Having a Web site to tout your wares is one thing. Closing a sale online is quite another. A new study by Forrester Research indicates that about 67 percent of surfers who wend their way through the purchasing procedure on most Web pages simply give up before buying.
The process of online purchasing is so complex that it’s frustrating to prospects.
The Forrester research project, a survey of 75 online vendors who sold $1.5 billion in goods online last year, discerned that only 2.7 percent of online shoppers made a purchase. That puts online sales on the same level of conversions as direct mailers, according to Forrester, author of the study, entitled, “The Look to Buy Imperative” (www.forrester.com.)
Online merchants can “continue to build as much traffic as you want, but if you don’t improve your conversion rate, it’s not going to do wonders for your market growth,” says a Forrester spokesman.
What can you do to improve your conversion rate online? Forrester offers several helpful hints: – Make sure the site can be navigated easily; – Reduce the number of bandwidth-consuming graphics; – Employ promotions for first-time buyers, as an incentive to purchase online; – Show surfers that you have installed security software, which makes online credit card purchases secure.
In addition to these features, you may want to emulate some of the successful methods employed by online retailers like Amazon.com. For example, offer speedy checkout services, like a shopping bin, where users can place all of their goods and then proceed to checkout just once.
Or, like Amazon.com, Web sites can offer repeat users to ability to complete purchases with just a few clicks. The crucial information–credit card number, delivery address–is already in the database, so the transaction can be completed more swiftly.
Lastly, you may want to reward the loyalty of repeat customers by giving them incentives to keep purchasing, such as bonus points and reduced prices after 10 product purchases, says the research firm.