Preparing an e-commerce website for online publishing takes a lot of hard work. Before you are ready to open the virtual doors of your online shop, you want to make sure that all visual and functional elements of your website are in the best possible shape. However, online stores need traffic just as much as brick-and-mortar stores do. More importantly, you need to master the art of converting your visitors into customers.
MOST NEWSLETTERS SUCK, OURS DOESN’T
Join us for the latest in Digital Media Marketing
We want to be straightforward right from the start. This is why we will tell you that conversions don’t just happen. Instead, they are a result of a highly optimized online store. There are numerous things you can do to make your e-commerce website stand out for conversions. So, let’s start with the basics and then expand onto advanced tips and tricks. Let’s jump right in.
First Things First: Understanding the Basics
Before we dive deeper into this topic, let’s stop for a moment to take a look at the basics. First, we’ll make it easier for you to understand online store conversion rates, as well as what to expect realistically.
What Are E-Commerce Conversion Rates?
The basic definition would say that a conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who come to your online store and complete a purchase. With this said, you need to understand that there are different types of conversions. For example, you can track how many visitors purchase a product, add a product to their cart, sign up for a newsletter, share your products on social media, and so on.
Being such a comprehensive term, it would be a mistake to perceive conversion rates as added revenue only. Instead, you need to look at conversion rates as a way to improve the user experience on your website which will lead to sales in the long term.
What Are Realistic Conversion Rate Goals?
Across different industries, the average landing page conversion rate is 2.35%. It is also said that the most dominant players in the e-commerce are converting at 5.31%. These numbers might seem low, but they should be more than sufficient to take your online store to new heights concerning revenue.
How to Calculate Conversion Rates?
In essence, we can use simple math to calculate conversion rates for a specified period. Let’s say that there were 1,000 visitors to your online store in the previous month. In case you sold products to 10 individuals, your conversion rate is 1%. Still, things are never that simple. There are different types of conversions which is where powerful analytics tools come into play. These can show the result of your efforts, as well as possible areas that need to be improved.
[attention-lead-magnet] Before You Design, Before You Build, Before You Spend… Design Sprint [/attention-lead-magnet]
The Most Useful E-Commerce Conversion Tips
Finally, let’s talk about what you really want to know. We will present you a series of helpful tips, so take your time and pick the ones that fit into your ecommerce strategy seamlessly.
Present a Fully Optimized Website
Before you start adding new features or refining existing ones, take a step back. You need to make sure that you’ve covered the basics in the best possible way. This includes optimizing the performance of your website.
If your e-commerce website takes more than 2 seconds to fully open, 53% of your customers start to lose interest. Furthermore, even a single second of waiting too long has a negative consequence and can lead to a 7% reduction in conversions. We can also present this information differently. If your online store is making $5,000 per day, a one-second delay could lead to $125,000 in lost revenue, in the long run.
To get started, you can use Google PageSpeed Insights to check the current state of your website. Then, work with a Web developer who can help you improve the results.
Reorganize the Navigation Bar
Imagine yourself in a large shop. You are looking for a certain product, but you just can’t find it. This is when you start searching for someone to help you. When it comes to online stores, you can’t ask for anyone’s help. If you can’t find something, you will most probably leave that page.
To provide easy access to different product categories, make sure to have a useful navigation bar. Sometimes, simple navigation will do the job. When it comes to large stores, you can utilize drop-down menus. So, take a look at popular e-commerce websites and see what kind of navigation those websites are using. Every time you make changes to your store’s navigation bar, ask someone to access your site and try to find a specific item.
Take Advantage of High-Quality Images
You’ve certainly seen how Amazon uses high-definition images that you can zoom in and out. Since your visitors can’t touch or feel the product at their fingertips, they want the next best thing. They want to take a look at your product from different sides, zoom in, and even rotate 3D objects.
It is also worth noting that if you manufacture the products you’re selling, you have the upper hand here. You can create professional photos and make sure to optimize them in the best possible way.
