In the world of e-Commerce, we often ask ourselves many questions regarding the efficiency of our websites. 'How can we attract more visitors?', 'How can we make them complete the buying process?' or 'How can we prevent them from abandoning their carts?'. In today’s article, we are giving you 10 + 1 advices to make sure customers will always complete their buying process.
Let’s consider an online shop where 5% of traffic is actually buying products, representing 200 orders per month and a value of €1400. Let us assume that by using different techniques, we can convert more visitors into customers and push this rate to 8%. We will now have a total of 320 orders per month and a total value of €2240.
"Indeed, very small changes can actually bring you a lot!"
1. Have a clear « Add to Cart » design
The Call-to-Action will allow customers to add a product to their purchase list. By definition, an « Add-to-Cart » button must be easy to see and may never be misunderstood. Imagine that you are a customer and while shopping, you have no clue where to exactly click to finish the buying process. Or, even worse, you are just browsing for information on a website and without wanting / knowing it, you have just added a product to your cart. You can be sure of one thing, this lack of consideration will reflect in your customers’ behavior, as both these actions will most likely lead to cart abandonment.
Customers should be able to buy a product when they wish to do so. If it is not wise to trick your customers into doing things they do not want to do, redesigning your Call-to-Action button so it will attract informed customers is quite easy. By using shapes, colors, a different background and a sentence, your Call-to-Action button will actually attract your customers to click on it, knowing what they are doing and actually wanting to complete the buying process.
In the above example, it is easy to find all the information customers will look for. Notice the choice of colors used. Customers know where to click to buy the product. Most likely, they will even want to add it to their cart before choosing an appropriate size. In order to help you, we created this free Manual about the Use of Call-to-Action.
2. Show the steps
From the beginning to the end, it is important to show your customers how many steps remain to actually complete the buying process. The idea behind this is quite easy: « forewarned is forearmed ». When your customers know that three steps remain to complete buying a given product, it will be easier for them to be equally focused and motivated at each stage. If customers do not know how many steps remain, their motivation will decline with every new stage, thus increasing chances of cart abandonment.
The above example from the Van Gogh Museum, perfectly demonstrates the right way of keeping customers informed about the number of remaining steps. Such a display provides an exact idea of the number of clicks and the amount of time needed to order a ticket.
3. Safety, security and privacy
When buying online, there is one thing that customers appreciate even more than friendly prices: the security of their bank details. Indeed, submitting your account information is not always an easy step. This is even more relevant for customers who did not grew up using laptops and online payments. However, even new generations still need to know that their privacy will be respected and that payment is fully safe and secured. In order to reassure your customers, you can use a specific SSL logo and explain more about this widely used security standard that guarantees safe online payment.
To create a different design, you can also change the color of texts, the display, used fonts or the payment page background image, compared to the preceding pages. By creating a different context, customers will know that you take security very seriously and will enable them to pay safely. Never underestimate the importance of safety and privacy to your customers. They buy on your website because they trust it, so make sure to never disappoint them. Finally, you can use Call-to-Action buttons to stimulate them using sentences such as: « Safe Payment », or « Secure Payment ».
4. Creating customer accounts
When you ask customers to provide personal information, make sure to only ask for relevant information and nothing more. Many customers will be reluctant to provide personal information when creating an account. In fact, asking for too much private information may result in customers prematurely stopping the buying process. Moreover, make sure that your buying process never asks again for information already submitted. The visitor experience should be easy and avoid frustration at all cost. Finally, do not ask for all required information on a single page, but divide it over several pages and/or categories.
For example, creating an account with ASOS does not require using an email account. It is possible to sign up through social networks, which makes it faster for customers.
There is nothing more frustrating than typing a password and getting a notice explaining that the password in question requires a minimum amount of characters, containing at least one capital and/or no symbols. Make sure to explain your customers which rules they have to follow when choosing a password. After three missed attempts most customers will give up, so make sure they will succeed at the first try. If your customers desire even more privacy, you can offer them the option to sign in as a guest. It means that they will not have to create an account to proceed with their order. However, an account will be automatically created with the information required to complete their purchase.
5. Make sure that customers know what they are buying.
Additional fees charged on top of an order are quite common (for example, delivery costs or costs involved with offering them the option of cash on delivery). In fact, they usually are quite acceptable. However, some websites still make important mistakes, resulting in customers abandoning their buying process. There is no secret here: If you tell customers they are paying for a Peugeot, do not make it look like a Porsche at the end of the buying process. Make sure that the actual price customers will pay deviates as little as possible from the product price as listed on the website.
To prevent customers from being unpleasantly surprised by extra fees such as delivery costs, warn them in advance by adding buttons or texts mentioning those « extra costs » right at the start of the buying process. For example, when a product costs €12.50 and standard delivery costs are almost €9, customers most likely will not complete their order because delivery is almost as expensive as the actual product. Let us assume that for any order of €25 or more, you offer free delivery. Customers can find any other desired product in your shop or order the same one twice and get a free delivery. Any individual would rather pay for a tangible product or even a service, rather than a delivery. This way, you will improve the value of your orders and give more satisfaction to your customers, who will remember this gesture.
6. Reward as an incentive
Sometimes, the best way to encourage visitors to perform actions is by giving them small rewards. This strategy will motivate them to complete all stages of the buying process, because they believe they can earn something. You can, for example:
- Offer them a discount on their first purchase when they create their account.
- Offer then a discount on their second purchase if they leave a review.
- Give them some points if they share information about a product they just purchased on social media.
- Or you can offer them discounts when they sign up to your newsletter, complete their first purchase or share articles from your blog.
