Everyone in the world of eCommerce wants to talk about sales, but few bother to think about the process behind the sale. Conversion rates matter more to your business than you might think. After all, if you can’t convert visitors in the first place, how are you going to generate sales?
It’s rare that someone will come specifically to your site and make a purchase directly and of their own choosing—there are just too many websites out there for that kind of luck. Usually, there’s a fair amount of coaxing involved. How you handle that coaxing can make all the difference in your success.
Marketing strategies and consumer trends are constantly changing, so it’s important for you to keep up with all of the best practices and current strategies that are being used most effectively. The Internet is a fickle place and what is the top tool today might be in the scrap pile tomorrow. Here, we find another reason that it is so important for you to understand how to improve your conversion rates and generate more sales for your eCommerce website, no matter what business you’re in.
For those who aren’t familiar, conversion is the process of getting a user to complete a desired action. While most people hear the word “conversion” and assume it refers only to a sale, that is the furthest from the truth. In fact, it actually takes a number of small actions, or micro-conversions, throughout the consumer journey to arrive at the eventual transaction in the majority of cases.
You can’t get a sale without getting a visitor to your product page. You can’t get them to your product page without getting them to your website. That requires proper marketing of your website on search engines, which may or may not include pay-per-click marketing and sponsored ads.
A user visiting your website through a search engine may make three to five micro-conversions before they even consider a purchase, simply by visiting your site, signing up for coupons, navigating to the store pages, and reading customer reviews on the website.
Conversions can refer to sales, but they don’t have to. As we’ve touched on, conversions can also refer to:
There are a number of tools and strategies available to help increase your revenue by improving your conversions. First and foremost, how are you tracking your current conversion rates? If you’re less familiar with the process, you might be overlooking valuable information and missing out on a higher conversion rate percentage simply because you don’t actually know where you stand.
Check your current conversion rates if you haven’t already. If you don’t have a tracking tool in place, consider adding one like Google Analytics, or hiring a third-party service that can assist you with conversion tracking and optimization. It’s shocking, but the fact is that a number of people will see their conversions increase significantly just by tracking them more effectively.
For those who aren’t tracking at all, conversion rates could even double within 24 hours, and you don’t even have to actually do anything besides improve your monitoring and tracking.
There are a lot of different ways that you can go about improving the conversion process for your eCommerce store. Below, you’ll find a collection of tips, marketing strategies, and tools that can help you get more out of your conversions, no matter where you’re trying to capture them. This will include the end goal of generating a sale, along with a number of smaller and alternative conversions along the way.
Not every tool or strategy will be right for every eCommerce business, so be sure to read through the entire guide and figure out what will work best for you.
There are a number of metrics programs out there today to help you measure your website’s success. The one that you choose will ultimately be up to you, but you have to have one in place. As we just discussed, one of the biggest reasons people think they need higher conversion rates is because they don’t actually know what theirs are. Usually, it’s through no fault of their own, but they aren’t following the right metrics or performing the right research.
So, implement an effective tracking tool or service that will help you follow your conversions to see which ones are most successful and which ones could use some improvement. Take advantage of tools that can show you things like how users interact with your site, what the entire customer journey looks like, and other valuable insights that can help you increase conversions by catering to what your visitors want.
Here are some examples of available conversion tracking and optimization software and behavior/activity tracking tools:
A/B testing is a tried-and-true tool for offering users the best possible solution for their needs. In this test, you will need to create two variations of your website or the product page. Separate your website traffic into two groups and send each to a different version of the page. Then, you’ll be able to see which version gets more conversions for you. In 2008, the Obama campaign went through 24 different website variations with A/B testing until they finally decided upon the top performer.
Just remember that you should only have one change between the versions of your site. Otherwise, you’ll never be able to track what change actually made the difference. If this means you need to run multiple tests (like the campaign did), that’s fine. As long as you’re testing for the best improvements, perform as many samplings as you’d like.
