Getting those who land on your website to convert isn’t easy during the best of times. Industry averages on conversions are relatively low across the board. During a pandemic, you may face additional challenges as people throw more of their resources to essential items, such as stockpiling food, and keep their expendable income closer to home. 

In a recent report by Statista, the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on e-commerce is telling. Around 52.7% of respondents stated they are avoiding stores due to coronavirus. Another 56% of consumers reported shopping online more in April 2020. People are home and browsing online more. You have an opportunity to grab some of their extra attention. However, whether or not visitors convert into buyers depends upon the way you approach the situation. 

Understand people are feeling scared, angry and desperate. Look for ways to reach out to your current and potential customers and offer the reassurance they need to trust you with their hard-earned and possibly limited income. 

1. Inform Users of New Procedures

Those in the hard-hit restaurant sector moved to carryout and delivery options in most states. New rules create a lot of confusion for the public, who typically go directly to the establishment to eat. One thing helping with real-world conversions right now is listing a full menu or options on the website and an explanation of the process.

Details of new procedures work for more business types than just restaurants. Any company offering curbside pickup or changing the process of buying items benefits from explaining the changes online. You may have decided to add shipping recently. Make sure you announce any changes due to the pandemic, so people know what’s available. 

Descanso Restaurant in Costa Mesa, California, adds a statement above the fold stating it’s open for takeout. It offers an online menu, and includes its hours of operation and two ways to contact it. Knowing there’s a process in place brings a lot of peace of mind for the person worried about ordering carryout and how safe it might be. Offering online ordering would also be helpful in these circumstances. 

2. Add Voice Search Capability

Experts predict smart speaker sales to be over $30 billion by 2024, so get your site ready for voice search now. On top of this growing market, many people staying home use only their smartphone for internet access. They may use voice-activated commands such as Siri to hunt for products and services. 

Make ordering via voice as simple as possible. Your customer should be able to say, “Alexa, order ABC product” and automatically complete the remaining fields. If you aren’t sure how to set your site to work with voice commands, hire a developer to ensure the process is seamless for the user.

3. Use Relevant Images

The graphics on your site should be related to your specific business. Each one should have a purpose. What emotion do you want to evoke in the user? How does the photo move them toward a particular feeling?

Your headlines and body text need to tie into the images, as well. Ideally, the user glances at the visual and gets the gist of the message. The copy adds more detail and reiterates the photos. 

Gregory Poole uses a hero slideshow filled with photographs meant to convert browsers into customers. The first slide features a visual of a worker and lets the user know it’s open as a virtual dealer. The second one focuses on equipment and reminds users we’re all in this together, showing it understands the struggles its customers face right now. It informs leads it’s open 24/7, and they can avoid going to the store. 

4. Offer Content

People are at home and online more than before the pandemic struck. Utilize the extra attention by sharing more content. Ramp up your marketing efforts by offering articles related to your industry. Host a webinar to teach your target audience something new. Offer a free book about who you are and what you do. 

Not only does the content flesh out your site, but it also builds a fan base. Even if people aren’t ready to buy right now, you become more memorable. Plus, you gather their contact info in exchange for the promotional item. 

5. Satisfy Their Concerns

People are scared about the chances of contracting the virus. Even if your business was already 100% online, they might have worries about the way you handle your packaging, and if the virus could come to them through an order. It’s essential to explain the safety procedures you’ve put in place before the product reaches them.

Include a page detailing the safety measures you’re taking for employees. For example, everyone wears masks and stands 6 feet apart. Perhaps temperatures get taken every morning before they gain entry.

Next, share the measures you’re taking to protect the product from contamination. Which processes are free from human contact? Do pickers go through additional testing before gathering the order? Perhaps you have them wash their hands between each new order. Whatever measures you’ve instituted, share those with your customers.

Swanson places an information bar just under the website header area. It invites users to read its response to the pandemic. Once you click on the link, you get details about how it’s working to meet the needs of users, as well as what it’s doing for worker safety and how it’s following CDC protocol. It also includes a list of frequently asked questions and answers.

6. Update Research

As more people shop online, the demographics of your target audience may change drastically. It’s vital to update buyer personas and look at your split testing regularly. Update your research, so everything on your page speaks to your current visitors. Taking a new look at where your traffic comes from should be something you do regularly anyway. With a pandemic and more people shopping from their armchairs, you must check for changes more frequently. 

7. Remain Sensitive

Be understanding about what people are going through. If shipping is slower than usual due to high demand, be upfront if there may be a delay. Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes. Stress is already at a high level, and small aggravations might lead to big problems. Understand what your audience deals with daily and do your best to be a beacon of light during a dark time. With attention to detail and some understanding, you’ll gain new customers for life.

Lexie is a digital nomad and business owner. If she’s not traveling around the country, you can find her baking some chocolate chip cookies or hiking with her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.