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How To Maximize The Value From Every Visitor You Get (Even if They Don’t Buy)

This is a guest post by Dennis Moons. Dennis runs Store Growers where he helps ecommerce entrepreneurs improve their marketing to increase traffic and sales.

Most visitors to your store won’t buy from you. It might be tough thing to accept but it’s the truth.

You might feel that it’s all pretty hit and miss. That once a visitor lands on your site, you have little control over what they do (or don’t). But that’s not entirely true. Your online store should be an automated sales machine. Designed and tweaked by you to get the maximum possible output.

In this article I want to show you 8 things you can do right now that will give you a clue why some visitors buy and others don’t. It will show you which tweaks you need to make to your store to increase revenue in the future. Especially if you’re spending money on advertising to bring traffic to your store you want to make sure your money is spent as effective as possible.

1. Collect email addresses

Even if visitors aren’t ready to buy today, by getting them onto your email list, sending them regular updates, you might one day reach them at the right time when they are ready to buy. Every email you send reminds the customer about your products and store.

The way you collect these email addresses is personal, but don’t be afraid to be aggressive. If your newsletter subscription box is hidden deep in your footer, your list won’t grow very fast. A popup, while despised by many, still works wonders to grow your email list quickly.

Example optin box from Bellroy

In the example above, few visitors will know what “Rad Newsletter” or  “Join the Community” means. Which results in a lower opt-in rate.

Compare that to another example:

Email popup example from Bonobos

Everybody understands a discount or free shipping. The more valuable you can make your offer, the more effective your opt-in will be.

Tool tips: Mailchimp, Sumome or Rare.io.

2. Live chat

A chat box on your site gives your customers the opportunity to get some of their questions answered:

I really want this color but it is sold out, when will you have new stock?
Your shipping policy says up to 14 days, is there any way I could get it faster?

Some of the chat software even allows you to see which page a visitor is on, then you have the opportunity to start a new chat with them:

Can I help you with anything?

The chat conversations will give you some insights into the objections or questions that people have before buying. If you see the same things come up, you know you need to make them more clear on your site.

Tool tips: Olark, HappyFox Chat or Zopim

3. Heatmap or session recording software

Live chat is great for the people that want to reach out. But for every person that reaches out, there are a lot more that simply close their browser window and go look somewhere else.

With heatmaps and session recordings you can see how people behave on your store. What do they click on, how deep do they scroll, do they read or merely skim?

Example of a heatmap on the ebay homepage

Example of a session recording

This information can give you ideas on what to change on your site.

Almost every time I’ve used these tools on my own stores or those of my clients I’ve discovered that visitors can behave really weird. Just because you’re familiar with how your site works, things aren’t always that clear to your visitor.

If you’re truly clueless about why visitors are doing certain things, it might be good to do a little additional research. Take a look at Peek, it gives you a free 5 minute user test (video+audio) of a real person browsing your website.

Tool tips: Hotjar, CrazyEgg, Inspectlet, Mouseflow

4. User survey

User surveys prompt visitors for a small piece of information. Because these surveys require such a low effort from your visitors, you’ll get a lot higher response rate than a 10-page survey or even the chat on your site.

You can ask questions like:

  • What’s the purpose of your visit today?
  • How did you hear about us?
  • What information is missing from this page?
  • How likely are you to recommend us to a friend?
  • What’s stopping you from purchasing?

Example of a small survey

These kind of questions will give you very targeted information and can help you to improve your site.

Tool tips: Hotjar, 4Q survey

5. Cookie them for retargeting

There are a million of different reasons why a visitor doesn’t buy immediately. Retargeting gives you the opportunity to reach this visitor again.

Every time someone visits one of the pages of your store, a cookie is placed on their computer. This allows you to show banners with general store info or a specific product. That will keep you top of mind if they are still in the market for a new product.

Tool tips: Facebook Custom Audiences, Google Adwords Remarketing or Adroll

6. Add a phone number

Give people multiple ways to contact you. If someone calls the number you have on your site, you can use all of your sales skills to convince them. You’ll discover their objections, fears or missing information and are able to ask follow-up questions.

A nice bonus next to having people on the phone is that it increases trust. Having good and visible contact information (including a phone number) shows that there are real people behind this business instead of a corporate robot.

You can use your own number, or if you’re hesitant to give that out, use one of the virtual phone services.

Tool tips: Google Voice or Grashopper

7. Analytics

Every visitor will give you a whole bunch of data: where they came from, which pages they visited, how long they spent on which page, etc.

You can’t judge the quality of your store or marketing by looking at the data from 1 visitor. But over time, you’ll be able to spot some patterns. You’ll learn how to do more of what is working and stop what isn’t.

This is best coupled with some of the other tools mentioned here. You might for example discover a page on your site where all your visitors leave. That might prompt you to add a heatmap to see what’s going on. Or you can launch a survey on that page to ask people why they don’t want to buy.

Tool tips: Google Analytics, Mixpanel or Kissmetrics

8. Get them to share it

Someone might not be willing to buy (yet), but if what you’re offering is cool or unique, they might share it on Facebook, or pin it on Pinterest to keep it for later.

So make sure you add sharing buttons to your site to make it easy for visitors to spread the word.

Tool tips: Sumome, GetSocial.io or AddThis


Each of these 8 tips will give you some clues on how you can get more from your store.

Don’t try to use everything at once, but pick one that could help you right now. Get familiar with it, see which insights you can take from it and move to the next one.

The more you succeed in addressing your visitors fears and objections, the better your store will be performing. You’ll see better results from all of your marketing efforts.

If you are running advertising campaigns and want to make sure they are bringing in high quality visitors that convert, check out the free ebook Online Advertising Success.


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1 Response


December 04, 2015

Great post. Rather than cookie I think should be pixels that work for retargeting.
Surveys – I have seen on some sites. Wondering on how well received and response rates?

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