Building a profitable online business takes more than setting up a nice looking website, paying for advertising or driving traffic to it. You have to know how to earn that sale and this is what we call conversion. This applies to anyone, whether you are directing the entire show yourself, or if you’re a marketing director or an e-commerce manager who want to hit massive goals for the year.
The conversion rate is the percentage of your website visitors who complete the desired action. On the other hand, an e-commerce conversion is the percentage of your website users who bought something from your online store within a set period of time.
The number of purchases is not the only way to measure the success of your online store. The following are some typical conversions for an e-commerce site:
- Email signups
- An online sale
- A user adding an item to their wishlist
- Social media shares
- A user adding a product to their cart
- Any KPI that you find valuable
This article is a CRO guide that shows how to improve conversion rates on your site. The following are ways to boost your Ecommerce conversion rates:
Using high-quality product images
When shopping online, you cannot touch the product or try it on, the closest you can get to is seeing a highly detailed image of this product. Ecommerce sites should, therefore, use high-quality images that customers can zoom into.
Offer free shipping
Free shipping makes online shoppers feel like they are getting a deal even when they aren’t. Free shipping is a psychological game and you can even increase the prices of your products to cover shipping costs.
Offer coupon codes
Provide your customers with coupon codes that are redeemed at the point of checkout to get a percentage of or an amount off the purchase.
Adjust product prices
If your online store sells brand items that are available in other stores, you should adjust your prices downwards to compete.
Tweak and test the checkout process
You will lose a lot of buyers if your checkout process is unconventional, too long and complicated. This is where your A/B tests and split testing should come into play. An ideal checkout page should be one page with few drop downs and an unfailing view of the product.
You can even create your one-page checkout where buyers can see the checkout process when they land on the page.
Use the cart abandonment software
If you notice a lot of abandoned carts where someone places an item on the cart and then leaves, you can do with abandonment software.
This software works when a user adds an item(s) to the cart, enters all the details and then leaves your store. Some e-commerce platforms have this software on store functionality at no added costs.
The software sends out emails to those who abandoned their carts. The sent email includes the cart contents and an incentive for the buyer to complete the order, this can be a coupon code that offers a discount.
As an ecommerce website owner, you should do all you can to decrease the abandonment rate because the users have already demonstrated an interest.
Use live chat
Live chat creates a direct communication with your potential buyers to you. When a potential customer talks to a real human, trust is created and this may lead to a lifetime brand loyalty.
Only use live chat if you’re available during business hours to respond to all customer queries. if your live chat software goes into the offline mode during working hours, it sends a very bad signal for your business and it's better not to add it at all if you won’t be available.
Let your buyers know that your e-store is safe
Clients need to feel safe to enter their credit card details on your site. Use the following to enhance the credibility of your website:
Add an SSL at Checkout or everywhere on your site if possible
Show small images of payment options like PayPal, credit card options and other payment options.
Create accounts with online security companies and display security badges on your site i.e. GeoTrust and McAfee.
Make your products easy to find
Your products should be structured logically and remember to use few levels to make the products easily accessible. Your website should also have search options where customers can type in the product of their choice and find it with ease.
Simplify your checkout form
The fields on the checkout form should limit what can be typed to make the process easy for users. You can do this by:
- Auto formatting the credit card number as the user types
- Adding a date picker or drop-down instead of typing
- You can also add digital wallets added like Apple Pay, PayPal Express and Amazon Pay where users simply sign in with their account and then auto-fills everything for them. This process is faster and safer for everyone.
Always show content in the shopping carts
Your buyers should have a shopping cart icon with a link after adding a link to the cart. If the user cannot find the cart, they cannot check out. Also, remember to show customers what they are buying as they check out.
Allow guest checkout
Don’t force the users to register, allow them to check out as guests because you will have their name and email addresses when they make the purchase.
Provide detailed product descriptions
Describe your product in great detail for the customers to know what they are getting. This is essential because the customer cannot touch the product or ask a question; it also prevents returns.
You can add a product demonstration video at this point, it works perfectly.
This will also boost your SEO ranking and is, therefore, good for your business on many fronts.
Allow customer reviews
Many people buy from Amazon because of customer reviews; many buyers check reviews before purchasing a product online.
Get your customers to leave reviews by offering coupon code or other incentives next time they buy an item from your e-commerce site.
Add many “checkout” and “add to cart” buttons
Sometimes a user is prompted to buy when they see an actionable button. Add it to your site and make it stand out from the rest of the text.
