How To Increase Ecommerce Conversion Rates
If there is one thing that you can bet on with regard to the ecommerce industry, it’s that it can be frightening and unforgiving. With millions of other online stores out there all competing for a slice of the e-retail pie, the strategies and tactics that you use (or don’t use) can make or break you.
Ecommerce has grown substantially with each passing year from its birthing, the dotcom boom, posting record numbers year in and year out since the 2000’s. This past year alone, ecommerce grew by a record 17%, earmarking over $220 billion in revenue. On its current path, experts say that the industry will eclipse $370 billion per year by 2017.
Marketing your store properly is essential to your ecommerce success. But getting visitors to click over to your website is just one part of the equation. Turning those organic clicks into conversions through your funnel is the other side of the coin. Use these expert tips to increase conversion rates at your online store exponentially by working smarter, not harder.
Offer Cheap Shipping
Shoppers have voiced their opinions about one of the most important conversion elements to any online store. According to reports, the cost of shipping is the determining factor in over 70% of all purchases made online.
One study found that 87% of shoppers admitted to abandoning a shopping cart during the past year due to the cost of shipping.
Unique Selling Point (USP)
What is your unique selling point? Being able to identify what it is and why and how your brand will appeal to customers is essential to your e-retailing successes. Do you offer convenient and hassle-free, no-questions-asked returns? Do you always offer free shipping to lure in customers? Perhaps your packaging is so amazing that people upload videos to YouTube to document the “wow” effect.
Customers want a transparent shopping experience. They’ll assuredly have some questions to ask, too. Since they can’t physically be in your store, or see customer support agents, it’s imperative to put their minds at ease. This can usually be accomplished by posting helpful FAQs that they can read on your site. These FAQs, as the screenshot below illustrates, can help increase your conversion funnel by offering transparency and peace-of-mind.
When Bob comes to your store, he may not care about what checkout payment options that you offer. He’s just fine going with your standard checkout option. But Jill was recently defrauded online and is far more wary. How will you appeal to Jill?
Simple: offer secure checkout options that include third-party options like Google Wallet, Stripe and PayPal. Give your customers the option to use a guest checkout, too. Reports show that offering something as simple as a guest checkout can increase conversions by 20% or more.
Shoppers are wary in today’s identity theft ridden world. This is especially true if you are not some name brand ecommerce retailer. Think about this from the shopper’s point of view for a minute. You are basically asking said shopper to place their trust in your servers and payment processing system to assure that their confidential financial and personal information will be safeguarded against intrusion and hackers.
It’s a pretty big leap of faith you are asking for when all the innate risk is ominpresent. So don’t ask them to just “trust you.”
Instead, give shoppers the confidence that they need to close the deal. Case in point: Oriental Furniture was able to increase conversion rates by a healthy 7.6% merely by adding a stand-out security seal to their website to assure consumers that their information was safeguarded and insured during any given online transaction.
They used a service called BuySafe. It provides a seal of assurance and insures purchases up to $500 with a guaranteed delivery as well as offering $10,000 in identity theft insurance should the information of shoppers be compromised, not to mention a 30-day price match guarantee.
In par with the aforementioned guest checkout option, you will also want to do two other things. Firstly, you will want to feature an expedited express checkout. This can be done using services like Google Wallet and others.
Secondly, you will want to make checkout take as few clicks as possible. Shoppers want things to be fast, convenient and easy online. If you reduce the necessary clicks during the checkout process, you will see more sales coming in as a direct result.
All told, shoppers will abandon their carts about 66% of the time. At best, 3% will convert at any given ecommerce store with the average conversion rate hovering around 2%. But just because a cart was abandoned does not necessarily mean that the sale is gone.
Consider using a plugin that sends an immediate follow-up email to the abandoner featuring the products that they had been shopping for with a way for them to complete the sale in just a few clicks. Make sure you offer customer service contact information and that you clearly list an opt-out link.
Offer Live-Chat Support
One thing that shopping online does is decrease the personalization of the experience. Now some shoppers prefer it this way. And many don’t want to be hassled by a salesperson or feel pressured to buy something.
By adding live-chat support to your website, you can increase conversions because a real person will be there to assist customers who are shopping and help provide answers to questions as well as suggestions.
Your customers want to know that they are taken care of when they visit your website. To secure the deal and increase conversion rates, you’ll want to integrate a veritable live chat service and be progressive about how you interact with site visitors. A Proimpact7 study on Intuit found that conversion rates improved by a whopping 211% when “proactive chat” was being used.
But what is proactive chat? It’s probably better termed as “reactive chat.” The goal is to help prevent shopping cart abandonment by engaging users inside of the conversion funnel.
Use Amazing Images
Did you know that over one-third of all products that are ordered online will be returned? Amongst the top-five reasons why consumers return products they bought online is the fact that the product looked different from the picture being offered on the website.
To reduce return rates and increase conversions simultaneously, make sure you are using the highest quality photos of your wares. What’s more, be sure that you offer multiple viewpoints and angles and plenty of images for customers to sift through to help close that sale and prevent a future return.
