Last week in looking at Basic Store Optimisation we explained that you can buy extra traffic through Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, but if those additional visitors don’t buy from you, your Return On Investment (ROI) will be pretty average. Spending more and more money on PPC for an average return is not scalable for any business. Your website should convert visitors to customers so that PPC can do its job properly and boost your sales.

This week, we will be completing the Basic Store Optimisation checklist by looking at another one of our other favourite tests:  The Three Second Test.


Time to head back to your homepage.  Have a quick glance and ask yourself two questions:

  1. Can visitors easily see what you sell in three seconds?
  2. Would visitors trust you with their Credit Card details?

If the answer is no to either of those questions, you need to work on your site.

Here’s some tips to help you get started:


Nobody likes feeling deceived by prices or shipping costs. It’s important to be as clear as possible in your pricing.

  • Make sure a product’s price is clearly stated on the product page
  • Calculate taxes and shipping on add to cart so that your visitors know the final price before they ever get to checkout.

Baymard Institute recently did a comparison of 31 Cart Abandonment Rate statistics and found that a staggering 68.53% of shopping carts globally are abandoned.

A 2010 study from Forrester states that 44% of all the shopping carts globally, are abandoned because of high shipping costs. The same studies also showed that another 25% were abandoned because the product costs more than originally indicated, mostly because of non-optional extras and the addition of tax too late in the checkout process. A further 22% abandoned their cart, not because shipping cost was too high, but because the actual shipping cost was listed too late in the checkout process.

So according to Forrester, 91% of carts are abandoned for price or shipping related reasons.


Keeping your website design clean and professional, is the best way to get visitors to focus on your products. A busy, cluttered design confuses visitors and it distracts them from viewing and buying your products.


A great way to increase your credibility is to display your contact details prominently on every page, preferably in the site header. This lets people know you are trustworthy, and they can buy from you with confidence. It makes visitors feel secure, knowing that if they have any issues with your products or your website, they can easily contact you for help.


We usually recommend that you have content that calls out your shipping or return policies. It is a great way of addressing possible objections someone might have about buying from you before they even think about them.

Shipping is the most important to address, because, along with other unexpected costs, is the top reason visitors abandon their shopping cart.


Trustmarks are images or logos that you can place on your website, to show that you have passed various security and privacy tests. They reassure customers that it is safe to buy from you.

Get your website validated by groups that represent a well known level of security to your customers, like VeriSign, TRUSTe or the Google Trusted Stores program. Display their logos prominently on your website.

Other Trustmarks can include logos of the major credit cards and other payment methods you accept, and logos of the brands you sell.


Get a few of your best reviews and add them to your homepage in the form of a testimonial. Try to get a photo to with the quote and use the customer’s name. Seeing that real people have purchased and liked your products will boost your credibility. You can read about increasing trust with reviews and testimonials in more detail.


Stand out from the crowd by telling your unique story. Make this story easily available from your main menu in the form of an About Us page.

If you tell a personal story about how and why you started your business, you build a connection with your visitors. This gives them a good reason to buy you rather than from your competition.