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What if just one sentence could increase sales by 30%?

Published in conversion-rate by max.favilli, 01/12/2014 (edited on 08/12/2014 ) 0

“Get the cash”, that’s what you want from your customers. You want them to go all the way through the tunnel to the final step, payment, without hesitation and without leaving the buying process.

You don’t need a B.A. or M.S. or Ph.D. to understand if you’re doing business on the Web, you can still think of it as traditional brick & mortar “get the cash”, or you can think of it as “cart abandonment”, or “conversion rate”, or “funnel optimization”… But the point is still you want to get the cash!

You don’t want to loose a sale at the very last step.

The end of the funnel

E-commerce funnelLet’s say you have an e-commerce site and your customer went through all the path already, found a product they like, added to their basket, filled in the cart form, and… Didn’t pay.

It’s more common than you may think, it’s actually so common you probably got here looking for tips on how to improve your conversion rate (CR) lowering your cart abandonment.

At the very last moment, after completing 90% of the buying process, you visitor didn’t convert into a customer.

Why could it happen?

Cart optimization: payment

Cart optimization is a subject which deserve it’s own post. Here we will focus on the payment section.

As you may know alternative payment methods are fundamental, accepting as many different credit cards as possible, and as many payment channels. Credit cards, PayPal, Wire transfer, are the minimum set you should implement.

Reassure your customer with credit cards logo,  with SSL disclaimer and state clearly what your Guarantees and Return policy are.

Re-adjust wording and position of logos, disclaimers and policies and perform A/B test to check variation in your conversion rate (CR).

You will get surprising results, moving one sentence from the wrong place to the right place, can lead to huge improvement in CR.

The right words at the right place

Look at your cart and check where you Guarantees are located, is the copy short and easy to read? And more important than anything else, is at the right place?

If you want to maximize the sales impact of what you do, you have to do it at the corresponding point of action (POA).

You do provide reassuring policies on privacy, returns, guarantees, credit card security, shipping, and so on, don’t you? Great. Now also make sure you provide them at the corresponding POA.

The key to gaining the confidence of potential customers lies not just in providing assurances but in phrasing it in the right way, and present it when it matter most to your customers as they move through your sales process.

Your policies, privacy, return, guarantees, are not there just to comply with current laws. They are one important tool in your web-marketing tools kit. Your site should reassure your visitors making your policies clear. A good example could be a prominent “Shop With Confidence” section at the bottom of most pages, because you don’t have to label them as boring “Term and conditions”, do you?  You don’t want to hide them because of their legal wording. You want them to stand out for their clarity and instill confidence into your visitors through them.

But most important that anything, as soon as your visitor is getting to the shopping bag or checkout pages, that same message should not be just repeated, you should display more prominently.

Don’t you want your customers to shop with confidence?

Because they do. And the closer they get to typing their credit card data into your checkout form, the harder their mind focus on what your return policy and guarantees are. If you think about your own experience as a customer, you will realize by yourself what I do mean. It’s fun to hang around those pretty new Mac laptop in your local Apple store, isn’t it? Yet when the apple store employee ask for your credit card to process the payment of that expensive new 2.000 euro MacBook, your mind starts to fill with doubts.

Tested +30% in sales with one sentence

In our experiments moving this exact paragraph:

“Our products are guaranteed to give 100% satisfaction in every way. Return anything purchased from us at any time if it proves otherwise. We do not want you to have anything from ACME Inc. that is not completely satisfactory.”

From above the payment section of the cart to just right underneath the “Pay now” button, translated into a tremendous increase in conversion rate. After A/B testing it twice for a total of 2 weeks and more than 8k customers, we got an incredible +30%

What was even more incredible was the effect of removing just one sentence, three words enclosed in a H1 tag making them really stand out, just above the “Pay now” button: “Process now your credit card payment!”, never in my experience 6 words made such a difference. Completely removing that sentence lead to +58% of conversion rate.

Amazing how seemingly little messages presented at exactly the right time can slip in subliminally and affect buying.

Increase your sales, optimize your cart!

The art science of persuasion

And it’s nothing new, one of my favourite examples from Cialdini books is the one about the home shopping channel; three words, just three words, which lead to a huge increase in the number of sales.

Colleen Szot, changed the call-to-action “Operators are waiting, please call now,” to, “If operators are busy, please call again.”

Just a sentence, below the phone number in the infomercial, to skyrocket sales.

That’s how Cialdini describe the effect:

Now consider how your perception of the popularity of the product would change when you heard the phrase “if operators are busy, please call again.” Instead of those bored, inactive representatives, you’re probably imagining operators going from phone call to phone call without a break. In the case of the modified “if operators are busy, please call again” line, home viewers followed their perceptions of others’ actions, even though those others were completely anonymous. After all, “if the phone lines are busy, then other people like me who are also watching this infomercial are calling, too.”

Make smart use of your points of action

Include a reassuring statement that you value your client’s privacy just under the submit button, and it will dramatically increase response. Display your customer care phone number prominently in all pages, and if shoppers have a problem, they’ll be more likely to call you than just move to another site.

When you deliver, include an incentive to return to your site. After receiving their purchase is when customers are most delighted with their transactions with you (hopefully), so it’s when they’re most inclined to return the favour living a positive feedback. They might need just a little push, and your incentive will do the trick.

Would they “tell a friend” before their experience with you is complete and delightful? Then don’t ask them too soon. By all means, ask for referrals — but only at the right Point Of Action.

Isn’t it time your site graduated from the ABCs of E-Commerce to the slightly more advanced world of conversion rate optimization?

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