Running an online business is hard work. You have to deal with a whole lot, from website design, to products, to content, to inventory management, to getting traffic…In the case of online business, most of us tend to focus a lot on traffic, since the logic goes “more traffic => more sales”. But that’s not entirely true, since you can have tons of traffic, but zero sales if your traffic is not targeted. Read the secrets to get more sales.

What if you could tap into your existing traffic and make sure that they bought more from you? What if you could increase conversions instead of increasing traffic?

For example, if you got 10,000 visitors per month and converted at one percent, that’s 100 orders. If you could increase your conversions to 2%, your orders would double to 200 orders from the same amount of traffic!

Here are some ideas you can implement to increase your conversion rate.

1. Show that you are trustworthy

Nothing scares potential customers more than the idea of sharing their sensitive information with an unknown website and being taken advantage of. To help ease your customers, show that you are trustworthy by displaying trust symbols.  Trust symbols range from SSL certificates such as GoDaddy, McAfee, GeoTrust, or Thawte, to name a few. They are also any other kind of official seal, such as BBB accreditation or a BizRate customer service badge.

These badges instill confidence in your customers, showing them that you are real and genuine.

2. Show social proof

What better way to motivate people to buy than showing how many other people bought? Sites like Groupon and LivingSocial thrive on this principle, and while you don’t have to copy their exact model, what’s to stop you from implementing their main driving point: social proof!

Collect reviews and testimonials and display them prominently across your website. Nothing motivates more than the simple fact that others have used your service/product and were satisfied.

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3. Write compelling descriptions

When you sell online, your content has to do all your talking. That means your product descriptions have to be at the top of their game. Copying over manufacturer descriptions is a big no-no, since both Google and your customers will find them highly unappealing.

For inspiration on writing a good description, check out how Amazon has optimized their Kindle product description. The Kindle is one of the best selling products in the world, and the sales page has a lot to do with that!

You want to focus on what the product will do for the customer, not what the product is. Remember to show benefits – that’s what appeals most to your buyer.

4. Implement live chat

Many times, a customer will be using your website and run into a problem. Maybe they have a question about a product that you haven’t answered on the site, or maybe they have an issue with payment.

If they are highly motivated to buy, you don’t want to lose that sale to an information gap. By implementing live chat (using services like Olark or Zopim), you can provide a way for your customer to communicate with you and for you to solve their problem.

The only disadvantage with live chat is that you’d have to man it during working hours, so if your store is a side project, you may find that a little inconvenient.

5. Tighten up your checkout process

I can’t tell you how many times I was about to buy something from a website until I was forced to register just to be able to checkout. This is the last thing you want to do. Instead, keep options for both checking out as a guest and registering, and email guest checkouts a password by default for them to check their order status.

You also don’t want to ask for more information than is necessary -the less time it takes the customer to fill out your checkout form, the quicker they run their credit card information, and the quicker you make a sale.

Look at how the best in the business does it – Amazon has an option for One-Click Ordering. How much easier can it get?

Conclusion

By implementing these ideas, you should see an increase in your conversion rate across the board. Remember to run an A/B test when you make any changes, since that will let you measure with certainty how much of a difference each change made.  If you are just starting out, though, and aren’t seeing many sales, you can be a little bolder and make sweeping changes, since you don’t have much to lose in terms of existing sales.

Also, before you make any changes, remember to always, always make a backup of your original site!

Shabbir Nooruddin is a guest blogger for Planday. Shabbir blogs about building eCommerce businesses at bootstrapping ecommerceHe has contributed to Moz and Shopify.com. In his free time, you can find him reading a book or flying model helicopters.

If you want to improve your sales, checkout our “Ultimate Independent Retailer’s Marketing Checklist” below.

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Lisa Andersen
Lisa Andersen Content Editor
Part of Planday’s content team in Copenhagen, Lisa is into yoga and loves good writing. Her experience includes working with communication and PR for international grassroots organizations in Argentina and Bolivia.