Whether you are a new or existing online business, when you have a first time visitor to your site, the product offering is important, but it is the methods in building credibility with the visitor that will determine whether they buy from you now, or come back to purchase later.
Visitors are now savvy enough to know that online businesses can appear big, but in reality, they are a “one man band” working out of his/her garage. This is partly due to the well documented and publicised “success stories” of large online businesses and how they began i.e. Google and Trade Me! This has conditioned visitors to think the same of everyone. For this reason, focusing on methods to build credibility alleviates a common visitor barrier of purchasing. This is one important reason for the extremely low conversion rate of 2% globally.
Key elements in building trust:
Usable Design. If visitors can quickly find what they are looking for, they will feel good about the website. Regardless of brand strategy, all the best practice methods in filtering traffic from one step to another will be critical in maintaining visitor buying momentum, and will quickly build credibility.
Copywriting. Having a voice on the website which is focused on benefits will allow the sales person to do its job. The design is how the sales person looks, the functionality represents the technical selling tools, but the copy is the voice of the sales person. The old sales adage is true; “you buy from who you like”.
Copywriting is one of the key elements for the website to build a personality. If the copy is cold, feature driven, and does not add value to the buying experience of the visitor, a good design with the right functionality will fall short on results.
Copywriting is meant to cater to all visitor types, if the copy is poor, the website will only attract those visitors in the late stage of the buying process thus greatly limiting the opportunity to appeal to a broader market.
About Us Page. The about us page is an extension of the Copywriting comment. It is extremely common for visitors to review the About Us page before buying from a website for the first time. It is simply a matter of the visitor wanting to know who they are buying from. This page then becomes critical to tell the story of your business, the brand, and the people behind it. It also introduces the customer service element and explains why this website and product offering is superior to others.
Communicate Customer Service. Visitors like to read about the efforts you take in supporting your products and services. The content around the customer service message needs to mirror what visitors are expecting: product warranty, customer service team on standby to take calls, notifications during fulfillment etc…
Product Images. “A picture is worth a thousand words.” You can have the most usable site with brilliant copy; however, if the picture of the product is to a low standard, you greatly limit your ability to sell online. If you stood in any physical retail store and looked at two products on the shelf, one was nicely displayed with proper lighting and clean packaging versus a poorly lit product with dirty packaging, which one would you choose?
Product images need to be quick loading, photo-shopped to ensure the lighting is correctly set up to highlight the product, placed on a white background and is place in a format so visitors can select a larger view to see detail if required.
Pricing Strategy. Pricing strategy is all about understanding how people buy online. Physical retail stores rely on the inconvenience associated in visiting other retail outlets to shop around and find the best price. The web has changed this. An online pricing strategy is about meeting the market price as a minimum and adding value through other pricing methods or value add services.
If visitors looking for products online feel the price is high, it is simply a matter of opening another browser and looking at the price of a competitor to compare the same product. Unless you can communicate value around the increase in price, you will lose sales.
In some instances online businesses are competing against the physical retail environment. Do you wonder why your website has a huge visitor bailout rate at the checkout page? It is because visitors want to factor in the freight cost to the total purchase before they decide to buy from you. This is why the “Free Freight” offer is one of the most successful online methods in increasing sales.
There are three primary online pricing methods which will not only facilitate an increase in average order value, it will also pull visitors away from your competitors both online and off.
The Volume discount approach can be done either by flat rate or percentage, either way it promotes the ability for visitors to save money on products they will purchase repeatedly. An example of this would be purchase product X, and receive a 30% discount when purchasing a second.
Bundling is where you pre group products which should be sold together. The option is to purchase them separately however; there is savings if the product group is purchased together.
Cross selling is the ability to show visitors the potential relationships between a main product and complimentary products. Cross selling becomes effective when the website promotes the complimentary product is less expensive when purchased with the main product.
Buying incentives has proven very effective in facilitating higher average purchases. This can be done by offering free products if the visitor purchases over a certain amount or offering free freight. The free freight offer is effective because there is a high perceived value, it is simple to implement (depending on your eCommerce platform), and very simple to communicate.