Friday, January 30, 2009

5 steps to reduce buyer anxiety

1. Eliminate all errors

Nothing scares off a paying customer quicker than an error on a website. Test your site - test every scenario and every work flow, in every browser possible. If I'm in the middle of checkout and an error occurs before my credit card details have been entered - I'm out of there. My trust level for the site plummets, and the general feeling will be shared among the rest of your customers. This includes big ugly server errors, tiny little Javascript and HTML errors, spelling errors, user interface errors, business logic errors, and plain old misinformation.

2. Product details

Other than stating the obvious here of high quality pics, good info to research, and variation options (being able to choose size, colour, etc, etc) - some things that can bolster consumer confidence are quality guarantees, as well as impartial customer reviews and ratings. If allowing reviews, remember to approve reviews about the product being sold - not the company selling the product. Just remember to give reviewers good reasons why a review might be rejected, otherwise the site's credibility goes down.

3. Cart review page

Show all information about the purchase as possible! Show a thumbnail of what the buyer is getting - right down to the colour variation if possible. If I'm buying a blue shirt, show me a blue shirt. Tell me it's large. Show me the shipping costs. Let me research the shipping costs further. Is the currency correct? Can I enter a coupon code here? Is there a merchant guarantee?
The cart review page is a pivotal point of a conversion. All you have to do is make the customer feels comfortable - all the more chance of them proceeding further.

4. Checking out

Is everything clear, concise, and easy to find? Is shipping information all stated up front? Does the product being bought usually need other things that should be bundled or bought as well? Make sure the checkout procedure is straight forward too - with easy to understand steps and intuitive interface. Don't forget security too.

5. Post Purchase

Thank you pages, order confirmation pages and member log in order status indicators are all part of keeping the customer feel warm and fuzzy. Don't forget to say thanks! It's a simple omission, but a thank you page should be exactly that. Your customer is spending their hard earned dollars here, so reassure them that their business is appreciated. Tell them what will happen next - and to expect a confirmation email (don't forget to look in the junk folder!). Give them an action to do next - either back to the home page or to their order status.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Work the seasons

E-commerce isn't about putting a bunch of products on your website for sale and hoping for the best - it's about working with your customers, and offering a convenient alternative to shopping in store. With that in mind, how could you not work the seasons? Christmas, after Christmas sales, festivus (whoa?), Valentines day, Mothers day, Fathers day, your best customers birthdays, summer, winter, Halloween or any other remotely compelling excuse to buy goods needs to be worked.

Tactics include:

  • Tailor your keywords to the season. For example - in the 2 weeks after Christmas, consider the keywords "after Christmas sale" and it's equivalents.
  • Trigger e-marketing campaigns leading up to the season - and send out newsletters to your email database with the matching criteria. (all the while being sensitive to religious issues of certain customers not taking part in certain seasons)
  • Keep immaculate records on your customers birthdays, purchases (both what, when and how much), what industry they work in (e.g. If you have a lot of customers in the hospitality industry - segment them and tailor a targeted campaign)

Article References:

Holiday Keywords: