Most marketers view customer objections as a major headache.
They don’t realize that objections are a good indicator that you’re talking to the right customer.
Objections are how they’re communicating their needs and giving you a roadmap for improvement. What’s worse than customer objections is having no objections at all. An indifferent customer tells you nothing about what’s working and what isn’t.
Instead of treating customer objections as an irritant, use them as an opportunity to learn more about your products and customers. Adjust your website accordingly and you will see your conversion rates skyrocket.
To further bulletproof your website against customer objections, we’ve curated 10 scientific techniques that can help you to maximize conversions.
1. Write to communicate, not to sell
Most eCommerce brands in their eagerness to stand out often over-explain themselves. Their homepage pitches and product descriptions have paragraphs devoted to explaining how and why their brand is special and their products unique.
More often than not this comes across as “salesy” or shows a bit of desperation to stand apart. When it comes to eCommerce content, there are two good rules of thumb to remember:
- Less is more
- Show your value proposition, don’t describe it
Use great product images and let them speak for themselves. For eCommerce stores whose value propositions are simple and clear, try to use as few words as possible.
Your objective through the website is to communicate about your product and educate the customer. If you just do that well enough the products will sell themselves.
Look at this stunning example of great design and minimal copy from Ugmonk. In barely two sentences they describe their product Gather and its key benefits. Rather than explain in detail why the product is special, they focus on how it helps customers organize their lives.
Here’s another great example of minimal copy by Master & Dynamic. Notice how the image has product features and benefits.
A feature is what your product demonstrates, a benefit is how it adds value to the customer. More often than not, customers cannot make the leap from feature to benefit on their own and it’s great to point that out. For example, using pads made of lambskin is a feature—whereas, the benefit to the customer is that it offers greater comfort and breathability.
Another important point demonstrated in both the examples is simplicity and clarity. The copy contains no jargon, is quick to read, and can be understood by everyone. It is important to avoid jargon and fancy prose. Remember it’s product copy, not a novel.
2. Demonstrate social proof to build trust
When you see two restaurants side by side, which one do you enter? The common answer to this question is the one which has more people. As humans, we are more inclined to trust something when we see that others have done it before us.
Social proof is the online version of having more people seated in your restaurant. Rather than asking customers to trust you, it demonstrates proof of why and how you’ve earned it.
Today social proof is a huge part of an eCommerce platform. Its absence is akin to having an empty physical store. Here are some creative ways to integrate social proof in your eCommerce website:
- Customer reviews and third-party endorsements. Testimonials, ratings, endorsements, and brand ambassadors —all of these point to a single inevitable truth that purchases made by peers instill FOMO and help create buy-ins.
Below is an example from Ugmonk. For their product Analog, right below the description, is a testimonial from Josh Kaufman Bestselling author of "The Personal MBA" who for their target customers is contextually relevant and carries a lot of weight.
They have more testimonials as you scroll through the page but the one below the product creates a great first impression.
Also on the top right corner, they have a circular badge that says “1.9 million cards shipped”—this is further proof of trust in the brand through customer volume.
- Another avenue of creating social proof is media mentions and industry certifications or awards. These show potential customers that your products are vetted and approved by impartial authorities.
Here’s an example from the shoe company Allbirds that mentions their press outlets and the single best endorsement they have.
Caldera + Lab is a self-care brand that backs up its claims regarding sustainability and excellence through third-party certifications which play a large role in its brand personality.
3. De-risk purchase decisions
Anyone who works in the eCommerce space knows the value of repeat customers. Research states that eCommerce businesses with 40% repeat customers have 50% more sales than those with just 10% repeat customers. That’s a difference of half.
Research also tells us that there is a direct link between an online store’s returns policy and the number of repeat customers. 75% of your online shoppers want to know your return policy before they hit that purchase button.
While designing your eCommerce store, it is paramount that your returns policy is easy to find and is clearly laid out either in the FAQs or as a separate page.
Keep it simply worded, easy to understand, and with clear deadlines.
Here’s a great example from Snocks. It offers free shipping and a 6-month free returns guarantee on anything you order.
Not only do today’s online shoppers demand free shipping but they expect free returns as well. They also expect a seamless full refund experience from online stores.
Another tactic that is often used to woo potential customers is sampling kits or free product trials. If sampling kits are too complicated, you can offer first purchase discounts as well.
Here’s another example from Warby Parker. The customer can pick 5 frames that are shipped to them for 5 days during which they can purchase the one they want and make returns through the prepaid return label.
