A recent study done by Bizrate Insights uncovers the top problems consumers experience when shopping online from their mobile device. Almost all of these relate to usability. Does your mobile website design have any of these issues?

Problem 8 – Data Security Concerns (11%).

Problem 7 – Not enough product information available (12%).

Problem 6 – Pictures are too small (17%).

Problem 5 – Entering information in checkout is frustrating (17%).

Problem 4 – Text is too small (17%).

Problem 3 – Having to use the “full site” version to access what I’m looking for (21%).

Problem 2 – Pages load slowly (25%).

Largest Problem Online Mobile Shoppers Have – Having to enlarge first to ensure I touch/ click in the right place (33%).

Another recent study by Google and AnswerLab sought to answer the question “What makes a good mobile site?” Their key takeaway was:

“Mobile users are very goal-oriented. They expect to be able to get what they need, immediately, and on their own terms.”

Take a minute to try purchasing a product on your website as if you were a customer.

  • Is your navigation easy to click through and the links large enough for your fingers?
  • Do your pages load in 2-3 seconds?
  • Can you access all your products?
  • Can you read the text?
  • Can you proceed through the checkout with speed and ease?
  • Are the pictures large enough to see the detail you need?
  • Do you include all the information about the product that a customer needs to know before purchasing?
  • Does your site have an SSL connection, or common Security features and badges to reassure your customers that their personal and financial information is safe?

For more information on mobile friendly website design check out Google Developers’ Principles of Site Design or contact our SEO website designers.

Do you know what is actually turning your online shoppers into buyers? Are big images of your product more important that short video clips? Does a review from another shopper more likely to convince the shopper to buy, or is it because the product is currently a trending bestseller that the shopper makes the purchase?

A new study recently published by UPS and comScore identifies the most influential content for online shoppers:

  1. Product Reviews (73%)
  2. Q&A (48%)
  3. Product and brand videos (47%)
  4. Photos of consumers using products (42%)
  5. Communities/ forums (31%)
  6. “Trending Now” products (30%)
  7. Retailer’s blog (28%)
  8. Podcasts (22%)

Plus Other Important Purchase Decision Factors for Online Shoppers

The study also identifies other important factors in the path to purchase:

  1. Detailed product information (73%)
  2. Retailer’s reputation (66%)
  3. Return policy (62%)
  4. Multiple images or ability to zoom (59%)

More Info on How Reviews Affect Online Purchases

Did you know that not all reviews are equal in their ability to influence an online purchase? The study found that the relationship of the reviewer and where the review is posted matters:

  1. Reviews from marketplace (65%)
  2. Reviews from friends and family (55%)
  3. Reviews from social media (29%)

Take Advantage of Other Social Media Influencers

Finally the study also inquired as to what types of  posts respondents are most likely to view on Facebook:

  1. Promotions (47%)
  2. New product announcements (38%)
  3. Sweepstakes (38%)

Key Takeaways for Online Retailers

  • Make sure you start with a strong reputation as a retailer and have a decent return policy that makes your online shoppers comfortable with making a purchase.
  • Start with the basics and make sure you have detailed product descriptions and all the information online shoppers will need.
  • Support your product descriptions with FAQs or Q&A type content. Anticipate the questions about the product that your visitors will want answered before they buy.
  • Add other forms of media including pictures and videos that really showcase the product in use.
  • Be sure to collect reviews from customers once they’ve purchased and used the product and consider a “refer to a friend” type promotion that encourages buyers to share their purchase with others.
  • Integrate a related products or popular products feed into your pages to help increase sales.
  • Use social media to promote new products and specials, as well as contests.

You can read about the entire study over at MarketingCharts.com.

If current website sales are $10,000 per month and you can improve shopping cart abandonment rate by just 10% you would end up earning an additional $12,000 in sales for the year!

In case you are new to this concept, the official shopping cart abandonment rate definition is the loss of customers who enter the shopping cart or checkout portion of your site but do not end up making a purchase, for whatever reason. This is like a person who comes into your store, picks up a product and heads to the till but doesn’t end up buying.