If you wish to offer discount coupons to your customers, we recommend thinking twice about how to design your Call-to-Action button. For example, if your sentence just states« Use your Coupon », your customers might feel less special, as it seems anyone can get a discount. Instead, you could use more personal sentences like « Do you have a Coupon? » or « How can I obtain a Coupon? ». If you want to learn more about loyalty programs, we strongly suggest to read this article about LoyaltyLion.
7. Provide different payment methods
In order to make sure that your customers will be able to complete their buying process, see to it that all important payment methods are actually available on your website. You do not necessary need all of the existing methods, but at least the most frequently used in the country where you wish to sell. Make sure that your website will show several icons indicating your accepted payment methods before the buying process ends. Customers will feel very frustrated if they create an account, select a product and cannot pay just because you do not provide their preferred payment method. This is the kind of bad experience that customers will remember and might even share on social media, thus earning you a bad reputation.
To make sure that you know which payment methods you should use, we recommend you to meticulously research your market and your main competitors. You can either learn what you have to do or (even better) what your competitors are not doing yet and use this opportunity to improve your conversion rate. However, make sure that the page listing your accepted payment methods looks well organized. Offering many different payment methods is a good thing, but their display on screen can be a tricky. If you show too many methods on your website, it may confuse your customers, not knowing what to do.
8. Provide different shipping methods
Similarly to payment methods, you should provide all standard shipping methods used in a specific country. What is the point of buying a product if it is too complicated or too expensive to get it delivered to your home address?
To avoid any frustration for your customers, you can, for example, indicate the amount in stock of for each product and (privately) send the parcel tracking number, as well as estimated delivery time: « Buy this product today before 5pm and receive it in 2 days ». Knowing exactly when a product will arrive can highly motivate the buying process. It will also help your customers to prepare themselves for parcel.
Moreover, if you offer a variety of delivery methods to your customers, do not forget to mention them with Call-to-Action buttons and remember to clearly list their associated costs. Use different titles, so your customers know exactly what to expect. You can offer, for example:
- Fast Delivery
- Express Delivery
- Weekend Delivery
- Holiday Delivery
- Standard Delivery
- 24 Hour Delivery
Always remember that customers want to know how much they will have to pay in total at the start of the buying process. Make sure to also mention your policy on returns and costs involved. Receiving a damaged parcel can happen to anyone. If you explain your customers that you will solve the situation as soon as possible, you will get extra credit for being the hero of the day. For example, you can tell your customers that should they receive (a) damaged product(s), they can send you a picture as proof and return it/them to you. You will see to it that they receive (a) new and/or replacement product(s). This is a perfect opportunity to improve customer service and show that you care about your customers.
9. Add a Live Chat
As a customer, you will sometimes have questions that require immediate answers. The problem however, is that you are buying online and not in a physical store, where employees will be able to help you. By using a Live Chat, you offer your customers the opportunity to get access to instant advice and help. Moreover, as a Live Chat helpdesk staff member, you will be able to see which page of your website customers are currently browsing, making it easier to understand their needs. Live Chat is a very powerful tool and a must-have for any online store. Not only it will help you to improve your customer service and brand reputation, but it will also turn many leads into actual sales. If you wish to learn more about using Live Chat, we recommend reading this free manual.
10. Reminder in case of abandonment
Keep in mind that customers may interrupt their buying process for many reasons, which are not necessary due to your website or products. Should this occur, it is important that you remind them that their order was not completed. This to avoid them to actually think that they did buy the product(s) in question, expecting a confirmation e-mail and delivery. Imagine their disappointment when after a couple of days, they still have not heard from you and their order was never shipped. Such a situation is bound to bring frustration and confusion, which could have easily been avoided.
To remind your customers that they still can complete their order, you could send them an e-mail containing direct payment link, (a) product picture(s) and an order summary, in case they forgot about it. You can even add an incentive, if you feel that they might need a little extra motivation to complete the process. Another option is to directly call your customers to process uncompleted orders. Once again, always try to do this"little extra" that will make you stand out from your competitors. It is possible to send up to 3 automated abandoned cart email reminders using the MyAbandonedCart app.
Due to the increase in smartphone and tablet use, you can be sure that your visitors are able to check your e-mails and react quickly. This provides a new opportunity to reach them and influence their behavior. With M-commerce, you can easily increase traffic on your website and convert lost leads into real sales.
10 + 1. Provide a responsive design
Following the trend, it is of vital importance that your website is accessible through mobile devices as well. Potential customers should be able your website with their their smartphones and/or tablets. If the design of your website is not responsive, you will lose a lot of potential sales. In other words, if your website is not accessible, loads pages slowly or does not provide payment options for mobile devices, your customers will most likely remember it. Which is why you should seriously consider using a responsive design for your store. It will give you access to new traffic which, if you follow our recommendations, will dramatically improve your conversion rate and get customers to the end of the check-out.
At SEOshop, we offer many designs that use a responsive approach and are compatible with many devices. This will enable you to reach more traffic and implement new strategies to improve your sales.
These tips will help you to improve your conversion rate, sales and brand reputation, thus ensuring that your customers complete the buying process. There are many techniques and tips you can use to convert more visitors. Always consider what would maximize customer impact, by actually putting yourself into their shoes and think the way they do. If you believe that the buying process of your website is not very efficient, surely other people are inclined to think the same. If you think, that it is perfect, then ask other people's opinions. There is always room for improvement. Remember one thing though: It does not take much effort to increase traffic on your website, however, it is quite easy to do the minimum expected and yet see no improvement. The cards are in your hands.
A native from the area of Bordeaux, in France, Charles Mousseigne works in the marketing department of SEOshop, where he is looking after French-speaking countries. In the past, he has worked in countries such as Canada, England and South Africa and now enjoys the e-Commerce world in the Netherlands.