Not every business online has the luxury of being as reputable as Amazon or eBay. With more competitors online than ever, separating your company from the competition and staking your marketshare depends on several factors; the marketing channels you’re using, your branding, and whether you’re addressing customers’ concerns and buying signals.
According to RetailResearch.org, many major European countries continued to see growth in the online retail sector in 2015.
Spending money on advertising channels such as search engine optimization, Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Local advertising, print advertising, press releases, social media advertising (FB/Twitter), may be a fruitless endeavor if your website is unable to convert customers into shoppers.
Don’t throw your advertising dollars away without constantly testing your website’s ability to convert.
Customers have to decipher within a very short period of time whether your website is a legitimate and trustworthy buying source.
Are people sharing your content online with others?
Is purchasing on your website backed by a money back guarantee, a warranty?
Do you use trusted merchants such as Visa, Credit card, PayPal?
Are your sign up forms short and concise? (Offering too many steps from the time they find the product/service they like to the checkout is a major turn-off for would be customers)
Are there too many products per page?
The more decisions you bestow upon your visitors the more likely it is they’ll avoid buying from you.
Make sure to seamlessly integrate all of these factors, and constantly test your promotions with various marketing methodologies as well as track your sales figures when you run one type of promotion on your website versus another.
When it comes to the decision making process, statistics show that in 2015 customers are swayed most in their purchasing decisions by other peoples’ reviews.
After all, what can we trust more than what other people have to say about products and brands we know nothing of?
A recent study by Brightlocal.com shows that reviews are having the biggest impact on purchases for local businesses:
Key ‘Takeaways’ From Research:
- 92% of consumers now read online reviews (vs. 88% in 2014)
- 40% of consumers form an opinion by reading just 1-3 reviews (vs. 29% in 2014)
- Star rating is #1 factor used by consumers to judge a business
- 44% say a review must be written within 1 month to be relevant
- Only 13% of consumers consider using a business that has a 1 or 2 star rating
- 68% say positive reviews make them trust a local business more (vs. 72% in 2014)
- Consumers are becoming more concerned about fake reviews
– via Brightlocal.com
Reviews help customers make an informed buying decision instantly. Other people vouch or down-vote a product/service, and therefore we can quickly take action on whether we want to purchase or not.
With that in mind, place your emphasis toward collecting reviews for your website. Provide existing customers or new on-site prospects incentive through a live chat, email subscriptions, or email inquiries by giving them discounts/promotions on future purchases by leaving a review on your website once they have received their products (make sure to already have the buying signals in place we discussed earlier).