Offline vs. Online – How to Convince Consumers to Online Shopping?

12min.

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Offline vs. Online – How to Convince Consumers to Online Shopping?d-tags
30 November 2023
For many of us, online shopping is already a part of everyday life. However, some people are still unwilling to order products or services via the Internet. Why? How can you convince potential customers to buy in your online store?

12min.

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Table of contents

How to Convince Customers to Shop in an Online Store?

What’s the possible cornerstone that will allow you to create solid foundations of your online store and that will convince consumers to begin their adventure with online shopping? Below you can see a list of 8 tips for e-commerce store owners.

1. Take Advantage of Social Proof

We’re likely to follow the crowd. That’s why online shopping is gaining in popularity each year. We buy because “someone also bought something”. Show potential customers that many other people have already purchased something in your store and are very satisfied with the products. That they aren’t concerned about shipping or payment methods. That everything is delivered safely and timely.

Use social proof to address all the possible doubts of your personas so that they’re sure that they’re doing the right thing.

seo for online store help

Show product photos taken by real customers who display items in everyday use. Publish pictures of people wearing clothes from your offer, using your kitchen utensils, or playing with their pets with toys from your store.

Benefit from user-generated content. Comments, reviews, or product recommendations written by real users are invaluable. They not only support the SEO process but also encourage potential customers to finalize their transactions.

Is there anything else social proof can help you with? When shopping online, have you ever encountered notifications saying “16 people bought this product in the last 24 hours” or “5 users are checking this item out at the moment”? If so, this is another application of social proof – “others bought it so why shouldn’t I get it as well?”.

2. Offer Free Shipping and Returns

This is another huge concern of offline customers – they don’t want to pay for shipping and possible returns. Instead, they prefer to go to a traditional store, see or try everything on, and then make the decision. However, getting to the shopping mall is also time and energy-consuming. How to deal with this?

The costs of an individual transaction will be higher (as you will pay for the shipment), however, there will also be more transactions as people concerned about this aspect won’t leave your store so easily anymore. Although you may not benefit from the first purchases as much as possible, the CLV (Customer Lifetime Value) of such new customers can be noticeably higher.

Once they trust one brand and everything goes according to the plan, they may become your regular recipients.

free delivery option ecommerce

The Notino.co.uk store devised a really appealing free shipping strategy. It offers a separate subpage with products that make the shipping free once added to the shopping cart. It’s a great way to get rid of certain products or improve sales of a specific, high-margin item whose purchase compensates delivery costs.

3. Provide Customers With as Many Payments and Delivery Methods as Possible

If you want to reach customers who aren’t eager online shoppers right now, remember about offering various delivery methods. Parcel lockers aren’t located in every small city and not every elderly person is willing to open the door to the courier. For some people, it’s much easier to pick up the order from a selected collection point such as the nearest store where they do everyday shopping.

The same principle applies to payments. The first transactions made by customers who don’t trust you yet and aren’t avid online shoppers, in general, are likely to be finalized only if you offer a “cash on delivery” method. And it’s not only about trust, think about the technological barrier.

You would be surprised if we told you how many people still don’t use online banking.

4. Benefit from the Unavailability

If you’ve been selling your products or services only in brick-and-mortar stores so far and now you want to attract online customers, offer them special products or sets that aren’t available in traditional shops. Complement the package with a small, unique, free gift that can’t be bought in brick-and-mortar stores.

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5. Benefit from the FOMO Principle (Fear of Missing Out)

Do you sometimes have the feeling that you’re missing the boat and that you’re not aware that something is happening? Most of us feel this way and online stores can benefit from that. Create special, time-limited offers for new customers. Deals that are available only on a given day.

Starter sets for users who haven’t bought anything from you so far, discounts for signing up for a newsletter – all of these ideas are really worth considering.

6. Refine the UX and UI of Your Online Store

People who have never shopped online don’t know the ropes. They aren’t familiar with online shops, shopping carts, registration forms. Remember about it when designing the interface of your store and planning the entire purchase path of the customers, from the very first moment they enter your store to the moment they finalize the transaction.

Regardless of the device, assist your visitors the whole time they’re on your website. Use appropriate product descriptions to facilitate their decision-making process, dispel any doubts, and support SEO.

online shopping what devices

When developing your online store, remember about mobile devices which are particularly important for users who haven’t been shopping online before. More and more transactions are finalized this way. In the last six months, as many as 79% of smartphone users bought something online via their mobile device.

7. Make Sure that Users Can Fully Benefit from Online Customer Service

Customers who haven’t been shopping online so far need much more support and assistance than people who can’t imagine their lives without online sales and discounts. Make sure that your store provides all possible forms of contact with the customer service department.

The phone number, email address, live video or audio chat with a consultant, and responsive social media profiles are a must.

