5 Key Factors that Influence Whether a Customer Will Buy From You

What are the most important factors that go into a shopper's decision to buy from your eCommerce store? Here are the top five.
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Last updated on October 6, 2022

The future of eCommerce seems particularly bright. According to Statista, retail eCommerce sales amounted to $4.28 trillion USD in 2020, and they’re projected to grow to $5.4 trillion in 2022. But as the marketplace becomes more and more competitive, every eCommerce brand needs to focus on how to reach new customers and retain old ones to sustain business growth. Understanding your customers and how they make purchase decisions is a crucial piece of the puzzle.

In the digital age, shoppers don’t follow a linear journey towards a purchase anymore. Instead, a typical customer now goes through multiple touchpoints—not necessarily in any particular order—before making their final purchase decision. They take information from many different sources into account when deciding whether to buy. Let’s take a closer look at five of these elements shoppers consider before they choose to make a purchase from your store. The more of these you can optimize, the more sales you’ll be able to win.

#1. Online reviews

Unsurprisingly, most online shoppers depend heavily on reviews. In fact, Dimension Research reported that a whopping 90% of customers say their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews. People want to read about the experiences of others with a particular brand before they hand over their own hard-earned money. It’s all part of the due diligence modern shoppers do to make sure that the brand is trustworthy, and that the product will be what they’re looking for.

When it comes to online apparel stores, many have started to display customer reviews directly on the product pages, so potential customers can feel more confident in hitting the “Add to cart” button. The data supports this: On average, reviews can lead to an 18% increase in sales. It’s not hard to understand why: Displaying reviews on your website builds your brand’s credibility and trust.

However, the above is only true if your reviews are generally positive. The best way to get good reviews is to earn them with great products and top-quality service. That said, it’s impossible to please everyone. Every business gets negative reviews. Treat them as a learning opportunity, and openly receive any feedback that may help you improve. You should also use poor reviews as a chance to demonstrate excellent customer service. Respond quickly, professionally, and with a genuine desire to make things right. You might regain that unhappy customer’s trust, and future prospects will see the evidence on your page and trust in the quality of your service, too.

#2. Sizing charts

For online stores that sell clothing, sizing has a major impact on a shopper’s buying decision. If they can’t easily tell what size they should order, they might feel too uncertain to buy at all. Or, if they take a guess and make the purchase anyway, they may well end up returning the item if it doesn’t fit right. The average online apparel retailer experiences a return rate of 28%, and 80% of these returns are due to fit issues. Since returns cost retailers time and money, it’s best to do everything in your power to avoid them.

The clear solution to this problem is to provide detailed sizing information to help customers select the right size with confidence. When you make this type of information easy to find and understand, you can increase sales, build trust, reduce your return rate, and end up with more satisfied customers.

Here are a few tips for designing a size chart for your eCommerce store:

  • Make it comprehensive. Include height, weight, and all other measurements that will help shoppers choose the right size for them. Be sure to display separate sizing guides for different genders or age groups as needed. If applicable, you should also display any additional fitting notes that shoppers would find helpful, like what size the model is wearing, and whether the item fits loosely, runs small, etc.
  • Provide a unit converter. If your apparel shop serves international customers, an automatic unit conversion feature for your size chart can be quite handy. Since some countries measure clothing in inches and others use centimeters, it’s best to display both (or include an automatic converter) on your size charts. You’ll save your customers time and make them more likely to buy by removing this potential sizing issue.
  • Consider a size recommender. If you’re selling products that need special sizing information, such as wedding dresses or sports equipment, you might consider adding a size recommender to your site. This type of tool uses machine learning to offer customers the best fitting suggestions. They enter their weight and height, the tool will compare their measurements to a larger database, and then the shopper will receive a helpful size recommendation.

#3. Website design elements like sales badges

Whether you’re using an eCommerce platform like Shopify, BigCommerce, or WooCommerce, the design of your website can play a huge role in whether a visitor will convert into a customer. Sites that are disorganized, hard to navigate, or seem unprofessional will inspire distrust in shoppers, causing them to leave without buying.

