You know that you need to get more traffic to your store – after all it’s one of the four pillars of ecommerce success. So, you’ve worked hard on your customer acquisition and ‘high five’ your visitor numbers are increasing.
In theory, your sales should increase at the same rate. If they’re not it’s a sign that something’s amiss. If you’re confident that the quality of your traffic hasn’t decreased, then that something is your conversion rate.
So how do you convert those extra visitors into buyers? The answer is conversion rate optimisation.
In this article:
Before you start
10 reliable ways to increase conversion rate
- Build The Perfect Homepage
- Optimise Your Product Pages
- Add Product Reviews
- Setup Email Marketing Flows
- Create a Welcome Offer
- Setup Retargeting
- Add Trust Signals to Your Store
- Multi-Currency Checkout
- Enable Persistent Cart
- Enable Pre-Order Sales
What is conversion rate optimisation?
Wikipedia defines conversion rate optimisation as:
A system for increasing the percentage of visitors to a website that convert into customers, or more generally, take any desired action on a webpage. It is commonly referred to as CRO.
Jon MacDonald from CRO agency The Good goes a step further and defines conversion rate optimisation as:
A data-backed system for increasing the percentage of website visitors that convert into customers.
The premise for this definition is that analytics data such as traffic numbers, traffic sources, and the ways people navigate through your site enable you to make changes that will improve the overall conversion rate.
You want to be constantly iterating towards better website performance, to encourage an increasing percentage of your visitors to perform a desired action. In ecommerce, you’ll be primarily aiming to increase the percentage of visitors who make a purchase.
Practically speaking, for ecommerce store owners, this involves making small incremental changes to your website that add up to a more engaging and trustworthy store.
Define your ecommerce conversion funnel
Your conversion funnel defines the path your customers take from first becoming aware of your brand to making a purchase.
A typical ecommerce conversion funnel involves four stages – awareness, interest, desire and action. At each stage, your potential customers make decisions based on their perception of your brand, product, and the competition. The first three stages are all about building engagement to encourage them to visit your store. The fourth stage ‘Action’ is critical for getting them to convert into a customer.
Map out your customer journey and aim to optimise every touchpoint. If you optimise each stage of your conversion funnel, you’ll generate more revenue.
Now you know what conversion rate optimisation is and you’ve defined your conversion funnel, let’s look at some proven actions to improve the conversion rate of your store:
1. Build the perfect homepage
Back in 2002 web usability expert Jakob Nielsen said that homepages are the most valuable real estate in the world. That remains true all these years later.
First impressions count.
The purpose of your website’s homepage is to connect with your potential customers and establish critical levels of trust. Even before they navigate beyond your homepage, they’ll make a decision about your brand and whether they trust you enough to add their payment info to your checkout.
People read web pages top down and left to right. Make sure you put your biggest trust signals right up there – your company logo, a contact phone number and your free shipping threshold is a good start.
Then, your website navigation should allow your visitors to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. If you have lots of products, avoid nested dropdowns, instead opt for a magamenu layout instead. If you have products on sale, group them into a collection and include a link in your top navigation – everyone loves a deal.
After that, use a strong full-width lifestyle image to connect emotionally with your visitors. Define your main offer in the banner and include a clear call to action. Stick to a single image and avoid using a slider. Studies have shown that 89% of clicks to a slider are on the first slide and only a vanishingly small number make it to slides beyond the second one. Sliders not only unsettle your website’s visitors they also increase your page load time, which contributes to a higher bounce rate and lower conversions.
Below your lead banner, you should include your top sellers. These are likely to be the products most people are looking for, so make it easy for them and include a product grid right up there on your homepage. Label them ‘Customer Favourites’ or ‘Best Sellers’ rather than something generic like ‘Featured Products’.
Scrolling down the page, it’s really up to you what you pull to the fore. If you use Yotpo, you can pull in a section of your top reviews – great for social proof. And, with the Foursixty app you can pull in a grid of shoppable Instagram posts – again great for social proof. We’ve recently been pulling this right up to immediately below the hero image as it’s such a good sales driver.
If you’re not using a pop-up email capture, include a section to encourage people to sign up to your newsletter. Use some compelling copy like ‘Sign up for instant savings’ rather than something more bland like ‘Sign up for our latest news’. If you want their email address, you’ve got to make it about them, not you.
Don’t forget about your footer. It’s at the bottom, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. It’s another opportunity to position your brand as a professional and reliable retailer. Reward those people who have scrolled down this far with links to anything that might reaffirm your position as a trustworthy business.
To give you an idea of what to include take a look at this footer we created for outdoor brand VOITED:
2. Optimise your product pages
If your products aren’t showing up with a quick Google search, you’re missing out on a ton of potential customers.
If your product is on page 3, you may not get any traffic at all.
The top 2 or 3 results get most of the traffic and the numbers plumit after that. Many people never get past the first page.
