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Customers will need assistance to evaluate whether or not a purchase is worth their time, effort and money, and social proof will play a big part in this.
Depending on what your company offers, you may or may not have acquired an email address by this stage. If you have, you have already gone so far as to gain a conversion, so this next stage will be easier for you. If you haven't got an email address, don't worry. There are still steps you can take to help your audience through this stage.
Evaluation is all about your customers weighing up their options and you relieving any doubts they may have about making that all-important purchase.
Use testimonials - Use testimonials to provide social proof. They are confirmation from existing customers that your claims are correct. Place testimonials on your website, in your marketing emails, on your ads, and on your social media pages. Request a testimonial from every customer you get.
If you're just starting out and you don't have any testimonials yet, that's okay. We've all got to start somewhere. Just don't be tempted to display fake ones as these will diminish trust. Instead, move onto the next stage...
Which leads us to the next point...
Make it easy to contact you - Contact information will make people feel more comfortable about purchasing from you, especially when offering a service like insurance or legal services. Make this simple and include as many ways as possible:
- Telephone number
- Contact form
- Email address
- Physical address
- Live chat function
You can provide this information in text form, or create videos for easier consumption. You could create a video specifically dedicated to people at this stage of the sales funnel. Once you've relieved any doubts, some of your audience will move onto the next stage; intent.
Even though the intent to purchase is there, there's still work to do to bridge that gap between intent and purchase. Call-to-actions should be direct and to-the-point to encourage further action, such as "Buy Now" or "Get Yours Here". If your marketing strategy relies heavily on videos, include these types of call-to-actions in them at this stage.
Take marketing as an example, you may have organised a phone call to discuss options, or your prospective customer may have provided you with the details of what they need, fully intending to go through with the purchase.
If, on the other hand, you have an e-commerce store, by this stage you will have shown potential customers a product and demonstrated exactly how and why they need it. You have also shown them how they can trust you and they are now ready to go ahead with the purchasing stage.
The purchasing stage can pose problems of its own. As we all know, intending to do something and actually doing it are two very different things. Before this stage, you would have used your writing skills or video creating skills most of all. But, here is where you need to concentrate on your website and it's functionality. Your words alone cannot push people through the shopping cart process. Your website needs to be smooth, fast, and to be able to do everything you intend it to do.
According to 99firms.com, the average rate of shopping cart abandonment is 67.91%, and 24% of these are down to poor site navigation. Baymard claims that improving the checkout process of an e-commerce site can increase conversions by 35.26%.
With these stats in mind, let's take a look at how to minimise shopping cart abandonment:
Simple checkout process - Everything on your website needs to be simple, and easy to understand and navigate. Every complication could prove a chink in the chain. Endeavour to minimise the steps it takes from browsing to purchasing, and make sure your site is fast-loading.
Offer multiple payment methods - The more payment methods you have, the more ground you'll cover.
Live chat bot - Consider adding live chat bot functionality in the corner of your website for any last-minute questions.
"Before You Go" pop-ups - Add a pop-up function to your website that appears if someone attempts shopping cart abandonment. This could be offering a discount, or providing further beneficial information about shopping with you.
You don't need to be a website developer or designer to get a professional website that offers things like chat bots and pop-ups. There are lot of simple-to-use website builders out there that enable you to add functionality easily.
It costs less time and money to achieve sales through returning customers than it does new ones. This last stage, brand loyalty, will concentrate on building loyal customers that will return for further purchases down the line. Not only are existing customer 9x more likely to convert than someone who has never purchased from you before, but they also tend to spend more money on subsequent purchases.
Take a look at this table to show how returning customers can bring in more revenue:
|After one purchase||There is a 27% chance of a return|
|After two purchases||There is a 45% chance of a return|
|After three purchases||There is a 54% chance of a return|
There are lots of things you can do to encourage brand loyalty from a customer:
Keep in touch - Out of site, out of mind, as the saying goes. Email your customers regularly to keep your business at the forefront of their minds.
Request feedback - Customer feedback, both positive and negative, will help you learn and grow as a business. Send customers a short questionnaire after they've made a purchase to find out about their experience with you and how you can improve.
Discounts - Offer exclusive discounts and offers to customers to show that you appreciate their custom and encourage further purchases.
Invite them to follow you on social media - If they haven't already, invite your customers to click that follow button to increase your social media presence.
Refer-a-friend - Introduce a refer-a-friend scheme to encourage more brand awareness and customer loyalty.
Retarget - Use retargeting ads at this stage to advertise to existing customers.
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