Secrets to a high converting e-commerce website

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If you’ve created a business online and the concept works, the product is selling, you may be wondering what you need to do next. Making the most of your incoming site traffic/leads with small changes that help the user purchase your product easily can have a dramatic effect on your sales revenue. A pretty website is nice, functional is great, but high converting is the holy grail.

Conversion tactics are not about sales gimmicks or getting more traffic to your site. Conversion optimisation is all about giving value to your customers through convenience in order to receive value in return through sales.

Here are some of the key areas to focus on to increase your e-commerce conversion rate.

Motivating calls to action

That moment when a potential customer decides whether to click your ‘add to cart’ button can be heavily influenced by the wording. A call to action tells your site visitor exactly what to do next, but it can also subtly suggest the benefits they may receive from your product or service.

There is no perfect wording I can tell you because every website, product or offer is different. So it’s important you analyse the effect of wording changes either through Google Analytics and conversion data, or A/B split testing where you can send two different versions out of your site and monitor which performs better.

Calls to action are not limited to adding something to the cart either. They can be throughout the checkout process, enquiry forms, newsletter subscriptions and any interaction a user makes with your site.

Call to action text

Mobile friendly checkout process

Across most industries mobile traffic now accounts for more than half of website viewers. E-commerce sales are still a bit behind that as users are understood to do a lot of research from mobile devices but then complete a transaction from a desktop computer. It’s estimated one third of all e-commerce transactions now occur from mobile, but it’s growing. That’s still a pretty massive chunk.

Mobile users need an easy to use checkout process that is simple to navigate, but that also doesn’t ask too many questions. Typing in your address, phone, email, mother’s maiden name and life story can be quite cumbersome from a mobile phone. If you frustrate your customers they will start looking for other options.

Detailed product information

For a lot people, purchasing online is still quite scary. You can alleviate those fears by providing as much information as possible about your product. So a detailed description that not only states what the product is, but goes into the uses and benefits is a great start.

High quality photos are essential, preferably with a zoom function, and you can never have too many angles and views. The knock out punch at the moment is video. Text and images have got nothing on a video. It could just be a pan around the product or someone actually using it. Research show that video is the number one way of improving your conversion rate at the moment.

Making and showing you are secure

Of course your website should be secure whenever payments are involved. If you’re taking credit cards directly on your website you absolutely need a SSL certificate which encrypts any communication between the customer and your server.

But this security doesn’t increase your conversion rate. Showing your customer the security is in place does. Make it obvious that your checkout is being guarded by a crack team of guards with strong messages and symbols. I’m still dumbfounded when I find an e-commerce site without any security on a payment page and I will often contact the site owner and get an indifferent response. State your checkout is secure. Show a padlock. Show if your site uses a bank or a verified payment gateway.

Account registration

This can be a catch twenty two. On one hand guest checkouts are the only way to go. Everyone has so many accounts these days, so registering for yet another one seems annoying. Guest checkouts when available usually dominate figures. On the other hand if you don’t capture the users details, there is no way to communicate with them unless they complete the purchase.

First of all account registration has to be simple. Name and email is sufficient. A clever way to capture this is to offer a discount for joining with a coupon code. Perhaps you have other features on your site for when your customers are still in the research phase such as a wish list or gift registry that requires sign up. The more customers you can identify without turning them off, the better.

Follow up emails

Extremely effective is sending your customers a follow up email if they did not complete their checkout process. This does rely on them having an account and being signed into that account, so it’s not going to catch everyone. For those you can follow up though, you’re going to see an extraordinary return on what is relatively simple to set up. Make the steps to returning to the cart and completing the purchase as simple as possible.

Remarketing ads

Consumers spend a lot of time researching products and services before coming to a purchasing decision. Google’s Moment of Truth study showed that consumers interact with 10.4 sources of information on average before making a purchasing decision. Sending ads out to users that have previously visited your website is imperative to staying top of mind and bringing those users back to your website when they are actually ready to complete a transaction. Relatively low cost to any other form of paid advertising and extremely effective on conversion rate.

Ready to join the big players?

These are the tactics the big e-commerce stores implement but they are really accessible to all sizes of online store. With a little thought into how your consumer interacts with your product or service you can tailor your e-commerce process to be quicker, easier and more enjoyable for your customer and in turn your sales figures will climb. E-commerce conversion optimisation is never a one time fix. Keep trying new things and constantly improve. The ‘one percenters’ will eventually add up to your success.


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