These days, it seems like internet retailers feel more pressure than ever to beat the competition on price. Store owners have been conditioned to drop prices just to get the business. But being the lowest price isn’t always necessary.


In fact, BigCommerce pulled together a range of Ecommerce studies and found that 80% of consumers say that competitive pricing is an important factor. You don’t have to be the lowest—just be in the ballpark. It’s the other reasons why consumers will choose to buy from you.


With highly publicized data breaches of retailers such as Target and Home Depot, security is at the front of many shoppers’ minds. To ease the anxiety, make sure you have security seals on your store. And not just in the footer. Put the seals in more visible places: individual product pages, shopping cart pages, and, most importantly, on the actual checkout form. Many retailers don’t show security seals in checkout, and that’s a huge mistake.

Return Policy and Customer Service

An easy, straightforward return policy is a must. I know consumers who won’t shop at certain stores because the return policies are too convoluted. Keep it simple. Make it easy for shoppers to understand the policy and act on it, if needed. Not only will you convert more customers initially, you will also inspire loyalty by providing convenience.

Also, if you’ve been fortunate enough to earn a customer service badge from someone such as StellaService, display the badge proudly. Same thing with a Better Business Bureau seal. Putting that in front of a shopper shows that you’re serious about your business. Show customers that it’s easy to shop with you, and if there are any problems, you’ll quickly resolve them. It will go a long way toward building trust.

Educating Visitors

Product reviews certainly help with the buying process, but there are other ways you can help educate your visitors. If you sell products which require a lot of research, it might be helpful to display a buying guide or manual/instruction booklet. With product descriptions, go beyond the traditional specs of the items. What does your ideal customer want to know about your products? Providing relevant, educational information increases time spent on the site, all while instilling a sense that you care about your shoppers. They will appreciate the content and will reward you at checkout.

Display Social Proof

Consumers take comfort in the fact that others have shopped at your store or purchased the same products. It’s much easier to make a decision when a shopper has information from other consumers. Not only does she feel more informed, but she will feel, well, safe.

This is where product reviews and testimonials come into play. The product reviews need to be unique—not some shared reviews that appear on 1,000 other sites. You should always be asking your customers to write a review or testimonial. Social proof is important to consumers, and it’s a major factor in their purchasing decisions.


Lastly, you should personalize your store with your own voice and personality. Create an interesting, personal “About Us” page. Write unique product descriptions that show your store’s personality. The better you can connect with shoppers on a personal, 1-to-1 level—and not as just another site with a shopping cart—the more likely you are to convert them to customers.

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Sean Godier
Sean Godier is head of marketing for Spring Metrics, a SaaS company which helps internet retailers increase conversion rates and revenue. Sean is a 15+ year eCommerce veteran, heading up departments for companies such as Yahoo! and Business Supply (acquired by Staples).