When a potential customer lands on a website, the goal is to convert these visitors into eventual customers. From there, it’s possible to nurture the relationship and maintain their loyalty as a long-time consumer. So, when an Internet user arrives on the website but instead of making a purchase backs out and leaves, it’s a failed opportunity. Not all hits on a site turn into sales. However, there are ways to boost the potential for a conversion. In fact, here are six tried and true ways to increase a company’s eCommerce conversion rate.
- Improve Website Load Time
The time it takes a website to load plays a big role in whether or not a visitor stays around to even look over the site. In fact, according to KISSmetrics, 40 percent of all online shoppers will back out of a site if it takes more than three seconds to load. Additionally, for every one second it takes for a page to load, a customer’s satisfaction drops by 16 percent.
There are ways to boost a website’s load time. First, the admin should remove all unnecessary graphics and animations. A clean, white background helps text pop, highlights images and doesn’t require additional coding as websites have a default white background.
Next, the images need proper formatting. If uploading an image directly from a digital camera to a computer and then to the site, the file will likely range from a few megabytes to several dozens. That's far too large for an image file. Instead, the image needs to be saved on the computer as a smaller file. A file, saved down to 20 kilobytes, will load infinitely faster, not to mention the website can then afford to feature more images.
Lastly, the company needs to look over all links leading out of the page. A dead link can slow download time. Making sure all links are fully functional helps boost load time while ensuring a website visitor doesn't end up on a page that doesn't load. All in all, a faster loading website will lead to an elevated conversion rate.
- Simplify the Purchase Process
One of the biggest problems eCommerce sites run into stands in the form of shopping cart abandonment. This occurs when an interested customer selects an item for purchase, but then backs out and doesn’t complete the order.
There are numerous reasons behind shopping cart abandonment. Some customers want to shop around to make sure they receive the best price. Other times, the checkout process may simply take too long and come with too many hoops to jump through. Simplifying the process can improve the end conversion rate.
A customer should have the option of buying a product without signing up and creating an account. There are customers who either don’t want to take the extra time to create an account, or they don’t want their information saved on file. Having an account is helpful for the business as it adds them to the company’s email list. Offering an incentive to sign up (such as a discount or free item) can help increase the chances of signing up for an account. However, it’s still important for the company to offer a “Check Out As Guest” option.
Next, the company needs to offer a security guarantee. The company needs to implement security features into the checkout process and then provide a security seal, so customers know protection is in place. Offering a customer guarantee to the checkout and stating the checkout is secured all help boost conversion rates. Customers are much more leery with regards to providing personal and financial data on websites, so featuring these kinds of security protocols is a must.
The company also needs to offer a wide range of payment options. Some customers will abandon a shopping cart if they are not able to use their preferred payment of choice. This includes accepting a wide range of credit cards. For example, if a customer prefers to pay with American Express, but the company does not accept this form of payment, the visitor may go to another service provider that does accept the payment method. Even though certain cards or payment options come with a slightly higher processing fee, it’s better for the business to pay the higher processing fee than to miss out on the sale completely.
- Add Customer Reviews
Customers want to know what previous customers think of a product. They don’t just want sales speech. A company will always say its product is better than the competition, so most consumers now take that with a grain of salt. Having documented proof a product is highly regarded (such as a trade publication rating or review) can prove beneficial, but ultimately, the best way to showcase what previous customers think is to add customer reviews directly to the website.
According to SEMRush, when websites add customer reviews, an eCommerce site will, on average, experience an increase in sales by over 58 percent. It's helpful to not only feature great reviews but the negative reviews as well. The same study suggests one or two negative reviews do not have an impact on a customer's decision to make a purchase, but it does illustrate the fact that the reviews are authentic.
The customer reviews can also help reduce shopping anxiety. When paired with detailed, product descriptions, the information will help paint a complete picture for the customer of how a product works and what to expect, all of which will help increase an eCommerce conversion rate.
- Videos of Products
Images can showcase a product, but videos visualize the item in their own world. It shows how large it is in their hands or how they might hold it. It also helps highlight how certain parts of the product are used. As the SEMRush study indicates, people who view product videos on an eCommerce site are 174 percent more likely to buy the product than those who do not view a product video
- Improve the Call to Action
Without a clear call to action, customers may not know what to do next. Most visitors to a site do not read everything word for word. Instead, the vast majority of website visitors will instead skim and scan the content, so if a call to action is not easily visible, they might miss it. Call to actions need to be simplified, stand out from the rest of the content on a page and be easily understood.
Every page of a website needs to focus on one call to action. When there are multiple CTAs on a page a customer may not know which to perform. A confused customer becomes less likely to make a purchase. So, product listings need to have a clearly defined “Buy Now,” or “Add to Cart” button. The contact page needs to have clearly defined “Contact Us” option. Everything a company does needs to rely on a clear and prominent call to action. From blog posts to videos produced, a company will experience a higher rate of return and an improved conversion rate by doing exactly this.
- Engage With the Customer
There are a handful of ways an eCommerce page can engage with a customer. It’s important to not bombard a visitor with a burst of pop-ups and side windows as this becomes distracting. However, offering a variety of engagement features can help keep the visitor engaged with the site while also improving their chance of making a purchase.
First, offering discount offers and coupon codes to first-time customers helps increase the chance of making a purchase. This can be anything from an offered discount code listed at the top of the page to an available coupon code should a visitor sign up for the email newsletter.
Providing demo videos provides potential clients with the opportunity to see goods live and in action while offering free trials helps those interested but unsure make a final decision. Free trials work for companies offering anything from computer software to subscription services.
Additionally, loyalty programs can help keep current customers coming back to the site. Loyalty programs reward the customer for making additional purchases and help them feel appreciated. Whether the loyalty program offers free gifts upon reaching certain thresholds or access to meet and great opportunities and invites to local activities, it's all about cultivating a relationship with customers, building consumer trust and increasing the potential for these visitors to convert into long-time clients.
It's important to always seek out new ways to both attract a target audience to the website and to improve the conversion rate. These are six of the best tactics to do just that. Beyond these six though, a company site needs to continually evolve and adjust in order to not only stay ahead of the curve but to ensure the highest eCommerce conversion rate possible.
Author bio; Mike Giannulis is an entrepreneur & coach specializing in business growth and digital and direct response marketing. He runs a small coaching & consulting firm (OnlyOneMike.com) helping businesses achieve maximum profits. In 2012, He was on a weight loss TV show called Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition.