As Will Rogers once said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” That’s never been truer with websites as about 40% of consumers discover online businesses just by surfing around. Studies show 60% of shoppers who form a bad impression of an e-commerce site are less likely to buy from it. Any number of things, from outdated contact information to unprofessional design, can make the site look unappealing to consumers. It may be time to do some spring cleaning on your website, using these three killer tips that will help you make a good impression and to stand out from the pack.
1. Build a well-designed website
Just like a meal looks most delicious presented on beautiful dinnerware with multiple colors and textures of food, your products and services will look more appetizing with powerful images and engaging web design with the right colors, fonts and layout.
Like it or not, Kissmetrics research found 93% of consumers place visual appearance and color above other factors when shopping. In fact, 85% of shoppers said color is the primary reason for buying a particular product. The research shows certain colors hold universal meanings:
- Black – Powerful and sleek, used to market luxury items.
- Red – Symbolizes energy and urgency. Increases the heart rate and used for sales.
- Yellow – Optimistic and youthful. Used to grab the attention of window shoppers.
- Blue – Means trust and security. Often seen with banks and businesses.
- Green – Associated with money and more and more often, to sell marijuana. It’s the easiest color for the eyes to process and is used in stores for relaxation.
Overall website design can also influence shoppers. If your website is hard to navigate, slow to respond, missing critical contact and product information, more than half of shoppers will never return. Amazon.com did a study and found with every 100 milliseconds of load time, there was a 1% decrease in sales.
Don’t do this
Customers simply don’t trust or believe in commerce sites that are unprofessional or poorly designed. A Vistaprint survey found 63% of consumers say it’s “very unlikely” or they absolutely “won’t” buy from amateurish-looking websites. That’s because they don’t trust it. These specific concerns below are proven to drive away customers:
- Typos and grammatical errors
- Not enough product information
- Missing or limited contact information
- Dark or blurry photos of products and services
- Unclear policies for returns and refunds
- Broken links
- Poor navigation and no search bar
- Old, outdated information
Not even small online businesses get a break. Studies show the majority of consumers have the same high expectations for their sites as they have for larger brands and retailers.
Just like certain issues will leave a bad impression, here are features that will keep customers coming back:
- E-commerce that’s mobile-friendly. According to Oberlo, nearly 55% of consumers now shop on their phones and sales are predicted to reach $3.56 trillion by the end of 2021.
- Offer free shipping. Customers now expect free shipping because of sites like Amazon Prime. If you can’t afford that, offer free shipping after customers buy a certain dollar amount of goods, such as “free shipping on orders more than $50.” Be sure to advertise the free delivery to beat out competitors who don’t offer it at all.
- Have clear, upfront return policies and warranty information available. Data shows 60% of consumers feel at ease and are more likely to buy a product that has the word “guaranteed” associated with it.
- Offer incentives to new customers. Require them to sign up (and collect their emails) to earn a percentage off their first purchase. That special treatment can mean the difference between them buying directly from you or your competitor. According to a study by Marketing Insights, 71% of customers made a purchase purely based on getting an incentive, while Rice University found incentives to be “directly successful” for attracting customers.
- Hold sales. Consider pop-up sales on your homepage, emails about promotions and texts about special offers. Research shows 52% of consumers are more likely to click on a page if it has a sale sign on it.
- Reward your loyal customers too. Keep them coming back by offering money back or targeted discounts – and add extra incentives for referrals. When Starbucks began its rewards program, it reported a 26% increase in sales.
- Offer multiple ways to pay from credit cards to payment apps to paying in installments.
2. Let customers know their information is safe
One big reason shoppers shy away from an unprofessional website is the concern that it’s fraudulent. Cybercrime is now projected to cost the world $10.5 trillion every year by 2025.
Consumer agencies say the tell-tale signs of fraud are misspelled words, offers too good to be true and sites without contact information. So, ensure those mistakes aren’t on your website, and that it meets compliance standards and uses security best practices.
If you’ve gone all-out to make your e-commerce site nearly impossible to hack by using software like Clever Division (formerly called StagedPay) by Red Maple, highlight it on your homepage and in advertising to build customer trust and confidence.
Clever Division safeguards customer credit card information by dividing and locking it up in separate, secure vaults. That way, cybercriminals can’t access all of the personal information and use it to commit fraud. It also protects the store owner from employee theft, lowering the cost of doing business.
That’s an important selling point in a time when Forbes finds most online shoppers worry about their information being stolen or sued improperly. The magazine says 22% of consumers distrust e-commerce so much that they never shop online.
Here are other steps to build customer confidence:
- Offer great customer service. Use chatbots or offer phone numbers for people to call and speak with someone immediately when problems or questions arise. If contact information is missing, it’s a red flag to shoppers today to not purchase from the website.
- Once you solve their problems or offer great service, encourage them to write reviews. Data shows almost all shoppers use reviews to determine where to conduct business. An LCR survey shows 57% of customers will only use a business with four or more stars, and 91% of consumers ages 18-to-34 trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
3. It’s about both of you
Most businesses focus their attention on getting to know their customers’ ages, preferences, income-levels, buying habits, etc. It’s equally important for you to let them get to know you. Do that by boosting your ‘About Us’ page with family photos, stories about how you got started, and your purpose or mission. Make the connection with your customer so that they care about you and your success.
Talk to your customers regularly, especially on social media, emphasizing important events in their lives.
Let them know that buying from you does some good. A global study by Zeno discovered that companies with a purpose prevail. After evaluating 75 brands, the research found customers are four to six times more likely to trust, buy and champion businesses with a strong purpose over those with a weaker or no mission. Better yet, the research found customers are much more forgiving and even likely to protect the company if it makes a mistake or is publicly criticized. Despite those revealing results, only 37% of e-commerce has a clear and strong purpose, which researchers say is tantamount to leaving money on the table.
If you want your e-commerce to stand out from the pack, follow these three killer tips to engage your customers with a vibrant, interactive website, communicate with them quickly and often, involve them in bettering the world, and let them know you are committed to keeping their information secure.