by Carlos Häuser
November 12, 2015

What’s the secret to converting more browsers into buyers? Research into consumer behavior reveals tricks to increase sales. 

It’s no secret that online retailers can achieve greater e-commerce success by offering alternative payment options – such as e-wallets and direct debit schemes – at checkout. Supporting alternative payment options could lead to an increase of 5 to 10 percent in a website’s overall conversion rate, according to research by SAP company hybris.

That makes sense: if a customer’s credit card is declined at the last minute, or an international shopper can’t use their preferred local payment option, they may decide to abandon the purchase altogether. Multiple payment options increase the likelihood of a completed sale.

In e-commerce, first impressions count

But before e-wallets can weave their magic on the top line, merchants must first attract shoppers to their website and convince them to stay there. And customers have to find a product they want to buy and initiate the purchasing process. So how can retailers ensure more shoppers actually click through to the payment page? By following a few simple tricks based on research into consumer behavior.

In e-commerce, first impressions count. According to a study conducted by the Aberdeen Group, businesses that have embraced responsive design achieve far better annual improvements in key measurements compared to companies that have not. The report shows that businesses using responsive design enjoy 30 percent more brand awareness, 10 percent more annual revenue, and an 8 percent visitor to buyer conversion.

The website’s “About” is important to increase sales

Shrinking a website from desktop dimensions down to smartphone size, with tiny fonts and photos, simply won’t cut it. To keep customers browsing – and eventually buying – retailers should opt for a responsive design, which adapts to every device, be it smartphone, tablet, or PC. Despite this fact, only 11.8 percent of the top 100 online retailers in the U.S. use responsive design, giving the few that do a decisive competitive advantage.

But good design isn’t all about code. Informal studies have shown that customers who visit a website’s “About” page are more likely to turn into buyers and spend more too. One online retailer found that customers who viewed the “About” page converted at a rate 30 percent higher than shoppers who didn’t. Another company found that customers who visited the “About” page spent on average 22.5 percent more on their purchases. And they noted, the better the “About” page was, the more that figure increased.

Customers decide within 90 seconds if they make a purchase

For these online retailers, it quite literally pays to make the “About” page as attractive as possible, with a clearly defined company story and personal content. Retailers that undervalue the “About” page should use web analytics to determine exactly how many customers visit the page and where they go next.

Another way retailers can make sure online customers click through to the payment page is by optimizing their product placement. According to statistics compiled by MarketingProfs, customers assess products and decide whether they want to make a purchase or not within 90 seconds. Further studies show that people are naturally drawn to items displayed in the middle of the page.

By placing the most popular or desirable products in the middle of the page – rather than sorting strictly by price or size – retailers can increase their chances of hooking a potential customer within those first crucial 90 seconds.

Using „I“ statements in the calls to action can create trust

Retailers can up the odds even further by using “I” statements in their calls to action. For example, instead of telling customers to “view your cart,” retailers should let customers be in control: “view my cart.”

Using first-person verbiage on buttons increased sales, account creations, and free trial signups, in some cases as high as 90 percent. In many cases only a single word is changed, such as “your” being changed to “my,” to make a clickable button more enticing. These findings are based on A/B tests conducted by Michael Aagaard, founder of ContentVerve, a conversion optimization firm.

Of course, retailers cannot achieve e-commerce success solely by inserting a few “I” statements, or revising the “About” page. But these simple changes can ensure that customers stay on the website long enough to see the value in a retailer’s offering and click through to the payment page.