Nuance is the language of fanatics. If you believe there’s no difference between baseball and softball, Coke and Pepsi, Star Wars and Star Trek — you’re obviously just not that invested (or worldly). When it comes to optimizing your brand’s Where to Buy button, there’s far greater nuance involved than pointing shoppers to the sellers that offer you the largest margins.
Adding a Where to Buy application to your product pages empowers website visitors to select from multiple retailers that carry your products. By making these paths to purchase more visible, your product page is optimized for more conversions.
But if you’re looking to turn the greatest number of website visitors into customers and maximize revenue, there’s more to consider than simple retailer visibility.
How do you know which paths to purchase are the best to highlight for your customers? Since the retailers you display first get the largest share of clicks, what order should you show your sellers in? And while there are numerous ways to configure your Where to Buy button, which configurations and capabilities actually impact sales?
Here are seven tips to optimize your Where to Buy button.
1. Balance margins and conversions
A lot of brands prefer to drive visitors to buy through their own direct-to-consumer channels, often so they can get the best margins on each sale. Additionally, variations in pricing and retailer requirements can cause your margins to vary from retailer to retailer. But while your margins are important, they shouldn’t be the only factor determining which sellers you choose to highlight.
So let’s say you have nine retailers displayed in your Where to Buy widget. Most visitors click the first three stores, which you placed there because they had the best margins. But store #4 has a significantly higher conversion rate. They’re doing a better job turning your traffic into customers. By moving them up a place or two on your list, you might see lower margins, but you’ll be trading that for more overall sales.
It’s important to consider that tradeoff, and it’s often more valuable to prioritize conversion rates than margins.
2. Highlight sellers your customers recognize
When your website visitors compare the options in your Where to Buy tool, they’ll be drawn to stores they recognize. And if they don’t see stores they’re familiar with, they’re probably going to leave your site and try to find your products through their preferred retailer’s search engine. Instead of taking a straight path from your site to your product page on a retailer’s site, they’re now on a path with more room for competitors to poach the sale. (Your product isn’t the only one they’ll see in the search results.)
Even if a niche distributor has a higher conversion rate or better margins than Walmart, Best Buy, or Home Depot, for example, you probably shouldn’t highlight the niche store over the major retailers every consumer will recognize.
When someone clicks your Where to Buy, you want them to immediately see a path to purchase they’re comfortable and familiar with.
3. Include ratings
Ratings are one of the most basic pieces of social proof consumers look for when buying products online. They help people evaluate the quality of your products and gauge the likelihood that they’ll have a good experience with you.
But consumers are less likely to trust the ratings and reviews that come from your site. Too many brands have abused this social proof by hiding or deleting negative reviews. Even on some marketplaces, it’s hard for the average consumer to know how legitimate a brand’s reviews are.
Highlighting ratings from retailers in your Where to Buy helps establish trust in your brand and helps consumers decide where they’re most likely to have a good experience — because where people buy contributes to their experience, too.
4. Use back-up retailers when one goes out-of-stock
If your Amazon seller is out-of-stock, you don’t want to list them as an option or for sure don’t want them in the first position within your Where to Buy. At that point, they’re just taking up space, and if someone does still click on that seller, they’ll see that your product is unavailable for weeks or months instead of days. This is when the next best in-stock competitor starts looking real good.
So don’t list out-of-stock sellers in your Where to Buy. Or at the very least, show your customers that they’re out-of-stock before they click through. You can alternatively list out of stock retailers and give customers the option of signing up for stock alerts, which we’ll cover in optimization tip number six.
5. Add configuration options
When people are looking for a specific scent, flavor, color, or size of your product, they don’t want to click through to a retailer and learn that the configuration they want is out of stock. For products that have multiple configurations, make sure your Where to Buy lets customers browse where each of those configurations are available.
6. Let customers sign up for stock alerts
In the early days of the pandemic, we all saw how volatile stock availability can be when demand suddenly spikes. During this time, brands that could support stock alerts were able to secure more sales by notifying customers the moment their products became available again. This also gives you the opportunity to build your customer email list.
Even when your supply chain is strong, there will be times when the preferred product configuration or retailer goes out of stock. Without stock alert functionality, these consumers are much less likely to convert.
7. Consider the total transaction value
One of the advantages of Where to Buy’s ability to collect in-cart data from your retail partners is that you can see the entire transaction value, including add-ons and other items people purchase from your catalog. Some retailers do a much better job of pointing customers to your other products than others. Some drive your customers to your competitors.
As Where to Buy collects more data from your sellers, looking beyond conversions and margins can reveal which sellers generate the highest return-on-investment for the traffic you send them.