In general, the act of converting requires an understanding of how to get from where you were to where you want to be. Converting to another belief system, from English to metric measurement, or from leads to sales, means you have to bridge some gaps and force a shift, of sorts, in your mindset. If you are in the business of getting online visitors to a conversion such as a purchase, you know that coaxing prospective customers through the sales funnel requires a solid strategy and precise implementation. That implementation should consist of creating a welcoming digital environment that lays an unencumbered path for shoppers to ultimately make a purchase. The path should consist of the strategic use of content, graphics/images, and technology.
In laying the groundwork for better online conversions, examine your experiences in a brick-and-mortar world. As you navigate through a grocery store, for instance, think of the signage, graphics, and technology you rely on to help you make a purchase. Now, think of what obstacles keep you from getting everything on your list: the aisle sign says food storage, but you can’t find sandwich bags; the spinach doesn’t look fresh; the endcap has a Popchip promotion, but they are out of barbeque flavor; the register displays a different price from the shelf card. Since you made the effort to visit the store, you are likely to buy what’s in your cart rather than leave with nothing. However, if a similar scenario plays out online, you will probably abandon your cart, go elsewhere, and save a boatload of time.
There are multiple factors that go into getting visitors to a conversion, many of which you have no control over. But identifying what you can control and optimizing it based on best practices will certainly help enhance the shopping experience. Think of it like curling: Sweeping the path reduces friction and helps the stone go faster and straighter. It’s up to the sweepers to keep it from curling—or going in another direction—away from the intended target. As the sweeper, your job is to use content, graphics, and functionality synergistically to help customers make a purchase.
Below are a few recommendations to get you started:
1. Descriptions: It’s important to include clear and concise product descriptions that explain the details and benefits of each product. If you are unsure of how your products come across, ask someone to sketch a picture based on your product descriptions and see how that goes. Bonus Tip: Include recommendations for complementary products.
2. Microcopy: Microcopy instructs users how to properly complete forms to avoid error messages (e.g., “Don’t use dashes with phone numbers,” or “The CVV is the three-digit number on the back of your credit card.”) and it addresses concerns that people may have such as, “We won’t share your information with 3rd parties.”
3. Reviews and Testimonials: Include reviews and testimonials. People are all about social proof, so seeing that others are happy with the product goes far in getting people to buy.
4. Personalization: Greeting visitors with their name and including product recommendations are always appreciated and have become expected.
1. Graphics: Using graphics like arrows, a shopping bag, heart, phone, social icons, and trust symbols like security badges, types of payment accepted etc. are simple yet they say so much in helping shoppers gather information quickly.
2. Photos: High-quality photos are a MUST. It’s 2020, there’s no excuse for displaying low-resolution product images, period. Bonus Tip: Show your products being used in their natural environment. It helps shoppers understand the size, how the item looks when its fully setup, etc.
3. Buttons: Keep action buttons like Checkout, Add to Cart, and Contact consistent and prominent throughout the site.
4. Color: Consumers spend an average of 90 seconds when deciding whether to stay on your site, so choose colors that appeal to your audience, Red, orange, black, and royal blue should be used to target impulse shoppers; navy blue and teal should be used to reach shoppers on a budget; and softer colors like pink, sky blue, and rose should be used to target traditional buyers, especially for clothing brands.
1. Mobile: You’ve probably heard this many times before, but we can’t say it enough: About half of shoppers use their mobile devices to make purchases, so optimizing your store for a mobile experience is imperative.
2. Marketing Hubs: Integrate with marketing hubs to reach customers at every stage in the funnel. Keep in touch with your customers with personalized messaging via email about company sales, special events, and company news.
3. Digital Wallet Payment Processing: Once you get customers to the checkout phase, make sure that you don’t lose them. Give shoppers as many payment options as possible including digital wallet payments like Amazon Pay and Apple Pay.
4. Live Chat: Though shoppers like the online experience, sometimes they just need to communicate with a customer service representative. Live chat is a great feature, as long as your staff commits to being available during chat hours.
The nature of online shopping means that your visitors are relying on you to provide all of the information they need to make a purchasing decision. Since you can’t be there in person, you need to fulfill their expectations quickly and thoroughly with the appropriate use of content, graphics, and functionality. We’ve said this before: Time kills deals. So be the sweeper and make full use of the tools that are available to you.