Thursday, 23 August 2012

Online Business: Increasing Sales and Conversion

The internet has been a very fertile ground for businesses nowadays with websites becoming very efficient point of sales serving as the best digital alternative to over the counter transactions. This has revolutionized the way businesses are run specifically the sales and marketing strategies. Now, entrepreneurs go crazy about online ads and search engine optimization thinking that increased traffic will mean increased sales. Well, in a way that's safe to conclude, but then, looking at the larger picture, website visitors do not always end up buying. Oftentimes, though they are just a step away from clicking the 'buy' or 'purchase' button, they still end up abandoning their shopping carts. Ever wondered why? It all boils down to the question of if you can be trusted or not.

Challenges of An Online Business
The way you do business today is very different from how to you did business maybe 5 or 10 years earlier. Today, you do not need a brochure nor a face to face meeting to gain attention from people. These are already old school tools for marketing and sales. To get started on a business today, what you basically need to set up is a good website which is all-encompassing; that is, it has all the information from products, to services, to warranty, to payment options, and to payment transactions. The website is a one stop shop. It is where the initial sales opportunity is, and also where you can actually close a deal.

Most businessmen are too concerned of coming up with strategies that they think will give them the best return of investment that they seem to overlook the main factor which will actually drive their revenues higher than they expected. They often dedicate their time to optimizing their online presence. This may be a good initial step, since more visitors may mean more potential customers. What's not-so-good is that many businessmen think that completing this step is enough to do the trick.  The worst part is they fail to see what lies ahead after the clicks and visits.

While visitors may already mean cash five or ten years before, such is not really the case today especially with more and more hacking and phishing attacks publicized. Customers today are very cautious and meticulous of the websites they visit. Unless they are sure that the website is run by a trusted organization, they will not share personal information.

It's a TRUST Thing
Proving your customers you can be trusted and making some trust signs visible on your website is a proven effective way how you can convince them to share their personal credentials without any hesitations. There are a number of things how you may do this.

1. Install an SSL Certificate on your Website
Almost all websites now which collect payments from the customers have the SSL certificates installed. This is not only for compliance to some internet policies but also to establish customer trust and loyalty. SSL Certificates are issued by trusted Certification Authorities, like GlobalSign. These trusted CAs vet the identity of the website owner before issuing the certificate to ensure end users that the website is run by a legit person or organization. 

A number of SSL Certificates are available in the market - all tailored to meet different people's or organizations' needs. The most basic is the Domain Validated SSL which may be issued in a few minutes. Most of those who opt to get this are individuals who run their own mini site. If you are running your own organization though, you should opt for a more trusted SSL certificate, OrganizationSSL. This kind of SSL displays the organization's details upon clicking the padlock on the address bar. But if you want to readily gain our customers' trust, you must go for the Extended Validation SSL which actually greens the address bar signifying a secure site. Most online shoppers, especially those who are really skeptic, will always look for the green address bar before casting any purchases. 

Having an SSL certificate installed on your site may cost you additional bucks, but the trust and loyalty it builds between you and the customer which will later translate to cash, is worth double, or more than double the initial expense.

2. Display a Secure Site Seal
While SSL Certificates actually give your site a good impression. It may suffice to convince your visitors that you are a trusted seller and that they can confidently provide you their login and credit card credentials. Making a 'trust mark' such as GlobalSign's Secure Site Seal on your website adds credibility to your site facilitating a smoother flow of money from paying customers. Displaying the Site Seal on your website is another way of telling your customers you care and have invested on their safety; that you are not only after their cash but also their overall security and satisfaction. 

Most Site Seals are clickable; that is, once clicked, they'll display the information about the website, its owner, the SSL certificate which encrypts it, as well as the issuing Certification Authority. 

3. Security Compliance
Adhering to the regulations of internet security compliance bodies will definitely boost visitors' confidence in purchasing from your website since they are certain that you have passed a series of evaluation proving you follow a stringent set of security practices.

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