Words That Make And Lose Money on Your Ecommerce Site

By Eric Leuenberger

SalesCrafting a marketing strategy that works to generate sales is not an easy feat. However, it can become easier when taking into consideration some tried and true psychological factors that have been proven to persuade consumers to take action. One of those psychological factors is the power of words.

When used correctly, words have the ability to convince a customer to take action, even if they were not quite ready to do so beforehand. On the contrary, when used incorrectly, words have the power to stall even the best laid out marketing efforts. Marketers have said that words can be grouped into two categories: words that lose money and words that make money.  Many studies have gone into finding out what types of words trigger positive effects within consumers. Likewise, similar tests have been run to determine which words can negatively impact the consumer’s response. These responses are often based on feelings derived (many times unknowingly) from the words themselves. In some cases, with just a few adjustments in copy, one can turn what might have been a lost sale into a closed sale.

14 words that lose money

1. Price

This may be one of those unavoidable terms, and in fact is one that seems to be expected in ecommerce sites. However, it might be worth testing different terms, or leaving it out completely. For example, instead of saying “Price: $50” consider just listing the price as “$50.”

2. Cost

Again, possibly another unavoidable term on an ecommerce site, but one that is worth testing. Instead of having the customer focus on cost of a product, give them ways to focus on the value and quality of the product.

3. Sign

Many ecommerce stores ask their customers to sign in to their account, or even to start the checkout process. However, this language could be scaring them away before they ever complete a sale. Rather than asking them to sign in, consider phrases such as login. Or better yet, just label the link “My Account.” Also, during checkout, instead of asking a current customer to login to continue, consider phrases such as “For your convenience, enter your details below,” or “For faster checkout, enter your information below,” and then label the button “continue” rather than login.

4. Buy 

On most ecommerce sites, rather than using buttons which say “Buy Now,” consider altering them to something friendly such as “Add to Cart,” “Add to Bag,” and “Put in My Cart.” Buy Now insinuates “urgency,” “limited availability” and predisposes the customer to the mentality of, “I’m buying one thing and leaving.” This doesn’t help boost average order values. In addition, the word “buy” in its very nature makes the customer think they are parting with money; and regardless of the situation, no one likes to part with their money. It’s better to have them focus on purchasing a product that meets their needs.

5. Expensive

Don’t say something is expensive, and don’t let the customer think a product is expensive. Instead, show the customer how the quality of the item sets it apart from others. They will pay for products that are high in quality, and overlook the expense of doing so.

6. Deal

Instead of saying “weekly deals” and “monthly deals,” consider rephrasing to use the word “sales” or “specials” instead. The word “deals” often implies the products on the site might be considered cheap. On the contrary, listing some products as deals could cause other consumers to think the rest of the products must be overpriced ordinarily. The ultimate perception is in the eye of the consumer.

7. Sold

Do you list products as sold out? If so, consider rewording to say “Out of Stock,” “Not Available,” or removing the product from your catalog totally until it becomes available again.

8. Charge

Avoid words such as “Charge Information,” “Charge Card,” “Charge Your Account,” etc. Instead, consider rewording to something more user friendly such as “Billing Information,” and “Credit Card Information.”

9. Try

When cross selling products, some sites will say, “Try these other products you may like.” The negative perception of the word “try” can be turned around using phrases “Other items of similar interest,” “Other products you may also like,” and “Additional products we recommend.”

10. Bad

Examples of usage to avoid are “Bad Login” and “Bad Credit Card Number.” Reword to read “Incorrect Login” or “Invalid Credit Card Number.”

11. Lose

Under the right circumstances, saying “You cannot lose” or “You have nothing to lose” might mean one has already lost. Turn this around by focusing instead on the benefits that the product offers to the customer. Consider rephrasing to state a bullet list of customer benefits from the product, high in the description.

12. Complicated

Instead of describing a product as “not complicated,” say it’s “easy to use.”

13. Risk

Don’t tell someone they have “nothing to risk.” It gets them wondering why there would be a need to state that anyway, if there wasn’t a risk in the first place. Once again, instead focus on the benefits.

14. Obligation

Watch out for the double whammy, “Risk Free, No Obligation” statements.

Words that make money

Sales copy and product descriptions should be persuasive and enticing. They should speak to the visitor and encourage them that what is being offered is exactly what they need. Anything less can end up jeopardizing a sale. Words which might want to be considered in various areas of an ecommerce store are benefits, proven, promise, promote, deliver, commitment, guarantee, save, trust, free, now, gift, only, effective, rush, quality, promote, serving, easy, service, quick, fast, cash-back, reliable warranty, lifetime, friendly, rapid, sale and bargain.

The results gained from use of the words listed will vary, based on target market, user demographic, product offering and more. The key is to test different variations against each other to determine which works best for a given market. Remember, words have the power to control emotions, and in the end even the best marketing strategy can fall short when little attention is paid to them.