If you are featuring highly detailed products, then you will also want to add a detailed zoom option to the images. This will let customers see the fine details of the item they are considering, thus helping to increase sales and prevent future returns.
Make Returns Easy
One of the most important conversion aspects with any ecommerce store is customer peace-of-mind and satisfaction. One simple method of accomplishing this is found in listing the estimated delivery time and returns information alongside of the product being offered for sale.
This lets customers know when they can expect to get the product that they are planning on ordering, and how much it will cost to be shipped to their home, in addition to assuring them that there is a strong online product returns policy in place as well.
Customer reviews are a big part of increasing conversions, reducing cart abandonment rates, and improving retention and loyalty. Over 60% of people will read a product review online before making a purchase. So having them on your site is critical to increasing conversions.
A simple Facebook plugin can generate a lot of reviews and positive customer feedback. This also helps you with online marketing because it assures that a steady stream of fresh, relevant content is being posted to your website, which ultimately will increase your social signals and benefit your online rankings in the search engine results.
Don’t Forget: customers will make up their mind about whether or not they are going to do business with you in about 10 seconds or less. Ensure that they are wowed from the moment they arrive to your online store by offering a premium design that is aesthetically pleasing, easy to navigate, fast to load and seamless between desktop and mobile devices.
What is proof? A good example is how it looks like when you land on the Piktochart home page. Piktochart offers a user-friendly infographic creation service that’s hosted in the cloud.
To help attract new sign-ups and more subscribers, they offer proof – which is basically a nice way of saying that some established and reputed companies and services swear by using their service. A Conversion Rate Experts study of Voices.com found that when proof was added to a home page, you can increase conversion rates by 400% or more.
How do you get proof?
- One method is to simply start issuing national press releases on a regular basis. As these press releases are syndicated, major mediums will pick them up, enabling you to brandish their logos and say, “As seen on and featured in.”
- You can use a service called Help a Reporter (HARO) to submit your elevator pitch to thousands of reporters each day to get major news coverage that adds proof.
- You can hire a PR firm to help you gain the coverage that you need.
- You can use a content syndication service called Outbrain to get your quality content syndicated across the web.
SEO & Content
If you are running an aggressive SEO campaign, then chances are that you have quite a bit of meaty content at your disposal. And there’s a good chance that this content is being hit a lot more times than you might think. It’s not uncommon for there to be internal articles, blogs and even white papers. To find out what pages of your site are performing the best so you can pull this off, just follow these simple steps.
- Access your Google Analytics dashboard.
- Click on “Site Content” on the left side bar.
- Click on “All Pages” on the dropdown menu.
- Edit rows to show “5,000” so you can see all of your content.
To give you a classic example, you can see from the screenshot below that we have a high-performing internal article (which is one of hundreds of pages that perform well on our site). This article in particular receives nearly 1,500 reads per month. I know that I can use this article to increase conversion rates by simply optimizing it to perform better.
So how do you optimize high traffic pages to perform better? The best way is to install a heat map on the page itself. You can choose from your pick of the litter on heat maps, which are in abundance online. The heat map that you choose may vary depending on your backend system and whether or not it’s compatible with your shopping cart or marketplace.
Once you have a heat map in place, you can easily make simple tweaks to the page to capitalize on its most popular real estate. Doing so can help you learn where to put signup buttons, lightboxes, videos and more, so you can maximize conversion on a page that’s already performing well traffic wise.
With a small investment in an HD camera and a product showcase backdrop (which you can also make on your own DIY for minimal cost), you can start adding product videos to your online store to increase conversion rates across the board. But do these videos really help you close the deal with consumers who visit your site? The quick answer is: yes. Here’s how.
According to the most recent statistics:
- Over 48 billion hours of video content was viewed by 187 million people in July of 2013 (that number would be simply astounding now.
- Professional ecommerce videos have been shown to improve conversions by as much as a 24.7% lift.
- Videos, on average, keep ecommerce visitors on a site 2 minutes longer and increase conversions rates for those visitors by as much as 64%.
- 53% of consumers are more confident about the purchasing process when ecommerce videos are available to watch.
- 66% of consumers will watch an ecommerce video twice or more.
- Onlineshoes.com sees a 45% better conversion rate with customers who watch product videos.
- Visitors who see a product video are 85% likelier to make a purchase as compared to visitors who have not seen a product video.
- Ice.com increased lift by 400% by using product videos and decreased returns by 25%.
Now don’t confuse us telling you to advertise a discounted price in lieu of cutting into your profits. Rather, it’s about increasing your unique value proposition by showing what the list price could be and then by advertising what your amazingly low price is instead. To give you a classic example, we’ll show you that the proof is in the pudding.
Online spirits seller Corkscrew Wine Merchants made one teeny, tiny change to their landing page (as demonstrated in the screenshot below) that helped them achieve 148.3% increase in sales lift to increase conversion rates.
So what did they do that was that genius? They simply added a red sticker to the “B” labeled screenshot that informed customers that they would receive a 15% discount on the wine. Stacked against each other, landing page B, which is identical to landing page A, boasted a 31% conversion rate against a shoddier 12.5% conversion rate.