On Average, 68% of Customers Abandon the Shopping Cart

The most  documented online shopping cart abandonment average rate is 67.91% according to Baymard Institute and based on 27 different studies analyzing e-commerce shopping cart abandonment. This means that nearly 7 in 10 people who come into your store, interact with your product and show intention to purchase end up backing out.

In this article we are going to take a brief look at the reasons for shopping cart abandonment, what causes shopping cart abandonment and how to decrease shopping cart abandonment in order to grow your sales.

So why do web buyers abandon shopping carts?
Top Reasons for Shopping Cart Abandonment

  • High shipping costs or unexpected costs
  • Just browsing/ Not ready to purchase
  • Website navigation too complicated
  • High product price
  • Want to save produce for later consideration
  • Did not clearly mention shipping costs
  • No guest checkout option
  • Needs too much information
  • Complex checkout process
  • Website is too slow
  • Process was taking too long
  • Pay extra for taxes
  • Do not have enough payment options
  • Slow shipping
  • Spam with offers
  • Website crashed
  • Just comparison shopping
  • Shopping cart technical problems
  • The prices was too high.
  • Payment issues

Best Practices for Reducing Shopping Cart Abandonment

Now that you’ve read the post popular reasons for leaving a shopping cart without buying your mind should be racing with ways to try to stop these objections from happening. Here is a brief list of best practices to get you going.

  • Make a secure shopping cart and add 3rd party verification seals.
  • Add a quick shipping calculator to the website.
  • Make sure your site hides or displays current quantities of products, to eliminate the chance of a product being out of stock when the person goes to the shopping cart.
  • Make sure your shopping cart is compatible with all browsers.
  • Add a guest checkout option.
  • Remove or decrease website navigation during the checkout process.
  • Keep data input errors to a minimum (accept various formats for entering phone numbers, etc)
  • Make the layout design easy for the eye to follow
  • Remove multiple calls to action buttons that can detract from the checkout.
  • Show the progress of checkout (ex. Step 2 of 3).
  • Put your discount code box during early stages.
  • Don’t ask for unnecessary information.
  • Keep cross-sells and up-sells during checkout to a minimum.
  • Consider quantity-based discounts such as 10% off or free shipping over $75.
  • Make your return policy easy to find.
  • Offer support during the process.
  • Send an automated shopping cart abandonment recovery email.
  • Consider an email recovery campaign if your e-Comm platform has the capability.
  • Keep your shipping costs competitive and reasonable.
  • Offer various payment methods.

Do you know your shopping cart abandonment rate or even how to track or calculate shopping cart abandonment rate? Our Analytics and Conversion Optimization team can help you set up the proper tracking to measure ecommerce shopping cart abandonment and start recovering sales from customers from leaving!

Give us a call at 1-888-262-6687 or complete our quick contact form for more information.

In a previous article we discussed the importance of having a compelling “call to action” on each of your web pages.

The article explained that  a “call to action” or “action statement” is what converts your website visitors into customers and ultimately what increases your Return on Investment (ROI) for Search Engine Marketing services such as Search Engine Optimization.

But sometimes businesses invest in Search Engine Optimization or a Search Engine Friendly Website Design and when they get a lot of traffic they are still unable to convert that traffic into customers or sales. If you fall into this category it may be time to start setting some goals for what actions you want your visitors to take once they reach your web page such as:

  • Request more information
  • Email or call you
  • Fill out a form
  • Sign up for services
  • Or purchase your products online

Once you understand what your online goals are you then need to write powerful action statements or a “call to action” (CTA) to encourage your website visitors to take that action.

This is the next crucial step in increasing your conversion rate, getting more customers and increasing sales!

Start by Designing an Offer Your Customers Can’t Resist

As a business you must have a “unique selling proposition.” This is what sets you apart from all of your competition and what should compel your target market to buy from you.

