Any online retailer has spent plenty of time, money and energy setting up their eCommerce store. Even if you already have a brick and mortar shop, starting the online vertical can be like starting a whole new store altogether. One of the hardest parts of selling online is optimizing your conversion rates. Getting your shoppers to make a purchase on a website is a very different game from doing so in a brick and mortar store. So we’ve put together a guide to eCommerce conversion optimization to help your online store succeed.
A conversion rate is the percentage of customers who take a certain action that you are measuring. In its simplest form, a conversion rate is used to calculate sales of a certain item.
But a store could measure conversion rates for just about anything. Measure the conversion rates of certain buttons clicked, abandoned carts bought, a product added to the cart, social media shares/likes, emails opened, and much more.
Optimizing your conversion rates is the attempt to improve your eCommerce shopping experience to boost a certain area of business. Typically, this involves increase your sales.
Remember, though, at the heart of conversion rate optimization is a focus on the customer and what they desire out of a shopping experience. Think about how you approach your brick and mortar store: someone comes in with the intent to make a purpose, your team smiles and greets the customer, and your store is neatly laid out and organized. When the shopper is finishes, they proceed to the checkout where a friendly cashier and point of sale system completes the sale efficiently and says goodbye. Basically, conversion rate optimization is translating this experience to the eCommerce world so that you can increase your conversion rates.
Measuring if a conversion rate is good depends on the industry, the webpage, and the performance indicator that you’re measuring.
What’s most important is paying attention to changes that you’ve made in efforts of increasing conversions. A/B testing is an important way of gauging how successful tweaks to your website are.
Whenever you make a change, measure the conversion rate of the KPI before and after. And make sure you’re measuring the changes over a period that allows for meaningful data. You may encounter some anomalies if the sample size is too small or time period too short. Give the campaign time to show a more accurate rate of conversion.
The average for retail is somewhere between 1% and 3%, so if you’re already in that range, way to go!
Let’s use an example to simply illustrate this. Say you’re measuring how many people click a certain call-to-action button on one of your product pages. You’ll just need to find the total visitors to that page and the total number conversions over a specified time period. So if you have 10,000 visitors to a page and 500 of those clicked on the button, your conversion rate is 5%.
The formula is as follows:
Conversion rate = (Total number of clicks/Total number of visitors) x 100.
Most eCommerce platforms come with data analytics tools that help their customers break down website statistics in measurable ways. This makes calculating various conversion rates a breeze. You can also get more measurable insights into your eCommerce store by looking at individual paths, link clicks, and buttons hit.
Most retailers should set up a Google Analytics account to help with this. It’s fast, free, and powerful. This will track various items that are valuable to your store:
- Website visits
- Length of stay
- Where shoppers came from
- Returning/new shoppers
- Browser, operating system, and device
Google Optimize is another feature from Google that helps businesses understand their customers. On this platform, you can make multiple pages that are all live. Shoppers will be taken to a random selection of the pages until Google has enough data to make a judgement on the best page. Once the campaign is complete, you’ll have a recommendation of the best page of the bunch.
While there are many, many factors that go into making a great online store, here is a list to focus on.
1. Stay Personal
Making the shopping experience more personal will give the shopper more trust in your store and brand. This is particularly important for eCommerce shopping, which is already more impersonal than that in brick and mortar stores.
There are many ways to make every customer feel more welcome. The first step is encouraging repeat shoppers to sign in. This allows you to track their shopping history while also offering them free items and discounts on things that you know they’ll appreciate.
2. Make It Simple
Keep your pages simple, clean, and easy to navigate. No one should feel confused about how they can complete a purchase or find their cart. Add plenty of internal links, navigations bars, and buttons to help guide your customers from start to finish. Most importantly, don’t add unnecessary steps during the checkout process. Even if you’d prefer that they sign in to complete a purchase, for instance, don’t make it a requirement.
3. Look at Site Heatmaps
Heatmaps will give you an idea of how shoppers move about your eCommerce store. Just like tracking foot traffic in your brick and mortar store helps you design your layout, shelving, and promotional placement, so, too, does analyzing your webstore in a similar fashion.
4. Retarget Past Visitors
There are several ways to reach out to past shoppers.
If they haven’t bought anything, you can use a remarketing campaign through many different online advertising resources. Social media and search engines all offer remarketing campaigns. These use shoppers cookie history to send banner ads on other website they visit down the road.
For past customers who have made a purchase, collecting basic customer data allows you to reach out by email, mail mail, or phone to remind them you’re there and maybe offer a small gift or discount. Retail CRM and loyalty is especially important for eCommerce retail.
5. Send Abandoned Cart Emails
Speaking of past shoppers, abandoned carts are a critical area to consider. eCommerce retailers lose billions each year to carts that are left unpurchased. While it’s impossible to eliminate all abandoned carts, even converting a fraction of them is a major part of your conversion rate optimization strategy.
6. Focus on Mobile
Not only are shoppers moving online, but they’re doing so on their phone. It’s more vital than ever that eCommerce retailers optimize each webpage for mobile. Most website hosts make this very easy to you, but always double-check. And be sure that mobile speed is also up to par. Even a few second hiccup can make some click elsewhere.
7. Clean It Up
Just like your brick and mortar shop, it’s crucial that your online store look spic and span. This means keeping pages uncluttered, menu bars simple and clear, and buttons bold and obvious.
Focus on thinking like a shopper when designing it. You want the path to a final sale to be intuitive and rewarding.
8. Add a Search Feature
You don’t need to build another Google. Just a rudimentary internal search feature will improve the shopping experience. Just make sure it actually works! Focus on tagging product pages with a few major keywords and you should be good to go.
9. Get Reviews for Your Conversion Rate Optimization
Reviews help build trust. If a shopper sees a handful of positive reviews while they’re in the process of making a decision on buying the product, they’ll probably be encouraged to make the purchase.
Gathering reviews is relatively easy. Ask your customers to leave some feedback and incentivize it with a free item or promotion.
10. Highlight Free Shipping
If you offer free shipping, even if it has a minimum order value, highlight it across your site. Free shipping is a major deciding factor for online shoppers, so make sure they know you have it
11. Get a Chat Box
Adding chat boxes and other interactive features keep shoppers on your site for longer and provide. A chat box is a way to engage directly with the customer, something that is most often taken out the equation with eCommerce.
12. Find a Well-Integrated Point of Sale
No eCommerce site can work well without efficient payment gateways. You’ll need a POS system that integrates to your eCommerce platform. This way, all sales and inventory are consolidated, adding important organization to your operation.