How to Encourage Customers to Spend More Online

From keeping it simple to getting the imagery right, here's how to turn website viewers into paying customers

How to Encourage Customers to Spend More Online

You’ll find lots of articles out there to help you to attract more visitors to your site, but unless you manage to keep them there, and encourage them to spend as much as possible with you, then all your efforts will come to nothing.

Here’s a few tips to help you get the most out of every visitor you attract…

Don’t bamboozle visitors with too many choices

Try and fight the temptation to cram every square inch of your home page with products, offers, news, banners, images, etc. When a new visitor arrives at your site, you’ve only got about two or three seconds before they will make the decision about whether it’s worth exploring further. If a customer feels overwhelmed with information then they will probably click off and look elsewhere.

Take a look at some of the large online retailers like John Lewis or Marks and Spencer. Rather than listing every single offer they have, they opt for a few attractive images and a one or two key promotions. Your home page should give a flavour of the products and promotions that customers will find within, encouraging them to explore further.

Together with your home page contents you need to make sure your main navigation and search bar are prominent, clear and simple to use so nothing stands in the way of a customer being able to start browsing.

Make your product picture perfect

Product images are the most important part of your website. Your product images need to be attractive and enticing. If you have fairly complicated or sophisticated products then you might think about offering multiple alternative images for each product, and perhaps even providing the option to zoom in to see more detail. If you think your product images are falling short, then invest in a good DSLR camera and take some time to learn (or take a course) how to take great product photographs.

Offer relevant suggestions

When a customer is looking at a product, it’s a good idea to show ‘cross-sells’ or ‘upsells’ i.e. alternative products that are relevant to the one the customer is looking at. You’ll see this happening on other websites where you have a few products under headings like ‘You may also be interested in’ or ‘Frequently bought together’.

For example, if you are offering a product that needs batteries, you can give people the chance to add the batteries to their order. Or if a product is available in a higher spec model, this is where you can encourage people to check out the more expensive product. It’s good customer service, and great marketing.

Don’t let visitors just take your word for it

There are many tools out there to help you put reviews on your site for all your products. Reviews give customers that extra reassurance that you are a reliable company, and the product they are interested in is going to be what they need.

Don’t be afraid of bad reviews either, tools like Feefo will allow you to respond to any negative feedback and demonstrate that you are an honest store-owner who is happy to engage with customers.

Think like a customer

Try and get into the head of your customers. Your visitors are not just automatons looking to spend money, they are complicated people with specific problems that they are trying to solve. Figure out why customers came to you rather than going to another ecommerce site. Was it just that you are cheaper, or was there another reason?

Google Analytics is a good tool to help you with this. This will show you how customers found your site and also show you the most popular pages, amongst other things. Analysing this may throw up some interesting facts about your visitors that you haven’t considered yet.

It’s also an idea to phone or email a sample of your user database to ask why they shopped with you. The results can help improve the design of your store by regrouping products to reflect what are called ‘customer personnas’. These ensure that specific types of visitors can be directed to pages tailored for their particular set of needs. On a photography site, for instance, you might have product categories like Cameras for Family Fun, Cameras for Outbound Adventurers, Cameras for Star Gazers, Cameras for Professionals, etc.

So by employing the above tactics I think you’ll find that customers start to spend more in your web store. Take a hard look at your pages and see what you can improve.

This article was written by Chris Barling is chariman and co-founder of ecommerce software and SellerDeck 

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