It makes sense to design your compelling offer or proposition so that it responds to a problem your target market is dealing with.

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. When they sit down at their computer and search for a term such as, “buy portable air conditioning unit” what do they want to see when they click on your website? On the other hand, if the customer sits down and searches for “tips for installing Air Conditioning” they will expect to find something very different.

When designing the offer, answer these three questions:

Who is your target market?

What problem do they want to solve?

How do you offer the best solution to their problem?

These questions probably guide most of your business decisions. Your website is no different. Keep your answers to these three questions in mind throughout the entire process of writing Call to Actions for your website.

Tips for Writing Effective CTAs

1. Stay Focused on Your Target Audience

You would speak very differently to a Professional Accountant than to a Tradesman such as a Plumber. As such, you need to match your action statements to your audience. Focus on your audience’s needs and focus on using an appropriate tone.

2. Focus On the Next Step

The purpose of a “call to action” or CTA is to help visitors take the next step. Know the purpose of your website, know why you are telling your visitors the information and be one step ahead. It is your goal to help the visitor take the next step.

3. The KISS Principle

Keep it short and simple! Be clear. Be specific. Be simple. You can’t assume anything about your reader and you want to make it as easy as possible for them to take the appropriate next step. Write the statement so that a 7 year old can understand and act upon it.

4. Establish a Context for the Response

In almost any real world situation, without context to a command, most people are unwilling to respond. For example, you wouldn’t donate $5 dollars just because a cashier told you to but you would probably consider it if she said “Donate $5 to the Children’s Hospital and your name will go on our wall”. In some instances you need to provide grounding for the call to action and in others you need to help the visitors realize their need before they will consider taking the next step. In the example of Air Conditioning, you may need to provide a web page outlining the benefits of having a portable AC unit in the summer in order to convince the visitor to download your catalog.

5. Add Value and Make a Connection

It is human nature to carry a WIIFM (what’s in it for me) mentality where it may take additional persuasion to convince them to act. In essence, your CTA will state, “Do this so that you can get that.” Always try to connect the action with a direct benefit in order to show value.

6. Create a Sense of Urgency

It is also human nature to procrastinate and put things off. To overcome this tendency add urgency to the CTA– create a deadline so that the offer expires or only lasts for a short time. If the visitor doesn’t act upon the statement immediately chances are they will not come back to your site to do it later.

7. Soften Up Your Commands

Most people don’t like being told what to do. They also don’t like feeling pressured or feel as if they are being sold to. You can easily overcome this by integrating your call to actions and softening them up. Instead of saying, “Visit our Full Service Day Spa” try “How good would it feel to visit a full service day spa?”

Best Practices for Call to Action Statements

  • Size Matters. In the World Wide Web, size does matter. Studies show that bigger buttons, icons or text attract more attention.
  • Avoid Boring. Non-descriptive statements such as “click here” or “learn more” are uninteresting and generic. Your visitors want excitement and often you need to do something more to entice them to act.
  • Don’t Overwhelm Your Visitor. Too many calls to action on one page can often confuse your visitors. It’s like walking into an office and having six co-workers asking you to do something. Chances are you don’t end up doing anything anyone asks of you. Your action statements compete for your visitor’s attention so stick with your highest priority statements for each web page.
  • Don’t Forget a CTA. While you shouldn’t use too many, remember to include at least one CTA statement on each page of your website. Always help the visitor know what the next step is and help guide them through your website in order to convert them to a customer
  • Follow Up the CTA. Once a visitor completes a call to action what’s next? If they submit their email contact information do you give them a thank you page or send a welcome email? If they download a white paper do you offer other resources?
  • Use split testing. This lets you experiment with different wording, placement, size, color – or any other attribute you can think of! Simply changing “Request a Free X” to “Get a Free X” or to “Receive a Free X” can increase or decrease your conversion rates. Always make sure you have the strongest call to actions possible.

