We all know the feeling. You've just launched a new product on your ecommerce store, and you're eagerly watching the analytics, hoping those sales start rolling in. But instead of a healthy stream of orders, you see a ton of website traffic and not much else.
It's frustrating, right? You've got people checking out your awesome new product, but for some reason they're not pulling the trigger on buying it.
Well, welcome to the world of ecommerce conversion rates. The conversion rate is the percentage of your website visitors that complete a desired action, like making a purchase. And for most stores, that percentage is pretty small—often just 2-3%.
So how can you take those browsers on your site and turn them into buyers? How do you use conversion rate optimization to cast a spell on your visitors and compel them to whip out their wallets?
Don't worry, you don't need actual wizardry skills (although that would be cool). In this post, we'll explore some conversion magic you can use to turn window shoppers into paying customers. Let's dive in!
Understand The Customer Journey
If you want to influence your customers' behavior, you need to understand their thought process. Map out the typical customer journey on your ecommerce store.
When do they first discover you? What pages do they visit? Where do they drop off? How long is it between their first visit and first purchase?
Knowing your customers' path allows you to identify roadblocks at each stage of the journey:
- Awareness Stage: How do people find your site? Is your marketing raising brand awareness?
- Research Stage: Is your content helping them evaluate your products? Are they finding all the info they need?
- Purchase Stage: What hang-ups prevent them from purchasing? Is checkout too complex?
Once you pinpoint gaps in the journey, you can create targeted solutions to move more visitors through each phase toward conversion.
Optimize Product Pages
Your product pages are where the rubber meets the road. This is the make-or-break moment where a browser decides, "Do I whip out my wallet or bail?"
So what turns a product page into a conversion machine?
1. Use clear, consistent page templates
Reduce distractions and decision fatigue by using a simple, consistent page structure across all products. Include key sections like title, images, description, options, reviews, recommendations.
2. Highlight benefits and features
Don't just describe your product - explain why it's valuable. Call out essential features and how they improve the customer's life.
3. Include detailed images and video
High-res photos, zoomed shots of features, 360 spins, video demos - the more your customers can see your product, the better.
4. Make options and variations clear
Allow customers to select color, size, material, etc. from clearly labeled dropdowns. Don't hide options.
5. Surface key details
Call out shipping times, returns policy, warranties. Don't make them hunt for critical info.
6. Add social proof
Product reviews, testimonials, and social media plugins lend credibility.
7. Limit choices
Too many options can be paralyzing. Guide them toward bestsellers.
The product page is where you make the emotional sale. Help customers visualize how awesome your product will be in their life!
Refine Your Checkout Process
You've almost got the customer convinced. But a confusing, cluttered checkout is like slamming on the brakes right before the finish line.
To maximize checkout conversions:
- Reduce fields
Only collect essential info - name, email, address etc. If you require extra fields, mark them optional.
- Offer guest checkout
Don't force registration. Allow guest checkout to reduce friction.
- Pre-fill info
Autocomplete addresses, remember payment details to streamline repeat purchases.
- Automate validation
Validate inputs immediately to avoid errors halting checkout.
- Allow cart editing
Let them update quantities or remove items if they change their mind.
- Highlight security
Display trust badges, money-back guarantee, and security certifications.
- Make mobile friendly
With most browsing on mobile, ensure checkout works smoothly on all devices.
- Test ruthlessly
Run usability tests on your checkout flow. Identify confusing points and optimize.
Your checkout is the last chance to turn browsers into customers. Make it fast, easy, and reassuring.
Leverage Upsells and Cross-sells
Your product pages and checkout convert your primary sale. Upsells and cross-sells convert additional sales per customer.
But be careful - done clumsily, they come off as greedy. Make them feel natural and valuable.
1. Surface recommendations
On product pages, show "People also bought" suggestions.
2. Highlight complementary products
Suggest accessories, add-ons, or related products during checkout. But allow customers to skip.
3. Offer post-purchase upsells
In confirmation emails, recommend purchases to enhance the product they just bought.
4. Use behavior-based segmentation
If someone purchases Product A, show related Product B, vs showing randomly.
5. Time it right
Pop-up offers immediately after adding to cart are ill-timed. Wait until after checkout completes.
6. Limit cross-sells
Resist the temptation to cross-sell excessively. One to three complementary products is ideal.
7. Make them relevant
Only suggest products the specific customer will find useful. Avoid generic, poorly targeted pitches.
Done right, upsells and cross-sells increase order values. But remember - the goal is to make customers' lives better, not nickel and dime them!
Optimize for Mobile
Here are some alarming stats for you: Up to 80% of your ecommerce traffic is probably coming from mobile devices. And your mobile conversion rates likely trail your desktop rates significantly.
So if your site isn't optimized for mobile, you're leaving money on the table. Fix that with these tips:
- Simplify navigation
Use fixed, bottom navigation so key links are always accessible on small screens.
- Improve page speed
Mobile connections are slower. Compress images, remove unnecessary scripts, and optimize to load faster.
- Enlarge buttons and links
Fingers are less precise than mice. Increase tap targets to at least 44px x 44px.
- Prevent mis-taps
Space elements properly so customers don't accidentally tap unintended buttons and links.
