Ecommerce is a saturated market. Doing business in a saturated market where your customers have a whole lot of options to choose from is challenging. There is no room for a poor conversion rate, invaluable products, non-professional sales pages, and a badly incorporated sales funnel.
In a 2016 study, 85% of marketing professionals reported that they planned to put their focus on conversion rate optimization. The following six best practices will help you improve the conversion rate of your ecommerce store.
1. Use Visuals
Phil Forbes from Shoplo says:
“People can’t touch, feel or sense what they’re buying online. Photos change that.”
Product images are what your customers want to see. These images define your product. But every ecommerce store uses product images, right?
What are you doing different? Use creative images and artwork. Or maybe try large product images.
Optimics used two different variations of product image sizes to figure out which one generates more sales. The large product images resulted in a 9.4% increase in sales. Nothing fancy, they just replaced the small images with large ones and it worked.
Visual storytelling can also help increase conversions and engagement as it did for Lilly Pulitzer. With their Lilly 5×5 campaign, the brand shared the images on Pinterest and Instagram which resulted in a massive increase in engagement and followers. It drove 4.4M engagements on Instagram, Instagram followers increased by 170%, and Pinterest followers grew by 56%.
Creative and inspiring images help build an emotional connection with your audience.
However, not all the images can boost conversion rates. Some of them will reduce it. You have to carefully choose the right images for your ecommerce store to entice visitors to buy now.
Pacsun uses supporting images throughout its store for most of the categories. I have always loved these images as they keep me hooked.
2. Improve checkout process and cart abandonment
Cart abandonment is a serious issue. The average abandonment rate is 67% as reported by Baymard Institute. The checkout process is the most crucial factor here.
Poor checkout process means one or all of the following:
- Unexpected costs
- Website errors and bugs
- Price in foreign currency
- Payment declined
- Poor website navigation
At the end of the day, it irritates the buyers. Once they leave, they will not return, most likely – unless you contact them.
Online stores can do two things to deal effectively with the checkout process issue:
- Improve the process, making it simple, sweet, and user-friendly.
- Capture the email address of the visitors so you can recover lost sales.
If you do not have the email addresses of the abandoning visitors, you cannot contact them. Not capturing the email address itself is a major concern.
Ecommerce Fuel generated up to 10.5% sales a month from recovery emails. This means a lot.
The customers who abandoned the cart received three emails. The first email reminds them of the cart, the second email reminds them to complete the purchase, and the third email offers a discount to complete the purchase.
Easy sales, right?
Instead of using annoying exit-intent popups, a better strategy is to use a simple registration process for capturing email addresses.
Do you have guest checkout? This increases the conversion rate. Eight out of ten US retailers use guest checkout as 27% shoppers say they will leave the cart if they have to register before buying.
Make your customer’s life easy. It is more important to generate a sale than to lose a sale for an email address.
3. Use product videos
You think product images are all what your store needs? Think again.
Nothing beats interactive and professional product videos to convert visitors into buyers.
Not just simple product videos, using 360-degree spin product videos will do the trick.
Videos convert better than images. People want to see the product from every possible angle before paying for it. Do not make the mistake of not having product videos on your store. Start using videos now. Create videos for a few products and see how it goes.
Businesses that use videos generate revenue 49% faster than the businesses that don’t.
I’m not talking about poorly created videos. A low-quality video will not help much with conversion rate as 62% of customers develop negative perceptions about the brand if the video is of low quality.
When creating product videos, do not underestimate its quality. Do it professionally or else you will end up wasting money.
When ZAGG replaced static images with videos on their product page, the average revenue per visitor increased by 27%. When the product videos were replaced by 360-degree product images, revenue per customer increased by 40%.
Product images work, product videos do it better, but 360-degree product images are best for conversions and revenue.
4. Free shipping
Nothing hurts potential buyers more than a surprise shipping cost. Some 28% of online shoppers will leave a store if they see an unexpected shipping cost.
In another study, 74% of customers reported that they would leave their shopping cart due to high shipping costs. There is a reason why Amazon offers free shipping for orders above a certain amount.
As an ecommerce store owner, you can do two things:
- Go for free shipping. It is the best shipping cost strategy. Nine out of ten customers consider free shipping as the number one incentive to buy more than once from any given store.
- If you have to charge shipping, clearly communicate it upfront. Do not ever hit the customer with a surprise.
NuFACE was facing a serious challenge of not having enough sales. Visitors were not buying the products. In order to give incentives to the visitors, free shipping was offered for orders above $75. This resulted in an increase in orders by 90% and a 96% increase in confidence level. The average order value increased by 7.32%.
Your brand can be the next NuFACE.
Follow a transparent and honest approach to shipping and delivery fees.
5. Offer limited choices
Pine Cone Hill, while A/B testing its product pages, removed the left-hand filter to reduce the choices offered to the visitors. It resulted in a straight 23% increase in sales.
Barry Schwartz sums it up nicely:
“More choices lead to fewer decisions.”
Have you ever seen product filtration on the product pages at Amazon?
In fact, most of the large ecommerce stores do not offer multiple options on the product pages. They want to keep their shoppers full focus on one product at a time.
Having a product filter on the product page or giving options to alter the current product will result in low conversions. People tend to lose their focus. It gets overwhelming for the shoppers.
Keep it simple. Let buyers focus on one product at a time.
6. Encourage buyers to leave a review
The dead simple rule to increase conversion rate right now – encourage customers to leave an honest review.
Around 88% of people say that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Reviews do not just increase conversion rate but they bring loyal customers.
When Express Watches was optimizing its website and product pages, it found that the winning variation with the highest conversion rate was the one that used a customer review widget at the product page. Adding the widget increased the conversion rate by 58.4%.
There couldn’t be any other easier technique to increase the conversion rate of your ecommerce store.
Customers trust customers.
The challenge, however, is to convince buyers to leave a review. Not all the buyers leave a review (due to different reasons). Offer them with incentives, freebies, or maybe a discount on their next order if they leave an honest review.
Even if a customer is not satisfied with your product, you should still encourage him to leave a review. Do not worry about the negative reviews as these can increase sales.
In any case, a review means business.
If there is one thing that you have to choose from these conversion optimization best practices, go for free shipping. Though I’d recommend incorporating all these tips in your business starting today.