However, even the most visually appealing website can benefit from design elements that give shoppers extra, helpful information and nudge them in the right direction. In a brick-and-mortar store, the way items are displayed and the actions of the employees can help with this. But when it comes to online stores, merchants have to rely on specific design elements—like product badges, for example.

Online sellers can add badges to items to catch a shopper’s eye, or to help them find what they’re looking for more easily. Consider a tool like ModeMagic, for example. It’s budget-friendly and easy to use, and it allows you to add badges to any products in your online store. Without coding, you can use ModeMagic to add an “On Sale!” badge to an item whose price has recently been lowered, or “Organic” to items that are made with all-natural materials. These indicators can bring a shopper’s attention toward a product they might not have noticed otherwise, resulting in higher conversions for your shop.

With ModeMagic, you can even set up automation rules to display a particular badge under certain conditions. For example, you can set a “Back in stock” label to appear when a product is available for ordering again. It can subtly encourage a shopper to add the item to their cart now, because it’s liable to sell out quickly again. Whatever badges you choose to add, you can use ModeMagic’s simple interface to personalize their appearance. That way, they can all match your branding and website design and won’t detract from the professionalism and credibility of your online store.

Read moreHow To Optimize Shopify Image Sizes For Your eCommerce Store

#4. Shipping costs

High shipping costs can easily deter a prospective customer from buying from you. Research suggests that 36% of consumers will abandon their online shopping cart due to shipping costs. Also, consider that the availability of free shipping is known to be one of the top purchasing factors for customers, followed by free returns and same-day shipping. Offering free shipping can definitely help you increase sales, but you’ve got to do it right so your business doesn’t lose out.

Many online shops agree that free shipping with conditions is the most effective way to reduce cart abandonment rates and increase online conversions. For example, many online apparel shops offer free shipping options when customers spend a certain amount. That way, you can ensure you’re still making a profit, and you incentivize customers to buy more from you at the same time.

In the long run, offering free shipping can boost your eCommerce sales, increase brand loyalty, and help you engage more with customers. It can help new prospects overcome skepticism and feel confident enough to hit that “Buy” button, and it can encourage past customers to remain loyal and continue to buy from you.

#5. The checkout process

The modern consumer expects a seamless, fast checkout experience at the end of their shopping journey. If it’s anything less than that, they’re likely to give up altogether. The average cart-abandonment rate for eCommerce businesses is 74.52%, and a poorly optimized checkout process is a common culprit.

According to a survey, customers abandon their carts for several reasons, but five of the top nine factors are related to the checkout process. Any of the following factors can cause someone to leave your website without buying:

  • Not being able to see the total order amount
  • Not enough accepted payment methods
  • Their credit card was declined
  • Privacy issues related to credit card information
  • Too many steps in the checkout process
  • The checkout page isn’t optimized for mobile shoppers

As an online merchant, you need to control for as many of these factors as possible if you want to decrease your cart-abandonment rates. Make your checkout process as quick and simple as possible so you don’t lose out on potential sales in this final step.

Focus on improving the customer experience

As an eCommerce merchant, your job is to create an online shopping experience that’s as easy and pleasant for customers as possible. Try to see your brand through their eyes, and make adjustments where they might need extra guidance or incentives to follow through with their purchase. By offering a better customer experience, you’ll be able to increase sales, decrease returns, and build a loyal customer base that can help your business grow sustainably in the long-term.

Kiwi Sizing is an e-commerce plugin to help solve the sizing problems for online shopping. Over 40% of online clothing returns are due to sizes. Kiwi Sizing is designed to make sizing easy by offering stylish size charts and easy-to-use fit recommenders that let shoppers know what is the best size to purchase. We help improve conversions, cut down on returns, and lower the needs for customer support.

We are trusted by thousands of Shopify stores with over 400 5-star reviews. Try it now for free and start reducing unnecessary returns.

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Personalized Size Recommendations on your Shopify Stores