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8. Allow Customers to Finalize Transactions Without Having to Create an Account

Creating an account and providing a huge amount of data may raise a lot of concerns if someone isn’t familiar with online shopping. Limit the amount of information required to register. Make it possible to finalize the transaction without the necessity to set up an account.

At the same time, you can encourage users to do it by offering them specific benefits such as the possibility to track their order, extra gifts or order record that has an impact on future discounts and special offers for regular customers. Still, it’s better to encourage, not to force.

9. Make Shipping as Fast as Possible

Giving your customers free returns and shipping is one thing, but it won’t help if it takes a whole week to deliver their products (unless we’re talking about specific industries, like furniture, where the average waiting times are usually higher). And this is quite critical.

According to the survey results published on Statista, in 2021, 52% of customers shopping online claimed that shipping speed affected their purchase decision, while only 38% said so about shipping costs. This highlights how crucial it is to provide an effective, quick delivery. But how to do that?

You’ve got a couple of options. At the beginning of your business, you might opt for drop-shipping. This way, you will completely remove a warehouse from your logistics chain, speeding up the delivery. However, you will have less control over the quality of your products (you risk sending damaged goods). Thus, when you grow, you can switch to cross-docking. This method requires a warehouse, but it still skips storing – instead, you quickly complete your orders, check their quality, and immediately send them to the customers. But if you wish for this method to be effective, you need a perfectly coordinated system at each step, including end delivery, so it’s not easy to conduct cross-docking effectively.

Online Shop vs. Offline Shop

Knowing how to attract people to shop online, you might be wondering how much different it is from running an offline store. Well, the difference is quite significant.

There are numerous aspects that might be a bit more tricky when done online vs. offline, but there are also some that are beneficial for businesses. Let’s take a look at them:

  • Securing payments – As an online store, you won’t have physical access to credit cards during transactions. This will most likely cause financial institutions to label you “high risk”. What does it mean to you? That you’ll be forced to use special merchant accounts and payment processing services that are often a bit more expensive. However, they also protect your business a bit more than the standard ones, so it does not always need to be a disadvantage.
  • Logistics – One major advantage of offline stores for customers is that they get products right away. When purchasing them online, they need to wait, and your role as a shop owner is to make this period as short as possible. Therefore, you need completely different logistics. You still need a physical location (unless you opt for drop-shipping) to complete and deliver your goods, but the rest of the logistics chain is completely different, and you have more flexibility than when running an offline store.
  • Reach – In the discussion of online shop vs. offline shop, the former clearly wins in one aspect: reach. As an e-commerce, you usually have a possibility to cover your whole state or country, plus it’s easy for you to expand abroad. As a physical store owner, you need to focus on what’s around your location. This impacts everything, from logistics to marketing and the ways in which you convince people to buy your products.

Convince Customers to Online Shopping – The Takeaway

How to convince people to shop online? Many of us are more and more willing to purchase goods over the Internet, especially in the era of the ongoing pandemic, restrictions, and lockdowns.

As an entrepreneur operating in the e-commerce industry, you should be aware that customers who haven’t dealt with online stores before requiring special treatment and different approaches. The minor adjustments we’ve described above can make offline customers stay with you for longer and improve the CLV.

Thanks to it, you’ll be able to find a strong and reliable group of recipients of your offer. Take care of the users from the very outset and profit from the obtained benefits for years.

Do you want to work on improving your online store and attracting more customers to your online store? Contact us and together we will boost your visibility and traffic!

This is an updated version of the article from the December 1, 2020.

Author
Logo Delante
Author
Delante

Delante is an online marketing agency specialized in generating website traffic from search engines and paid ads (SEO / SEM). Over 80% of our clients are from rapidly growing e-commerce industry.

Author
Logo Delante
Author
Delante

Delante is an online marketing agency specialized in generating website traffic from search engines and paid ads (SEO / SEM). Over 80% of our clients are from rapidly growing e-commerce industry.

Comments

  1. Well, I think that there’s little you can do to convince customers who don’t trust online shopping. The majority of e-stores have already implemented all methods that make transactions safe and stuff. If customers still don’t feel it they probably won’t ever (brick and mortar stores ain’t going anywhere right?). However, the pandemic made some of those people try and fall in love with e-shopping – that’s for sure 🙂

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FAQ

1. How to encourage customers to online shopping?

There are many methods to improve online store sales. A wide product range, social proof, online store interface, special offers and appropriate SEO activities are the perfect recipe for improving your positions in the search results and inspiring trust. All of these to shorten the customers’ path from the first click to the finalization of the transaction.

2. Do I need an online store?

If it’s possible to sell your products online, why don’t you do it? The expenses associated with the development and management of an online store are so low that they start paying off after a dozen or so transactions a year, depending on your product margins and prices. And the Internet allows you to reach customers from all over the world. On the other hand, traditional stores attract only the closest recipients. An online store operates 24/7, whereas brick and mortar shops are open only a few hours a day.

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