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January 17, 2014

Six Simple Ways to Boost Your eCommerce Conversion in 2014

For most products, there are hundreds or thousands of online stores for customers to choose from. Thus, how to make your store outstanding among the competitors and keep customers in your store may be one of the biggest challenges online stores are facing. Here are six tips for you to convince customers to purchase in your store:

Display what other customers have bought

According to the social proof theory, in a situation where people are unsure of the right things to do, they often look at others for clues, which is driven by the assumption that other people possess more knowledge about the situation.

Social proof also applies to online shopping. Customers are more likely to buy the products others have bought, especially hot products. The hot level is an important factor for them to evaluate the products’ quality. You can enhance online social proof by ways listed as below:

  • Display the hottest products.
  • Display ‘Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought…’
  • Display top sellers.
  • Display awards or certifications.
  • Display what their friends have viewed or bought by integrating social media data.

Show what other customers think about your products

You have to admit that potential customers usually believe what other customers say about your products more than what you advertise before they make a purchasing decision. Therefore, customer reviews are an indispensable part of an excellent product page. If people can’t find customer reviews on your site, they will try to find what they want in other places. It’s not a hard thing to get such information in the era of Web 2.0 and social media. You can’t hide or control what others post about your products on the Internet.

Instead of trying to hide customer reviews, bravely invite customers to post comments directly in your store, if you are confident enough about your products. Don’t be afraid of negative comments. Trying to delete or edit them is not a wise option. It will make the unsatisfied customers even more upset and if other customers know what you do, they will not trust in your products any more. Respond promptly to the negative comments and show potential customers your sincere attitude and professionalism. They will understand your situation if you deserve it.

Make it look urgent

If you indicate that a product is nearly out of stock, potential customers may finish their purchase more quickly. Social psychology shows that losing is a stronger feeling than getting. Besides, low stock status makes potential buyers believe that the product is popular and worth buying.  Once they finish the buying process successfully, they will feel a sense of achievement.

To create a panic-buying atmosphere, you can use the following words to show urgency:

  • Only one week left.
  • Only two in stock.
  • Final sell-off.
  • Not available, add to wish list.
  • Will sell out within 2 days 4 hours 3 minutes 17 seconds.

Enrich your product description with photos and videos

When potential customers are interested in your products, they want to get as many details as possible, especially for expensive or luxurious products. Make sure that you have showcased your products with high-resolution photos shot from different angles and in different usage scenarios. Professional and high-quality photos can make customers feel they are very close to the products and can confirm every detail before placing an order.

Video is another important element for product description, especially for those DIY products. You can present the products more vividly and provide a clear step-by-step tutorial or instruction, which will eliminate potential customers’ concerns regarding the use of your products and increase their confidence in your brand.

Cross sell and upsell your products

In a brick and mortar store, if you often give customers suggestions like: “Hey, why not have some fried potatoes?” when they are going to check out, you may generate more sales than your peers. The same applies in an eCommerce store. Once people decide to buy, it will be easy to recommend more products to them, because they have begun to trust you. Building trust may be a long and difficult process. But once trust is established, most customers will not change easily.

There are multiple ways for cross-selling and upselling. You can display some related products after customers have already collected or ordered a product. You can also make tied sales based on certain rules, such as combining products under the same category or targeted for the same audience. For example, when you are browsing a fashion store for a shirt, you find that there is a suit with your favorite shirt included; the matched tie also seems good and it’s more cost-effective than buying them separately, you will probably be convinced to purchase the whole ensemble. Apply this rule to your store; and wait for the miracle to happen.

Reach out to potential customers proactively

In most cases, customers may need to confirm some details about your products before making a buying decision. In other words, if you can identify their needs and give an instant answer, more potential visitors will be converted to loyal customers. Live chat is an effective tool to help you engage the prospects proactively.

Before sending chat invitations, make sure that you have fully understood the customers’ situations and your invitations are truly targeted to them. This is the key of effective chat invitations. To make things easier, you can create rules to trigger the conversation automatically based on parameters such as time on current page, current page URL, referral page, visit times, etc. For example, if you notice a visitor has stayed on a product page for more than three minutes, you can assume that the visitor is truly interested in the product and it’s time for you to get in to clear any obstacles he or she may have before placing an order; if a visitor is switching over frequently between two product pages, he or she may be comparing the two products and you can get in by giving him or her more details about the differences between the two products.


Kevin Gao is the founder and CEO of Comm100, a leading provider of live chat software for business. As a software developer as well as a small business expert, he’s always ambitious to revolutionize the way of online customer service and communication. Find Kevin on Twitter to find out more about him.