When webshop owners get together, conversion is the buzz word. While bloggers and news sites are mainly concerned with hits, retailers and service providers focus on turning those hits into customers and leads – aka ‘conversion’.
To the uninitiated, conversion might seem to be about putting the hard sell on your online visitors, somehow convincing them to part with money that they would rather have kept in their pockets. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
Good customer service is the key to upping your conversion rate. Forget about high-pressure tactics; conversion is all about anticipating your customers’ needs and making their shopping experience as pleasant as a walk through the park on a sunny day off. Follow these 5 steps, and you’ll start turning your visitors into customers in no time.
Conversion step #1: speed up your site
Recent research by Intuit shows a clear relationship between website speed and conversion rates. Reducing page load times resulted in a dramatic increase in conversions, particularly in sites which were fairly slow to begin with. If your page load speeds could do with improvement – or if you’re not sure – then do yourself and your customers a favour and give your site performance a thorough overhaul. You’ll save your customers a lot of time, and reap the rewards as well.
Conversion step #2: offer live chat
Many customers still prefer to engage with a real, live human being when making purchase decisions. Intervention through live engagement also tends to boost order values by an average of 30%. Yes, really. Using live chat on your site can ensure that you don’t miss out on sales from potential customers who are interested in buying, but need extra help before going ahead with the purchase decision. Also, by proactively asking customers if you can help them via live chat, you reduce the number of abandoned shopping baskets, which in the end will increase your revenue. In short: offering live chat has huge benefits for your webshop.
Conversion step #3: include product reviews
Amazon was the first to offer reviews on its site, and now many other webshops offer customers the opportunity to share their opinions of products they’ve tried. Online clothing store Boden gives buyers the chance to rate clothing based on sizing, cut, quality and various other factors, with each garment getting a rating out of five stars. UK retailer Argos has discovered that adding product reviews to its website is more than just a fun extra: analysis of its sales figures showed that reviewed products had a 10% higher conversion rate than those without reviews.
Conversion step #4: address pain points up front
In the business world, a ‘pain point’ is a customer problem, want or need that a company aims to solve. When it comes to making purchases online, for example, my personal pain point is: does the company deliver to the Netherlands at reasonable shipping costs? Some websites make it very easy to discover the answers to these questions. Others prefer hiding their shipping costs, unveiling them right at the end of the checkout process. I don’t want to invest my time in entering all my details just to find out that the fees are too high. You can increase conversion rates for customers like me by making sure that you address common pain points up front, for example by making a clear, easy-to-find page listing places you ship to and the approximate charges. Better still, offer free or nominal shipping charges within your country and advertise this on your landing page.
Conversion step #5: KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid)
Don’t make your customer jump through hoops just to give you their money. A study showed that nearly half of online shoppers fail to complete a purchase because the checkout process takes too long, mainly due to the number of pages. Now, it really shouldn’t have taken a study to figure that one out. We’ve all got better things to do than enter pages of information purely for the honour of making a purchase. Take a good look at your site and your payment provider, and make sure that the checkout process is as simple as you can make it.
Not all customers who come to your site are planning to buy. However, good customer service can increase your conversion rates substantially. By making potential buyers feel valued, offering help, respecting their time and addressing their concerns (‘pain points’) before they have to ask, you can boost your conversion rate considerably.