Ideally, you want to get your products showing up at the top of page 1, but you’ll want to be on page 1 no matter what.
To do that, you need a plan and you need everyone in your team to buy into it.
The great thing is, with an ecommerce store you have a huge opportunity.
Get the formula right for optimising your product descriptions and you can implement it across every product on your website.
Yes, it’s a bit of work to set up, but the graft will pay off and set you apart from the crowd.
There are two problems with most online stores’ product descriptions:
- They focus on their features, not their benefits
- They are simply boring and unappealing
So there’s a huge opportunity for you to engage your visitors with more persuasive and informative copy.
In the product description, you need to think beyond the features and start selling the benefits.
A common mistake is to simply copy and paste the manufacturer’s product descriptions without giving them a more personal and unique touch.
Original sales copy will stand out and since many sites will use generic product descriptions, you’ll be rewarded with a better position in the search results.
Write informative and persuasive product descriptions and you’ll start not only to see better rankings but increased conversions as well.
If all the info a customer needs to make a purchase decision is on your page, they don’t need to click away and you can guide them to that ‘buy now’ button.
Exciting isn’t it. With just a few tweaks to your existing process, you can start increasing sales.
3. Add product reviews to your store
Trust and conversion rate go hand in hand and one of the best ways to build trust and drive up your store’s conversion rate is to add product reviews.
Slick marketing copy is great, but feedback from real customers carries a huge amount of weight when it comes to convincing prospects to take the plunge and make a purchase. There’s a reason Amazon is so hot on encouraging reviews.
How do I get product reviews?
When you provide outstanding customer service (and you should be, especially when you consider the impact on lifetime value), you tend to have more positive interactions with customers and by extension lots of opportunities to ask for reviews.
Anytime you’ve helped a customer our with their order, you have an opportunity to close the case with “Happy to help. Would you mind leaving us a good review on our site, it will help us out a lot.” Include a link to the page on your site and you’ll be surprised by how many people will leave a positive review.
Another straightforward way to ramp up your product reviews is to create an automated email series to request reviews from customers.
Do this right and you can expect around 20% of customers to write reviews.
If you’re on Shopify, there’s a number of tools available. At Hang Ten Media, we’re big fans of Yotpo. They handle the automated emails and offer a host of other features to help boost trust for your products and brand. The integration is straightforward via the Shopify app and their tech support is spot on if you need any help.
4. Put your email marketing on autopilot
If you’re only using your email service provider to send out a weekly marketing campaign email, it’s time to take a look at some of the automation tools available.
Think about all the other times you could be staying in touch with your customers via email. Wouldn’t it be great if you could automatically send personalised email sequences based on customer lifetime value, lifecycle stage and purchase history?
On point messaging at a critical moment in time can make all the difference and steer your potential customer through the acquisition funnel for the first time, or bring them back to buy again.
At Hang Ten Media we like Klaviyo due to its seamless integration with Shopify, but Mailchimp et al will allow you to do much of the same thing.
The trick is to combine what your customers do with what you know about them to set up automated email flows. They’re a lot easier to set up than you might think and once your flows are in place, they’ll continue to work for you in the background for as long as you like.
With automated flows working for you like your most trusted sales agent, all you need to do is sit back and watch your conversion rate increase and your sales grow.
Here are 3 automated email flows to set up straight away:
- Abandoned cart emails
- Welcome series
- Order follow-up emails
Klaviyo has abandoned cart emails, welcome series, and order follow-ups pre-built into the platform. You can customise them if you want or you can use them straight out of the box. All you need to do is turn them on — and start driving more sales right away.
5. Create a welcome offer to entice first-time customers
New visitors are the hardest to convert, and when you consider customer lifetime value, it’s well worth offering a good incentive to connect with your brand. The best way to get your offer in front of your visitors is to use an email pop-up.
Pop-ups get a bad rap. It’s true, irrelevant pop-ups are annoying. But a well designed pop-up with a strong value proposition that appears at the right time won’t annoy your visitors. When done right, pop-ups are incredibly effective for email capture, website traffic conversion, and visitor engagement. One such time to use a pop-up is when presenting a welcome offer to first-time customers.
Most email service providers offer a welcome pop-up solution, but more often than not, your visitors will have to check their email to pick up the discount code. The minute you send people off site, your conversion rate drops.
However, conversion app Justuno offers a way for visitors to enter their email address and instantly be presented with the discount code. You can even set it up so the discount code is automatically applied at checkout – great for conversion!
Email capture pop-up example:
In this welcome pop-up, Voited have used straightforward copy to boldly grab the visitor’s attention and tell them exactly what action must be taken to receive the value, in this case a discount.
Voited uses the same colour scheme as their website giving the pop-up a clean and consistent look that represents the brand effectively. The image appeals to Voited’s ideal customer, the outdoor enthusiast.
