E-commerce Conversion Rate Optimization

E-commerce Conversion Rate Optimization

Opening an e-commerce store is just the beginning of an online selling adventure. Achieving your objectives requires focusing on a few elements that affect the conversion rate of your online store. So what to do to ensure that the majority of your website visitors turn into your customers or clients?

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In theory, attracting new website visitors is a piece of cake. All you need to do is to invest appropriate funds in Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or long-run SEO activities that should effectively attract new users. It’s relatively easy to spend the budget you’ve, however, your store is supposed to bring profits so you need to aim at developing a website that sells well.

You can’t force all people visiting your store to purchase your products or services but it’s necessary to focus on maximizing the conversion rate of your website.

But what do we mean by conversion? Conversion is a specific activity such as sending offer inquiries by website visitors. When it comes to online stores, every sold item equals conversion. If you want to monitor if the conducted activities bring the intended results, you should thoroughly analyze your conversion rate which will inform you about the number of website visitors who made a purchase in your store.
conversion rate - definition
For example: Over the last 30 days, your website has been visited by 10,000 users and 200 of them have finalized their transactions. In this case, your conversion rate amounts to 2%. Is this result satisfactory? Well, it depends.

Conversion rate vs. industry

You can analyze both the general conversion rate of your store and conversion rates categorized by the source of traffic. Compass prepared an interesting report „2018 Ecommerce Conversion Rate Benchmark” scrutinizing this issue. This is what the average conversion rate is, depending on the source of orders:

  • Sites recommending products and partner services – 5.44%. This is the highest conversion rate, and in this case, we’re talking about redirects to landing pages from forums or blogs.
  • Email marketing – 5.32%.
  • Direct access after entering the page address in the browser (referral traffic) – 2.19%.
  • Organic search engine traffic – 2.08%.

Above you can see general conversion rates. Obviously we also need to mention various industries. The items or services you sell truly affect the achievable conversion rate of your online store. When taking into consideration specific industries, it’s possible to distinguish:

  • Food and drink – 3.58%.
  • Health and beauty – 3.08%.
  • Games and toys – 2.43%.
  • Jewelry and accessories – 2.14%.
  • House and garden – 1.81%.
  • Clothing and fashion – 1.85 percent.
  • Sports and recreation – 1.96%.
  • Electronics – 1.27%.
  • Furniture – 0.85%.

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As you can observe, differences in conversion rates are sizable. In the case of furniture stores, the average conversion rate is four times smaller than in the case of shops selling foods and drinks. That’s a huge difference.

So how to understand this data? Should you strive to make your conversion rate similar? Remember that these are just average results of the study that scrutinized 10,000 e-commerce stores. However, when taking into account only 25% of the most effective stores, it turned out that their conversion rates were even two times bigger.

To be honest, e-commerce requires constant analysis and efforts to improve one’s results as the market is constantly changing which, in turn, leads to the continuous development of customers’ expectations. Even if your conversion rate is satisfactory, you shouldn’t rest on your laurels. Keep monitoring your store and your market rivals. This is the only way to continuously expand your business and improve your results. So what can you do to increase your conversion rate? In fact, every store may require completely different activities.

Ways to Boost your e-commerce conversion rate

To determine which steps need to be taken to increase conversion rate, you’ve to analyze your website design and elements which require improvement. Maybe you’ve already implemented some of our suggestions described in previous articles but we hope that you’ll find something helpful also in this entry:

Efficient internal search engine

Very often, when I want to find something in a given store, I use Google to access it. I use the command “site:storeaddress.com searched phrase”. Why? Because internal search engines frequently aren’t optimized and don’t display given products, even if these products are available in the product range. Spelling mistakes are another problem. If you misspell a given word while entering it in the internal search engine, you probably won’t find the products you’re looking for. In the meantime, Google displays searched items anyway, as long as the website is indexed. Search predictions are another valuable asset. Take a closer look at the screenshot below to see what exemplary search predictions look like.

A faulty internal search engine may deter users from finalizing transactions at your store.

Well-designed search engine can boost conversion of an online store

Analysis of conversion sources

As we’ve mentioned before, the effects of your marketing activities may significantly differ depending on the business type or industry you operate in. A low Facebook Ads conversion rate doesn’t necessarily mean that the performed activities are unprofitable. You should also take into account the costs of acquiring new customers. It’s very likely that this social media platform will offer the most attractive prices. Analyze the results of specific SEO, Google Ads, search engine, or email marketing activities. If given traffic sources don’t bring the intended results, the conversion rate is unsatisfactory and the costs of reaching customers are too expensive, try to allocate your funds to advertisements that work best for your store.

