20 Ways to Get More Sales From Your E-commerce website
by David Dwyer on 22/12/2017
A common problem for owners of e-commerce websites is lack of conversion – people leaving the site before they buy. This can be frustrating when great effort has been put into developing the site, making it user friendly and offering a wide range of products at excellent prices.
So why won’t visitors buy? For many reasons. Some are within your control and some are not. This article looks at those you can influence.
First, start with realistic expectations. The general average of visitors likely to buy from a site is one to two percent. Different sectors have differing averages from gambling sites to shoes to lunch boxes. If your site is already doing better – that’s great news! But if your rate is lower than this it’s likely there will be improvements to make to increase conversions.
Here are 20 areas to look at.
Images gain attention and help the buyer see the detail of the product. Poor grainy images will not showcase your product at all well. Images if not compressed or cropped to the right size can also be slower to load. You will need a platform that handles images for display at different dimensions, so that even when enlarged the image can be seen clearly.
If the text on the site is full of spelling and grammar mistakes, buyers are likely to think your product has the same lack of attention and represents little value. The higher the price, the more important this becomes. Check everything before the site or copy goes live.
Not everyone who visits your site will buy the first or perhaps even the second time. Instead of making them register and sign in each time they visit, give them the opportunity to browse if they wish to. Yes, you won’t be able to collect their name and contact details but neither will they feel your site is too pushy by asking for them when they only want to browse.
Make all parts of the buying process obvious and easy. For instance, when an item is placed in the cart, make it simple to return to the page they were previously on so they can continue shopping. This not just about breadcrumb functionality but also upselling and not closing out the sale too early.
In general, the more expensive the item being bought, the more the customer will want to know about it. Offer full details of the product so there are no unanswered questions in the buyer’s mind about what they will receive.
If offering a Wishlist, allow browsers to save this for their return visit so they don’t have to search again for a product they found last time but perhaps weren’t in a position to buy. This could also be offered as a Recently Viewed tab.
Follow common e-commerce site conventions. Buyers are used to purchasing online but expect to see certain functions in the same place. For example, the shopping cart is almost always at the top right of the page.
Many buyers prefer to browse for their products online but to place their order by phone. This is often because they have a question or there is something they are not sure about. Providing a free call number allows them to continue the buying process. However, bear in mind that most free call numbers still charge the user on mobile phones. Another option is Live Chat.
As mobile use increases so too do the percentage of sales being made on tablets, phablets and phones. An e-commerce site needs to be easy to use on any kind of device, and be compatible with both Android and iOS platforms.
A great many purchases fall over at the checkout. Reasons include the country of purchase not being on the list, not enough different payment types being offered, or links to external payment sites like PayPal being broken or poorly integrated Payment Gateways, Inspire are specialists at this type of work. To find out more about a recent change to the Payment Gateway is the SCA/PSD2 legislation which came into effect on 14th September 2019 read this article we’ve researched and written. In essence, make the payment form easy to understand and regularly check that everything is working properly.
Research shows that social proof is a major reason people buy. Use reviews and testimonials from happy customers to demonstrate to visitors that there are plenty of other satisfied buyers. Also offer an opportunity for customers to add comments to a product page, but have a resource plan in place about how to respond should a negative comment be received. To find out more about how we view Social Proof then you can read more in our article about “Narcissism or Necessity?”.
Keep good records of conversion rates to know if the changes made result in additional sales. Don’t rely on anecdotal evidence; measure the results using Goals/Funnels from Google Analytics or other tools.
Buyers want reassurance. One way to give them this is to offer no-questions-asked returns. But take care to be transparent with returns fees and don’t charge more than is fair.
Customers want to know that buying from you is safe and secure. From visiting your website to parting with their credit card number, they want reassurance that you’re going to deliver on your promises. This means having a secure site (identified by an ‘https’ prefix on your URL) and displaying a payment security certificate at check out. To find out more about how we view SSL Certificates then you can read more in our article about “SSL certificates and why they matter for conversion”.
Buyers will be put off by big, bold Buy Now buttons and overuse of other calls to action like ‘only 2 left!’. Make buttons visible but don’t let them either take centre stage or too much landscape.
Customer love to feel they are getting a good deal. There are many ways to look generous on an e-commerce site such as offering free shipping, coupon codes and free samples. You may not decide to include them all but to offer one at a time and measure how it affects sales.
Customers abandon carts for many reasons, chief among them are unexpected shipping costs, needing to create a new account, being in browse-only mode, concerns about payment security and a complicated check out process. Resolve all these and any other issues and sales conversions will rise.
Make an upsell offer before the buyer leaves the site. It is easiest to persuade buyers to add something more to their purchases when they are in a buying mindset than once they have left your site.
Test, test and test the site again using different variables to ensure that every possible buying contingency is covered. Nothing makes buyers abandon an e-commerce site more quickly than a problem they can’t find a solution for.
The best way to find out how to improve your site is to ask your customers. Several days after the purchase or receipt of the product, ask them for a review of your site and / or your product. This will help you better understand your customers and provide a better service, resulting in more sales.
Not all of the 20 possible improvements listed in this article may be possible on your site but tidying up the most obvious and the most annoying ones for your customers will result in higher conversion rates.
A high-converting e-commerce website is the result of myriad factors all coming together seamlessly to create a great buying experience. If you would like more ideas on how to turn a poorly converting site into one that truly hums, get in touch with us for an obligation-free chat.
e-commerce, Online Stores, User eXperience, Web Design, Website Content, Website Support