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Converting Web Surfers Into Customers

Fri, 11/09/2012 - 4:26pm | by Guest Writer

With e-commerce booming, every Tom, Dick, and Jane has an e-commerce website, but why have only Tom’s sales increased? It’s probably because Dick and Jane figured they could just ride on the coattails of the industry without putting a second thought into their site.

If you’re thinking about selling products or services online, take after Tom and do your research first. Use analytics and other research tools to find out what your particular users want and give them exactly that. Once you have your data, analyze it and use it to cater your e-commerce site directly to them.

Start by incorporating the tips in these five steps to converting a web surfer into a customer.

Convert web surfers into visitors
Let’s face it. Most people turn to an online search engine first when looking for products and information, so optimize your search engine presence. Using key words and phrases specific to your products and services that will be easily and frequently picked up by search engines is a good start, but you’ll need to look into SEO (search engine optimization) services and PPC (pay-per-click) advertisements as well.

Utilize other ways that people might come across your products besides searching for them specifically. Many people go to the internet to learn how to do something, so publish how-to articles related to your products. This way you can also show your expertise on the product and gain their trust. Similarly, blogs both optimize and humanize your website. Blogs can bring people to your site and build a relationship of trust with them.

Give them what they’re looking for
If they used a search engine to find your site, chances are they’ll use your on-site search options as well, so make it as accurate and functional as possible. Remove unnecessary clutter so visitors can find what they want. It’s tempting to put offers, deals, ads and recommendations all over a webpage, but be careful not to overwhelm the user. Obvious buttons and links will also help visitors find what they need and know what they need to do to find more information.

If you decide to design your links and buttons, make them consistent throughout the site. Once the user clicks on something, especially when they enter information, provide visual feedback to reassure them that what they did actually worked.

Spruce up your site with large, clear photos and videos of your products without making it too “busy.” Spending a little extra money on photos and videos will be well worth your investment. If people can clearly see what they’re getting, they’re more likely to buy. As you add these graphic elements to your e-commerce site, keep in mind that many people shop on their mobile devices, so make your primary site mobile friendly or create a separate mobile-friendly site.

Keep them happy
As much as you try to anticipate everything your visitor will want to know, people will still have questions. Assure them that you are always there to help with a clearly marked contact page, live chat options, or a step-by-step guide. Even when you do all you can to make your site run seamlessly, errors will arise whether they are caused by the user or something on your end. When errors do occur, assure the user that they can still continue on and tell them exactly what they need to do to continue. If you keep your site visitor friendly, they’re more likely to turn into customers.

Convert visitors into customers
What sets you apart from Tom when you’re selling basically the same products? As a business owner, you have to know that answer and make sure your potential customer knows it too. If your products are exactly the same as another site’s, you can offer purchase incentives that encourage users to choose your company over another. These can include free shipping, a free product with purchase, discounts or coupons. Include consumer reviews for each product because oftentimes, potential customers will trust other customers over the actual company. Make price comparison tools available to the users so they can clearly see the difference. You’re competing with other companies for customers, so go and check out the competition’s web site and simply make your site better.

Easy Checkout
Once the site visitor has finally decided to buy your product, they’ll want the checkout process to be as quick and painless as possible, so here are a few tips. Make the shopping cart highly visible and have it visually update when they add items. You might even want to tether it to the top bar so they can see it even when they scroll. Let customers know the shipping costs up front. People don’t like surprises at the end of the buying process. Keep shipping costs as low as possible because that is often the main reason consumers choose one company over another. As they are finalizing the sale, only ask for personal information pertinent to the sale such as their name, shipping and billing address, and credit card information. It’s tempting to ask personal questions for marketing data, but people are leery to provide that information, especially when it’s connected with their credit card or financial information. Help them feel as safe as possible.

By following these few tips, you can join Tom and have success in the e-commerce world!

About the Author: Jerrimie Allen is a freelance writer for Invesp. Invesp helps businesses improve their online revenue, reduce customer acquisition cost, and provide their visitors with a better user experience through Invesp’s landing page optimization. Photo credit by mikebaird

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