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Tips for Inspiring Leads And Converting Sales In Your Online Store

by  David Dwyer on  02/05/2016

Simplicity. Speed. Streamlining. Converting your customers product interest to sales is all about the User eXperience and utilising the myriad of tools at your disposal.  

Your objectives should be to be: 

  • Dispassionate when looking at your own site; and  

  • Look at your site from a customer’s point of view; 

  • Minimise the time and effort required to complete the purchase; and 

  • Optimise your site to achieve these 

Bear in mind too that users will visit your website from a variety of vectors, they will not always land on the home page and cascade from their through category > sub-category > product page.  

Most will visit the page that Google returns as the closest relevant to the search query.  

The key to driving sales and ultimately your success in a cut-throat virtual world is to have as many pages as possible designed for a particular purpose and treated as Landing Pages. 

Through both Inspire and our Developer SOS (Save Our Site) service we’ve supported many hundreds, nay thousands of clients over the years and we’d like to share a little of our knowledge and expertise with a number of top tips on improving the usability and simplicity of your site to ultimately increase your online sales. 


1. Cart and Check-out Visibility 

Whether it’s a scrolling widget with basket and cart or a sticky header on your website always try and keep the cart and check-out visible.  

Ensuring your customers can quickly view and pay for your products when they need reduces the risk of abandoned carts. Scrolling back through a long page of items to find and click involves effort. Not a lot admittedly, however making this critically important action incredibly easy is one step less for your customer and one step closer to you converting the sale.  

Remember they have found your site, found your product and now want it, make it as easy as possible. 


2. Streamline Your Payment Process 

Ensure your customers know the payment platforms you take.  

Use the familiar icons for Visa, Mastercard, Apple Pay and PayPal etc.  

This is after all the final and most important step for you as a business and can be frustratingly slow and time consuming for your customers if too much information is required.  

Again make it as simple and effortless as possible.  

  • A one-step check-out and payment reaps dividends! 

  • One simple click between payment platforms to allow customer data to be added?  

  • Can you auto-populate fields for addressing on your billing and shipping page for example?  

  • Don’t force a user to repeat login.  

  • Do you have tokenisation options in place for return customers? Auto-login or Login with Facebook or Google Accounts? 


3. Minimising Abandoned Carts 

When given the choice we always recommend Integrated v Non-Integrated Payment Solutions.  

Yes, Integrated do cost more to set up, plus the Payment Gateway will charge more per month for having them but the benefit is reduced friction and as a consequence lower rate of abandonment. 

Many successful e-commerce websites require as little data as possible to be inputted utilising auto-fill registration details. For example billing and delivery addresses using drop-downs from simply adding a postcode, technical term is “Postcode LookUp”.  

Again the best Post Code LookUp solutions come with a license fee, e.g. in the UK Postcodes are added to daily as new housing developments are started, office blocks on brown field sites are completed all adding to the great mass of PostCodes.  

With the “free” versions you have no control over how often they are refreshed. Implementing this to your e-commerce site may seem like a daunting process but the returns are proven as customers prefer a quick and simple purchase. 


4. Persistent Shopping Carts 

On average more than 70% of online retail shopping carts are abandoned. That's a staggering potential loss of sales.  

A persistent shopping cart keeps track of items left in the cart and saves the information for the customer's next visit. Customers who are ‘remembered’ can have the contents of their shopping carts restored the next time they visit your store. 

A persistent shopping cart saves a customer’s basket contents across different sessions using “persistent cookies” that are stored on their computers. They establish a specific code for a browser and devise a combination. These are used to “remember” what was in the shopping cart. They can last a number of days, months or even years depending on if they’re kept or rejected by anti-adware programs. 


5. Your Customers Are There To Buy Not To Register 

With the introduction of GDPR, building compliant customer lists for e-marketing, direct mail etc. is a more challenging task than ever and many people are more savvy about their data and rights. 

Although this is a golden opportunity to add them to your lists, do not forget your core objective, getting the sale!  

Why put hurdles and additional steps between the sale and your customer completing it? More to read, boxes to tick, details to input. There are opportunities elsewhere beyond the sale to build your lists whether for newsletters, downloads, end of line sales and marketing etc. 

Add your subscriptions to a purchase confirmation or despatch email, a follow-up or customer survey about their purchase. You could even add a QR code to your invoice with an incentive on next purchase. There are lots of opportunities both on your site and beyond but keep the path to purchase as free from hurdles as possible. 


6. Consider Free Shipping, Cross-Selling and Up-Selling 

It has never been easier for online customers to shop around and compare prices. One rather obvious financial and psychological trigger than can help converting a lead to a customer is free shipping, or at the very least avoiding “Buyer Shock”, when hidden or large delivery costs start to appear. 

The likes of Amazon have known this for a long time and are masters in the art. Naturally, the volumes these companies ship on a daily let alone annual basis, will be many times that of most e-Commerce businesses but that doesn’t mean you can’t play the same game. 

It’s simple. Look at your product lines and costs and factor in if not all your postage and packing costs, as high a percentage of them as possible into your product price. 

Cross-selling is also an opportunity to increase the value of a sale and reduce overall shipping costs so look at complementary products on your website relevant to the item a customer is looking at. 

Basket value is another option.  

Consider how you could offer free shipping on a basket value of say £50 or £100 depending upon your product lines and prices. Again this is an opportunity to cross-sell or up-sell to a customer to achieve your free postage and packing trigger point. 


7. Padlocks, Personal Data and PCIDSS – Secure Site and Data Security 

No Payment Gateway or Merchant Bank will knowingly let you transact without an SSL certificate in place. 

Beyond that, it is very poor practice to operate any e-Commerce transaction on anything but a secure site with HTTPS.  

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure is an encrypted version of HTTP for data transfer (in essence it simply encrypts the information that you’ve typed into a page as it is transferred from your website page to its destination). Hence for privacy and GDPR purposes, it is the preferred method moving forward for transferring data across the internet in general.  

When deployed correctly you’ll see padlock sign in the url address bar (in Google Chrome). Traditionally you might see a website with a ‘green padlock’ in the address bar and signifies to site users their data is much more secure. This puts your customers at ease and more inclined to trust your site and the information you both exchange. 

PCIDSS is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. A critical part of any payment platform! This ensures that card data (debit and credit card information) is encrypted to at minimum the industry standard and only across secure servers. 

Compliance with PCIDSS is compulsory for online retailers with all major Merchant Account Service providers such as NetPay and with Payment Service Providers who provide the actual online banking transactions. 

Depending upon your website payment platforms and compliance requirements your entire IT networks may be scrutinised and tested for potential risks when dealing with customer card details. Ensure you have a member of your team who is responsible for this and keeps your certification valid as non-compliance can be very costly on your monthly transactions billing. 


For more information or advice on the tips above or many other problems or issues to do with your e-commerce website please contact us.

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