Online shopping is becoming increasingly popular with today’s tech-savy, time-constrained and thrifty consumers because it offers unparalleled selection, convenience and competitive pricing. In fact, ecommerce is now the fastest growing online activity in China, currently reaching US$562 billion a year in sales.
While establishing an online store has never been easier, it gets a bit trickier when it comes to convincing consumers to part with their hard-earned cash. How can marketers overcome window shoppers’ fear of online transactions and convert them into loyal consumers?
Your website is most likely where consumers form their first impressions of your brand, so it must look the part - research indicates that users scan web pages for an average of 2.6 seconds before fixating on a certain area, then deciding whether to keep reading or move on. Outdated layouts and slow-loading images will turn off potential consumers, or even worse – push them towards your competitors’ websites. A clean, modern and easily navigable website will go a long way towards converting visitors into customers.
According to a survey conducted by Econsultancy and Monetate, 94% of businesses feel that a personalised online experience is critical to current and future success. This is driving companies to implement personalisation strategies through their websites – providing a tailor-made customer experience that extends to all customer touch points.
Customised wall graphic purveyors Wall Creations understand the importance of design, and create powerful images with sleek content that attract a wide range of consumers.
While images and design are important, content is still king. Smart content marketers know that spelling mistakes could cost you millions in lost online sales. Each little blunder damages your credibility. And if spelling and grammatical mistakes erode a shopper’s confidence too far, you’ve just lost a potential customer.
So make sure your website features clear, focused copy that inspires confidence and builds trust. No one expects Topshop to be the next Shakespeare... but they could have at least spelled the Bard’s name correctly.
Social Media Presence
When it comes to shopping, many marketers automatically target women – but surprisingly, when it comes to online purchases the ball lies firmly in the men’s court. Business Insider Intelligence research found men are more likely to make purchases on their phone, visit online auction sites and would ideally like to buy everything online – citing the convenience and efficiency of ecommerce, as well as the ability to read and compare reviews from actual product users through social media.
Don’t think of your social media strategy as just another way to generate leads and drive conversions. Use these platforms to start conversations and create user value. Take GoPro’s holistic approach to social media: instead of churning out sales copy, they draw attention to their product features and Unique Selling Points through inspirational photos and videos. They’ve even brought their 360-degree video technology to Facebook and Android phone users, allowing consumers to create and view their own unique spherical content.
Testimonials and UGC
Social proof and User Generated Content (UGC) are quickly becoming the go-to sources for consumer approval and the holy grail for Ecommerce. Studies show that 70% of consumers look at product reviews before making a purchase, and product reviews are 12x more trusted than product descriptions from manufacturers. Additionally, offering a Q&A function through your online channels gives consumers the opportunity to ask specific product/service related questions, view other people’s concerns (and how you address them) and provide valuable feedback.
Starbucks initiated their highly successful #whitecupcontest which attracted 4,000 entries in 3 weeks, massively increasing their followers on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Getting customers actively involved in your business fosters their loyalty and trust. Recent research also suggests that it doesn’t hurt your ROI either, as engaged consumers buy 90% more frequently and spend 60% more per transaction.
Before consumers click on that check out button, they need to assess their purchasing options. 56% of consumers say that a variety of different payment options encourages them to purchase, and Amazon dedicates an entire page solely to payment methods – catering to customers by accepting credit cards, gift cards, cash on delivery, redemption points and Amazon Payments.
Adding security seals on an Ecommerce site is as important as installing alarm systems in banks. Why? Because your customers don’t want to risk losing their money – or worse, their personal information – conducting transactions on insecure websites.
A security seal from a recognised authority provides reassurance to consumers, which provides peace of mind when making a purchase. Offer as much information about your safety certifications and precautions as possible, and regularly test your site to ensure it’s safe from home page to checkout. Online marketplace Shopify clearly displays its SSL certificate symbol and offers a 24/7 security response service for customers.
Contact Information and Feedback
Research reveals that 89% of consumers have gone to other competitors due to poor customer experiences. One of the main complaints? Companies simply don’t offer a way to get in contact. Communication is the key to successful long-term customer relationships, so make your email adress, phone numer and support platforms visible and easily acessible on your website.
Gelatto artisans Fior di Latte’s ‘contact us’ page is professional, conversational and covers all the bases. Their multi-platform approach guides customers towards the appropriate communication channel, while making it easy to connect on social media.
Incorporating these tips into your eccommerce strategy ensures that you’re communicating value directly to the consumer from the get-go, ultimately gaining their trust and more conversions.
[Picture from @notey]