- Highlight phone support
On checkout pages, visibly feature phone numbers to offer reassurance.
- Use responsive design
Avoid stripped-down mobile sites. Use responsive web design to adapt your full site.
- Test on real devices
Simulators and emulators only go so far. Physically test your site on a range of actual phones.
With the majority of shopping happening on mobile, a mobile-first mentality is mandatory for conversion success.
So you've got potential customers browsing your site but not yet ready to buy. Retargeting keeps you top of mind, turning browsers into future customers.
Here are some smart ways to retarget traffic:
1. Run remarketing ads
Use platforms like Google/Facebook Ads to target visitors with display ads across other sites.
2. Offer limited-time incentives
For visitors who left items in their cart, send time-sensitive coupons to incentivize their return.
3. Email non-buyers
Collect emails through contests or content offers. Then sell to this high-intent group.
4. Personalize experiences
Welcome back visitors with messages like "You recently looked at this sweater..." to pick up where they left off.
5. Send cart abandonment emails
Remind customers of items they added to their cart but didn't purchase.
6. Advertise on social platforms
Target people who engaged with you on social media through custom audiences.
7. Send SMS reminders
Collect phone numbers to send timely text reminders driving action.
8. Limit frequency
Don't overdo it. Too persistent retargeting comes off as creepy vs helpful.
Re-engaging bounced traffic gives you a second chance to make the sale. Just make sure your efforts are genuinely valuable for customers.
Experiment and Measure Everything
Here's a key lesson in conversion rate optimization (CRO): No two stores are identical. Your customers are unique, so solutions that work for others may fail for you.
The only way to find your perfect conversion formula is rigorous testing.
- A/B test changes
Try new pages, layouts, copy against your existing control version and see which performs better.
- Check analytics
Dig into your data to see where people are falling off to identify weak points.
- Conduct user tests
Watch real customers use your site. See where they struggle and what questions they have.
- Track across channels
Tie data together from web, mobile, call center, and in-store.
- Calculate ROI
Know the revenue impact of changes so you can double down on what works.
- Fix issues methodically
Once you find problems through testing, prioritize fixes starting with quick wins.
- Keep iterating
Conversion optimization is never "finished." Continually test and optimize based on new data.
- Don't forget qualitative data
Quantitative data isn't everything. Also gather customer opinions through surveys and reviews.
- Leverage tools
Use tools like heatmaps, session replays, form analytics, and A/B testing software to accelerate optimization.
- Watch competitors too
See what pages and features convince shoppers on other sites - and "borrow" great ideas.
- Take it offline
Test changes in your physical stores too, not just online.
Conversion rate optimization is all about meticulous, data-driven experimentation. Resist guessing - let your customers' behavior guide you toward ever-higher conversion.
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You can have the perfect site, but it won't matter if customers can't find you. Expand awareness and drive traffic by:
1. Creating search-friendly content
Optimize blog posts, guides, and product descriptions with keywords so customers find you through search engines.
2. Running pay-per-click ads
Test search ads on Google, Facebook, Instagram and other platforms to put your brand in front of interested shoppers.
3. Cultivating backlinks
Earn links from relevant websites to improve domain authority and rankings for important keywords.
4. Participating in communities
Engage in relevant Reddit groups, forums, and discussions to get found by potential new customers.
5. Partnering with influencers
Work with bloggers and influencers to get product placement, reviews, sponsored posts, and endorsements.
6. Claiming local listings
Manage consistent NAP data on directories like Google My Business to drive local visibility.
7. Getting press coverage
Pitch media outlets to secure earned media placements like product roundups, interviews and reviews.
Without visibility, you have no chance of converting browsers. Use multiple tactics to get your ecommerce brand seen by high-intent audiences.
Surprise and Delight Customers
Loyal, satisfied customers are any brand's most valuable asset. And the moments outside the transaction itself present opportunities to wow customers.
Here are some ways to surprise and delight for retention and referrals:
- Send new purchase gifts
Follow up a purchase by express shipping a related freebie or branded swag.
- Include handwritten notes
A personalized touch with orders shows you care.
- Offer free expedited shipping
Upgrading shipping speed for free makes customers feel valued.
- Run small contests
Give away gift cards or prizes through contests on social media or through emails.
- Send anniversary gifts
Acknowledge loyalty by sending free products or discounts on purchase anniversaries.
- Provide elite treatment
Assign VIP customers a dedicated account manager for exceptional service.
- Issue retention discounts
Reward loyal repeat customers with exclusive personalized promo codes.
It's often the little touches outside the core transaction that turn a customer into a brand champion. Think beyond the purchase and foster evangelists.
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The Never-Ending Quest for More Conversions
Well, hopefully this gives you some ideas to start conjuring up your own ecommerce conversion magic! The reality is that conversion optimization never stops. As you grow and the market changes, new problems arise that require new solutions.
But by listening to your customers, continuously testing, and being relentless about offering an awesome experience, you put yourself on the path to turning those promising site visitors into happily paying customers.
So try some of these techniques, see what moves the needle for your business, then keep tweaking and testing to take your conversion rates to new heights. Your new buyers are out there - go make some conversion magic happen!