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Turning web visitors into sales

Attracting visitors to websites is only part of the challenge for it is what businesses do with those visitors that will determine long-term profitability. DAVID BROWN reports on how to increase web conversions.

Most businesses know how much traffic is visiting their websites and how many enquiries arise from this but what happens to visitors who don’t make an enquiry?

While not everyone is going to make a buying decision straight away, stores that do nothing to stay in front of people once they hit the exit button are essentially back at square one.

Let’s use Jane and John as an example. Jane and John both run a store and each business receives around 100 website visitors per week. From that, Jane and John obtain four email enquiries for product and convert two into sales.

Four enquiries from 100 visitors should be good; however, what of the 96 people who don’t ask for more information?

These 96 are at various stages of the buying process – let’s assume 20 might be tire-kickers just filling in time; 50 might have a look but not be interested; while the final 26 are unknown.

That’s 26 prospects who haven’t made a purchase but who are also yet to say no.

Sadly, businesses often make little to no attempt to identify these 26 customers and find ways to invite them further into the sales funnel.

Be the front-runner

Going back to the example, John does nothing further to re-engage the prospects that don’t buy but Jane wants to give herself every opportunity to take the process further. She offers an email sign-up that enables all participants to enter a monthly draw for a $100 voucher.

Jane finds that 10 of the 26 prospects sign up for the voucher giveaway, which tells her they are still interested. To do this, they provide their email addresses.

Jane follows up her initial email with a series of emails offering information about how to care for her product, what to look for when purchasing her product, a free coffee voucher from a nearby coffee shop that can only be collected from her store and an invitation to an upcoming store event. Seven of the prospects take her up on either the free coffee or evening offer.

As each comes in, Jane is able to discuss product in more detail with five of them and three end up making a purchase. From 100 initial enquiries, Jane has lifted her sales to five, while John is still at two.

Game, set and match to Jane, who has managed to increase her conversion rate by 150 per cent. John on the other hand is left languishing, yet to realise the opportunity he’s left on the table. Using this method, Jane makes 12 additional sales over a month!

Don’t fall short

When it comes to marketing, why fall short at the final hurdle after doing most of the hard work? Don’t invest large sums of money getting 20 per cent of prospects over the line then neglect the low hanging fruit created out of the other 80 per cent.

This is a short-sighted mentality that arises from a tendency of businesses to sell before a relationship has first been developed. The truth is that most people won’t buy from a first interaction.

In fact, surveys show that it can take as many as seven interactions before customers make a purchase. If staff keep trying to make sales happen on first interactions then fail to follow up on those who don’t buy, they end up leaving a slew of potential customers hanging.

The days of selling on the spot have gone; people like to be wooed first, and for most retailers this wooing can be done through education. Shoppers search the internet to educate themselves before making a purchase so why not be the website that is educating them?

Giving customers something rather than asking them for something is much more likely to lead to a positive buying experience.

An investment of as little as $20 per month can provide a business with an automated email system to add to its website, enabling all visitors to be contacted with a welcoming series of emails that will warm them up without trying to close the sale. Perhaps the offer of a monthly $100 prize draw will be enough to persuade interested prospects to submit their details?

With just some small upfront costs, stores can generate extra sales, easily recouping those costs. Plus, they now have the opportunity to re-engage these prospects again later for a fraction of the cost of normal advertising channels.

To paraphrase John F Kennedy, “Ask not what your customers can give to you; ask what you can give to your customers.”

Create a giving environment that turns prospects into buyers.

David Brown

Contributor • Retail Edge Consultants

David Brown is co-founder and business mentor with Retail Edge Consultants. Learn more: retailedgeconsultants.com

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