The extra skills that persuade your website visitors to commit to an online purchase

Stephen Hunter maps out the way ahead to success

The ability to persuade visitors to commit to an online purchase relies on many factors being in place. Their confidence in your security, credibility and fulfilment all play an influential role.

But it is often the more subtle qualities of good usability which are overlooked: is your site visually appealing and engaging? Are products easy to find? Are your basket, checkout and registration processes simple and seamless? Is security reconfirmed throughout? Good practice usability should mean that your visitors can make a purchase or complete an enquiry (post-sale also very important) without pausing to think or question.

I always recommend that an audit based on usability best practices is conducted before any client embarks on any website reinvestment. This easy to follow and proven exercise focuses on the areas of your site which contribute to a high quality user experience and identifies where work is required if your customer conversion is to experience a boost.

An audit and report looks at both the technical and aesthetic aspects of your site: do pages load quickly? Do they look as intended across (at least) the most commonly used browsers (Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, Google Chrome…) and systems? Are all graphic and content items displayed consistently, correctly and geared towards your customers and brand?

Often involving a group of test users, representative of your target customers, it is important to put the above into practice and discover what real users think of your website. Also covered in our comprehensive approach are security validation, customer persuasion techniques and repeat selling strategies which play key roles in successful eCommerce outcomes and reduced cost per customer acquisitions.

This invaluable analysis of usability allows you to plan effectively through benchmarking website activity and performance, refining the quality of your user experience and achieving a positive return on your investment.

Radiator’s approach to usability has been successfully deployed on a variety of eCommerce sites including: www.skyscanner.net, www.niki-jones.co.uk CalMac’s website, currently in development.

Stephen Hunter is a member of the Scotland IS eCommerce Special Interest Group and co-founder of Radiator, a leading eCommerce and online marketing agency providing a fully integrated solution from website concept to sales

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