The average eCommerce website conversion rate is about 2.8 percent.
That’s pretty rough.
If retailers want to pump that figure up, it is critical for them to reexamine their site and seek out simple yet effective ways to increase their conversions. From landing pages to navigation to checkout flow essentials, sellers must go through their store with a fine-toothed comb to identify and remove areas of friction.
However, to completely maximize a site’s potential, it might be necessary to leverage the conversion rate optimization services of an eCommerce development agency.
We aren’t looking to go that deep today.
If merchants want to get some quick wins in helping them to increase their conversion rates, check out these 10 simple strategies for more sales.
Leverage Browsing History for Personalized Recommendations
Here’s a useful statistic:
Forty-five percent of consumers are more likely to buy from a site that provides personalized recommendations. Therefore, if merchants aren’t utilizing a shopper’s browsing history to deliver custom, personalized product suggestions, they are missing out on a massive opportunity to increase conversion rates.
Therefore, retailers should collect and keep track of essential user data such as traffic sources, page views, purchase history, preferences and the like in order to highlight products that users have shown interest in and that they are likely to buy.
Given that this strategy is employed by some of the biggest retailers online (Amazon, eBay, Walmart), sellers should see this as one of the most basic elements of their on-site conversion optimization strategy.
Showcase Shipping Costs
Shopping cart abandonment is a massive issue for eCommerce retailers, one that significantly impacts conversion rates.
When taking a look at cart abandonment rate research from Baymard Institute, the industry average is nearly 70 percent. Worse yet, almost 20 percent of those who opt to ditch their orders do so because they “couldn’t see/calculate total order cost up front.”
While it is in a seller’s best interest to offer free shipping and plaster that fact all over their site, the fact of the matter is that not all can afford to provide this luxury.
If this is the case, sellers who do charge for shipping should include a shipping calculator on their product pages to help increase conversions. Given that shoppers want to know what they are going to pay before they even consider checking out, this is a great way to boost conversions.
That said, those who can provide free shipping should promote that fact in a prominent position on each page of their site.
Write Powerful Product Descriptions
Unfortunately, as terrible of a practice as it is, many sellers are still copying and pasting product descriptions straight from manufacturer websites. While this causes a whole host of issues, one of the most prominent is reduced conversion rates.
In reality, learning to write product descriptions that inform and persuade customers is a powerful skillset to possess as it can significantly increase eCommerce conversion rates, as well as enhance the site’s SEO performance. When product pages become more visible in the SERPs, they can generate more traffic and earn more sales.
Therefore, when done well, writing product descriptions that sell can produce a positive feedback loop that helps to pad a brand’s bottom line.
Streamline the Checkout Process
Online stores that feature lengthy, complicated, clunky checkout processes are losing tons of sales. This is a fact.
Going back to the Baymard research on cart abandonment rates, retailers can see that over 20 percent of shoppers who bail on their order do so because the checkout process was too long or complicated.
Therefore, it is vital that retailers carefully examine their checkout process and remove any superfluous form fields, pages or other elements. The only things that sellers should ask for are the details necessary for fulfilling a buyer’s order.
This includes a shopper’s email address, which takes us to our next point.
Enable Guest Checkout
Let’s reference Baymard’s cart abandonment research once again:
Nearly 30 percent of shoppers abandon their order because the site demanded the person create an account.
Forced account creation is foolish and costly.
For instance, reference the famed $300 million “Continue” button story in which “a major retailer” increased sales by 45 percent in the first month and earned an extra $300 million in the first year after doing away with forced account creation.
The bottom line here is that providing shoppers with a guest checkout option–or even a login with Amazon button–can substantially increase a site’s conversions.
Once the shopper has finished checking out, then retailers can ask if they’d like to create an account.
Showcase Safety Signals
Cybercriminals are a pervasive threat online, and likely always will be present.
Therefore, sites must instill a certain level of confidence in shoppers that their information will be safe and protected. A great way to cross that credence threshold is to display trust badges.
The fact of the matter is that research has shown that highlighting different trust badges can increase conversion rates as buyers feel more secure in their transactions.
While there is a slew of different kinds of signals that sellers can use to indicate a safe transaction to consumers, studies have shown that some of the most effective in increasing conversions include:
- Visa-Mastercard logos
- Better Business Bureau Accredited Business badges
- Google Trusted Store insignias
- 30-day money-back guarantee symbols
Retailers who feature these (and potentially other) trust badges on their site are likely to see a significant uptick in their conversion rates.
Provide a Great Return Policy
Most customers will read the store’s return policy before purchasing, especially if it is their first time shopping with the retailer.
If merchants want more customers to purchase more often, they should make returning items as easy as possible. This could include a self-return process through the customer’s account, the possibility of size exchanges (when applicable) and even free return shipping.
When shoppers have to pay to return an item or if the store makes doing so a pain, there is an excellent chance that they will avoid the headache by not buying at all.
Produce Valuable Content
Creating useful, educational, entertaining and otherwise valuable content is a powerful tool for generating increased sales.
The fact of the matter is that the more informed a customer is by a retailer on a specific topic, the more likely they are to purchase items from that seller–likely, things that will solve a particular problem they are having or ones that will improve their life in some way.
Additionally, producing great eCommerce content will also support a seller’s SEO efforts, thereby bringing in more visitors and heightening conversion rates.
Enhance On-Site Search
Website visitors that utilize a store’s search bar are five to six times more likely to complete a purchase than those that forgo the feature. The reason being is that those who opt to use site search are deeper in the sales funnel than those who are just browsing the site.
Therefore, it is critical to ensure that the on-site search function is optimized to attract a user’s attention and deliver the best results possible.
Some of the ways that sellers can achieve this aim and increase conversions include:
- Ensuring the search bar is prominent and stands out
- Properly tagging all products to deliver correct results
- Enabling semantic search
- Including auto-complete functionality
Highlight User-Generated Content
As most merchants are aware, user-generated content (UGC) is a powerful tool in helping to convince new buyers to convert. Therefore, retailers should strongly consider implementing user-generated content on their site in some way.
Of course, product reviews do count as UGC, but sellers should also aim to implement images uploaded by shoppers that feature their products. This can be easily accomplished with eCommerce tools like Yotpo. Moreover, merchants should consider the placement of these images, either creating a dedicated page for user-generated content (as Calvin Klein did for its #MyCalvins campaign) or on product pages themselves.
No matter which way retailers opt to go, user-generated content provides the social proof necessary to make new shoppers comfortable making a purchase as they can see others have bought the item and found it to be worthy or enjoyable.
If sellers have no user-generated content to leverage, an easy way to gin some up is to incentivize buyers to post on social media with the promise of a small coupon, free shipping or other offers. Alternatively, sellers can initiate a UGC contest on social media, encouraging shoppers to post pictures of themselves with their favorite products.
Increasing eCommerce conversion rates is something that takes a bit of time and effort to implement and optimize. However, conversion rate optimization isn’t rocket science. By observing customers’ behaviors and broader industry trends, retailers can gain a decent understanding of how to boost their sales figures.
By implementing these 10 simple store updates, sellers can increase their conversions, and likely enjoy some enhanced SEO results as well.