How to Ease Purchase Anxiety for First-Time Buyers
Launch Strategies
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Small Businesses
Landing Pages

How to Ease Purchase Anxiety for First-Time Buyers

Benjamin PowellBenjamin Powell

July 15, 2021

A while ago, my company AdSoup tried a little experiment for one of our recent PPC campaigns. The objective was to assess the performance of our landing page through two discrete ads. In both cases, the ad copy was the same and so was the landing page.

The only difference was in the call-to-action. One campaign displayed a prominent ‘Learn More’ button while the other displayed ‘Buy Now’.The results were quite revealing. The ‘Learn More’ CTA helped us garner nearly 27 percent more clicks to our landing page. However, when we assessed the performance of the landing page visits alone, those customers coming from the ‘Buy Now’ campaign converted nearly 10 percent more.

Landing Page CTAs
Photo Credit: Social Flow

So what really is causing this difference in click-throughs and purchases? We decided that the only way to get a definitive answer was to survey a sample of our customers who made a purchase from these ads.

One of the biggest takeaways from this exercise was that purchase anxiety is really a thing. Here are a few other lessons we learned from this exercise.

  • Visitors who clicked on the ‘Buy Now’ button were already exposed to our product before viewing the ads. In comparison, a lot of visitors who clicked on the ‘Learn More’ button were exploring our product for the first time.
  • Visitors clicking through ‘Buy Now’ were already in the market for our product.
  • Over 80 percent of customers from the ‘Learn More’ button did not convert instantly and purchased our product after being exposed to a few of our remarketing campaigns.

The reason customers are more likely to click on the ‘Learn More’ button is because they fear commitment. A ‘buy now’ button urges the viewer to commit to purchasing a product.

On the other hand, ‘Learn More’ encourages the viewer to understand the product and the seller better. It is a step towards bringing down the purchasing anxiety of the prospective buyer.

What Is Contributing To Purchasing Anxiety

We’ve all experienced “purchase anxiety.”

It’s that subtle feeling you get when you’re thinking about purchasing a big-ticket product or service over the Internet, but you hesitate before clicking the “Checkout” button.

Before a first-time prospective buyer clicks a checkout button, they’ll likely have several questions and concerns that they need answers for.

Is your product legitimately good?

Does it work as advertised?

Can they trust your business and its claims?

What happens if they don’t like your product and want a refund?

Can they trust you on your refund policy?

This is the reason why the average conversion rate on an eCommerce site is only 2.35 percent while the top sites convert at over 11.45 percent.

Customers trust these large businesses and this contributes to lower purchase anxiety. Small businesses, on the other hand, need to establish credibility each time and thus face higher anxiety from prospective buyers. This is the reason why viewers of our ad hesitated in clicking an ad that asked them to commit to a purchase immediately.

But building a brand that customers can trust does not happen overnight. You may, however, look at alternate strategies to establish authority and credibility among your prospective customers.

Purchase Anxiety - Ecommerce

A few years back, the New York Times conducted a study to measure the impact of fonts on reader perception. The newspaper published the same essay in two different fonts – Baskerville and Comic Sans and measured the percentage of readers who agreed with the contents of the essay. They found that readers were more likely to agree with the contents when it was written with the Baskerville font compared to Comic Sans.

The New York Times study is a good example of how seemingly trivial elements can influence the reader mindset. From an eCommerce perspective, such elements go a long way towards establishing authority, reducing anxiety among buyers and to eventually increasing conversion rates.

How to Bring Down Purchase Anxiety

As noted earlier in this article, a prospective buyer has several questions about the legitimacy of the product and the business they are transacting with. Clearing their concerns is one of the most sustainable ways to build credibility and bring purchasing anxiety down.

Address concerns with product legitimacy

The first and foremost step in quelling product related concerns is to provide a detailed specification sheet for your product. If you sell smartphones, for instance, your product title and description need to contain information like the display, camera resolutions, RAM size, accessories, battery life, and so on. Not providing these details limits the amount of information that the buyer has while making their purchasing decision, and this contributes to higher anxiety.

A detailed product description is merely a start. As a seller, you must also invest in high-resolution images of your product. This allows your buyers to get a sense of what they are paying for. While it is common for a lot of eCommerce stores to use supplier-sourced low-resolution images, they do not exude credibility and are highly discouraged.

In addition to this, reviews and testimonials from past customers are quite crucial to building credibility. Apart from telling customers that you are a legitimate business who deliver products as promised, such reviews also provide more details about the quality of the product which is an important criteria to make a purchasing decision.

Using product legitimacy to each purchase anxiety

Address concerns with payment and shipment

There are two major concerns every eCommerce buyer has. The first worry is related to payment – can the buyer trust the seller with their credit card details? Is it possible for the seller to resell these details to data thieves?

Secondly, how likely is it for a seller to take your money and not ship your product?

To alleviate concerns related to data theft, it is a good idea to handle payments through a secure and established third party payment gateway like Square or Stripe. This assures the customers that the seller does not have access to their credit card information which makes data theft unlikely. It is also important to answer all the important questions related to shipment like processing time, shipping time, shipping options available, cost of shipping, restrictions and so on your website.

Address concerns about the business

A lot of eCommerce stores make the mistake of not introducing themselves well enough to their buyers. This includes contact pages that have nothing more than a web form, an ‘About Us’ page that tells the visitor very little about the owners, and so on. To build credibility, it is important to humanize your backend and show your customers who you really are. An elaborate ‘About Us’ that includes details about the founders, the story behind the company lends legitimacy to your business.

Also, it is important to open up multiple avenues for communication with your customers. In addition to a web form, it is highly recommended to offer live chat, email, direct mail and telephone support to your customers.

Purchasing anxiety is a psychological block that exists primarily because the customer does not know everything about the product or your business. As a general rule of thumb, a small business must provide potential customers with all the information that they need to make a purchasing decision. Not only does this clear up the concerns, it also paves the way for a customer to make a more informed buying decision.

Ladder powers strategy and performance solutions for fast-growing brands

Talk to a strategist →

Growth is a high velocity game.

Sign up to our newsletter to stay up to date with all the latest movements in the field.

More from

796+ open sourced growth tactics used by the best marketers in the world.
Explore our playbooks →