This article is provided by 1st on the List Promotion, Inc.
1st on the List Promotion, Inc. is a Search Engine Optimization company that specializes in creating and executing customized SEO Strategies. Call 1-888-262-6687 or Email Our SEO Content Writers for help with optimizing your web content for the Search Engines or for assistance in writing effective” Call to Action” statements.

Have you ever visited a website and found yourself unsure of what you are supposed to do?

Perhaps you wanted to make a purchase or get more information but there was no way to do so.

Now try to remember what you ended up doing on this seemingly dead-end website. Chances are, you clicked away and continued on your Internet travels (probably straight to their competitors’ sites!)

This is a great example of why all websites need clear and compelling Call to Actions. Without them, visitors lack direction and you risk losing their attention and missing out on a lead or a sale.

What is a Call to Action?

By definition, a Call to Action (CTA) is a short statement (generally one or two sentences long) that encourages a person to take a specific action…the next action you want your visitor to take!

Within the context of your website a Call to Action is like your online sales force. It guides your visitors through the sales process and compels them to take each next step towards becoming a client or customer.

Visit almost any successful website and you will see CTA’s such as:

  • Buy now
  • Download a trial version
  • Register for our newsletter
  • Email our Sales Department
  • Call our sales team

Within the proper context, these action statements can be extremely effective in providing direction and help keep the visitor moving towards completing the goal set forth by the website.

If Content is King, then CTAs are the Jewels on the Crown

One of the main strategies of Search Engine Optimization is to write high quality, original content focused around targeted keyword phrases that will provide value to your visitors.

You must have original and valuable content in order to earn long term rankings in the Search Engines – this is why SEO Professionals say, “Content is King”. However, once your site content has earned you rankings it will do nothing but sit on your website unless it actively engages your visitors.

Your website may have an excellent article outlining the benefits of upgrading to energy-efficient kitchen appliances yet if you do not provide the opportunity to browse a product list or request more information, your visitor will likely head over to your competitor’s site when they are ready to upgrade.

Don’t be afraid to “ask for the sale” as the old axiom goes.

You could say that action statements are the jewels on the content king’s crown. Just as the jewels make the crown extremely valuable the action statements make your content equally as valuable. These jewels compel your visitors to take action and ultimately persuade them to become your customer.

Call to Action Statements Help Increase Your ROI

As in all business activities we recognize that revenue must be greater than expenses if you want a “return on investment”.

In terms of marketing your website through Search Engine Optimization it helps to imagine a giant funnel with a wide top and a narrow bottom.

Now picture Google at the top of the funnel sending qualified visitors to your site based on the visitor’s search queries. This is exactly what happens when you invest in Search Engine Optimization. You invest resources (both time and money) into attracting more visitors to your website.

As visitors enter your website and move down the funnel they can either:

  1. Lose interest and leave your website before completing an action or…
  2. Like what they see and take further action; such as requesting a quote [warm lead] or making a purchase

Unfortunately, a lot of visitors exit before getting to where you want them to go or doing what you want them to do. The purpose of a Call to Action statement is to prevent this; CTAs help pull visitors through the funnel so they don’t get lost or stuck halfway through.

There are tools to help you judge where visitors exit, lose interest or take the appropriate action.

Thanks to Google Analytics you can track all of this activity. In addition to a lot of other valuable data, Google Analytics lets you pinpoint exactly where visitors enter your site, where they navigate to within your site and where they leave your site.

Perhaps visitors exit because they found what they were looking for or perhaps they exit because the Call to Action on your web pages is not strong enough.

Either way, it is important to use Analytics to improve your CTA statements so that they can help convert more visitors into customers. As your conversion rate increases so does your ROI.

Take the next step and read Part 2: How to Write Compelling Call to Actions for your Website.

About the Author:

1st on the List Promotion, Inc. is a professional Search Engine Optimization marketing firm that specializes in creating unique SE strategies for its clients across the US and Canada. To contact an SEO Representative please call Toll Free 1-888-262-6687 or complete the Contact Form.

