To Get Them to Buy, Make it Easier

For all of the marketers and small business owners out there trying to increase the number of people purchasing from their company, you may want to go through the process of purchasing yourself.

You may think you know how it works, but when is the last time you experienced the process in the same way that your customers do? The reason for taking another look at your purchasing process from time to time is simple, you may be making it difficult to buy. When you make it difficult to buy, the odds go down that people will do it.

Here are some ways that companies make it harder to purchase:

  1. Forcing shoppers to create a user account during the checkout process. The simplest way to get more users to check out is to eliminate steps. Allow people to check out as a guest and you’ll get more sales.
     
  2. Forcing shoppers to call to purchase rather than completing the purchase online. The simplest way to get more shoppers to purchase is to let them do it in the way that works for them. Give them options and you’ll get more sales.
     
  3. Not offering live technical and customer support during the purchase process. The simplest way to get more shoppers to purchase is to answer any question they have. Live chat and phone support will get more users through the checkout process by eliminating all their fears.

Amazon sets a great example for making purchasing easier. When the most successful retailer of all time focuses on making it easier for shoppers to complete the checkout process, other companies should take notice. Through one-click checkout, prime, apps, Dash buttons and Echo products, Amazon is working to make buying someone on their network as simple as possible.

Simple Website Fixes – Part 11

Welcome to the latest edition of our newest weekly blog series, Simple Website Fixes. Each week we will identify and explain one easy change that you can make to your company’s website in order to improve performance. Last week’s fix was – Add Speed.

This week’s fix = Use Optimizely

It is not possible for anyone, me included, to know exactly what changes you should make to your website. We might have some idea, based on past experience and industry knowledge. But we can never be sure.

That’s why the answer to so many questions is, it depends. Every company is different. Every customer is different.

But one surefire change you can make to your website, one that is guaranteed to improve its performance over time if used correctly, is to start testing. Running simple A/B tests and measuring the impact those changes have on performance will always be a winner. And Optimizely is a tool that makes that strategy easier than ever.

Optimizely is a site testing platform designed for marketers. It is an easy ‘plug and play’ system that requires a developer to simply add a small snippet of code to a company’s website to start testing. From there, you don’t need any technical knowledge to operate. Make changes, define goals, and measure results all in one place, for a low monthly cost based on the number of people interacting with your site.

Any self-proclaimed expert can tell you what you should do to improve your website. But only you can actively test changes on your site with real users and find out what works best.

Implement a testing strategy and you are sure to improve your site’s performance.

Have an idea for a simple website fix? Submit it here and maybe we will include it in an upcoming post.

Zach Heller Marketing Week in Review

There are a lot of smart people out there – people who know a lot about business through years of experience. But they’re not all going to agree on what works and what doesn’t, and so they all can’t be right all the time. That’s because there are no true one size fits all strategies to successfully running and growing a company. That’s why it’s key to stay informed, keep testing new things, and not put too much faith in any one bit of advice. You have to find out what works for you, and that means taking some risks.

Here are our posts from last week, in case you need to catch up:

  1. Simple Website Fixes – Part 10
  2. Will You Match Your Competitor’s Price?
  3. Will You Honor an Expired Coupon?

Happy Saturday!

Two Ways to Boost Your Marketing Knowledge:

  1. Subscribe to the blog and never miss another marketing post
  2. Subscribe to the monthly newsletter to get a curated list of the top marketing articles from around the web

Will You Honor an Expired Coupon?

If you are a B2C company that runs any type of special offers, this is a common question that many businesses will hear from prospective customers-

“Will you honor an expired coupon?”

Or some version thereof. “The deadline was yesterday, can I still take advantage?” Or “I found this old offer code and it’s not working, is there a new one I can use?”

As a marketer or small business owner, you are likely to have a quick gut reaction to these kinds of questions. And based on a number of conversations I have had, it will be either one of two responses.

#1 - No way. You missed the deadline. You pay full price. What’s the point of having deadlines if we don’t stick to them? If I make an exception for you, I’d have to make an exception for everyone. Otherwise it’s not fair. Sorry.

OR…

#2 - Absolutely. That coupon will still work, or we’ll give you a current one. Because that means a surefire sale for us. Whereas saying no might lose us a customer. So why wouldn’t we honor it?

For the longest time, I was firmly in the first group. For whatever reason, I felt strongly that giving away discounts that were not “earned” was not fair. But I see now that I was wrong.

So what if customers take advantage of you and get discounts that they would not normally be awarded? If they ask, give it to them. Because that gets you a sale you might otherwise lose.

Customers that ask for a discount are price-conscious. They will represent a small percentage of your overall customer base, who will continue to shop you as usual and “follow the rules” when it comes to offers and discounts.

If your response was closer to #2 above, good for you. If it was #1, you need to train your mind to think through this question differently.

Will You Match Your Competitor’s Price?

When it comes to pricing, there are countless strategies that companies rely on. Schools of thought vary on how to price for success, and entire books can and have been written on the subject.

But the question for this post is a very basic one: Will you match your competitor’s price?

This is a question you should answer internally now, before it comes up. And it is likely to come up. Whether it’s a customer who makes the request: “I really like your product and would rather do business with you, but company X is offering theirs for 10% less.”

Or it comes from your boss: “Company X just lowered their prices. Do you think we should lower ours too?”

Being the price leader in your market is a legitimate strategy. And if that is your strategy, and a competitor undercuts you, you must respond.

But for most companies, the answer is more difficult. Matching a competitor’s price is not a strategy in and of itself. It might be a part of a special promotion, like we have seen recently from companies like Walmart and Best Buy have used as a way to compete with online retailers. Research is mixed on whether this kind of promotion can work.

The hard truth is that unless you are pursuing a lowest-price strategy, you should be able to offer a higher price than your competitor and still succeed. That’s because you should be pursuing other areas of competitive advantage.

It’s best to understand what you do better than your competitor. When they lower their prices, you don’t lower yours in response automatically. Instead you continue to outdo them in those other areas.

If you don’t have any competitive advantage, and indeed your competitor offers the exact same thing as you, then you are in a commodity business, and price is all that matters. So prepare for a long and brutal price war.