25 Conversion-Boosting Tips for eCommerce Websites
The number of sales you make per visitor across your eCommerce site is the everything when it comes to online sales. However, it’s surprising how many eCommerce retailers fail to spend time reviewing possible inhibitors to greater success, and looking for new and dynamic ways to boost conversions.
In this article we’re going to provide you with 30 conversion-boosting tips and tricks you can use on your eCommerce website. Each of these tips and tricks are industry-proven, dollar boosting must-have’s when it comes to eCommerce optimisation.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started boosting your eCommerce conversions and bottom-line!
#1. Remove any barriers to check-out finalisation
How many clicks does it take your customers to make a purchase on your site? Seriously count them. If your customers cannot make a purchase on your site in three clicks or under, it’s costing you dollars. Start by clicking “Buy Now” on one of your product pages and count the clicks it takes to finalise a purchase. Ideally there should no more than two.
#2. Offer multiple payment options
Customers like choice, so why not give them what they want? If you’re running an eCommerce website make sure you offer options for credit card payments and at least one other option. We recommend offering PayPal and potentially AfterPay as secondary options depending upon what you’re selling.
#3. Use coupons as a marketing tool
It's surprising how many eCommerce merchants shy away from using coupons on their sites. Coupons are a fantastic marketing tool, and can incentivise purchases when used in conjunction with expiry limits and should definitely form part of your eCommerce strategy. Not only this, but sites such as RetailMeNot.com are happy to list your coupon codes for free giving you further reach online. Combine your coupon codes with a dedicated email marketing campaign and watch your eCommerce website conversions skyrocket!
#4. Don’t restrict yourself to a single image per product
When implementing your eCommerce website your aim should be to implement a selling tool that will allow your customers to feel as comfortable purchasing an item online as they do in a bricks and mortar store. To do this, you have to provide multiple product images. Even if you’re selling a gift voucher, you still have the opportunity to provide examples of products which a gift voucher can be used to purchase, so try and include a minimum of four images per product as a rule.
#5. Email regularly, but primarily to segmented groups
If you don’t have an email marketing segmentation program in place, now is the time. Not all of your website visitors are going to be interested in purchasing the same product, so you need to determine what product groups they're interested in and market these products to them regularly. There’s no point sending women’s apparel deals to a group of male customers, or at least your hit rate will be much lower than if you sent male apparel specials, so ensure you build in enhanced customer intelligence behind your email marketing efforts by tracking user behaviour with tools such as KISSmetrics and Google Analytics.
#6. Make your CTA’s super obvious
Chances are if you’re running an eCommerce site you’re going to have a “Buy” or “Get Started” button on your site. These call to actions (CTA) need to stand out and not get lost in the background of your pages. Make sure you use bright colourful buttons that have a clear call to action on them that are large enough not to detract from the product you’re selling, whilst being positioned in an eye-catching screen location that users will notice.
#7. Provide industry-standard security
These days’ website security is a must if you’re going to run a successful eCommerce business, however most people think this is only to deter hackers. Having an SSL secured eCommerce site that your customers feel is reputable and a safe place to shop on is a must if you’re going to boost your conversions. To get this component of your business working for you, ensure you have an SSL certificate installed, and if you’re using a trusted payment gateway, display their payment seal on your site to instil trust in your audience.
#8. Periodic popup surveying is a must
The more customer intelligence you have the better, and one of the easiest ways to generate some really fantastic insights is using a tool such as Feedback Lite. Tools such as this are easy to use, affordable, and can be set to run niche surveys on each of your site pages. These insights can be extremely useful in removing barriers to purchasing and are fantastic at identifying new market services you could be offering which can increase your bottom-line.
#9. Run specials often
Consumers love shopping online, because they expect to be able to make a purchase at a discounted rate, hence if you give your audience what they want, you’ll likely boost your eCommerce conversions. By running periodic product specials either by product group, category, or at random and promoting those specials using web banners and email marketing you’ll definitely see a healthy jump in online sales.
#10. Ensure your home page is a click gateway
Home pages are funny things. There purpose is often misinterpreted, but in terms of an eCommerce site it should serve as a click gateway to products and specials. A great example of this is catch.com.au. If you take a look at their home page they have a nice slideshow offering a handful of key deals above the page fold, and then a number of other great deals all which act as directional click bait to move customers through to a conversion opportunity.
#11. The fold is your friend (Don’t forget it!)
If you don’t know what the page fold is in website development, it’s basically the visible area your users are able to see without scrolling when they first visit a page. This is where your users are going to spend the majority of their time and are much more likely to make a click, so you want to place your best offers here and ensure they're really enticing. We recommend utilising graphic design expertise to ensure your offers above the fold are enticing, and your margins are competitive to ensure high volume sales of items listed in this region.
#12. Offer Guest and Account Holder access
Personally, unless I’m a regular shopper at a particular site I hate having to sign up and know this has been a barrier for me from making purchases online in the past. If I’m any case study to go by, other users on your site will likely feel the same way about your service especially if you make it difficult for them to make a purchase because they have to fill in a bunch of details to register for your site. In this instance you have to trust your customer’s judgement. If they want to register with you, they will. You can capture their details at check-out anyway, so ensure you offer the path of least resistance when it comes to sales-related registrations.
