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How to Turn Browsers into Buyers

Lily O'Halloran

You have your website up and running. You’re even attracting a healthy number of visitors. Of course, there is always more to do: implement search engine optimization (SEO) to drive more traffic, expand your opt-in email list to reach more customers, increase sales, and so on. If the endless list of things to do has you feeling blue, set down that list. It’s time to re-prioritize your goals.

One of the key attributes of a successful online business is converting website visitors into buyers. Before spending any more time or money on attracting additional traffic, work on converting current browsers into loyal customers.

Follow this three-point sales plan to encourage visitors to buy your products or services.

1. Polish your sales copy.

Great sales copy is a key factor of every successful e-commerce website. Effective sales copy grabs the attention of visitors with interesting headlines, and uses compelling copy to hold their attention. Pique the interest of readers, but don’t let readers slip away once you’ve hooked them. Persuade browsers to become buyers by following this process:

  • Identify with their problems and establish your credibility

  • Engage readers and provide a solution

  • Tell readers how they will benefit from your product or service

  • Overcome any objections they may have

  • Tell them exactly what to do with a Call to Action

Your sales copy should lead customers through a streamlined process that does not give them any reason to navigate away. Take a good, objective look at your sales copy. Use each of the points above to determine if your sales copy guides customers through the sales process. Be realistic for the best results. Make changes; there is always room for improvement.

2. Share customer testimonials.

Customer testimonials are valuable resources that should not be overlooked. What is more reassuring than a personal recommendation from another customer? Testimonials turn even the most skeptical visitors into buyers.

Testimonials show potential customers that your products or services do work, and that others will gain benefits from using the products. Testimonials should be used in a variety of places to provide the best results; a few good locations include: your home page, product listings, sales copy, and on a page devoted to customers testimonials.

What if you don’t have any customer testimonials? Create a focus group. Give the product away to members of the focus group in exchange for their honest feedback. A feedback survey works well to accumulate responses that are longer than “The product is great!” or “Works well!” The survey might include questions about how much money and time the product saved them, and how much better your product worked than the one they are currently using.

Every time that a customer provide a quality testimonial, be sure to ask them for their permission to use the testimonial on your website or marketing materials. Don’t be too shy to ask for testimonials. Invite customers to share their opinions by including a link on your website that asks them to tell you what they think. Follow up after orders by asking customers that a bought a product how they are enjoying it.

Always use real feedback with real names, locations, and a picture if possible to let customers know that the testimonials are legitimate. Video testimonials work wonders.

3. Make buying easy.

This sale-point may seem like a no-brainer, but it is not. The number of sales lost from a poor checkout process is staggering. Some statistics claim that as much as 50% of web sales are lost due to confusing checkout systems or customers not being able to find what they want – when a store does carry the product.

Easy navigation systems are a must for e-commerce websites. A best practice for website navigation is simply to use the most common method: a left-hand bar and a search feature on the top right of the browser window. Customers are able to easily find what they are looking for when they can navigate without thinking about it. The best navigation systems are those that the customer doesn’t notice – they just use them, which is a crucial reason to keep navigation consistent throughout the site.

Product placement is equally as important. Products should be listed under logical categories. If customers cannot find a product within a few clicks, they often give up. Take time to organize products in the most efficient placement possible. Not only will this help customers, efficient product placement helps you as well by enabling easier product updates.

The checkout process should be quick and easy. Let customers check out before they lose interest. A simple checkout process is secure and requires only necessary information to be obtained. For example, a shipping address is not necessary for the sale of an e-book. Customers appreciate having to give out as little information as possible. Happy customers become loyal customers.

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