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Converting Visitors into Buyers

Converting visitors into buyers is a problem that all ecommerce business owners face. They can buy traffic. They can invest thousands into a PPC campaign, but nothing is works unless the ecommerce site converts visitors into buyers.

‘Conversion Rate’ is one of those fundamentals of the online marketing world that every business owner knows about, but few take control of and work aggressively to increase their conversion rate.

Common Problems

Most ecommerce sites resemble a brochure. If a designer were asked to recreate the website in the real world, it would resemble a flier instead of a retail store front. 

Very few ecommerce sites work to implement the first rule of selling – make the customer need the product. Those that do, settle with a patronizing squeeze page. Either that or they try to be everything to everyone and failing to sell to anyone.

I just recently visited an ecommerce site that directed me through eight steps to find out what product I needed, then nothing. The site engaged me in an extensive process to help me decide which product I needed.  It explained why I needed their recommendation. Videos showed me how to use the product. Then nothing, I missed the sales path and became lost in the product section. After 10 minutes I had not found a squeeze page or shopping cart. 

This ecommerce site, one of the largest home renovation manufacturers in the USA, missed a major step in the conversion process. They should have taken my order and passed it to a store near me. Instead, they asked me to leave the site and repeat the process at their retail store.  It is critical to look at an ecommerce website and make sure that every step of the shopping process is built around a simple navigation system, is easy to find, and is accessible from any stage of the conversion process.

Directing the Consumer’s Actions

The merchant should aggressively ask the customer to take action. Do you spend time asking customers to sign up, buy now, subscribe, click a link, email page to a friend, vote in a poll, recommend to friends, and download ebooks? All of these things are considered a conversion because they ask the customer to take action.

However, they do not ask the customer to make a purchase. The objective of an ecommerce website is to covert from a visitor to a buyer, not create a visitor community site.

The technology that drives the net is becoming more sophistocated, more social, and more powerful, but conversion rates are dropping. This is because many sites are trying hard to impress visitors instead of converting them to customers.

Kevin Gold, CEO and co-founder of Enhanced Concepts, Inc. (Enhancedconcepts.com). 
 "In any business activity, if you haven’t set up metrics for success or defined goals, the project can’t provide you value," Greenfield said. "Too many companies have a site because everyone has one. With that attitude, they are missing an opportunity to capture and engage current and potential customers."

The first step is to set goals. Most ecommerce business owners state their first goal is making a sale. This is where they fail. The first goal should be determining exactly what the customer wants. 
Step two is to remove the clutter from the website and shopping cart. Create a streamed ‘buy now’ path to the products the customers wants to buy when they arrive at the site. Save all the ‘bells and whistles’ to sell the customers add-ons and sell-ups.

Research the target audience. Do not trust advertising statistics and reports. Instead, take a visit to the forums. What makes potential shoppers angry? What makes them happy? And, more important, how to they communicate? 

Professional SEO marketers suggest that grammar style, vernacular, and idioms account for the low conversion rate on many websites. Many target demographics have their own communication style, matching this on the site will sell them on a subliminal level.

The next mistake is trying too hard educating the consumer. So much effort is put into telling them what they need, the customer forgets to ask what they were shopping for. 

A common problem in the conversion process is building a website designed to impress the CEO, and advance the IT department’s careers, instead of focusing on converting consumers.

The Visitors-First Philosophy 

A healthy bottom line is earned. It is the result of a sound customer-oriented philosophy. 
It is earned when consumers feel that landing pages are built for them, when they have confidence in the site and trust it enough to enter their credit card information, when they trust that the ecommerce site will deliver on their promises.

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