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E-Commerce: Selling the First Impression

Posted by: David Henzel on March 12, 2013

There’s the age-old scenario that plays itself out countless times every instant online: the customer wavers, unsure of whether the product or services provided by your website are in fact what will suit their particular and specific needs. This is the fear that customers have that they will not receive the best possible service or services. A full shopping cart gets left behind and the customer turns away. They go back-and-forth, this way and that. Indecision.

After having labored for days, weeks, or even months to get your site up and running, to provide the best possible service, you are still unable to get your conversion rate high enough. Your business model is not living up to your expectations and hard work.

How do you counter these setbacks? How does an online business thrive in this rapidly changing landscape? How do you remove red flags and make your shop more trusted?

YOU ONLY GET ONE SHOT AT A FIRST IMPRESSION

It is the first impression, the initial presentation of your company, which will capture their interest and allow them to take that gamble on your product. Every business venture is by its very definition a risk, but you can minimize the risk to your customers by providing that personal touch. Remind them that they can trust you and, by extension, grant you their loyalty.

You have to make sure that your store:

1) SHOWS THAT YOU ARE REAL!

Prove that you are a reputable vendor. Prominently display actual contact information such as phone numbers, email addresses or Skype. These are crucial to maintaining that incredibly important personal touch and will gain you that valuable trust from your customers.

Live chat services like Olark are highly effective as well, but you have to make sure that you actually answer them actively and promptly. Showing pictures of your staff and/or facilities go a long way as well.  

2) HAS SOCIAL CREDIBILITY

Use such invaluable tools like Twitter and Facebook and maximize the services they can provide. Aggressively cultivate “likes” and make sure to display them prominently.It is relatively easy to get people to like your page and/or ask users for Tweet. You can make these requests on either a Thank You page as well as including them in the footer of every email that goes out.

Do not hesitate to “buy some friends” (fans/followers) It is ok to fake it till you make it. Run a facebook ads and a promoted account campaign on twitter. If a proper ad campaign is operated, it is easy to accumulate a few thousand likes. Beside the increase in trust for you site, every new fan can become a customer as well.

Video testimonials from your customers can also be extremely valuable; but also rather hard to get. Some people take the “shortcut” and get fake video testimonials but providing the customer with real and viable reviews from trusted sources is infinitely more effective.

3) HAVE AND ADVERTISE A CLEAR RETURN POLICY

By having a return policy that is crystal clear, fair to the consumer, and quickly implemented will allow your online venture to gain that trust that is so crucial to building loyalty and, most importantly, the tendency for your customers to return time and time again.

4) LEGITIMACY, TRUSTWORTHINESS AND HONESTY

Gaining the trust of a customer is a system of give-and-take. The dividends are invaluable to your business.  If you have show your eBay feedback profile or start using a rating and review service like ekomi. A sterling record from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or becoming a Google Trusted Store is a reliable yardstick of true quality and a high level service.

5) ENABLED WORD-OF-MOUTH ADVERTISING

There is no power greater than the practice of word-of-mouth advertising. It is the secret key to any successful business venture and it is what every ecommerce venture should strive for. Any website, no matter how well it is designed, implemented or executed can top the tremendous power of a fellow consumer giving his or her positive review of your business. These words can make or break any business, and by engaging in this strategy one can imbue guaranteed success in any online transaction.

Make sure you make social sharing call to actions visible. Commerce now operates in a vastly expanded space of online interaction, social media connections, and peer-to-peer endorsements. How can you maximize your efficacy in such a rapidly changing business landscape? The answer is simple: by earning your customers’ trust.

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About the Author

David is an entrepreneur in the online space and very passionate about startups and online marketing. He is currently the VP of Marketing and partner at the cutting edge Content Delivery Network services provider NetDNA, based in Los Angeles, California. Before his commitment at NetDNA / MaxCDN, David had been working on various e-commerce solutions of his own and was working as a consultant for several very successful businesses in Europe. David also co-founded STICKY bar where they provide ecommerce stores tools that increase their shoppers experience and bottom line.

 

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