While we try not to dwell in the past, the reality is that a lot of buisnesses experienced a steep drop in their 2010 sales. The year before was one of the worst recessions in the last 50 years, the affects of which lasted well into 2010. Thankfully, we have reason to believe that the economy is on the verge of coming back. Now businesses are asking what their next move should be? The reality is that businesses need to be more aggressive with marketing and smarter with how they spend their marketing budgets.

Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight, told 2000 attendees of the Grainger MRO conference that many businesses experienced a 65% drop in sales in 2009. This is a staggering amount to try and absorb regardless of the size of business, and as a result has severely weakened many businesses.

It is clear that, in 2009, almost all businesses and individuals reduced spending. This means there are less people who have money to buy your products or services. And a large chunk of the middle class had a reduced disposable income.

Businesses that have a good economic strategy are doing more marketing during a recession not less. Companies that reduce marketing efforts, tend to see a decrease in revenues and therefore the collapse of the company financially. Companies which reduce marketing efforts, tend to loose market share and extend the downward spiral of sales. If this continues long enough it leads to their collapse.

It may cost you more to get the same amount of sales but, you must maintain sales. This is unfortunate but, it is result of the recession. It is something all businesses are experiencing. The result of decreasing revenues creates future cash flow problems. The most critical aspect is making sure you do what is needed to keep your revenues up. It means expanding into areas where you can drive more sales, being creative and looking for additional opportunities.

Good business economics means that you need to look at ways to market your company so you are in front of more potential customers. Evaluate your marketing programs. Where you get a good return for the marketing dollar invested, keep doing what works. Look for areas where your payback doesn’t measure up. Shift that money to opportunities, where you get a bigger sales impact for what you’re spending. Try and find marketing methods where you can focus on the individuals most likely to use your goods or services don’t just keep doing it because we’ve always done it this way and don’t follow others like sheep.

One suggestion is to shift part of your efforts into Search Engine Marketing. The fact that someone is seeking out information on similar products to yours changes the person’s status hugely. They are no longer just one among the billions of possible customers on earth. They are a specific candidate for your sale. You no longer have to spend hundreds, thousands or millions of dollars to find this one guy who wants what you have. They self identify out of the crowd as interested in you. They do it by typing in a query to a search engine. They are actively seeking you out. Sending up a rocket saying I want this. The question is did they find you? A Search Engine Optimizing company can make sure they do.

Try and experiment. Go to your favorite search engine. Type in a query about your major product. Who comes up? You or your competitor? Who do you want to be in business after the recession?

The cost of Search Engine Optimization marketing is trivial compared to the more conventional marketing most companies use. By shifting just a fraction of your budget you could have a major impact on your sales.

We are not saying search engine marketing is the only option available but it is without a doubt one of the lowest cost forms of marketing available, and it has the ability to reach the largest number of potential clients of any means of marketing.

Do some research on ‘recession business economics’ you will find that there are advantages to doing more marketing during a recession? If you look at most large companies that have experts advising them, they are increasing spending on marketing during the recession. Many of the largest companies today are successful due to the marketing they did during previous recessions. You will find experts are saying the same thing and recommending their clients increase their marketing to maintain revenues.

You will see some of your competitors who have poor marketing strategies will not be able to maintain revenues. Some might even disappear all together.

This gives you an advantage that you don’t often get. Many businesses see marketing as an easy place to cut expenses. This is like not putting gas in your car and wondering why it doesn’t drive anymore. Reducing marketing is a common but, serious mistake a lot of businesses make. This gives you an opportunity over your competitors, who previously were too strong for you to get ahead of. In most markets there is a finite number of sales out there. Increasing marketing helps to weaken competition, because every additional sale you make, results in a sale lost for your competitor. This is a benefit that the smartest businesses are taking advantage of. As the recession subsides your company will be stronger than your competitors.

Try to ensure you look at different options and decide what the various options are and how to approach them. Be creative and expect to put some of your own or your staffs time and effort into your marketing. I am always amazed at how many businesses are just waiting for things to improve on their own. You have an opportunity at this point to get ahead, grasp the opportunity and move on it.