This is a great way for customers to touch, feel, and try on the products before making a decision.
4. Formulate an inclusive pricing strategy
The online shopper is spoilt for choice and price is probably the biggest variable that affects their purchase decision. Data tells us that almost 90% of online shoppers analyze prices and deals and 20% of eCommerce traffic comes from price comparison sites.
The biggest mistake you can make in such a dynamic environment is formulating a pricing strategy in isolation. eCommerce stores that do not take into account competitor prices, seasonal sales, and deals are going to lose customers.
The second biggest mistake online retailers make is applying a fixed price strategy. Prices need to be optimized regularly. Stores should adopt a dynamic pricing model that changes based on timely intelligence about the competition and the market.
Thirdly, there is an odd obsession among online retailers about being the cheapest in the market. They believe this will lead to larger sales volumes. But being the cheapest brand in the market or having large discounts perpetually creates two problems:
- Low prices are unsustainable in the long run and destroy profit margins.
- Low prices create a consumer perception of low/ cheap quality products made by a non-premium brand.
A great pricing hack is to price according to value and not the cost. Most products sold online today are homogenous and have direct competitors. If two brands have the same price, which one does the customer go for? The one which can demonstrate more value. Be upfront about your pricing and justify it through value. Value comes from ingredients, quality, workmanship, processes, etc.
Here’s a great pricing strategy from Everlane. They call it Radical Transparency. All their products are displayed with price fact sheets. These describe all the costs incurred and the margins the brand makes versus offline retail margins.
5. Address privacy risks
A recent survey suggests that 92% of online users are concerned about the data they share. The same survey has also found that 30% of online purchases were stopped because of data concerns.
- Promise not to share or sell data
- Promise not to retain unnecessary data
- Tell customers what they need to do to delete their information
Fears of data privacy not only affect purchases but also reduce customer engagement in general. Online shoppers are preferring to use guest accounts instead of sharing data, and they’re hesitant to sign up for newsletters for the same reasons.
It’s always a good idea to delegate credit card transactions to third-party processors including Stripe, PayPal, etc., and not store customer credit card information on your own. These providers have the security and tech required to protect customer data.
Here’s a great example of a login form from Capital One Shopping that mentions they don’t sell your data to third parties. They use multiple sign-in options as well.
6. Rephrase the Call to Action Buttons
There are several hygiene factors when it comes to designing a Call to Action (CTA) button.
Research has shown that the human eye is drawn to circles and information contained within them rather than hard-edged squares and rectangles. This is why the ideal shape for the CTA button is the pillbox.
When it comes to the copy for the CTA button, instead of using the usual, “Buy Now/ Shop Now” variants, you can be more inventive.
This example from House of Fraser includes the value proposition in the CTA. Instead of saying shop for products they mention “Shop the offer”. This immediately draws customer attention and makes them more likely to click.
Here’s another great example from All Year Round (AYR). Instead of the usual signup, they have a popup where the CTA is more personal and shows the customers what they’re missing if they don’t click.
7. Designing to retain attention
One of the hacks to retain customers is a good site design. Sometimes it's the smallest elements that make a whole lot of difference.
Auto-rotating carousels on your homepage have a lot of scope to create confusion or tick customers off. If the speed of the slides is too fast they might not be able to read all the information before the slide is replaced. By forcing customers to manually go back and read it makes them anxious and annoyed.
Look at this earlier example from Forever 21 the text is too small and almost gets lost against the background. There is also no clear way for the reader to go back or manually control the carousel.
Instead of a carousel, websites can use static images or manual sliders on the homepage.
Most customers choose eCommerce store sites based on their “easy to buy” layout or simplicity. They want to be able to find the products and purchase them in the shortest period of time possible. To facilitate this, eCommerce store sites need to be extremely organized, well-labeled, and classified.
The categories of products or services must be clear. Navigating and searching within them should be simple and the overall website structure should be easily understandable.
Here’s a great example from BBcrafts about their product classification which is extremely intuitive and clear right from the first glance.
Right at the top, they have product categories with drop-down menus for further classification. Below this, they have their featured categories or prominent categories. After that, they have featured products. The categories are also pictorially represented to further help the customer pick quickly.
Secondly, the search bar is prominently displayed right at the top. This helps customers search within the store for what they need. Weak internal search function or the absence of one can seriously hamper your growth.
Always place your search bar in a prominent position on all the pages of your website. Use autocomplete/ search suggestions to make the process easier. Adding filters to searches is also a great idea.
