Christmas shopping – address visitors’ anxieties to maximise conversion rates

Yay, Christmas is around the corner! For most of us, a very happy time of year, full of lovely food, the odd drink(?) and the most exciting bit for me, PRESENTS!!

This Christmas is set to be a record breaking year for online sales.  Recent research by Kelkoo forecasts that 20% of Christmas shopping in the UK will be done online.  This is a significant increase in comparison to last year, most likely aided by the recession and people looking for the best deal online.

If you’ve experienced a tough year the next few weeks are undoutedly going to make or break the balance sheet come year end. Therefore, it is essential to ensure your website is working as hard as it possibly can to turn traffic into sales.

In order to maximise the conversion rate of your site, it is key to focus on the anxieties that customers face when trying to buy from you, particularly in the build up to Christmas.  As you are missing out the “touch and feel” aspect of traditional shopping, your site needs to explicitly answer all potential “objections” (i.e. is this site trustworthy?) with “counter objections” to give the customer confidence to purchase from you.

Frequent anxieties include:

1. Can I trust this site to use my credit card details responsibly, is it reputable?

2. Will the product I receive match my expectations?

3. Will the product be delivered in time (i.e. for Christmas)?

4. Will the aftersale service be good if there is a problem with my product?

When you know your visitors potential objections, you can explicitly structure your site with counter objections.  This should answer the majority of their fears, thereby increasing their propensity to buy from you and increasing your overall conversion rate.  Some great ways of finding out what anxieties your customers face when visiting your site are to survey visitors and/or usability testing. However, with just three weeks to go before the big day its probably a bit late for these more sophisticated techniques.

However, there are a number of quick checks you can make right now.

Most visitors’ objections will be simple and easily pacified by the use of content, client testimonials and security logos.  For detailed information and tips on how to make your site a Zen-like conversion experience (!) I would recommend you look at this great post on the Google Conversion Room Blog.  This post features some sure fire ways of increasing your conversion rate by simply understanding your audience.

A few of the key tips are highlighted below:

1. Make sure you are clearly highlighting Christmas delivery times, the date of your last delivery, etc. The ‘will it get here on time’ question will be the number one anxiety in the build up to Xmas. Also outline your returns policy, especially if you sell men’s socks!!?

2. Ensure you demonstrate your site is secure by using relevant security logos and guiding visitors through the purchase process with clear calls to action.

3. If you have customer comments, testimonials or reviews make these visible, particularly if they relate to the quality of the product or the speed of your delivery.

Understanding how your site visitors anxieties will change in the build up to Christmas and addressing them  should contribute to a bumper Christmas 2009.  Implementing client surveys and/or usability testing should ensure a sustained and profitable 2010.

Until next time…

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