This post is a guest post by David Rodwell
Optimizing your online store is key if you’re going to boost your sales. There are a number of ways you can do this, but most of the time the advice you get revolves around creating better copy or using psychological sales tactics. These are legitimate aspects to the process, but there are two areas that are often overlooked: enhanced security measures and suggestive aesthetics.
Providing a secure transaction boosts your sales by reducing shopping cart abandonment, and suggestive aesthetics make it easier for customers to buy.
Here are some specific security techniques you should be using in order to increase customer confidence and boost sales:
- Start with SSL. Consumers know how to recognize a secure website, and most start there when deciding whether to move forward with a purchase. If you don’t have SSL, you’ll lose sales.
- Use industry standard compliance methods and software. PCI-compliant shopping carts are the minimum spec for accepting credit cards. Insuring that you meet PCI compliance sends a message to buyers that you care about their privacy and the integrity of their information.
- Implement verification services. Some customers know that, without address verification and CVV verification, your site isn’t as secure as it should be.
- Make it known. Let your customers know you care about their privacy and security. In addition to a privacy page, include a pop-up message detailing some of your security measures right from a link within the shopping cart and checkout pages.
Security is one part of this equation. Aesthetics is the other. Let’s take a look at some of the aesthetic principles you need to watch out for to optimize your site:
- Avoid visual noise with pictures. If your catalog incorporates images, for example, consider using a scaled-back header with just your company name and possibly the logo. Don’t overwhelm your visitors visually.
- Make it clear what action a customer can take. Creative text on your shopping cart buttons doesn’t do anything except keep you amused. Stick to the basics, with clear language, clear fonts, and large, obvious buttons. You want to say “add to cart,” not “put this in my bag, baby.”
- Steer clear of high pressure sales methods. The 10,000 word sales page has its place, but not in most online stores. It’s fine for someone selling a single product on a one-off basis; you’re trying to build a brand, complete with a returning customer base that makes multiple purchase. Accordingly, leave all of the goofy large red arrows and testimonial videos to the affiliate sellers.
The success of your online store depends, to a larger degree than you might think, on these tactics. Providing a safe, secure environment increases confidence and builds loyalty. Using the right aesthetics gives customers a reason to click “buy,” and pulls away all of those noisy elements that might otherwise keep them from doing so.
Spend a few minutes today making sure your site has great copy, stellar product images, clean navigation, as well as world-class security and appropriate aesthetics.