6. Put your retargeting on autopilot
Once you switch on your customer acquisition and start bringing visitors into your store via SEO, social media, or Google ads etc, you’ve helped your potential customers through the first stage of their journey.
But that’s just the beginning.
Although you may be lucky and convert a small percentage of these first-time visitors into customers, in a typical customer’s journey there are multiple touchpoints.
You need to steer your customer through the four conversion funnel stages: Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action.
For your ads to perform, you need to make sure you’re showing the right ad to the right customer at the right time.
In Facebook you can use value based custom audiences to create a multi-layered retargeting campaign that matches your customer’s journey.
If you’re on Shopify, there are apps to help you with the heavy lifting. We’ve had good results with Shoelace. You install the app and once you reach 6000 visits, the app recommends an automated retargeting flow. The ads improve overtime, so as your customers move from one stage of the buying journey to the next, their ad experience automatically evolves to become more relevant and personalised.
Shoelace also integrates with other Shopify apps including Yotpo reviews and Foursixty user generated content, allowing you to pull social proof into your ads.
Put your retargeting on autopilot and you’ll find your conversion rate will go up and you’ll get better return on ad spend.
7. Add Trust Signals to your store
Every ecommerce site needs trust signals. Without them your conversion rate and revenue won’t be as high as they could be. With the right trust signals, you’ll not only increase the conversion rate for first-time customers, you’ll also see existing customers make additional purchases as well as refer your business to family and friends.
An article in Business2Community put it like this:
People tend to be extra cautious when conducting transactions online with all the reports of identity theft that continue to besiege consumers. Ecommerce sites need to show consumers that they are legitimate companies
So whether you’re just starting your ecommerce business or you need to improve your conversion rates, here are the most effective trust signals you should be using on your online store:
- Install SSL certification – this makes sure the connection from web server to browser is secure and activates the padlock and https protocol. Essential for trust.
- Add social proof, including testimonials and reviews. It doesn’t matter how good you think your product is, what really matters is what your customers think. Make sure you leverage those positive reviews. An app like Yotpo will help you both collect reviews and display them on your site.
- Make it easy for people to get in touch. Display a contact phone number in the header of your site and a link to your contact page in the footer. If you have a physical store, include an image of your store on your contact page along with the store address and a location map. For inspiration, take a look at the contact page we set up for Wasted Talent.
These trust signals are designed to build trust and credibility for your online store. Use them to give potential customers the confidence to enter their payment details and purchase from your site.
8. Add Multi-Currency Checkout to your Store
A disadvantage of the Shopify platform is the lack of multi-currency checkout. You can use an app like Bold Multi-Currency or Currency Converter Plus to allow customers to shop in their own currency (using a conversion rate). But once they click through to the checkout, the currency reverts back to the store’s default. If you have an international customer base, this is a major conversion blocker.
All is not lost.
If you can’t yet justify a Shopify Plus subscription, then you’ll need to use an app.
Bold’s Multi-Currency app can be extended with their Bold Cashier app to allow customers to check out and process payments in all the major currencies.
9. Improve the Shopping Experience with Persistent Cart
Most online shoppers switch device at least once on their path to purchase. On many standard ecommerce platforms these customers lose their carts each time they change device.
For Shopify users, there’s an easy solution. Head to the app store and install the Persistent Cart app. The app increases the number of sales, average order value, and customer retention by making sure customers never lose their shopping carts.
The app is low cost and works in the background to provide your customers with a more professional and intuitive shopping experience.
10. Enable Pre-Order Sales
When your best selling products sell out, your conversion rate can tank. Think about it; you’ve got a flagship product that you’ve been pushing hard on social, and featuring in your ad campaigns. You may even have sent samples out to influencers and the press. Prospective customers are visiting your site in their droves with their wallets open, only to be disappointed.
While you’re getting more stock in, you may be able to suggest an alternative product, but a better solution is to offer the chance for people to pre-order.
If you’re on Shopify, you can use the Pre-Order Manager app from SpurIT. The ‘Add to cart’ button is replaced with a ‘Pre-Order’ button for out-of-stock or coming soon products. You can show a message alongside the button to let people know when the item will be shipped. When someone clicks the pre-order button, they go through the order process in the usual way.
If you’re in a position to restock, or you want to pre-launch a new product, pre-order management is the answer. Your customers will thank you and your conversion rate will remain as high as possible.
If you can increase the percentage of people who end up becoming paying customers, you can increase your revenue and grow your business.
Once you’ve defined your conversion funnel, you can begin implementing the conversion rate optimisation suggestions in this list.
Your goal is to create a trustworthy store with a compelling value proposition. If you make incremental improvements based on your analytics data, your conversion rate will increase over time. A higher conversion rate means more of your visitors will become customers and you’ll make more money from the same marketing budget.
What would happen to your business if every customer spent 10% more per order?
Individually it might not equate to much but over the long-term it helps drive growth and profitability
Try one of these proven strategies for Increasing Average Order Value