Increase Sales Conversion By Reducing Customer Anxiety
By Vanessa Salvia, 7/25/07
Phishing scams. Identity theft. Computer viruses. There are risks associated with placing an online order or providing personal information for a newsletter, and not addressing these issues is sure to lose you business.
There are a few things you can do to reduce anxiety among people visiting your website, and we identify them here.
Users expect to not have to work too hard to navigate your site. Place navigation menus on the top, left or right side, with clear language about what is where. Poor navigability is a prime cause of lost business. Just last week I was shopping online for fabric trim for a sewing project. I went to a website that came up first in Google for my search term, “gold ric rac.” It only took me two clicks to realize I wouldn’t attempt to place an order with this site. Clicking on the category “ric rac” brought me to a menu of color choices. Clicking on “gold/yellow” brought me to a page titled “ric rac” but with no photos or product. I looked around a few more seconds and left, for good. Remove all obstacles from your site; you want the selling process to be quick and painless.
One move that raises anxiety is to have unexpected
redirects to sites outside your original domain. If you are going to integrate your site with third-party resources make sure you do it in a way that is not confusing for your users.
Logos and Links
Adopt logos and links from affiliate programs, trade groups, or business partner programs you belong to, and privacy or security standards you follow. Seals from BBB
, a Better Business Bureau program, and TrustE
show consumers that your business is certified to meet their privacy and reliability standards. Prominently displayed security certification seals from Verisign
, and Thawte
increase consumer confidence, which has been proven to lead to higher conversions. Geotrust
is another seal that certifies secure transactions.
Prominently display security certification seals from Verisign, Thawte, or Geotrust if you are using one of their certificates on your site. A Hackersafe seal, can increase consumer confidence and potentially lead to higher conversions.
Place these seals throughout the website near email signups, shopping cart, and checkout. Taking these steps doesn’t guarantee that you will have a “hacker safe” website, but it does show the consumer that you are an honest site and that you adhere to the most secure business practices. Look for other opportunities to use wording on your site that reinforces your business philosophy and the fact that you care about your customers' privacy and security.
Include a page with testimonials from users of your products. The notion that these might be “made up” is not really a concern. The presence of testimonials or “rave reviews” pages calms users’ fears about unknown products or companies they’ve never done business with before. But be honest—don’t include unsubstantiated claims.
Guarantees, Warranties, Return Policies
If you offer guarantees, warranties or return policies, make sure your visitors know this. Why wait until the ‘place order’ page to reassure them that the product can be returned or replaced? Customers on the 'place order' page are just a hand motion away from giving you money, and if they know they have recourse if they’re unhappy for any reason, people will be much more likely to take out their wallets. This brings us to another important thing to include . . .
Not including the company name, phone number, a support email and a physical address is just money left on the table. Let your customers feel you are their ally and they will reward you with loyalty and confident buying.
People who order online know they must pay shipping fees and wait a period of time for delivery. This is just a given, however, shoppers want to be kept informed of the status of their order. Send them unobtrusive email notifications when their order is packed and shipped. But don’t use these notices to sell to them. Just the facts, please.
If you have a newsletter sign up link, send an unobtrusive, brief “Welcome” email the same day you get a new subscriber. Remind them they signed up to receive great deals and timely information from you, then wait a couple of weeks before you start selling to them. Avoid lengthy forms asking for unnecessary information. Just get their name and email; You can always get more information as time goes by and they get to know you.
Customers don’t always enter your site from the home page. In most cases, there are many different entry points, so it is important to have your brand and message on every page, with consistent colors and style. Use the same colors on your website that you use on any other marketing materials, like emails or postal mailings.
Don’t use automated content generators. If you are wanting something that will be read by actual people, avoid content generation tools like Markov Engines. While many of these tools can be sophisticated and keyword rich, they are not suitable for anything to be read by real people. If you are making the effort to write real content for people, using too many keywords will result in copy that reads as if it was only created for search engines.
Most of these ideas are easy to implement. Take an objective look at your website and see if you are missing any of these things. Identifying your strengths and weaknesses from the perspective of an online shopper who knows nothing about your business can be eye opening.
MightyMerchant specializes in developing e-commerce and database
driven, content-rich websites for small business customers across the
US. The company as listed as one of Practical eCommerce Magazine’s “Top
100 Notable Shopping Carts” in September/October 2007. Hundreds of site
owners use MightyMerchant to manage their online stores. For more
information visit www.mightymerchant.com, and for ecommerce knowledge and tools visit the MightyMerchant eCommerce Blog.