5 Critical Factors That Influence Purchasing Decisions Online
Having a website is not enough.
In many cases, visitors will land on your pages and quickly abandon their purchases.
These scenarios are rather common and they happen for a number of reasons. Visitors may have decided to do more research or they may have found a better deal elsewhere. Each time this happens your business loses a sale that is likely going to a competitor.
So what can you do?
If your site has an average conversion of 2% (meaning that 100 visits result in 2 sales on average), increasing that number to 3% would result in 50% more sales. Business owners typically focus on increasing ad spending but most neglect the conversion rates on their own site. Making even a single change can be enough to turn more visitors into customers.
Here we look at critical factors that influence purchasing decisions online. If sales are starting to dip, implementing even one of these could have a dramatic impact on your bottom line.
1. Create a Compelling Value Proposition
Why should customers buy from you?
Unless your business is in an entirely new industry, you likely have competitors all targeting the same customers. Competing on price can be an effective strategy but it also means taking a loss with each sale. A better approach is to focus on a value proposition that clearly communicates why prospects should buy from you.
If your value proposition is strong enough, you could even charge more than your competitors and still have steady demand for your products or services. For this reason how you communicate value to your prospects is easily one of the most important conversion factors.
So what makes a good value proposition and how can you make yours stand out?
It must communicate why prospects should buy from you (e.g. Professional window installations backed with a full guarantee)
It needs to offer a clear solution to a problem that your company addresses (e.g. We handle all your small business accounting needs)
It should highlight a benefit as a result of doing business with you (e.g. Drive more traffic and online sales with our digital marketing services)
It should communicate directly to your specific market (e.g. The premier invoice tracking software for startups)
Keep your proposition short, ideally in a single sentence.
It may be tempting to write your copy in a manner to target a general audience (e.g. Marketing Services for Small Businesses, The Best Invoice Software, etc.) but you will have much better results by focusing your value proposition towards your ideal prospects.
Don’t just stick with a single value proposition though. Be sure to use A/B split testing to see which headlines work best for your landing pages.
2. Addressing Objections in Your Copy
Consumers are naturally hesitant about how they spend their money.
They want the best possible deal they can find. And the Internet makes it incredibly easy for consumers to compare products and services. This is why establishing a clear and compelling value proposition for your business is so important so as to better position your brand.
But another factor is key to improve conversions: Addressing objections.
Even if your products or services are leagues ahead of the competition, your visitors will likely have second thoughts. This is especially true if they have never done business with you. While meeting prospects in person is the best way to address any concerns, you won’t have that luxury with your site.
So what can you do?
Address all possible issues in your sales copy.
Start by compiling a list of any objections that your target market might have. Think back on any conversations you have had with potential customers (either by phone or email). Did they immediately make a purchase? If not, what questions did they have?
Here are some common questions to help you get started with:
- How does your product solve my problem?
- What kind of industry experience do you have?
- What if I’m not satisfied with the product or service?
- Why is your business cheaper (or more expensive)?
The more information you have the better. This type of feedback is incredibly valuable as you can work it into your sales copy and convert more of your traffic.
3. Build Trust
Companies such as Apple are able to command loyalty with their customer base because they have spent decades building that trust. Even though competing brands are much cheaper, you know that you are getting a quality product and unparalleled support.
Trust is an incredibly important conversion factor especially online.
It can mean the difference between customers making a purchase without hesitation or immediately bouncing out of your site. As a small business owner, you may not have a multimillion dollar budget at your disposal. But there are certain changes you can make to build credibility.
So how can you get visitors to trust your site?
Here is a list of all the items that your site should have:
- Use social proof: One way to increase sales to your site is to leverage social proof. Integrating customer reviews and testimonials to your pages adds confidence by providing third-party support. You could also provide links to publications that your business has been featured on.
- Include NAP: NAP refers to Name, Address, and Phone Number. These details should be visible on all pages of your site so visitors can easily get in touch. Google also uses this information to display in the local search results so make sure that it is accurate.
- Highlight your expertise: Consumers want to know that the company they are working with is experienced in their industry. If you have any accolades or awards, be sure to display that on your site.
- Add a personal touch: One way to convey trustworthiness is to add personal photos of your business and even employees. This lets visitors know that they are dealing with real people.
- Employ a simple design: Nothing is more frustrating that browsing a poorly designed it. Quality web design can be expensive but it is well worth the investment. Pay attention to all aspects of your layout including the typography, images, and more.
- Post new content: Engaging and relevant content is a great way to establish credibility with your audience. Publish new content to your site and share it across your social media profiles to increase visibility of your brand.
These are all effective ways to increase trust and build credibility with your site.
4. Make it Easy to Buy
Distractions are everywhere.
If you want to convert more visitors, buying needs to be as effortless as possible.
Amazon is a great example of this. The company pioneered the “1-Click Ordering” system where customers can place an order and have it shipped to their address on file. All with a single click (or tap).
So your goal needs to make it as effortless as possible for visitors to make a purchase. Complicated forms or requiring too much information is off-putting and can actually lead to lower conversion rates.
Here are some tips to keep visitors from abandoning their purchases:
- Tell them what to do: Your landing pages should make it absolutely clear what you want your visitors to do whether to make a purchase, subscribe to a newsletter, or fill out a form. Using buttons with instructions has been proven to improve conversions.
- Limit their options: Having choices is good as some customers may prefer one option over another. But having too many can be paralyzing. If you have a lot of products, then implement better filters.
- Keep required fields to a minimum: Your forms should only ask for the bare minimum of information. One way to simplify the sign up process is to add an option for visitors to login with their Facebook or Google account.
- Offer guest checkout: Not everybody wants to have an account. So be sure that your shopping cart software has the option for visitors to purchase with a guest account.
- Offer free shipping: Shipping is a necessary cost to deliver goods. But most consumers do not like this added cost as it increases the amount they pay overall. Consider offering free shipping or other incentive to motivate your buyers to continue with their purchase.
Your goal is to make it as effortless as possible for visitors to make a purchase. Complicated forms or requiring too much information is off-putting and can actually lead to lower conversion rates.
5. Reduce Risk
Every transaction comes with a risk.
The product may not be exactly what you were looking for. Services rendered may fail to meet expectations. Or a better option may suddenly become available.
In many cases, buyers are the ones that have to carry that burden.
To convert more visitors you can minimise the risk of doing business with you so customers are less likely to refuse your offer. Here are some examples that you could consider implementing on your site:
- Guarantee: Really stand behind your products or services with a full guarantee. If customers are not satisfied for any reason, you give them back their money. You could make it a lifetime or 30 day guarantee.
- Punctual services: Local service providers are often notorious for arriving late. If your business can manage it, provide a guarantee that you will be on time or you will heavily discount your services.
- Free shipping: If your competitors are charging shipping on their products, one way to differentiate yourself is to offer free shipping. They benefit from paying less overall on the product and you manage to convert a visitor.
- Guarantees are fairly standard and some consumers have even come to expect them. There are only some ideas that you can experiment with to reduce risk. Use A/B split testing to find out it what works best.
Consumers are rather fickle as they may suddenly decide to change their minds about a purchase. Crafting a compelling value proposition, addressing objections, building trust, making it easy to buy, and reducing risk are proven ways to increase conversion rates on your site. Implementing even one of these tips above can have a major impact on your bottom line.