great tips to turn online holiday shoppers into eager buyers
- and satisfied customers.
When meeting potential clients,
you wouldn't dream of showing up late in a mismatched outfit,
hair disheveled, with food on your tie and no business card,
would you? And if they asked for testimonials or explanations
about your company policies you'd hardly say, "Sorry,
I don't give out that information."
So why do it on your website?
Just like in person, Internet
shoppers look for clues (consciously or not) that suggest
you are credible and professional - and they make that judgment
call inside of a minute or two. That means you have a small
window of time to impress would-be buyers and gain their trust.
Unlike in person, however (where you can apologize for tardiness
or charm customers with funny tales about how that mustard
landed on your lapel) you have zero opportunity to redeem
yourself online. One click and they're gone for good.
But fear not. As Web-goers gear
up for their Christmas shopping sprees, there are things you
can do quickly and easily to inspire confidence. Here are
some surefire ways to turn browsers into buyers and buyers
into regular customers:
on your best Web-suit. You don't need to hire Armani
to redesign your site, but make sure it's clean, organized
and error-free. Check for typos, broken links, inconsistencies
in graphics, repetition, cluttered appearance and the like
(think of it as good grooming habits). Such lack of attention
to detail sends a message, however untrue, that you will be
equally careless in your business dealings.
Put your best logo forward.
Provide familiar visual clues on your site, such as well-known
brand names and logos. Also, list any other trusted brands,
including suppliers, business partners and customers - and
always display their logos to make a stronger impression.
When shoppers see recognizable names, it increases their confidence
level in your store. They'll be more inclined to buy your
goods knowing FedEx was shipping their Christmas gifts instead
of Joe X.
wear your credentials. If you have attained a standard
of excellence or have met minimum certification requirements,
such as for service or security, let customers know about
it. Credible trust marks* displayed on your home page will
instill confidence in shoppers so they'll stay on your site
and discover all you have to offer.
out your virtual business card. Make sure your
contact information is visible and indicate all the ways that
you may be reached - including your physical business address.
Besides being convenient for the customer, it helps assuage
fears that you will take their money and run into cyberspace,
never to be found again.
be a Grinch. Offer freebies (such as trial software,
free advice, money-back guarantees, etc
). This allows
customers to experience doing business with you before they
actually buy anything. Similarly, if your website is easy
to navigate (again, see tip #1), it tells customers they can
expect their buying experience to be just as pleasant.
- and assure - customers. The single most effective
thing you can do to build customer confidence in the short-term
and transform reluctant shoppers into spenders is to provide
a third-party insurance policy. Payment services such as PayPal
Protection programs that assure your customers they are
protected from loss or damage caused by shopping on your site.
7. Deal with privacy matters.
Shoppers now know that inappropriate use of their personal
information can be devastating. Address privacy issues explicitly
whenever you are asking for any information. Tell customers
why you are collecting the information, how you will use it
and how you protect it. Use clear, concise statements. Legal
wording and fine print make people think you're trying to
For those customers expecting
compliance with specific privacy laws and regulations, explain
why you are in compliance and back it up with relevant third-party
assurance. A well-recognized privacy seal, such as from TRUSTe.org,
assures them you are taking care to protect and respect their
transparent. Online fraud is growing at an alarming
rate and people are becoming increasingly sensitive to the
threat. Unlike when shopping in a store, online shoppers have
no way of witnessing what's really going on and often feel
vulnerable. Your website should include easily accessible
information on why your store is a safe place to shop. Tell
customers how you protect them with safe shopper policies.
the customer's hand. Once the customer is ready
to buy, walk them through each step of the online purchasing
process. Assure them at each prompt that you are sensitive
to their concerns and deal with each concern or issue as it
comes up. Provide a clear link to your mission statement,
customer service policies and other aspects of your business
that may need explaining. Even better, follow tip #10. The
objective is to eliminate those moments of hesitation - especially
in the final stages of the sale.
Offer a personal touch. One way to instantly endear
your customers is by having a real person assist them prior
to and during their purchase. Use today's Internet technologies
that provide a variety of communication channels ranging from
IP telephone to instant chat. For higher value transactions,
provide a 24- hour toll-free telephone number - with prompt,
friendly service. It's often the last touch that sways hesitant
holiday shoppers to buy.
At the end of the day, it's all
about building trust. Following these tips will definitely
improve your online credibility and create more satisfied
shoppers at your site. It will also prepare you for the next
critical step in the trust process of winning clients over
the long-term, which will yield even higher returns for many
seasons to come.
Let me know about your experiences
implementing each of these recommendations. I'm confident
you'll see a difference.
Happy e-tailing this holiday
For additional information visit:
Trust Enabling Strategies
is a Toronto-based management consulting firm that helps online
businesses to improve sales by developing confidence-building
Trust Enabling Strategies
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