What is a call to action and why is it important for my online store?

Call to action – definitely one of the most underutilised yet incredibly powerful tools for an ecommerce website or any website of any kind for that matter.

I recently had a discussion with a business owner who sold exclusively online via Facebook. She was putting in the spend to promotions but was wondering why, with such a large following, this wasn’t reflected in her sales.

The answer? Really simple, she wasn’t asking for the sale.

For ecommerce you need to ask for the sale – this is a call to action. Talking about your product or service is very different from asking for your prospective customer to buy.

In the case of this business owner, she was publishing information on her Facebook about the product – lots of photos, lots of clear info, even pricing and postage costs – and delivery timeframes! But nowhere could I see the “ask”.

CTA – Asking for a sale

A call to action doesn’t have to be literally interpreted ie you don’t have to write “Please can you buy our product now?!”. A CTA can be more about what is implied rather than anything else.

In this case all that was needed to drastically improve on this situation was to share a link for payment/ordering. This can still be done without any fancy website or heavy investment, but it really is necessary.

Don’t assume anything

In the case of this wonderful Facebook business, some major assumptions were made:

1) That the customer would know how to order.

2) That the customer would order without any direction.

Are customers just so stupid they need to be told how to do everything these days? Absolutely not! How you and I can help the sale however is by making it as easy and simple as possible to buy. It needs to be effortless.

Making assumptions about customer behaviour can be dangerous and can cost you sales.

Responding to customer feedback to improve CTA’s

In one of our own ecommerce stores, we are always vigilant to take on client feedback. In one case we assumed prospective clients who wanted to place a Purchase Order would make an enquiry accordingly.

We learned from one prospective client one day that was not a great assumption, as only through mere coincidence did we discover they hadn’t made an order because they didn’t think we accepted PO’s because we didn’t clearly state anything about it.

We immediately advised them otherwise, and, this not only led to an immediate $3,000 sale, but by adding a “Purchase Order Enquiry” form to the top of the website, the very following week we made another $3,000 sale. This was most definitely a fast return on investment through some quick and basic improvements to our site.

Summarising call to actions on your ecommerce website

Top takeaways I want to share with you here are:

1) Don’t assume anything about what your customers want and how they want it!

2) Always be improving based on customer feedback.

3) Always ask for an action – link the customer to how to pay or order and make sure it’s clear.

4) Check out what your competitors are doing, and get some broader viewpoints from other industries too.