Optimize and Clarify with Your Value Proposition
What you offer to customers is the key to their working with you. Making what you offer clearly known is how you can guarantee that they will choose to work with you. Make sure that your value proposition uses conversational language and answers the following questions:
What do you offer?
How does it help the consumer?
What reasons do they have to trust you?
Why are you better than the competition?
If you go ahead and explain all of these things to your visitors right out of the gate, you’ll eliminate a number of questions, concerns, and outright skeptics that may not be sure whether you’re the best choice for their needs. Your website should make your business obvious and it should address your brand values and reassure visitors that you aren’t just the best choice, but you are THE choice.
Incorporate Fear of Loss
People are often overwhelmed by the selection of products available online. This vast market can often lead to a paralyzing fear of making the wrong choice, causing the shopper to make no choice at all. If you create a sense of urgency and make sure that your visitors feel a little fear of missing out, you’ll be much more likely to get conversions.
This isn’t to say that you should lie to your audience. By all means, you should be 100% honest with them. If, however, you’re selling a limited supply of something, advertise that so they know to buy now or miss out. Give people a reason to make a decision now.
Perhaps that will be a limited-time coupon code or a special offer that’s only available for a certain period of time. If people feel like your products will always be there, they aren’t going to be in any rush to make the purchase.
Eliminate Consumer Concerns
In addition to addressing it briefly in your value proposition, you also need to use the rest of your website to fully address and eliminate any and all concerns, questions, or potential objections to your product. People are going to ask, so there’s no use in avoiding it. If you meet it head-on, you’re not only giving them peace of mind, but you also show that you're so committed to helping solve their problem you will make sure they get all of the information and resources that they need.
Ultimately, people should feel like your brand is a trusted authority that is going to deliver exactly what they need and want. You can integrate information into your content organically, or you can make it easier for your visitors by creating a specific FAQ page or “questions and concerns” area in your product pages where you address any potential objections or concerns that may arise. Other ways you can eliminate these concerns include:
Bring up the competition before they do: Don’t beat around the bush—everyone knows that you have competition. Be upfront and tell the visitor straight away why your product is the best choice.
Offer social proof: Include testimonials, customer reviews, social shares, and other indicators that come directly from other visitors that converted to buyers. If other people trust you, a new visitor will likely feel that they can trust you, too.
Increase trust and eliminate concerns: Offer any ratings, certificates, awards or related case studies.
You’re not trying to sell a dog to a cat lover. That is, if people can’t actually benefit from your product or service, tell them. In fact, you’ll be seen as a much more trusted source if you do this, and they may even come back in the future when they do need what you have to offer. By giving them the answers that they deserve, even if those answers don’t involve your product at the moment, you’ll create a lasting impression. Offering insight on related products and services is invaluable for today’s e-commerce store because that personal touch can make all the difference.
Remarket Your Best Blogs
Remember earlier when we discussed conversion tracking? You should also be tracking the progress of your website and your website’s blog. Look at the ones that have the highest conversion rates and find ways to drive traffic to them. You can share them on social media, update the content with fresh material and keywords, and even optimize your calls-to-action to generate more interest.
You should also take a minute here to look at blogs that aren’t performing as well. If they’re not generating traffic, find out why. Then, either modify them to improve their effectiveness or just take them down entirely. If your blogs are generating a lot of traffic, but not converting, figure out where the visitor gets off track.
It might be that your content is too blocky and hard to follow. Perhaps your CTAs are unclear or just not engaging enough. Figure out why the blogs aren’t converting, make the necessary tweaks, and check on them in a week or two. If you do a good job, even your worst blogs can come back to help with optimization and increasing conversions.
Other Helpful ECommerce Optimization Tips and Insight
Aside from all of the major tasks discussed above, there are a lot of little ways you can optimize your website and increase conversions and sales. Here are some easy tweaks that just about anyone can implement for near-instant results.
Make shipping free. Even if you can’t afford to actually offer free shipping, add a few dollars to your product cost so that you can cover shipping. Thanks to sites like Amazon, this is almost expected of eCommerce stores these days. Sites that charge for shipping see as much as 60-70% rates of cart abandonment, and that’s not usually something you can recover from.
