When you’re selling online, getting visitors to your site can be a difficult and expensive process. But it’s only half the battle.
If those visitors are not buying from you once they get there, you’re missing out on a lot of opportunity.
That’s where conversion rate optimisation comes in.
Improving your conversion rate can make a huge difference to your bottom line by ensuring you’re converting more of your hard-earned visitors into paying customers.
So how do you go about increasing your conversion rate?
Here are 14 tactics you can use to improve your conversion rate over time…
1. Use clear and compelling copy
Good copy, provided by a seasoned writer with good sales skills, helps your readers understand your offer - and how to respond. When writing about your products, use simple words which provide all the information that customers need to make their decision. How you use words may matter more than you think. A test by L’Axelle that changed their copy from comfort-oriented (‘Feel fresh without sweat marks’) to action-oriented (‘Put an end to sweat marks’) saw a 93% increase in the number of people adding the product to their cart.
2. Test your call-to-action (CTA)
Call-to-action buttons are the buttons you use on your website to guide users towards your goal conversion. For your eCommerce site, the button is probably an Add to Cart or a Buy Now button. These buttons get people eager to act, so it’s essential they work effectively. Take a look at the size, colour, text, position and surrounding whitespace and see if there’s anything that could make your buttons more appealing. It should always be obvious to a customer how your site works - so usually brighter, bigger buttons will work best. Remember to test just one small change at a time so that you can see the impact it has and make informed decisions about what to alter for good.
3. Offer free shipping
Nothing has customers scrolling towards the ‘close’ button quite like an unexpected shipping fee when they reach their cart. One study found that 93% of people would be encouraged to buy more products if there was free shipping on their order. On the other side of the coin, high shipping costs were rated as the number one reason why customers were not happy with their online shopping experience. So just how important is free shipping to customers? Well, not only can you increase your conversion rate with free shipping (one eCommerce business saw a 50% increase in conversions when they introduced free shipping for orders over $100), but also, orders with free shipping average around 30% higher in total value.
4. Simplify your checkout process
According to Statista, 21% of customers abandon their shopping cart because of a lengthy checkout process. This may mean there are too many pages, forms, or fields for them to navigate. Customers also don’t like to give away information that they think is irrelevant to their purchase. Make the buying process as quick and easy as possible, and make it clear to customers how many more steps they have left to go. You may find you lose less people along the way.
5. Invest in your photos
Professional photos make a website, and without them, your conversion rate will take a hit. When it comes to product images, the more the better. Include high quality photos of your product from different angles and distances, and showing the product in action. Customers want to feel more informed about their purchase - which is probably why online retailer Duematernity.com saw a 27% increase in their conversion rate after including 360 degree rotating images.
6. Get rid of distractions
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is overcrowding your website with too much information, or flashy functions. We know your design goal is to look different, but you should do that by highlighting your professional value. Take a look at the world’s leading brands and their websites. Notice something? They’re all clean and clutter-free. If that’s not incentive enough, consider the results of an A/B test by personalised gift retailers nameOn, which saw an 11.40% increase in overall eCommerce conversion rate after removing unnecessary CTAs from the checkout page such as ‘Sign up for newsletter’, ‘Like us on Facebook’ and ‘Go to home page’.
7. Create urgency
Whether it’s created through a limited offer, a sale, a giveaway, or reduced stock, urgency one of the most powerful ways to boost your website’s conversion rate. The concept works so well because people genuinely fear missing out. Marcus Taylor of Venture Harbour was able to boost his sales by a huge 332% by adding in a ‘Time left to download’ countdown and a ‘Status’ to his online deals.
8. Compare the competition
People feel compelled to shop around. Even if someone is tempted to click the Buy Now button on your page, they are likely to have a quick glance somewhere else to ensure they are doing the right thing. If your competition’s website looks better, you might just risk losing a potential customer. To avoid this, compare your competition before your viewer leaves. By including a cost or service comparison on your site or a simple graphic to demonstrate superior price, benefit, features and value, you could keep a significant number of site visitors from ‘shopping around’. And, just in case they do leave your site to look elsewhere, use a ‘persistent shopping cart’, so that when they return, their products will still be in their basket.
9. Create a separate section for reduced items
A study by E-tailing Group found that 47% of online buyers would only buy discounted products, except under exceptional circumstances. Even more (62%) said they look for a section on a website that identifies sales and specials. Feed into customers natural desire to hunt for a bargain by making it clear where they can find cheaper items on your site.
10. Use abandoned cart recovery emails
If you collect your customer’s email address at the beginning of the checkout process, you have the opportunity to bring them back to your site if they abandon their cart. Implement a recovery email sequence that reminds them of what they were thinking about buying before they have a chance to purchase it somewhere else. According to SalesCycle, 13.3% of cart recovery emails are clicked through and over a third of those convert to a sale.
11. Implement dynamic retargeting
Dynamic retargeting lets you personalise ad impressions that you serve to customers - either in display (banner) ads or on Facebook - by featuring products they’ve recently viewed on your site. There are plenty of case studies which show that retargeting ads result in a higher click-through rate than other ads, and a higher conversion rate once the customer makes it back to your site. One case study from Criteo even saw a 775% lift in sales after using dynamic product ads.
12. Use live chat
Having a live chat feature on your website means that customers have someone who can immediately walk them through a sale if they have a challenge that could otherwise cause them to leave your site. According to Customer iCare, businesses that use live chat usually report a 10-30% increase in conversion rate.
13. Quantitative analysis
Using tools for quantitative analysis will help you to identify what might be killing conversions on your site. Study your Google Analytics and look for any significant issues. Does the conversion rate differ greatly on different devices or browsers? Is there a high bounce rate on a certain page on your website? As well as Analytics, you can use heat mapping - which can show you where customers are hovering, clicking, or scrolling on your site - to further help you identify any areas where they seem to be getting stuck. Once you’ve identified potential areas of concern, you’ll have a list of things to test improvements on.
14. Qualitative analysis
Where quantitative analysis shows you what you need to fix on your website through analytics and software applications, qualitative analysis is all about understanding why users choose to buy from you or not. Whether you use a popup that asks customers a question before they leave the site, or an email that asks them how they enjoyed their experience, information from your customers is an invaluable resource that allows you to identify room for improvement. Make sure to research which questions are going to give you the best information. For example, it’s a good idea to include at least one open-ended question that allows customers to explain in their own words any issues that they had with their experience.
Test, test, test
Even when there seems to be a lot of evidence that customers prefer one thing over another, the only way to really know if it will work for your site is to test, test, test. And there is always room for your conversion rate to improve, so don’t get complacent. Keep trying new things and you’ll keep seeing incremental improvements to your site - and your profits.