4 Ways to Get Visitors to Buy from You

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If you’re a retailer, you’re going to have a wild Monday. A Nielsen study shows that 46% of consumers in the U.S. plan on shopping online this Cyber Monday - that’s a 16% increase from last year’s 30%.

Yes, visitors are going to flock to your website, but they will also leave and buy from your competitors instead if you don’t play it right. To make sure you make the most of the extra traffic, you need a plan to get them to buy from you.

Emphasize Instant Gratification

The main differentiator between shopping at a brick and mortar store and an online store is instant gratification. Customers want products “now” and often choose to buy from physical stores despite the limited selection and the higher price because they get to walk out of the store with the product.

However, the gap between brick and mortar stores and e-commerce sites is now shrinking - Amazon and Google (in some areas) now offer same day shipping, so that psychological advantage is disappearing. Emphasize whether the product is in stock, and how long the expected delivery time is.

 By showing that the product is in stock, Abe’s of Maine builds up the desire to order because although competitors may sell the camera at a lower price, the item might not be available immediately.

Also, make sure you offer a super-fast shipping option at an additional cost. Some customers are willing to pay extra just to ensure that the product gets to them on a specific date.

Convince with User Reviews

Human beings are very social animals. Evolutionary anthropologist Robin Dunbar conducted research that notes high correlation between animal brain size and the complexity of the social groups. Long story short, all other things being equal, we go to the store with the line. People like to do things on auto-pilot, with social cues serving as a proxy for research.

Zappos.com prominently features the rating (and how many reviews it’s based on) right below the title of the page. It gives the customer instant validation as customers care about the opinion of the people who have bought the same product.

This means reviews have to factor heavily into the page. And not just the good reviews - people want the good and the bad as long as it’s honest truth. Additionally, it helps to let the visitors rate the reviews themselves. Use “was this review helpful to you” or some variant of it. If you have a lot of reviews going on, the most thoughtful reviews, the most informative reviews rise to the top and get flagged as being the most helpful, and they will be of more use to more people.

Cross-Sell or Upsell

Don’t go too crazy with this, but cross-selling components can be an important tool for your business. Note that there are dangers: if you cross-sell unrelated products, or emphasize this too early in the process, you might hurt the overall user experience.

Still, getting it right is enough of an incentive to experiment with “you might also like …” So if you’re going to upsell, make sure you test different ideas:

  • Decide if cross-sell, upsell (or combination) is appropriate - do you sell one main item that has a bunch of accessories or comparable items?
  • Experiment with placement. One thing worth trying is adding the cross-sell at the post-purchase confirmation page. Make sure you run split or multivariate tests.
  • Don’t trust automation completely - check to make sure machine-rendered alternatives are reasonable.

Optimize Cart and Payment Usability

All your efforts to get “abandoners” to come back to your site will be in vain if you neglect user experience on the way to the checkout (this could even be the reason the customer abandoned in the first place).

There are abandonment reasons that marketers can’t control, but the friction that customers encounter in the checkout process is not one of them. Most of the problems that keep motivated shoppers from completing their purchase are often simple things that can easily be fixed

  • Implement perpetual carts - if you display the number of items on the cart and the price as the user navigates, you’ll have more top of mind recall to work with.
  • Multiple payment options - visitors own the buying process. They need to be able to transact with you the way they normally transact - otherwise, they will take their business to someone else who supports how they normally do business.
  • Remove unnecessary distractions - if you convince them to make the purchase from you, don’t get in their way. Your survey or newsletter permission can wait.

Check where your visitors are dropping off to learn possible reasons why they’re unable or unwilling to go through with the transaction.

It’s not just traffic that spikes come Cyber Monday - it’s also abandonment rates.

In 2012, over 8 out of every 10 visitors abandoned their carts. You’re not going to get everyone - some of them are shopping around for the best prices or deals that fit their budget, and that’s okay. What’s not okay is losing prospects because there are serious issues with your site that you could have easily addressed, but didn’t. Remember to emphasize instant gratification, add social proof, cross-sell carefully, and think about the checkout process to make sure you’re making the most of the traffic boost.


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