Website Conversion June 21st, 2010
When shopping on an eCommerce website, not every customer who wants to buy is going to buy today.
Sometimes, when we’re shopping online, we’re merely collecting information for a later purchase. Because of this, while your website may do a fantastic job of persuading your visitors to want your products, they still might not buy today. So how do we change that? Well, we need to create a sense of urgency by giving reasons why they should buy right now. When well executed, some of these techniques can have a fantastic effect on your overall conversion rate because you won’t be competing against customer procrastination.
Here are just a few of my own techniques for creating a sense of urgency with an eCommerce website:
Perhaps the most common way to discourage window shopping is to put an expiration date on your offer. “50% Off All Shirts Until Sunday!” will tell customers that they need to buy it now or the deal is gone. This can work for both special pricing and limited the products themselves. Oh that reminds me, I need to go get a Happy Meal today if I want that new toy, it is only out for a limited time and I really want it!
This technique, while similar to the one above, has one key difference. It’s repeatable with any product at any time. It can also be automated. Showing that you only have 4 in stock doesn’t mean that it’s never coming back once you’re out; it simply means they’ll have to wait for you to get more in stock. This also means that you can show stock levels on all products store-wide because it isn’t an offer, it’s simply a standard metric. The ‘offer’ part happens in the customer’s mind as they start to panic knowing that those 4 remaining bicycle seats might sell out at any moment.
This is a fun one. In fact, it’s my favorite of the bunch. Essentially what you are doing here is adding two pieces of dynamic information next to your 'buy now' buttons. The first, is how many are left in stock. The second, is how many people are on your website as of this moment. This is illustrated in the picture below.
What happens here is quite simple. Any customers who would normally have left the page to continue shopping around.
This final method is a little different than the others in that it is a much more pro-active approach.
This is all about creating excitement about the product well before it has launched. This can easily be done by adding a counter to the website on the product page and your home page: Available in 1 day, 1 hour and 27 minutes. When properly positioned on the website in a highly visible area, this can create excitement about the product and can lead to customers coming back on the day to buy it as soon as it is available.
In order to make this fully effective however, we need to add one more additional element: an email form. Simply add a quick form which lets visitors fill out their name and email address to be notified when the product is available. When that email goes out, the sales will come in! These are just some of the clever ways in which we can encourage your visitor to buy immediately. The trick however, is to use them carefully and sparingly. If every product has a limited time offer, the power of the offer is lost. Feature a small number of key products at a time, and try to use a different product category for each. This way each offer captures a different type of potential visitor. This will widen your audience and further increase your ability to convert.