Ecommerce expert, Simon Horton looks at how to increase online conversions with five tried and tested sales techniques.
Understanding what makes people tick is central to successful selling. No matter what new sales channels, promotions or tools that come your way, the basic human psychology surrounding behaviour remains fundamentally the same.
With this in mind, lets focus on some sales methods that respond to our basic needs.
1. Loss aversion
Loss aversion is linked to our intrinsic fear of missing out. We only need to witness the thousands of consumers willing to queue for hours and hours at the Boxing Day sales just so they dont miss out on a potential bargain to confirm such behaviour.
You can apply loss aversion to your sales messages by concentrating on making consumers feel they are going to miss something if they dont act now and follow a particular course of action. For example, you can focus on the scarcity of a product or highlight what customers risk losing if they dont take up your offer. Try tactics such as:
- Limited availability, e.g. only 10 left
- Limited time offers, e.g. this weekend only
- Money saving deals, e.g. buy two, get one free
2. Social influence
Humans are happier being part of a group; we are innately social and strive to be accepted. Consequently, social proofing can have a significant influence on our decision making process. Having the approval of others can help trigger a purchase, as can the desire to own something because it is aspirational or will make us feel part of a particular group. Of course, few of us have the budget for George Clooney-type celebrity endorsements, but we can still use social influence as a very powerful sales technique. For example:
Little beats personal recommendations from friends, so make sure your have sharing options and buttons on your website.
AddThis is a free social sharing plug-in that enables visitors to share easily from your website to their friends and groups on social networks.
Having positive, honest customer reviews available at the point of conversion can help reinforce peoples decision to buy and eradicate any lingering doubts they may have.
Of course we should point out that having customer reviews available on your website means you are going to have to deal with negative reviews as well. However, if the balance of positive and negative reviews is right then this is no bad thing. Indeed, only showing overwhelmingly glowing reviews looks a bit suspicious!
Disqus is a free discussion add-in that works with most websites and will enable customers to leave reviews and lets you reply to comments. Its a great way to start building your community.
3. Expert knowledge
If we believe someone has in depth knowledge or is an authority on something, then we are more likely to see him or her as an expert and trust what they have to say. Therefore, establishing yourself as an expert in your particular niche is a great way of building your businesss credibility and increases the likelihood of shoppers feeling secure and confident on your site.
An excellent and effective way to establish this authority is by creating a blog. It gives you the platform to share your opinions and expertise and become recognised as a leader in your industry.
There are some great free blogging platforms available. I recommend taking a look at WordPress, Blogger and Tumblr.
Comparing products is a significant part of the customers decision-making process. In a sales context anchoring refers to the tendency we have to compare all our available options against the option that we see as coming first.
Discounts are a good example of anchoring technique. If Im considering buying a product at a special rate I want to know the original price to give me something to measure my potential purchase against. Am I getting a good deal here?
Bonuses also work well. Here you are adding something additional to make your customer feel they are getting real value from the original offer for example, buy X and get Y thrown in for free.
5. Growing repeat business
Building an ongoing relationship with a customer who has had a positive experience with you is one of the best ways to build repeat business. Weve already mentioned how humans by our very nature are social creatures so ensure you do all you can to feed and maintain this
Use social media and email newsletters to keep customers informed and engaged in your business.
Simon Horton is the founder of ShopIntegrator, the ecommerce plugin that makes it easy for anybody to add an online store and Facebook shop onto their existing basic website without any coding skills.
Simon Horton, ShopIntegrator
As we cannot be experts in every relevant subject, we would love to receive 'guest' articles that may be of interest to anyone running their own business or thinking of doing so.ADD YOUR ARTICLE