Lastly, a quick checkout process is a must for any eCommerce website. The purchase process must be intuitive, and design-wise appealing enough for the customer to go through it. A good rule of thumb here is to keep only 3 steps from browsing to purchase—selection, additional information, checkout.
Here’s an example from Etsy that has a great checkout page. They have shipping options and costs at the bottom where a customer can also include a note to the seller. The product is shown on the left along with the discounted price. The customer here has all the details in a single frame they need to make the purchase quickly.
8. Enabling easier decision-making
For stores that have large inventories the problem of choice can be daunting. Sometimes, having too many options can confuse the customer into postponing the purchase decision or leaving the site altogether.
Thankfully, there are subtle tools and design techniques you can use to streamline and nudge the customer towards purchase.
Stores can use feature charts that allow customers to compare products side by side. When combined with a strong internal search engine, this yields best results. Take this example from Bose. It shows products with clear images, brief descriptions, and the price to help customers decide.
It’s also a great idea to recommend products to customers using data.
Highlighting top-rated, best-selling, quickest-moving, on sale, limited editions, and product sections can help customers quickly navigate the best inventory. These products combined with social proof can help customers decide quicker and with more surety.
Personalized recommendations also work really well when it comes to convincing customers. Using data to recommend similar products based on the user's purchase history is a good feature to have.
Here’s a great example of personalized recommendations from Warby Parker. They used an online quiz that a customer can take. At the end of the quiz, they provided a curated selection of glasses a customer can choose from.
9. Educating the customer
Research has shown that customers are 131% more likely to buy from a brand that gives them educational content rather than sales material. Customer education is all about helping the user with the knowledge and skills they need to make the most of your products or services.
Yes, the customer can search for the same information on their own but an online store loses a massive opportunity to engage with them. They can even lose that customer to a competitor who empowers them with knowledge. This can be in the form of videos, blog posts, or graphics. Content themes can include product demonstrations, DIY hacks, use case scenarios, etc.
When customers have a deep understanding of your products and services, it helps to set realistic expectations. This also helps to reduce complaints and build trust.
Here’s a great example of a customer education video from Tentsile. The moment they watch this video, campers know they can now set up tents without clearing a spot or having to deal with lumpy or wet surfaces.
The video helps the viewers self-identify the problem this product solves. It demonstrates an alternative to traditional tent camping.
10. Why the About Us matters
Imagine walking into an ongoing conversation at a dinner party. The speaker sounds really interesting and you’d really like to get to know them better but you missed their introductions. There’s nothing you can do now. This is an apt analogy for an eCommerce site without an About Us section.
Data shows that more than half of online customers visit the About Us page as soon as they land on a company’s site. This makes it a very important section of your store. It is a new customer’s first interaction with you—the seller/ owner of the brand and it’s very important to make a good first impression.
A great About Us section gives you an edge over the competition, helps build trust and credibility, and conveys to customers that you’re passionate about your products and why they should be too.
Display pictures and bios of your team, show off your staff. Showcase your inspiration behind launching the company. Including personality details like hobbies, quirks, company milestones, and personal history can give your store some personality.
Allow people easy access to you. Make sure you have contact and support details with email IDs and phone numbers on the site. Customers hesitate to purchase from brands that show just an email ID. They worry about being ignored in case something goes wrong post-purchase. Include a physical office address even if it's not a store. It helps them know you’re there.
Here’s a great About Us page from Yellow Leaf Hammocks that combines their social mission with their craftsmanship. It’s a moving story about products that help transform the lives of tribals in northern Thailand.
Building a successful eCommerce business is all about anticipating customer needs. Think of customer objections as unmet needs that are standing in the way of a fulfilling and long-term relationship.
Anticipating these objections and trying to proactively solve them can increase conversions and build customer loyalty.
Before you go...
Here’s a brief recap of what we covered:
- Show your value proposition, don't describe it. Use great product images and write to communicate, not sell.
- De-risk purchase decisions and leverage social proof to build credibility and trust.
- Coming up with a sound pricing strategy is key to staying in business and is a must factor in the dynamism of the market.
- Don’t ask for customer data unless you really have to. Optimize your action buttons for maximum clicks.
- Have a smooth and easy to comprehend website which can help customers in decision making.
- Educational content can help viewers realize why they need your products.
- Having a great About Us page can lead to healthy conversions when it comes to acquiring new customers.
All of these suggestions require no additional resources or tools apart from your existing store site. In truth, they are the building blocks for creating a great online shopping experience.
These measures represent the right attitude. They show customers that not only are your products worth buying, but the people behind them are dependable and can be trusted.