclosed at the last minute have killed more than a few transactions. To prevent this, find a way to offer free shipping (which most online merchants are doing now anyway). If you’re going to have to charge sales tax, make sure that information is disclosed on the product page instead of blindsiding the shopper with this information at the last minute.
Eliminating these four barriers to conversion will make your sales volume increase, right along with your profitability. You ‘ll also create more satisfied customers, which in turn, means more repeat business. You gotta love that, right?