Seven Ways To Reduce Friction, Simplify The Online Buying Process, And Make More Sales

Learn seven ways to identify and fix points of friction in your sales process to increase online conversions and sales from existing website traffic.

Reduce Website Friction to make More Sales

The conversion process on every website must be as easy as possible. Moving a prospective customer from the awareness stage to the consideration stage to the final decision stage of the buyer journey should be simple, straightforward, and completely obvious.

Friction happens when something on your website slows down or stops the progression of a prospective buyer from moving through your sales funnel. Identifying points of friction in your sales process and addressing them can help increase sales from your existing traffic dramatically.

Here are seven easy ways to reduce friction on your website and increase conversions:

1. Improve The Website Design

Almost one-quarter of website visitors will leave a site and abandon a purchase if the website design is confusing or cumbersome to use. If the page is cluttered, form fields are difficult to complete, or the buy buttons are hidden or hard to find, you risk losing sales.

Good design should go unnoticed, allowing the content and the products to stand out. It should also facilitate the movement of a buyer from one step of the buyer journey to the next and make completing a purchase as easy as possible.

Successful website design leverages white space and simple, clean, easy-to-navigate content. The design of critical elements like calls to action and buy buttons, product images, product descriptions, and reviews must be clear, not clever and they need to be located in places consumers expect them to be so they are easy to find.

2. Increase Site Speed

Addressing site speed issues is an important part of removing friction from the digital shopping experience. According to Kissmetrics, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less and 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. This is especially true for sales and landing pages. While large, high-resolution images look amazing, without proper care, they can cause slow page load speeds and alienate prospective customers who aren’t willing to wait for the page to load.

3. Simplify Options

When faced with too many choices, most consumers experience decision paralysis and completely avoid making a decision or taking action. This phenomenon, also called decision fatigue, explains that the brain has a specific amount of energy for self-control and decision-making. The more decisions a person has to make, the more they use that energy, and when it is gone, the brain struggles to make decisions.

If your website offers too many options or fails to communicate the difference between options, visitors may leave without making a purchase and you’ll lose out on new subscribers, members, students, clients, and customers.

To increase conversions from your existing website traffic, simplify your sales process, and reduce the amount of work a prospective customer has to do to complete a purchase. Make it easy to access the information they need and make taking the next step crystal clear.

4. Multiple Ways To Pay

Not all customers want to pay with PayPal or a Visa card. The more options that are available for payment, the more likely it is that a prospective customer will complete a purchase. By offering a variety of payment methods, you allow customers to use their preferred payment method and help them feel more confident and comfortable making the purchase.

In addition to offering a variety of payment methods, offering alternative payment terms like payment plans can get someone on the fence about a purchase to make a buying decision.

5. Reduce Requirements

To increase website conversions, reduce the number of required tasks to only those absolutely necessary. Don’t make a prospect register, login, signup, create an account, or become a member just to make a single purchase.

If you want people to register or create an account, make the requirement optional, and offer an alternate “guest checkout” option to complete the purchase. Then, after the purchase is complete, prompt the buyer again to save their order data and create the account. In this case, because you have their information, most fields can be auto-populated to make the account creation process easy and fast.

6. Critical Fields Only

Whether it’s a contact form, project inquiry form, request for quote form, opt-in form, booking form, or checkout form, if you want more conversions, use fewer form fields. For the very first ask, include only the necessary fields. Later, after you have earned their trust, gather additional information to segment the data.

For example:

  • For an email opt-in, consider only asking for the email address upfront, then later, gather more data on your subscriber with additional offers, surveys, and calls to action.
  • For a project inquiry form, only ask for the information you need to assess whether or not the project might be a good fit.

Remember, once a conversion has happened, you can use the thank you page for a secondary call to action or a second form to gather additional data.

7. Use A Robust Search

Help visitors find the information or product they are looking for quickly by using a robust search engine and placing it in an obvious position at the top of the website.

While many websites display a magnifying glass icon to indicate a search option is available, the most successful online retailers in the world (think Walmart and Amazon) use big, highly visible search bars at the top of the page.

More important than displaying a search bar is the quality of the search results.

An onsite search is useless if it doesn’t return valuable information visitors are searching for or the search process is too slow. For sites with a large amount of content or a large number of products, solutions that allow for custom search results listings, search filters, weighted search, and synonym management can make a huge difference in turning a search into a sale.

Depending on the needs/size of your site, look at options like Search WP and Facet WP for smaller sites, and for larger sites.