An online conversion channel is the path that a customer follows to make an online purchase. This path might go from a search engine to a home page to a checkout window or it might proceed in numerous other ways. Regardless of how exactly an online conversion channel works, the better this procedure, the more revenue it will bring to your website.
Unlike in the offline world, on the Internet it is difficult to convert customers potentially interested in your products because you cannot count on face-to-face sellers that spend time attending to customers’ last-minute uncertainties and questions in order to help them decide whether or not to buy your services/products.
Without a personal staff that can convince clients to buy your products it can be tough to sell items online, but there are aspects of offline shopping that you can replicate in the online world in order to make your online conversion channels as effective as possible. Here are the three most important of these aspects:
1. Keep your site clean
In the same way that most people like shopping in clean, organized and well-designed stores, most people also like shopping on clean, organized and well-designed websites. If a website feels simple and professional, users are much more likely to identify it as being credible and therefore they are more likely to follow an online conversion channel and ultimately make a purchase.
What constitutes clean, organized and well-designed sites can vary in nature, but more often than not they feature white backgrounds with few initial features so as to not overwhelm the users. A study (Lin, 2004) found that good use of white space between paragraphs and in the left and right margins increases comprehension by almost 20%. This in turn leads to efficient online conversions.
2. Make sure users feel safe on your site
The second aspect of offline shopping that you can replicate in the online world in order to make your online conversion channels as effective as possible is security. Transmitting transparency and security to customers is essential if you are trying to sell products and/or services. Most internet users are wary about entering their credit card information into online platforms (understandably), so without a security logo and/or guarantee, customers who are in the online conversion channel might hesitate and decide not to buy. After designing a channel with clarity and harmony, as you saw in the previous section, you should then transmit a sense of security to your clients.
Transmitting the feeling of security to customers is often as easy as a security logo. See the John Lewis example below. Other options for transmitting security include writing a security guarantee, including customer reviews and/or putting links to other well-known companies who have used or reviewed your product on your site (see the MejorTrato example below).
3. Guide users through the buying process step by step
The last aspect of a great online conversion channel is leading a user through the buying process step by step just like a live sales person would do. Often in e-commerce you need a lot of data about your customers in order for users to make purchases (i.e. name, address, credit card information, delivery mode, etc.). Instead of presenting them with a long form that may lead users to hesitate or stop before starting, divide the process of entering data into two or three small steps so that none of the steps feel too overwhelming. An added bonus of this strategy is that once someone starts entering data, very often they feel like they have committed to their purchase and therefore they will continue the purchasing process until it is complete.
An example of a company that accomplishes this process very well, despite requesting a lot of data from their customers, is Apple:
In the image above you can see how the process was divided into 4 steps signaled through blue numbers (Delivery, Shipping, Payment, and Account). The purpose of this was to inform clients what phase of the current channel conversion they are in and which steps are still pending. For those customers who were carrying out this task for the first time, this is fundamental.
To give a point of comparison and in order to understand this point clearly, we can compare Apple with what should NOT be done. As can be seen below, Avis’ form is long and daunting and if you fill in one of the forms incorrectly, it will bring you to the start once again. This is not a good set-up.
These three tips for how best to implement an online conversion channel are crucial, but obviously not the be-all-end-all of online conversion. If you want more tips for your online conversion channel check out: Unbounce.com and Bigcommerce.com. There are plenty of other sites out there as well, but at a certain point you just need to try stuff out and learn from your own experiences. We have had 7 years of experience at optimizing online conversion channels and we still learn new things everyday. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions. Good luck!