Chris Genge is the President of 1st on the List Promotion Inc, a website promotion firm that specializes in search engine optimization and pay per click management. Chris writes on current and emerging search engine marketing theories and has been involved in the SEO industry since 1997. He and his team focus on researching and implementing the most effective search engine optimization techniques.

To learn more about how 1st on the List can help you succeed in this post-recession economy you can reach us through our Contact Form or by calling our Sales Department.

Call Toll Free at 1-888-262-6687 (ext. 705). Learn more about our Search Engine Optimization services by visiting our website.

In terms of e-commerce, the job of any good product description is to persuade the customer to take the next step…in this case, to purchase your product.

In order to persuade, you need to inform and entice.

However, when it comes to product descriptions, perhaps the biggest mistake eCommerce site owners make is to use the generic “text description” provided by the manufacturer. Manufacturer descriptions tend to be full of product features making them dull and dreary and leaving the customer feeling that they’ve “heard it all before”.

The key then, to creating powerful product descriptions that sell is to bring something unique to the table…to capture the product’s essence and highlight your product’s unique benefits so that the shopper will be compelled to buy. Read more

Search Engine Optimization SEO Shopping CartsIf you are considering an e-commerce enabled website, or adding a shopping cart to your existing website you will want to:

– Ensure that you can maximize your organic search engine exposure

and ensure any existing rankings are not lost

While some shopping carts are being created with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind, many other shopping carts are still not very search engine friendly.

Optimizing Shopping Carts

Whether you are intending on having a search engine optimization company assist you with your shopping cart optimization, or you will be handling it on your own; you will want to ensure that you have access to what’s needed to complete the job.

Below we will cover some areas of importance if you want a search engine friendly e-commerce website.

Server Level Access

While most website owners love a “hands off” approach, it is crucial to have server level access when optimizing a shopping cart.  Various files that are located in the root folder may need to be uploaded, edited and revised.

These files can include:

  • .HTACCESS File
  • Robots.txt File
  • Google Verification File
  • Template Files

Having server level access ensures that the needed modifications can be made by you, a web developer or professional SEO expert.

Template Modification

All website templates are not created equal. Often times a website template is created with the website user in mind; not a search engine spider.

The ability to modify the shopping cart template ensures that you are able to incorporate headings, sub-headings, unique titles, Meta descriptions, meta keywords and a search engine friendly navigation system that can be easily crawled by the search engine spiders.

Default Settings

The default settings used in a shopping cart or content management system (CMS) is not always search engine friendly.

You will want to ensure you enable specific settings that will help to increase your website rankings and indexation.

These types of settings would include:

  • Mod-Rewrite / Search Engine Friendly URL Rewriting
  • Textual Navigation Structure
  • Silo / Hierarchy Product Structure

These areas can literally make or break your website’s ability to be indexed and achieve any rankings within the major search engines.


As many shopping cart developers are coming to understand the importance of search engine optimization, they are continually adding modules and add-ons to help with natural rankings. However, it is your job to ensure that these areas are used in a way to maximize your exposure.

Below are some tips on which options to consider when choosing a shopping cart:
1.    Always check for updates to ensure that you have the latest version of the shopping cart software.
2.    When looking online for updates or add-ons, search Google with the shopping cart name and the words seo or search engine friendly
3.    Include any updates that help generate a Google / Yahoo! Sitemap
4.    Look for updates that include upgrading to a “flat file structure” or “URL Rewriting”
5.    Add any updates that allow for unique titles, meta descriptions and meta keywords
6.    Include any updates that help create text links to related products

Website and webpage content

Although content does not come with the shopping cart, it is often times provided by the manufacturers.
You will want to take any content supplied by 3rd parties and either revise it or add unique copy to it as much as possible.  Duplicate copy will not help you achieve high rankings in the search engines and may result in all your hard work and effort being in vain.