The digital marketplace is crammed with retailers, all competing for custom. Regardless of the scale of your business or the products you sell, you can positively influence the purchasing decisions of your online shoppers and maximise your sales in a number of ways. Your customers will be concerned with three key things:

1. Finding Out About Your Products

Offering a range of quality products and services at competitive prices is a great place to start. Once this is in place, you need to bring it to the attention of your target market. You can do so by adopting a broad marketing approach that includes PPC and SEO as well as social media and customer reviews – research shows that these are influential factors in the buying process:

  • In a study of online fulfilment requirements conducted by IMRG, half of those surveyed said that “they have or may have been influenced by social media comments when deciding whether to shop with a particular retailer”.
  • A study conducted by Moz found that online reviews affected 67.7% of respondents’ decisions when making a major purchase. 54.7% said that online reviews were “fairly, very or absolutely an important part of their decision-making process”.

Develop a social media strategy that uses popular platforms like Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram in order to promote your products and communicate with your audience. Embed apps into your online store to allow customers to write reviews and read comments made by others.

2. Making the Payment

You may successfully influence your customers’ choice of product, but if the purchasing process is complicated, confusing or restricted, you risk losing your customer at the checkout.

According to research conducted by UPS in conjunction with comScore

  • 27% have abandoned a shopping cart because they “didn’t want to register or create an account”
  • 24% have abandoned because their preferred payment method was not provided.

Positively influence purchasing decisions by keeping your checkout process simple and by providing a guest checkout for customers who don’t want to set up an account.

Provide a range of payment methods and ensure that you are catering for the payment preferences of your target markets. Include security messages and icons on your checkout to reassure shoppers that your company takes payment security seriously.

3. Getting the Goods

You’ve successfully influenced a shopper to purchase your product, but to seal the deal, it’s vital that you offer them a satisfactory means of getting their hands on the goods.

Not all consumers are prepared to wait for their items to arrive in the post, and customers may not be available to receive a postal delivery that could arrive at any time. Some consumers will value speed of delivery while others will prioritise cost. It’s advisable to provide a range of delivery options, including postal, courier and click-and-collect, so that your customers have control over the speed at which they receive the product and the amount they have to pay for delivery.

According to the UPS/comScore research:

  • 45% of shoppers have abandoned a shopping cart because the order value didn’t meet the minimum required for free shipping
  • 52% of consumers have added items to their cart to meet the minimum required for free shipping, “with the intention of keeping the added items”.

Free shipping is clearly very influential, but its benefits in terms of conversion need to be balanced against your sales volumes and pricing. If you are not providing free shipping, you should be upfront about it. Remember that while consumers may be willing to pay for delivery, they don’t want to be surprised by hidden costs. 34% abandoned a shopping cart because they felt that the shipping and handling costs were displayed too late in the checkout process.

Each of these steps is an opportunity to influence your customers’ purchasing decisions, so make them count.

The experts at Realex Payments can help you to get the payment aspect just right. For more information, get in touch with us today.