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How To Reduce Barriers To Purchase


Ecommerce marketing success relies on the experience you create for customers. You need to think about every step of the customer journey if you want to enjoy success, especially during busy sales periods.

As the holiday season approaches it’s time to step back and re-evaluate your customer experience. Halloween, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas… they’re all events that will drive a massive influx of traffic to your website.  

Making the time now to perfect the customer experience will lead to huge benefits in the future.  

Today’s NOW generation demands instant gratification. When they decide they want something, they want it immediately. Anything that complicates them getting what they want will lead to them abandoning the process. It’s therefore imperative that you reduce any possible barrier to purchase.  

What are the common barriers to purchase? 

Barriers to purchases are usually the result of seemingly small mistakes on your website. Though they appear small, these barriers can have a significant effect on your profits.  

#1: Slow site speed 

79% of customers claim they wouldn’t return to a website with poor performance. Modern shoppers expect pages to load in three seconds or less. So, if your site is underperforming – even by just a few seconds – this could have a severely negative effect on your results.  

#2: Lack of trust 

Especially around the holiday season, shoppers are looking for new products, new brands, and new inspiration during their gift shopping. Trust currently tops the list of customer considerations with 70% saying it’s all-important when they’re looking for a new brand to shop with. If a customer feels your brand is not doing enough to earn their trust, they’re not even going to consider doing business with you.  

#3: Ease of checkout 

Convenience is king to the modern consumer. Complicated processes, unnecessary information collection, or long forms that need to be completed are likely to frustrate a busy user. Simplicity is key and confused customers buy nothing. 

#4: Missing information 

Shoppers like to research a brand and its products before committing to making a purchase. In the early stage of the customer journey, as they’re conducting their research, you must provide as much information as possible to keep prospects moving down the path to purchase. When your website is missing information such as shipping rates or warranty terms, customers will turn to your competitors who do answer their questions.  

How to reduce barriers to purchase 

Thankfully, many of these barriers can be easily fixed. Visitors and prospective customers come to your website wanting a quick, easy, and straightforward path to purchase. They’ll only buy from ecommerce stores they feel like they can trust.  

Thankfully, these barriers to purchase can be reduced with just a few simple tweaks! 

Slow site speeds: PWAs 

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) give your website the interactive feel of an app with none of the development required of an app. As shoppers increasingly start their search for new brands on their smartphones, PWAs help you maintain a mobile-first approach.  

With speeds up to 10 times faster than traditional mobile sites, PWAs lead to an increase in customer engagement and pages visited, improving conversion rates dramatically.  

Lack of trust: clear and transparent communication 

To earn a weary customer’s trust, you need to ensure your communications are clear and transparent. Every interaction you have with a site visitor has an effect.  

When a new visitor enters your site, you must collect an email address to open up the channels of communication. But this is also the pivotal stage when customer trust can be made or lost in an instant. You need to be clear and transparent about why you’re collecting a user’s personal information and what you intend to do with it. The same goes for the rest of your relationship. As you collect more data, you need to be open and honest about why you need it and how it will benefit the subscriber.  

Customers are not averse to sharing personal data as long as they see the benefit for them. This will not only help you earn their trust, but it will create a strong bond between your brand and the customer in the long run.  

Lack of trust: user-generated content 

There’s no denying that modern shoppers trust their peers, family, and friends far more than they trust brands. That’s why including user-generated content (UGC) on your website, in your email marketing, and on social media will help you win big.  

Reviews and star ratings will help an indecisive customer make their final decision. Seeing the contentment of other customers will help shoppers trust you more quickly. It will also help answer any reservations they might have about shopping with a new brand.  

To really build trust faster, using independent and widely respected review sites such as Trustpilot, Feefo, and G2 will demonstrate your commitment to listening to customer feedback.  

Ease of checkout: guest checkout and payment options 

Complicated checkout processes that require customers to sign up, create an account, or remember long-forgotten login details cause a lot of abandoned checkouts. Customers want a speedy and simple checkout experience.  

To keep shoppers from getting annoyed and abandoning their carts, the whole process should be no more than four steps:  

  1. Log in or guest checkout 
  1. Shipping details 
  1. Payment details 
  1. Review 

Offering a guest checkout makes the entire experience simple for new website visitors who might find you during busy sales periods over the holiday season. The best thing is you can still add them to your mailing list with a simple opt-in at the end. 

Alternative payment options such as Paypal, Klarna, and AfterPay also help smooth the process and speed up the checkout experience. With payment plans as an option too, customers feel more confident in making big purchases, increasing your average order value at the same time.  

Missing information: product pages  

If your ecommerce business was a face-to-face store, your product page would be your salesperson. This is where customers discover all they can about a product. Research is a major component of the modern customer’s journey. For them to be able to make an informed decision and convert faster you need to give them as much information at this stage as possible.  

Videos and product demos showing the item in use is a great way to differentiate yourself from your competition.  Full product descriptions and ‘bought with’ or ‘lookalike’ product recommendation blocks also work to improve the customer’s experience and give them all the information they need to convert.  

Missing information: FAQs and live chat 

Customers often have to search around to find the information they need. From shipping rates and return policy to product care tips, having all this information in one place will significantly help shoppers find the answers to their questions.  

Similarly, live chat puts curious shoppers in touch with your sales reps and customer service experts to answer any queries without having to search your site for the answers.  

The ultimate goal is to make it as easy as possible for customers to convert. Making these small changes will significantly improve the customer experience. In the long-term, providing a superior experience will keep them returning to your brand.  

Special thanks to our friends at dotdigital for their insights on this topic.
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