Posted in How To on August 30th, 2012
For many websites, getting visitors isn’t the hardest part; it’s turning those visitors into buyers that’s really challenging. And, while compelling copy, targeted marketing efforts, and product details all play a role in conversion, there are at least two other areas that greatly impact a website’s ability to sell: security and design.
Both of these areas play a significant role in whether your visitors turn into buyers. Let’s take a look at some key elements of security and aesthetics, and see just how they impact conversion:
1) Demonstrating back-end security can improve customer confidence. There are a number of security steps you take on the programming side to insure a secure transaction. Some – like SSL – are visible to your customers. Today’s customers look for HTTPS in the browser address bar; if it’s not there, they don’t put in their buyer info. Even PCI compliance – which doesn’t have a visible element – can be used to increase customer confidence. Educate customers on what back-end technologies you’re using to ensure a secure purchasing experience and watch the conversions come rolling in. A great place to do this is on your privacy and security policy page, which you can link to from your shopping cart.
2) Advanced verification methods show a commitment to buyer safety. Address verification is just the beginning when it comes to accepting credit cards. Asking for the CVV (also known as CVC or CVV2) number tells customers you only accept legitimate cards from the actual owner. And, while it will turn some customers away, some customers won’t make a purchase without that verification. Not only that, but using CVV verification will reduce your overall number of chargebacks.
3) Color plays a significant design role in conversion. Unfortunately, color choice isn’t universal. Different colors are better for some sites than they are for others. Shades of yellow tend to draw in impulse buyers and younger buyers. Red generates a feeling of urgency, and is great when combined with energetic products and sale shoppers. Black implies power, luxury, and often reaches out to impulse buyers. Blue means security and stability, with lighter shades of blue in particular reaching out to customers on a budget. Orange has an aggressiveness about it, also reaching to impulse shoppers. Pinks and purples tend to create a soothing or romantic feeling, and they tend to work best with traditional buyers.
4) Design choices that increase utility increase conversion. Customers need to be able to move through the entire shopping process without getting stuck or wondering where to go next. That means the shopping process must be free of clutter. It isn’t the place for flashy graphics or walls of text. Accordingly, you want to make sure that your website and your online store have clear, high-resolution product images. Those images shouldn’t be drowned out by other visual noise on the page. In addition, images that aren’t clear and keep visitors from seeing details will cost you sales. This utility even extends out to how you choose to label your design elements. You might be tempted to create unique text for your shopping cart button, such as “Hook me up” for an online store selling fishing gear. Yet, a shopping cart button that says “add to cart” will actually draw more conversions. It tells customers what they need to do, and what clicking will do for them.
5) For a shopping cart to be effective, its design elements must match the product and the rest of the site. Colors you choose for your site design and your cart design should match or be very complementary to one another. The same goes for your site design and your product thumbnail images. If the product thumbnail is unattractive next to your site’s banner, for example, fewer people will click on it. Accordingly, you need to avoid simply accepting default templates and designs. You need to thoroughly consider design choices, and do so in light of the other design choices you’ve made elsewhere on the site.
Conversion is impacted by a hundred different little choices. The most successful websites will test out various design options, and see which seem to work best for their sites. That process of honing and evaluating your site’s design is essential to getting the most from your visitors.
Success for your online store and your online shopping cart means making design and security choices that encourage your site visitors to buy. Implement these five aesthetics and security principles today, and you’ll increase your conversion rates.
This guest post is by David Rodwell, who is a writer in business and economics and takes a particular interest in payment processing technology. You can find more of his articles located at CreditCardProcessing.net.
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