How to Make Your Online Visitors Push the Buy Button

By Suzanne Kearns

4 min read

No matter how many visitors come to your website, if they don’t make a purchase before they leave, your marketing efforts were in vain. But there are a a number of steps you can take that will encourage visitors to buy. Here are five ways to update your website to improve your conversion rate.

1. Make Sure the Product Offering Is Clear

Make your product offering as clear as possible so buyers won’t have any unanswered questions that keep them from making the purchase. Since potential buyers won’t be able to pick up the product and hold it, you will have to give them all the details they need to make a buying decision. For example, if you sell T-shirts, you should provide them with information about the fabric type, size options, size chart, cut and fit, color options, care instructions, and price. You should also show them the shirt from different angles, and allow visitors to zoom in for a closer look. If a shirt is on sale, be sure to show the original price, contrasted with the sale price. The product pages on J. Crew’s website do an excellent job of giving potential buyers everything they need to make a decision.

2. Create a Sense of Urgency

When consumers see a limited time offer, it can cause them to make a purchase they otherwise may not have because they feel they will lose out if they don’t act immediately. For example, one A/B test tried to determine if the conversion rate for a popular women’s clothing store would increase if a countdown timer was added to the offer that gave buyers next-day delivery for a limited time. The site that included the countdown timer experienced an 8.6 percent increase in conversions. To create a sense of urgency on your site, you can include a countdown timer, offer a sale for a limited time, offer a limited number of products, or offer deals of the day.

3. Establish Your Trustworthiness

People won’t buy from a site they don’t trust, so your site should instill confidence. First-time buyers, in particular, don’t know if you will protect their credit-card information, keep their personal information private, or actually deliver what they order. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to instill that needed trust. Start by making yourself accessible. Buyers want to know that if they have a problem with their order, they will be able to contact you, so display your contact information in an easy-to-find area on your site. Next, show them that other people trust you by posting customer testimonials and social signals on your pages. Customer testimonials tell visitors that other people have used your products and are happy with them, while social signals from Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ can instill trust when they see how many people have liked, followed or become members of your site. Finally, when a website displays trust seals, it also reassures visitors. In order to display these seals on your site, you must either buy products from the accreditor that will make your site more secure, or earn them by meeting certain standards. Some of the common seals are issued by Better Business Bureau, Norton Secured, GeoTrust, TRUSTe, and McAfee SECURE.

4. Don’t Confuse Them

When customers find an item they want to buy, the last thing you want is for them to become distracted or confused by a lot of other options. For example, when they look for the “Add to Cart” or “Buy Now” button, they can easily become distracted when faced with a lot of other options, such as email newsletter sign up buttons, various social widgets, or links to other areas of the site. Those all have their place, but they should never compete with the Buy button on a product page. Instead, guide them to the Buy button by making it stand out on the page with a contrasting color and larger font.

5. Make Your Store Policies Crystal Clear

One of the quickest ways to lose customers — and garner bad online reviews — is to refuse to accept returns when customers assume you will. To avoid disappointing customers, clearly state your policies on your site. To give customers every chance to review your policies before making a purchase, post them on your FAQ page, and then use “Easy Returns Policy” and “Money Back Guarantee” badges throughout your site if you offer these options. Some of the areas you should address in your store policy include shipping, returns, and what customers should do if they need to order parts for their product, or want a replacement for a defective product.

Today’s consumers have a huge array of e-commerce stores to choose from when buying. Help more of your visitors convert to buyers by employing the techniques outlined here.

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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