Declare Free Shipping
It is said that high shipping rates are one of the biggest causes of cart abandonment. The best way to alleviate this issue is to offer free shipping. According to Stitch Labs, free shipping can increase your revenue by 10 percent. There were cases of free shipping boosting websites’ conversion rates by up to 50 percent. However, we understand that offering free shipping is easier said than done.
As an online store owner, you are in the position to manage your shipping expenses. You can use fulfillment services and choose from different carriers and service levels. Also, let’s not forget to mention that you can reduce shipping costs by minimizing packaging.
Tweak Your E-Commerce Checkout Process
Experienced online store owners will tell you that one-page checkouts work the best. Once visitors decide to purchase something, don’t make it harder for them to finalize the payment. If your checkout process is overly complicated or unconventional, your customers will lose interest.
If you take a look at the most popular online stores, you will see that their checkout process is as simple as it can be. These are usually single pages where the end of the process is clearly displayed, giving a quick overview of what needs to be done. Then, there are user profiles. By letting your customers register for an account, they are likely to return in the future. The same applies to fast checkout methods like PayPal, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, and similar.
Don’t Forget About Cart Abandonment Software
Regardless of your e-commerce platform of choice, you can find plenty of different cart abandonment solutions. In case you need to be reminded, we are talking about visitors that put items in the cart and leave your website. No matter the reason why they left your site, you can ask if they are interested in returning and finalizing their purchase.
The best way to automate this process is to use cart abandonment software. You can create email templates that will serve as follow-up messages. However, you also need to give them a reason to return. This is where discount codes and coupons can be of great help.
Integrate Live Chat Functionality
Earlier in this article, we talked about how your visitors can’t ask for help when it comes to online stores. Well, one of the possible solutions to this problem is live chat. Different software solutions can easily be integrated into e-commerce websites. However, we strongly recommend you to be proactive when it comes to live-chat software. Don’t let this option go to waste by being unavailable online. This will send a wrong signal, so consider this option only if you can commit your time and effort. Still, remember that building a direct communication channel can be one of the most effective ways to secure sales.
Make Sure Your Online Store is Safe
Right from the moment your visitors arrive at your website, they need to know that they’re in secure hands. In fact, you should make an effort and display security certificates on your homepage. This won’t only help to increase your on-site trust but will help you build credibility.
When it comes to security-oriented features and certifications, you need to install SSL at checkout. Then, display images of credit cards, PayPal, as well as any other payment method you’re offering. And finally, show that your website is malware-free by acquiring a license from McAfree, GeoTrust or some other organization.
Make Carts Easily Accessible
You’ve probably encountered online stores that hide shopping carts. For example, when you add something to your virtual cart but then you need to make an effort to find it afterward. Be as transparent as possible, and make the cart visible at all times. This is how your visitors can quickly take a look at their cart and plan the rest of their purchase. Also, this is how your visitors can efficiently finalize the purchase by going to their carts and then proceeding to checkout.
Pay Close Attention to Product Descriptions
Once a visitor clicks on a particular product, they want to learn more about it. This means that they don’t expect generic information. You can captivate their attention by providing something unusual. This can be an excellent product description that showcases different and unexpected uses of the product in question. The more interesting your product description is, the bigger are the chances of visitors taking a closer look at other products. As noted earlier, this is where high-quality images come into play as well. You can even utilize videos or 3D objects to beat your competition.
There is also an added benefit to custom-written product descriptions. If you pay attention to SEO (Search Engine Optimization), targeting specific keywords and avoiding copied content is the way to get organic traffic.
Managing your online store is a never-ending process. Once you make changes, make sure to pay attention to what kinds of results those changes will yield. The only way to get higher conversion rates is by trying out different strategies and optimizing those that work. Finally, don’t be afraid to take risks and don’t forget to be authentic.
About Uwe Weinkauf
Uwe Weinkauf is the CEO of MW2 Consulting, experts in Enterprise Application Development, eCommerce, IT Outsourcing, and IT Operations that deliver valuable solutions for global business needs