User-friendly navigation

Make sure that the top navigation bar on your website contains all the categories and subcategories that are of interest to users. Don’t force people to click on several subpages to finally find the category they’re looking for – it needs to be easily accessible from the homepage. And one more important thing – the menu should be clearly visible already after entering the site.

navigation - how to boost conversion of an online store

Website loading time

In the case of e-commerce, literally every second makes a difference. You enter a given website and want to order a product but every subsequent subpage loads for ages. So what do you do? In all the probability, you simply find another page which isn’t so problematic. And believe us, most users do it too.

As shown in the study “The State of Online Retail Performance“, a one-second longer website loading time on a mobile device can decrease conversion rate even by 20%! The expected website loading time equals 2 seconds. So what’s the result of your online store? Visit our blog to see how to reduce your website loading time.

Delivery options

Not every online store owner can offer free shipping. If you belong to this group, try to reasonably price delivery and give your customers as many options as possible. Imagine that you want to purchase a given item that costs USD 10 but the shipping costs another USD 10. What do you do? You (similarly to other people) probably resign from shopping. Things would be completely different if the delivery was, for example, USD 3-4.

According to the study “2017 State of Ecommerce Delivery. Consumer Research Report” as many as 94% of respondents are more willing to buy if the shop offers free delivery and 73% decide to order an unplanned product to avoid paying for delivery. Let’s assume that a store offers free shipping from USD 40 and the product you want to buy costs USD 30. It’s naturally better to purchase another useful item instead of paying for delivery.

Abandoned cart discounts

A website visitor chose a given product, added it to the shopping cart but eventually resigned from finalizing the transaction. What can you do then? Inform this user that the price of this product has been discounted. However, we aren’t talking about offering the same price to all potential customers but about personalizing your offer. In various online stores, it’s also possible to negotiate the price – when trying to abandon the shopping cart, you’re asked how much you’re willing to pay for a specific item. Personally, I managed to save a considerable amount of money this way.

Payment methods

Nowadays, cash on delivery shopping isn’t as popular as in the past, mainly due to the fact that it’s considerably more expensive. Everyone prefers a different method of paying for services and products. Some people choose online transfers while others love PayPal. If you don’t want to deter potential customers or clients, give them a choice.

Short path to purchase

It would be ideal if you could limit your path to purchase only to 2 stages and get rid of all elements that could potentially discourage customers from finalizing their transactions. On the other hand, it’s a good idea to show your website visitors other products purchased by customers who also decided to buy a given item. This will help you increase the average order size per one customer.

Customer safety

Although it might seem that the need for a secure Internet connection is a standard today, it turns out that there are many websites that don’t care about this element. How to recognize them? Check if an icon similar to the one in the screenshot below appears next to the website address (e.g. in Chrome).

Such a sign probably won’t encourage users to shop at your store. Meanwhile, it’s possible to obtain an SSL certificate even for free. Thanks to it, data sent between the user and the device are encrypted – they cannot be changed or intercepted. Your website should also contain all the necessary information such as rules and regulations or security policy which signalizes that users can safely buy at your store. Contact details, including your landline number, are a must. Thanks to them, users will be able to easily check whether your store really exists – if no one answers the phone, some people probably won’t place an order.

Approachable account setup and login

Make sure that your potential customers are required to provide only email and password at the first stage of setting up their accounts. The remaining data can be completed while placing an order. Even a longer registration form doesn’t have to deter users from creating accounts, however, you need to refine it. Add essential remarks next to each field to make sure that users know what information to provide.

As a warning, think about the website of a popular budget airline that gives really misleading information concerning the phone number. Consequently, people visit various forums where they ask how to go through the registration stage. This is a huge mistake that may lead to losing a significant number of potential clients.

It also needs to be noted that today it’s a standard to allow users to finalize the transaction as “guests”, without setting up an account.

Comprehensive product descriptions

On the one hand, it’s crucial to create product descriptions that are compliant with SEO rules, thanks to which your website is displayed high in the organic search results. On the other hand, content should entice users and encourage them to purchase your products or services. Focus on the most important assets of your product/service and pieces of information that are relevant for website visitors. If you’re repeatedly asked questions about a specific item from your product range, complete its description with the necessary answers.

To sum up

The abovementioned activities are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to solutions that can help you increase the conversion rate of your online store. Various steps can bring different results, depending on the type of your website. Keep developing your store, introducing improvements, and analyzing the benefits they bring. It’ll certainly pay off in the long run.

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Author
Delante is an online marketing agency specialized in generating website traffic from search engines and paid ads (SEO / SEM). Over 80% of our clients are from rapidly growing e-commerce industry.

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