Help Visitors Buy: High-Profit Tips

    October 20, 2003

How do I find the information you are asking for?
Sometimes, you will have to ask visitors for information for which they don’t immediately know the answer. For example, if they are looking for replacement parts for a widget, you may have to ask what model of widget they own. If you need to ask for such details, make sure you tell visitors where they can get the answers.

This is a continuation of Design Your Site Around The Buying Process.

15) How do I navigate around this shopping cart?
Once visitors arrive at the “View Cart” page, they may want to go in a variety of different directions. They may want to continue shopping, edit a quantity, remove an item, or checkout. On many sites, it’s confusing to figure out how to perform any of these functions. Concentrate on making these options as intuitive and obvious as possible.

16) I don’t remember my password!
Most sites are fairly good with supplying quick help for lost passwords, usernames, and other critical info, but it doesn’t hurt to offer a reminder: Make sure you provide a quick way for visitors to retrieve forgotten info.

17) I have questions that aren’t answered here–what do I do?
Although you should try to provide answers to as many questions as possible, some visitors are bound to have a question you haven’t answered. Make sure they have an easy way to get answers. Provide a phone number, a live help feature, or a customer service email address. Make sure contact and help info is always easily accessible–don’t make visitors hunt for it!

18) I don’t understand this term or concept–can you explain?
Often when you try to describe a concept, process, or feature, visitors won’t understand what you mean, particularly if your explanation requires technical details. They may lack adequate background knowledge or they may not know the jargon. Provide links to additional explanations and definitions. (Yes, this info can usually be relegated to a separate page.)

19) How do I find a solution to match my problem?
Sometimes, visitors know the specific problem they have, but they need help finding the particular solution that will meet their needs. Make sure you help them match their need to one of your products or services. You can’t always expect them to do this on their own.

20) What’s different about your product or service that’s different from others on the market?
You must define what is unique about what you offer as opposed to your competitors’ offerings. If you don’t make the distinctions clear, your visitors will have no compelling reason to purchase from you.

21) How do I get the most out of this product?
Provide directions on how to use your services and get the maximum benefit from them. Offer a list of tips or ideas on how to best use your product, care for it, and make sure it lasts as long as possible.

22) I want to search for something specific–how do I do it?
If possible and relevant, provide both a simple search feature as well as options for an advanced search. Simple search boxes should ordinarily appear at the top of every page on your site, but you should provide links to an advanced search page in case a visitor wants to enter a more detailed query. Try to let visitors narrow down their search in as many ways as possible.

23) I know I need to buy a widget, but I don’t know anything about how to choose the right widget!
Visitors often need to be educated about the genre of products they are considering before they can actually make the decision to purchase one. To answer these needs, provide guides or editorial content. This is particularly important for products or services of a technical nature, such as cameras, computers, or merchant accounts.

24) How do these two products compare?
Visitors sometimes struggle in comparing two products because they can’t visualize the differences. In this case, provide comparison charts or graphs to illustrate the similarities and differences between two or more products.

25) Can I see this product or service in action?
Whenever possible, show a demo of how your product or service works. It can be something interactive, or it can be as simple as just describing (perhaps with pictures) how the product is used, step by step.

26) Can you help me justify this purchase?
Sometimes visitors may want to buy something from you, but they need help justifying it. They may not even consciously recognize this need, but you need to address it anyway. Make it abundantly clear how the purchase can be justified.

Does your site have the essential ingredients that make customers buy? Jamie Kiley can help you find out exactly how your site needs to be improved. Sign up for a site review today at

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