11 Keys to Boost Online Sales

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In this first installment of Monday Wisdom I wanted share a bit of knowledge I have gathered over the years helping business owners maximize their profits and better handle their business operations. Todays topic, online sales. Over the past 2 decades generating revenue online has gone from a long shot to a sure fire way of growing and maintaining your dream of running a business. Over the last decade however cyber security concerns have road blocked a lot of the creativity that goes into online sales strategies and how to effectively turn site traffic into customer traffic. Through my connection with Heartland Payment Systems I have come up with 11 keys to boost your online sales.

Key #1. Trust Badges

Trust badges are icons or logos that help increase the credibility of your brand—a critical piece to them being comfortable giving you their credit card. A few examples are:

  • Better Business Bureau logo
  • Customer review service logo
  • Payment gateway seal
  • SSL validation seal

Key #2. Check Out as Guest

Many of your customers look at creating an account as being too personal. According to an article titled “The $300 Million Button” published in 2009, adding a “Check Out as Guest” option increased purchases for one large retailer by as much as 45 percent, adding $300 million in new revenue for the first year. Make sure your business caters to all types of buyers including those wary of merchant commitment.

Key #3. Stored Cards for Reduced Friction

Allowing your registered customer to store their card on file makes for a simplified payment experience for repeat purchases. Reduced friction at checkout means more sales.

Key #4. Require as Little Information as Possible

Keep in mind that many of your customers will be on a mobile device where typing may not be easy. Also, not all customers want to give you information beyond the required data to make a purchase. Required information should be limited to shipping address (if you are shipping a product), billing address and payment method. If you really need to know how they heard about you, send a follow-up email.

key #5. Mobile-Friendly Websites Convert More Customers

Having a mobile-friendly website will help you outrank your competition. Google now shows if a site is mobile-friendly in the search results (and also ranks mobile-friendly websites higher than their counterparts). You can check if your website is mobilized here. An added benefit is that it will increase your conversion rates from tablet and phone customers.

A responsive website means that the content is minimized and the checkout experience is optimized automatically for mobile browsers. Limit content to increase the speed at which they can find, fill out and complete your checkout form. Flag your credit card field, expiration number fields and CVV fields as “tel” type so that the number pad shows up when the field is selected instead of the keyboard.

Also, make sure any links—such as an explanation on shipping options—open in a new tab so customers aren’t taken to a new page and have to click the “back” button (which could result in losing all the information they have already entered, forcing them to enter it again).

Key #6. Make Contacting Your Customer Service Easy

Your customer service team is critical to the success of your website—whether it is live chat, email or phone. Customers will have questions and it is important for someone to be there to answer them. Make it easy for your customers to contact you when they have questions, as it can be the difference between a sale and an abandoned cart. Place your phone number in an easy-to-find location and make all phone numbers click-to-dial for mobile users.

Key #7. Minimize Your Checkout Options

By the time your customer is on your checkout page, they are ready to make a decision. Reduce the amount of links that can be clicked to encourage the customer to complete their transaction. For example, avoid making your product descriptions clickable, don’t add “back” buttons, and avoid offering additional products once your customer is in the checkout. Also, make it easy for customers to modify the items in their cart without leaving the checkout process (e.g., deleting or increasing the quantity of an item).

Key #8. Show Reviews and Testimonials

Reading reviews from other customers who have purchased the same product is a powerful influencer. This builds trust with the merchant and can help resolve questions the customer might have without making them leave your website. If you are selling services, include testimonials. If you are selling products, display the customer reviews.

Key #9. Let Your Customers Pay You on Your Website

When your customer can pay you without being redirected to a new website it helps make your site credible, allows you to keep your branding and establishes trust with your customer. Any time you send your potential customer to a website outside of your control, you run the risk that they won’t come back.

Key #10. Accept Your Customers’ Preferred Method of Payment—in Their Native Currency

Consumers have more payment options than ever before, with many choosing to pay with alternative payment types like PayPal, Apple Pay, Bitcoin, etc. Offering your customers a preferred payment type is one more step towards reducing cart abandonment and improving customer loyalty.

For merchants with international buyers, displaying prices in the customer’s native currency is another way to reduce cart abandonment. Solutions like dynamic currency conversion work with a merchant’s shopping cart to recognize what country the buyer is in to display product pricing in their currency. For example, a buyer in France may see the price of your product in euros instead of dollars.

Key #11. Simplify Expiration Date Entry

For the expiration dates on cards, use number inputs/selects instead of the spelled-out months. It’s much easier to just copy exactly what is on the card rather than have to figure out “08” equals “August.” If you have a dropdown select instead of a text input, make sure that single-digit months are listed with a “0” in front of them (i.e., “08” instead of “8”) so they match the card and make it super simple! If you REALLY want to include the spelled-out month on a dropdown select, you should still have the numbers as well, and the numbers should always come first (i.e., “08 – August”). Also try to keep the year field updated dynamically so you don’t give someone the option to select “2010” when it’s already “2015.”

Turn Browsers into Buyers

Cart abandonment is an issue for e-commerce merchants of all sizes, but there are simple things you can do to keep customers engaged. Contact me  at 240-417-5279 or grange@grangeconnect.com to learn how my e-commerce solutions can help you grow your online business.

Mr. Cortni M.A. Grange

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