Have you ever wondered why buyers purchase something from your particular site? What impacts those crucial eCommerce buying decisions and what motivates them to buy from your site over a competitor’s? What you as an eCommerce site owner can do to optimize your site to positively influence purchase decisions? Read on for five factors that affect online buying decisions.
Nearly 90 percent of people say online reviews—both positive and negative—influence their buying decisions, according to Marketing Land. Most people—as many as 6 out of 10 global consumers—point to their friends’ social media posts as one of the biggest influences on their purchase choices. Aside from Facebook and other social media, online review sites are the most common resource for finding out what others think about a company (e.g., SiteJabber). Hoping to score some positive reviews? Include a call to action encouraging your happy customers to leave a positive review on the site of their choice!
Positive User Experience on a Site
So what exactly influences a purchase decision online? Putting aside product specific factors (e.g., quality, multiple product options, special sizes, new products) an analysis by BigCommerce found the top influencers in order of importance are:
- free shipping
- easy returns
- customer reviews
- visual search
- excellent navigation
- easy checkout
Since free shipping and easy returns have a big impact, if you offer them make sure to prominently display such on the site. Half of all shoppers use smart phones to look up companies, product reviews and price comparisons while they’re actually in the store shopping. That means your site had better be responsively designed for all mobile devices so customers can get to the information they need quickly. Anything that can make the purchasing process easier or more affordable for consumers is a step in the right direction.
Analyzing Your Customers’ Buying Decisions
There are steps you can take learn about your particular customers buying decisions and in turn positively influence them. First off, there are many online tools and resources available to assist you in tracking who visits your site, where they came from and what they bought or didn’t buy. Google’s Universal Analytics offers a new and enhanced in-depth e-commerce reporting tool that allows you to delve deeper into learning about eCommerce shopping behavior and merchandising. You can access charts that detail revenues and conversion rates, key financials, products per transaction, sales by affiliate, top revenue-producing sources and much more.
Decreasing Your Bounce Rate
Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who land on your website but leave after viewing only one page without clicking through to any other pages of your site. Through analytics (e.g., Google Analytics) you can learn who is visiting your site, staying or “bouncing” and from what sources they landed on your site (social media post, paid ads, et al.). With that information you can make a plan for lowering your bounce rate (e.g., better calls to action, syncing paid ads message with page it lands visitors on).
Having a high bounce rate is not a good thing for an commerce site since you want visitors to click through to other product pages and add items to their shopping cart, says eCommerce Consultant Ajeet Khurana of About Money. Conversely, a low bounce rate is essential to your goal of getting visitors to stay on your site, browse and ultimately click “buy.” You can bring your bounce rate down by making it appealing for visitors to explore your site regardless of where they land within it. Incorporate calls to action, make sure your pages are loading quickly, ensure your site is responsively designed for all devices and make it easy for visitors to navigate through your website. You could also include a “you might also like” feature that drives visitors to other pages on your site.
Stay Active on Social Media
There are other things you can do on your end to positively influence buying decisions. Because many people listen to what their friends say about products and companies on social media, it’s important to not only get on social media, but to be active on social media.
See what people are saying about your business and make a habit of responding to them. Research keywords being used to talk about your product, then get in on the conversation to find out more and give consumers what they want. Get knowledgeable about your business and write thoughtful, engaging blogs that show consumers you not only sell stuff, but you know all about the industry, too. Become an information powerhouse and educate potential buyers to help them form early purchase decisions, advises the Small Business Administration.
With the above five factors in hand, you can analyze your eCommerce site and take necessary actions to positively influence your customers’ buying decisions. In future articles we will look deeper at some of these factors so that you can take your eCommerce site to the next level of customer engagement.