E-commerce has changed the face of retail, and throughout the world, online buying has grown exponentially. According to a report by the Centre for Retail Research, online shopping in Europe is expected to grow at a rate of 18.4% from 2014 to 2015, while online shopping in the US is set to rise at a rate of 13.8%.
In order to capitalize on the growth opportunity, online businesses will need to increase the number of conversions they make, as one of the aspects of their strategy. One challenge is that of converting browsers into shoppers. Browsers are essentially users who go through your website, looking to find a different customer experience or a unique product. Businesses need to come up with something very attractive to engage these types of customers since they spend a lot of time in your virtual store.
Customers looking to buy online are normally influenced by a number of factors, and online businesses have to strive to meet their expectations:
According to a study by Royal Mail, price-sensitive 16-to-24-year-olds are the most difficult age group to convert from online browsers to buyers, as they are more likely to abandon their cart if they come across a better deal.
Conversion rates tend to be higher during the holiday season since a lot of customers are looking for sales, discount offers, deals, and freebies.
Many new businesses face the issue of attracting customers who have been shopping on established websites and remain loyal to them. Older sites are typically found to have better conversion rates, versus new ones.
Customers are known to often abandon their carts for multiple reasons such as the website being sluggish or aesthetically displeasing. Too many steps to make a purchase are also a put-off for many. As online businesses reach out to new prospects, who have traditionally been shopping offline, as well as customers of competitors, certain trust indicators need to be built into the website and business model to fortify the job of conversion. Some of these trust indicators are described below.
This is where real people tell real stories, and if you add pictures of happy, satisfied customers, it will add to the visual impact of the web page. Reading the story of someone else who has experienced buying from the online business and who is happy to tell everyone about it, is heartening for new users, especially if they are visiting you for the first time. Testimonials work even better if they are from influences, as their words will act as an assurance of your reliability.
Awards bestowed upon your business by industry leaders and associations are an impactful way to show your customers that you are a recognized organization and are dedicated to their service in every way. Being awarded for your work, makes you appear more credible in the eyes of consumers.
Real opinions of people who have used your product will certainly act as sales boosters for your business. Star ratings, comments, and healthy feedback are insightful for users, and also for your team as you can find out what is working for them and what is becoming a hassle. Negative reviews should not be put down either, but instead should be responded to positively, and resolved quickly and amicably.
Online shopping has a lot of ambiguities attached to it, and people are skeptical about leaving their card information with the store. Brand certifications and secure shopping certificates can help drive away this fear. SSL Certificates (Secure Socket Layer) are small data files that digitally bind a cryptography key to the details of an organization; this method is often employed to make the online shopping checkout experience secure.
Efficient logistics is an integral part of every online business and having a flexible, trustworthy logistics partner is essential. Customers need to be assured that what they are ordering will reach them safely and on time, preferably within 7 days. Display the whole price from the beginning, with all taxes included, so the customer does not have to bear any hidden costs. Free shipping and free returns are also a proven way to win over a customer’s trust.
An online shopper is taking a chance by buying a product based on pictures and reviews and needs to be assured that returning it will be easy. A sound return policy with no extra charges goes down extremely well with customers. Be open to taking calls and emails, and initiate the returns process as soon as possible.
Phone, email, or live chat support for online customers should act like a personal assistant for buyers in your store. Any query, assistance, or complaint should be attended to immediately and be resolved at the earliest. Forming a personal relationship with your customer will help form a bond with them, humanize what is largely a technology-based business, and help convert browsers into loyal shoppers.
When potential customer logs on to the store, they will behave as they would in a brick-and-mortar store that they are visiting for the first time. They will note the ambiance, look at what is on offer, keep an eye out for sales and ask for assistance if needed. You need to ensure that you are able to put them at ease and in still faith in your store.