Use high-resolution images and video. People can’t physically see or touch your product since they’re shopping online, but they need to get as close as possible in order to make the best buying decision. Offer high-quality photos, 360-degree views, product videos, and other solutions to ensure that people can truly see what they are buying.
Know your audience. A good majority of the reason why people don’t see great initial conversion rates with their eCommerce store is that they aren’t marketing to the right audience. Know who your target audience is and make sure that you’re sending the right messages.
The checkout process shouldn’t be an obstacle course. If people have to sign in, fill out five forms, navigate through three pages that are slow to load, and still confirm all the information before they can even complete the purchase, you’re going to be lucky to keep any visitors that make it all the way to the end. Keep it simple. Allow guest checkout, minimize form submissions, and include digital wallets and auto-fill features that allow people to import their information rather than filling out form upon form during the checkout process.
Don’t forget about cart abandonment tools and strategies. We mentioned this briefly above, but it’s crucial that you incorporate some kind of reminder, email feature, or another way to reach out to those who have left something behind. Some people intend to come back, but you can’t wait until they come to you. Plus, when you reach out first, it shows them you care about helping them resolve their problem with your product.
Part of eCommerce requires providing financial information and other personal details that people may not want just anyone to know. Therefore, your store can guarantee better conversion rates by improving the privacy and security practices and tools that you currently have in place. Show people that they are in a safe place and that their personal or financial information is secure at all times.
The internet is ripe with scams, despite most of them having been exhausted a few times over because it still continues to be fruitful for the scam artists. Spam and robocalls have even turned to text messaging, leaving nothing sacred. As a result, consumers are warier than ever before, and a large part of your success in conversion will come by instilling trust into your visitors and letting them know that their information is always secure when they use your website.
It’s just as easy for a scam artist to set up an eCommerce website and rip people off as it is for you to build a legitimate eCommerce site. In fact, it’s actually a bit easier because they can copy information and they aren’t worried about actually delivering on their promises like you are. Make sure that you use the proper security tools and offer transparent information regarding privacy, information storage on your website, and other security-related issues.
While you might want to just dive in and start making changes in places where you see that they are needed, this is not the most effective way to optimize your eCommerce conversions. You really have to step back and assess the situation. This will allow you to determine which strategies and tools will be most effective and help you create a strategy with actionable steps and measurable results. Optimizing is useless if you’re not going to measure the results and make sure that your plan is working.
You’ll need to ask yourself a few questions to create an effective plan and choose the best strategies. Instead of asking “how will optimization improve my eCommerce sales?”, you should be asking things like:
How simple will it be to implement a strategy or conversion tool?
How much value is added to the brand with various optimization strategies?
What is the overall improvement potential?
By using the tools and strategies listed here, it should be easier for you to get the conversion rates that you deserve. Many people are living with 1-2% conversion rates and calling it “standard”, but if you do it right, you can find yourself in the top with rates of up to five percent or more. Doing that involves focusing in on all of the little conversions along the way as we touched on earlier.
You can implement optimization tactics into almost every area of your website. The most important areas of focus are the home page, your landing pages, and product pages. This is where people are going to go for information. This is where you need to provide that information. Use optimization strategies and tools discussed above to monitor your conversion rates and other marketing campaigns, as well as to make changes to your various website areas or pages that will help increase conversions.
Conversion rates are crucial to your business. Nurturing them is an important step in your everyday operations, but it can sometimes be hard to keep up with. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools, resources, and strategies available, including the ones discussed here, to help you make the most of your conversion rates and drive revenue to your bottom line.
This guide provides an overview of the most important aspects of conversion rates and how they impact eCommerce stores, giving you the upper hand in your own conversions moving forward.
To learn more about e-commerce conversions o r how to increase your conversion rates, contact us today. Our team can help you get the conversion rates that you deserve, no matter what type of eCommerce store you operate. Call us now to get started or click below to find out more.