Testimonials are super powerful and they aren’t just a list of features. Use real testimonials to prove that your products work. You can do this by offering a product to a website that gives honest reviews; use this as a starting point for all your testimonials.
Press reviews also count.
Have a great product return policy
50% of buyers read the return policy before making the purchase.
Avoid overpromising and make this process painless and easy as possible for your buyers to return products. This doesn’t sound like conversion optimization but it’s a good business practice.
Optimize for mobile
Your online store should work on mobile devices since most buyers use mobile devices when browsing.
Add a phone number
Buy a toll-free phone number, they are available for cheap these days from sites such as tollfreeforwarding.com.
Once you get this number, record a professional voicemail and phone menu to make the customers feel comfortable buying from you.
Professional voice over services are available from websites such as UpWork.com and Fiverr.com.
Post valuable content
You can add value to your products by adding useful and valuable content. Do this by adding high-quality content on product pages, well-written and keyword optimized blogs to engage and inform your target audience.
Try and get the buyers before they leave
There is a way to get the customer right before he/she leaves and this is by using pop-ups. Use software such as Sumome, OptiMonk, OptinMonster, MaxTraffic, and Sleeknote.
Remember, you don’t have to use any money to advertise to your subscription base, you only send them an email. This list should be large, engaged and actively open the emails as possible.
Grab the attention of the visitor fast
This is where high-quality images come in because users use them to judge your website subconsciously. If you decide to use large images on your homepage, then you need to choose wisely to catch the attention of your site visitor in a positive way.
Use “Call to Actions” sparingly
It’s a good practice to have the CTAs on one screen. “Add to Cart”, “Add to Wishlist” and “Share Icons” and other CTAs should all be in the same area on the same page.
Persuade the user to react to the call to action, for example, if they’re on the cart page, use the “Proceed to Checkout” CTA or if the user is on a product page, use “Add to Cart”.
Employ a trip wire offer
A trip wire is best defined as a low-cost deal that the buyer can’t say no to. You can use them to keep money flowing, build trust, grow your ecommerce list and sell to them at any time.
Add small incremental changes
When tweaking your site, make small changes to test and measure those changes to avoid hurting your conversion rates.
Explain to the visitor why they should buy from you and why you’re different from other ecommerce stores selling the same product.
Spell everything correctly because if you don’t, you will hurt your sales as your potential buyers will lose trust in you.
Measure your CRO success
Check to confirm that your conversion rates are improving. Your bottom line and value per customer are increasing as well.
Make the most of what you have and then make a push for more traffic.
What to do with new buyers
Your CRO does not end when you make your first sale or when you make your 200th sale either. It’s good that you have clients now but it’s time to go from a 2% conversion rate to higher numbers.
Small tweaks can make a really big difference here. Optimize your front-end conversion without forgetting your back-end conversion rate. This means that you’ll want to lay focus on getting repeat purchases.
The Free stage
Potential buyers start at the unaware stage. They don’t know they are looking for your product and you must educate them. However, avoid “selling to them”. This is the right stage to capture emails via pop-ups or retargeting the visitors with ads to bring them back to your site.
The $ stage
Lure buyers to your site by offering them an inexpensive product that solves their problems as a tester. You will get email addresses in return to nurture them at a later date.
The $$ stage
Offer them a bundled service or a subscription service, this is a way to move them up the value ladder.
The $$$ stage
This is the stage to keep your buyers interested in your brand and content through email nurture streams and take them to a new high-cost funnel.
The $$$$+ Stages
Your ecommerce business is more mature and it makes sense to partner with other brands to move your audience to a higher value and engagement ladder.
Additional metrics to measure ecommerce conversions
Bounce rate; this is the percentage of people leaving your site after viewing a single page. This is a bad sign because it shows that people aren’t finding what they are looking for on your site.
Exit rate; this is the percentage of people who hit that back button after viewing the page. This rate lets you know the last page the users view before deciding to exit. The page with high exit rates acts as a red flag.
Click through rate; this is the number of people who click a link to your website from an email or an ad. These metrics are available in your Google Analytics account under Behavior>Overview.
Average session duration; this option lets you know how long people stick around your site. You need people to stick around for longer to convert.
Average page depth; this option lets you know the number of pages a shopper visited before leaving. Also known as total page views per session duration.
These metrics are available in Google Analytics under “Audience>Overview”.
The value ladder is important because it lets you think what you’ll do with your customers once you get them. To build a brand, you must drive repeat business to your ecommerce site.
Before you start thinking about the value ladder, you should make sure that your ecommerce site is converting at a baseline level of 1-2%. The steps we have highlighted here will help you get just that without wasting money on advertisements.