During the recent holiday shopping season I noticed many stores using terms that contradicted their intended purpose (to increase sales).
As I continued to come across these, it reminded me of a book I read years ago that said words are grouped words into two categories. Those which “Lose Money” and those words which “Make Money”.
Since that time, I have carried a “partial list” of words from each category with me and review them whenever I write. I attempt to make sure when I write and where appropriate, those words which are on the “lose money” list are not included in my copy, and at least some of those on the “make money” list are included.
In reviewing ecommerce sites this holiday shopping season, I noticed a number of words that fall on the “lose money” list being used without regard.
In some cases, it may seem unavoidable depending on the circumstance, I realize that. However, take note of the 14 “words that lose money” which I have listed below and the examples I show of how they may be rephrased to become “money words”.
If you are using any of these words in your store, you may be jeopardizing potential sales before you even have a shot at your real goal of making money. In effect, you are asking your customers to “purchase your product” by using contradictory words that actually lose money.
Here’s the list
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 (instead of saying “Price: $xxx” consider just listing the price as “$xxx”). Again, this depends on the site.
Again, possibly another unavoidable term on an ecommerce site, but one that is worth testing.
Do you ask your customers to “Sign In”? If so, you could be scaring them away before they ever complete a sale. If you must speak in terms like that, consider phrases such as “Log in”, “For your convenience, enter your details below”, “For faster checkout, enter your information below”.
Do you have buttons on your site that say “Buy Now”? Consider altering those to something more friendly such as “Add to Cart”, “Add to Bag”, “Put in My Cart”. I’ve even heard conversion tests show that a phrase such as “Proceed to checkout” works (but have not tested it personally).
Instead of saying “weekly deals” “monthly deals” etc… consider rephrasing to use the word “Sales” or “Specials” instead. The word “deals” could imply 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.
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.
Do you say things like “Charge Information”, “Charge Card”, “Charge Your Account”, etc…? If so, consider rewording to something more user friendly such as “Billing Information”, “Credit Card”, etc…
When cross selling products, do you say things like “Try these other products you may like”? If so, consider rewording to something like “Other items of similar interest”, “Other products you may also like” etc…
Examples of usage you want to avoid are “Bad Login” and “Bad Credit Card Number”. Reword to read “Incorrect Login” or “Invalid Credit Card Number”.
Under the right circumstances, saying “You cannot lose” or “You have nothing to Lose” might mean you have already lost. Rephrase to state a bullet list of customer benefits from the product instead.
Instead of describing a product as “not complicated” say it’s “easy to use”
Watch out for the double whammy “Risk Free No Obligation” statements.
The above is only a partial listing of words to look out for. They are the terms I most frequently see mis-used on ecommerce sites.
The results you get will vary based on your target market, user demographic, product offering, and more. The key is test different variations against each other to determine which works best for your market. Use your imagination to find terms that more appropriately speak from the customers perspective and fit your needs, but don’t get too creative. That too can have an opposite effect.
Finally, remember what works in one market may not work in another.
I wrote another post recently to go along with this called 200 Words That Make Money.