Reduce barriers to first purchase

Business Benefits

Improve rapport with first-time customers, harvest emails and drive sales.


Use comparison tools like InMotion Hosting and SugarSync on your site to allow people to compare options quickly and easily.

A table or chart often works well. For example, include a See how we stack up against the competition section on your site that directly compares the features and services of your product to your competitors’.

Test whether you should structure your pricing page using a layout that is easy or difficult to compare with your competition.

For example, a page that is difficult to compare might retain potential buyers on your page for longer, while an easy to compare page can help customers make decisions faster. Consider testing your audience’s response to including or excluding competitor pricing on your page.

Include prominently displayed service and product reviews to communicate your trustworthiness, level of service, and credibility.

This will help first-time buyers feel more comfortable about making a decision.

Give a specific reason to first-time buyers to shop with you, instead of a store they’ve shopped at before.

For example, offer free shipping or provide a discount or coupon for first purchase.

Ask for as few details as possible when moving through the checkout funnel.

Use a minimal number of form fields.

Reduce friction with an on-page FAQ to address common fears and doubts.

Test whether an FAQ section is sufficient, or customers respond better to including contact information so they can speak directly to your customer service team.

Write product copy that provides sufficient information for your potential clients to make their decision.

Run user testing and qualitative surveys to determine what specific information customers need.

Include the option for a guest checkout, or create an account for them automatically based on their email address and an auto-generated password.

Not forcing someone to sign up for their first purchase can save people time and reduce friction.

Use persistent shopping carts to make returning to finish a first purchase more convenient.

For example, use web cookies so that the contents of a shopping cart never expire, or retargeting ads to remind people about the products.

Offer to store shipping and billing information, or keep users logged in, to reduce the amount of time required for their future return purchases.

Consider integrating common objections into the interface where that objection would surface. For example place a note about privacy alongside the field where they enter their email address.

Other advice I would give would include:

  • Run usability testing so you can ask users about their experience.
  • Watch back session recordings of people’s checkout process to identify moments of frustration such as rage clicks.
  • Consider running a system usability scale survey when they complete checkout to allow comparison with other online experiences.
  • Remove any fields that are not strictly necessary for completing the transaction.
  • Auto populate as much data as possible to reduce data entry, especially on mobile. For example, address lookup.