#13. Consider using social logins
At OSE, we’re big fans of social logins/registrations on eCommerce sites because it’s so simple for users and gives you the opportunity to build your social follower count. Not only this but your customers will likely already be logged into their social account (i.e. Facebook) due to their lengthy cookie periods and find the whole process a breeze. Heck they may even share the purchase they made with you online boosting your likelihood of further sales!
#14. Free shipping will boost conversions
Free shipping on eCommerce sites is a must if you’re going to build a loyal customer base. This is important if you’re going to secure sales online because it gives you an edge over bricks and mortar retailers. If a customer can make a purchase with you online and have it sent to their door for less than it costs to jump in the car and make the purchase at their local store, you’re onto a winner.
#15. Long-tail page optimisation is easy and makes sales
If you’re new to online marketing, then you may be surprised to learn just how bigger impact Google search position actually has on your bottom-line. In general, when a visitor comes to your site from a Google search result they know exactly what they looking for and are just price comparing and looking for a trusted site. If you can ensure each of your product pages has a descriptive title tag, meta description and includes the name of your product in the URL all this will play in your favour if your price is right. Just take this search I did for a highly niche pair of Nike football boots called the "Nike Mercurial Superfly" which shows at #1 in Google. This search snippet has a great title, description and URL and should serve as a model for you to use on your own eCommerce site.
#16. Take the principles of journalism and apply them to your product descriptions
The basic journalistic principle of giving readers the good stuff at the top the page is just as important in a newspaper as it is on the web. Why? Because we all skim content online and want answers to the questions we seek quickly, so why not give your audience exactly what they want at the top of your product descriptions? The goal with any product description is to ensure your customers don’t have to work too hard. Make your descriptions easy to read, don’t use a font which is too small, and structure each description top down with a sprinkling of key terms you think your customers are searching for.
#17. Implement “Exit-Intent” offers
Exit intent offers are a great way to keep visitors on your web pages by serving up an offer that they simply can’t refuse when they attempt to leave your site. An example of this is providing a 25% discount for customers who purchase in the next 30 mins using a particular coupon code which is only available from a an exit intent based popup.
#18. Do your market research (weekly)
Whether you’re selling a handful of products online or hundreds, research what your competitors are selling the similar items for as often as you can! The reality of eCommerce is that customer are able to quickly browse a handful of sites online and will likely choose the cheapest price from a seller they feel is reputable. This means you have to compete on price if you’re going to survive, as online sales is a volume-based business.
#19. Ensure your site is mobile responsive
Gone are the days when you would build a desktop version of your site as well as a mobile version (i.e. m.example.com). These days’ responsive website development for desktop, tablet and smart phone devices is a must. If your website is not properly optimised for mobile devices you need to make sure it is soon rather than later. Because a huge portion of your customers will come from mobile devices, you need to implement a “mobile first” culture within your organisation when it comes to your eCommerce website development.
#20. Personalisation makes impulse purchasing a breeze
If you’ve ever stood at the check-out of a supermarket, reached down and grabbed that impulse item you know how effective this technique could be online. In an online world, the way eCommerce retailers achieve this is by using customer data to personalise a shopping experience. As shown below, the Coles website does this very well recording all previous purchases making it extremely easy for me to simply click on items I’ve purchased before without having to really think about what I'm purchasing in any great detail.
#21. Broken-link check your site regularly
It’s amazing how much damage a simple broken link can cause online, especially if you don’t have a 404 error page in place. If you’re an eCommerce retailer you want to avoid anything that gives potential customers the idea you’re running a “dodgy shop”, that’s why a tool like deadlinkchecker.com can be invaluable. Combined with a strategy to handle links which are broken using a custom 404 error page giving users assistance and direction in the event of a broken link and you’ll maintain users on-site boosting conversions with this simple trick.
#22. Build emails like they’re going out of fashion
Any legitimate means of gathering segmented emails across your eCommerce site is good thing when it comes to boosting your conversions. Why? Because email marketing as a marketing channel is second only to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), therefore you want to invest time and effort in developing your email capture facilities wherever possible.
#23. Understand your sales funnel
The unfortunately reality is that many eCommerce retailers don’t have a sales funnel mapped out. If you’re new to eCommerce this is vitally important task you should take the time to process map prior to implementing your site (if you can) or at least begin to understand where the bottlenecks in your sales funnel are. If you can identify why people aren’t purchasing at a specific point in your site journey, you can fix it and boost your conversion rates!
#24. Begin an off-site link building campaign
I can’t stress the value of solid SEO, not spammy black-hat SEO, but a concerted effort over a period of time to boost the authority of your domain and individual pages. This can be the difference between thousands of visitors to your site each month and virtually none. To get started, begin by profiling your competitors and see where you can pickup links using tools such as the Moz Open Site Explorer and guest blogging as part of your off-site marketing effort.
#25. Ensure products are customisable
Whether you’re selling a shirt or a new car, customers want to know that what they’re seeing online will be as close as possible to what they’re going to get in the flesh, this is why you need to use technology to personalise your product pages. For example, if you’ve been to a car manufacturers website recently, you've probably noticed they do a terrific job at providing customisable car models you can spec out to your exact requirements. This is a fantastic tool, and even if you can’t make a purchase directly from the manufacturer will likely entice customers to visit their local dealership to take a test drive.