Many online businesses know how to get customers to their store. They put out targeted ads, initiate Pay Per Click campaigns, engage in SEO, send out emails, and do everything else they can to attract customers. The tricky part, however, is getting an acceptable proportion of customers to actually buy a product when they come to the store. This is known as the conversion rate.
The process of eCommerce conversion optimization is essential for any business that wants to be successful in the online marketplace. The conversion rate will be indicative of visitors purchasing items or services through your website and ultimately determines whether the money you are spending on your marketing efforts is worth the investment. More importantly, a higher conversion rate translates into higher revenue.
The average conversion rate is often cited as anywhere from 1% to 3%. If you’re running at this number, you’re not doing too poorly, but you can always do better! What exactly influences customers to buy online, though? Let’s take a look at some techniques you can use to increase conversions.
The design and flow of your website are crucial for getting customers to engage with your offerings and should be front and center in your efforts for eCommerce conversion optimization. Many Internet marketers will refer to a “funnel” that leads customers to the checkout stage, and this is a good way to think about your website. How is each page going to lead the customer to the checkout? What can be done to make this process more efficient?
For example, consider placing a list of your top-selling products on your homepage, which will immediately entice a large proportion of your customers. However, on the same page, you could have product categories, a product search, product galleries, and other avenues that allow the customer to shop for the products they want according to their own preferences. Each of your customers shops differently, so allow for many easy routes to the checkout page.
Your product categories should be organized as simply as possible, with more general categories expandable if need be. The highest-selling categories should be the most immediately accessible. You should also optimize your search tools and allow for advanced filtering for those customers looking for something specific.
Using a generic template is not advised, as this makes your store page look like many other websites that the customer has probably seen, which will prevent you from standing out from competitors.
An important aspect of eCommerce conversion optimization simply has to do with helping out your customers when they are confused, uncertain, or frustrated. Consider setting up a live chat module on your site that is clearly visible to visitors. If anyone has questions or problems, they can bring the chat up and ask you directly. You can usually find systems like these in an API reference when you are coding for the website.
You can also help out by making your phone number or email address clearly visible on your store page. Some businesses prefer a contact form. Whatever you decide on, customer service features like these can reassure your customers and set them back on the path to the checkout, as opposed to going somewhere else.
Large, detailed, and high-quality images of your product are a must in your eCommerce conversion optimization efforts. Your pictures should get your customers excited about what they are about to order. Consider multiple angle views and zoom capability, two essential features for customers who want to inspect the product in detail.
Your web copy should be well-written, simple, and direct. Product descriptions should communicate the unique benefits of your products, and entice customers about all of the great things that will happen when they buy. Also, a customer review system is an excellent way to add credibility to the product selection you have on offer.
It is also a good idea to have real-time inventory information so there are no surprise stocking issues. Make sure you have your shipping and return policies prominently displayed as well. The customer should know exactly the types of products and services they are getting and may back out before buying if they are jolted by something they didn’t expect.
Call to Action and Checkout
The call-to-action is a crucial part of your eCommerce conversion optimization. This is the part that gets customers’ attention and brings them to the most important part of your store site: the checkout page! Throughout your online store, you should have vibrant and enticing buttons that urge your customers to buy. These buttons can transport them directly to the checkout page, creating a convenient and easy path to purchase. Every one of your products should have one of these buttons.
The checkout process should be as simple and convenient as possible. One-step checkouts are preferable if you want to avoid abandoned shopping carts. Further, auto-fill options and customer accounts are good ways to provide expedient pathways to purchase.
Aside from taking many of these measures to optimize your site for conversions, you should be gathering as much data as you can on your customers’ preferences, and you should constant check on your conversion rate as you tweak your site.
ECommerce conversion optimization works best when you know what your customers want from a shopping experience. You can always put out customer surveys that kindly ask for customer feedback after a purchase.
You should also use all of the analytics tools you have at your disposal to see what customers are doing when they go on your site. What pages do they linger on, and which do they bounce out of right away? What are your most popular products? What happens when you make tweaks to the page design or the checkout process?
Don’t forget that it takes time making to implement eCommerce conversion optimization, which implies all sorts of small changes, tweaks, and experimentation. Your conversion rate may not start to tick up right away, so don’t get too discouraged. Do your research and see what other professionals are saying about conversion optimization, use automation tools to speed up your workflow, and don’t forget to look up those API references for some slick additions to your website. Keep these tips in mind, and learn from your own experience with your unique store. In time, your efforts will pay off.