THE HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW TELLS US HOW PEOPLE DECIDE WHETHER TO BUY FROM YOUR SITE…. AND THE ANSWER MAY SURPRISE YOU

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This week HBR published an article on how consumers choose to buy products online. Ecommerce is a different ballgame from brick and mortar business for a few big reasons. One of them is that way fewer shoppers convert to purchasers online than in stores. And it makes sense.

If I’m going to shopping at the mall, by the time I get to the check-out counter, I’ve already invested my time and energy in driving to the store, walking through the display racks, and perhaps trying on a few garments. Even if I’m only somewhat satisfied with the merchandise at this mall, I probably won’t feel like investing even more time and energy to drive across town for a slightly better version. I don’t go through the hassle without some intent to purchase. But online, it’s easy to check out store after store with just a few clicks. And I’ll often visit store sites just to research prices, or check out new trends, with little intent to buy.

SO ONLINE MARKETERS HAVE TO BE EXTRA SMART ABOUT CONVERTING BROWSERS INTO BUYERS.

Classic marketing theory has said businesses can increase conversions by building trust with consumers. And HBR confirmed this common sense theory.

BUT THERE’S A TWIST.

Traditional ways of increasing consumer trust include using markers of authority and security, like secure payment processing badges and “official-looking” text. But what the HBR study found is that those aren’t the only things that work. Because consumers aren’t just making conscious, logical determinations about whether to trust an online business. They’re also depending on unconscious intuition to decide whether they trust the company.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR MARKETERS?

While there’s no harm in advertising your official credentials, pay attention to other less formal details. Things like having a consistent color and font scheme. Using design and content to build a consistent brand experience helps customers get to know, like, AND trust you. And in the end, that’s what makes people click the buy button.