10 Ways to Boost Your Ecommerce Conversion Rate
Digital sales is rife with challenges, but today we’re going to be focusing on just one: conversion rate optimization.
For those new to the wild world of ecommerce, conversion rate refers to the number of sales you make divided by the number of visitors to your website (in reality, “conversion” means any action that you want the visitor to take—for our purposes, that action is buying something). If 100 people land on your site, and five end up making a purchase, you have a conversion rate of 5%.
The hard part? Boosting that conversion rate so that your revenue gets a bump. But that’s why we’re here.
Behold, 10 ways to ensure conversion rate optimization.
1. Have a mobile-first mentality
The truth is that 4 out of 5 ecommerce transactions happen on smartphones. If that statistic doesn’t convince you to focus first and foremost on optimizing your UX on mobile, then maybe this one will: just kidding, there isn’t a second stat, because that first one should be all you need.
Smartphones are ubiquitous (understatement of the year candidate) and they’re more powerful and useful than ever. People do everything on their phones, from turning up the heat on their thermostat before getting home to identifying constellations on their camping trip. And, oh yeah, they use them to shop too. A lot.
If your website doesn’t play nice on mobile, you’re essentially turning your back on 80% of the market. And your hopes of conversion rate optimization will be dashed before you can say “Black Friday”.
2. Site speed matters
Remember way back up there in the intro when we mentioned people’s attention spans? Anyway, they’re bad. If your site is slow, your would-be customers will leave.
People’s time is precious, and they are certainly not going to spend it waiting for your site to load.
According to Crazy Egg, a one-second lag in page load time results in a 7% loss in conversions, and 40% of visitors will abandon a page that takes three or more seconds to load.
One way to improve your site speed is to pay attention to the weight of the images you include on it. It’s all about finding the format that best suits the image and the page, whether that’s PNG, JPEG, SVG, or another one. If your images are in the wrong format, you could be adding unnecessary weight to your page.
Slow site? Bye-bye sales.
3. Reduce friction
Friction is only good when we’re talking about your tires keeping you on the road. When it comes to conversion rate optimization, friction is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad thing.
Your job is to reduce it.
That means removing any and all barriers to making a sale.
- Fewer clicks: Attention spans are short. People don’t want to click more than they have to.
- Less noise: Restrict pop-ups to when the user is about to leave your site, and do your best to limit distracting third-party ads. The focus should be on your product and your customer, nothing else.
- A more direct path to checkout: Ecommerce checkout flows should have no more than five steps. Got six? That’s a problem.
Your customer is your friend—why not make their experience a nice and smooth one?
4. Track everything
At the risk of sounding like a totalitarian dictator, you need to be tracking everything that happens on your ecommerce site. If you’re not, you’re operating in the dark.
Understanding customer behaviour is the best way to anticipate their needs and provide them the tools and pathways they need to make a purchase, thereby ensuring conversion rate optimization.
It starts with heatmaps (used to show where users have clicked on a page, how far they have scrolled down, or to display the results of eye-tracking tests) and analytics:
- Total number of visitors
- Where they’re coming from
- How long they stay
- How many pages they visit
- Which pages they exit most from, among many others
These are the basics, and hold the key to understanding how your customers are interacting with your website.
Neil Patel puts it succinctly: “Once you understand the path of your website visitors, you can improve their journey and…improve conversion.”
5. ABT: Always be testing
The rationale here is simple: if you’re not improving, you’re falling behind. And in the cutthroat world of ecommerce, you might never bounce back.
The best way to improve is to A/B test everything: email campaigns, landing pages, banner ads, chatbots, even the colour of your CTA buttons, for crying out loud!
Put out two versions of everything you do, then track the metrics and see which converts more. If the results are decisive, adopt that approach.
And watch your conversion rate soar.
6. Talk to your customers
Ancient Chinese general Sun Tzu once said, “If you know your customer and know your company, you need not fear the result of a hundred digital interactions.” (Seriously, look it up.)
And the wisdom holds true today. When you talk to your customers, you gain insight into their motivations, their challenges, their preferences. And when you know what they want, all you have to do is give it to them.
Talking to them can be as easy as sending a survey to your email list or introducing an AI-powered chatbot onto your site, one that gathers data about their interests and habits.
People are happy to talk if they see a benefit in it for them. And what could be more beneficial than getting what you want out of your online shopping experience?
7. The power of personalization
Everyone wants to feel special, so it’s no wonder that personalization is a major factor in conversion rate optimization.
AI conversations like the ones that Automat specializes in can be integrated anywhere you interact with your customer, from ads to landing pages to your website itself.
In the course of these natural conversations, Automat learns about each website visitor’s wants and needs. Using its extensive knowledge of your company’s SKUs, Automat identifies what products are best fitted to each individual, and makes hyper-personalized recommendations. Most customers convert at this phase.
If they don’t, and they keep browsing the website, they’ll find that the site has been entirely personalized to them. Products will now have graphics in the form of a percentage (“100% right for you”) and an explanation ( “Great for dehydrated fine hair”). The visitor is no longer doing all of the work to get familiar with every single one of your company’s SKUs. And they appreciate it.
If the unthinkable happens and visitors still haven’t made a purchase, the data collected from the chats can be used to make the email and remarketing flow more dynamic and personalized, increasing their effectiveness.
And this brings us to our next rule…
8. Remarketing is key
Let’s start this one off with another clichéd maxim: people are busy. If they visit your site and leave without buying, it doesn’t mean they don’t like you and never want to hear from you. Chances are they’re just busy.
So reach out.
Search Engine Journal holds that “Remarketing is one of the strongest conversion tactics in digital marketing today.” Follow-up emails and targeted ads remind potential customers of your brand, and oftentimes that’s all the push they need.
Seeing as 96% of people who visit ecommerce websites are not ready to buy right then and there, in order to increase your conversion rate, a gentle reminder is not only recommended, it’s necessary.
9. Have a simple refund policy
This one, like Nos. 2 and 3, is all about removing barriers.
Even if you’re a small fish in the ecommerce pond, you’re still technically competing with blue whales like Amazon and Wayfair, and your customer will compare your refund policy to theirs.
Imagine finding that perfect gift for your mother-in-law, only to glance at the refund policy and see 100 ways the company could swindle you.
Don’t give them pause. Don’t give them any excuse to abandon their cart. Make your refund/return policy as customer friendly as humanly possible. Your conversion rate will thank you.
10. Trust in social proof
Social proof is the theory that consumers tend to adopt the opinions or actions of the crowd. As much as we strong individuals might not like to admit it, it’s a fact: we are wide open to influence.
Numerous studies over the past five years have found that more than 80% of online consumers begin their shopping journey by doing research. You know what that means? Reviews matter. Testimonials do too. And so do endorsements.
In fact, this type of “word of mouth” marketing is so widespread and powerful that 83% of consumers say that positive recommendations make them more likely to purchase a product or service.
You need to be mining for good reviews and promoting them when you find them. With so much riding on social proof, it’s a wonder we left it to No. 10.
Conversion rate optimization is within reach
The first step to ecommerce success is getting visitors to your site—you can’t make a sale if people aren’t coming through the door—but that’s only half the battle.
If your conversion rate is in the gutter, it doesn’t matter if you’re getting 20 million uniques a month.
Reach out to us at Automat to learn how our AI technology can help you double your conversion rate.