The sad news is, most people who visit your e-commerce site ultimately won’t click “purchase” on their first visit. The 2017 E-Commerce Benchmark KPI Study, an analysis of more than 140 million website sessions and more than $530 million in online revenue, found e-commerce websites only average around a 1.6% conversion rate. Many e-commerce shoppers will:
- Bounce, which means they’ll visit a single page then leave altogether
- Abandon their shopping carts, having added items to them but declining to convert
- View products but leave, because they couldn’t find what they were looking for or were frustrated by the user experience
In the first quarter of 2018, shopping cart abandonment rates totaled more than 75%. For travel industries, they soared past 80%.
We’ve covered some ways to improve your website’s conversion optimization strategy. But what about businesses focused on e-commerce sales? Here are nine ways to improve conversions when you’re selling to customers online.
1. Use Content Marketing
To build awareness for your e-commerce site and strengthen relationships with customers, use content marketing. Content marketing like blogs and e-books benefits e-commerce businesses because:
- Leads come to the site through content
- Content educates shoppers and builds trust and authority
- Content moves leads along the buyer journey
The 2017 United States B2C Ecommerce Country Report found 88 percent of consumers pre-research their purchases online. Content marketing reaches consumers during that research phase, and it also helps consumers who are checking out your products in your e-commerce store to feel more confident in their purchase decisions.
On product pages, link to relevant content you’ve created about those products. Add a blog to your e-commerce site, guest blog for websites your target customers might be reading, and promote your best content through paid advertising channels. Write keyword-rich descriptions for all your products, too, to make them more search engine-friendly.
2. Prioritize Mobile for Your Shop
By 2021, e-commerce sales on mobile devices are expected to make up nearly 73% of total e-commerce sales, according to eMarketer. In 2018, mobile e-commerce accounted for 59% of digital sales, reaching $2.3 trillion, a nearly 25% increase year-over-year. If you sell online, it’s time to make your mobile shop your top focus.
Take these actions to improve mobile e-commerce conversions:
- Make navigation mobile-friendly – design your mobile shop for fingertip interactions.
- Ensure your site is secure – it’s a search engine ranking signal and one consumers expect (82% of shoppers will leave a site if there’s a “not secure” warning).
- Aim for simplicity – smartphone screens are small, so avoid clutter.
When you’re advertising your shop, make sure to target mobile users. You can A/B test ads on platforms like Google or Facebook to compare desktop and mobile traffic to see which devices your customers are most responsive on.
3. Improve Site Speed
Site speed has a great impact on online shoppers. Data from 2018 from online retail platform Shopify found improving load time doubled conversion rates for some clients. According to 2017 data from Google, as page load time increases from 1 second to 5 seconds, bounce rate probability increases by 90%.
You should aim to have elements on your e-commerce site load at 2 seconds or less, since Google reports 53% of mobile users will abandon a site that takes more than 3 seconds to load. The closer you can get to instant site loading, the better. Speed up your e-commerce site by:
- Using reliable hosting that scales as your business grows
- Regularly testing your site speed
- Hosting media files on a content delivery network to save bandwidth
- Compressing your images and website
- Fixing broken links
Avoid using pop-up windows, too, since they can slow down your site and negatively impact the user experience.
4. Add Social Proof
Online reviews, whether they’re good or bad, benefit the visibility of your online products. According to the Association for Psychological Science, when shoppers are comparing similar products, they favor the product with more reviews.
Show new shoppers what customers think of your products by adding reviews. Let customers add reviews by logging into their social network profiles, so that they can easily share the review with their followers. Get more reviews by:
- Emailing customers after they’ve received their purchases and have had time to use the products, and ask them to leave a review.
- Making the review process as easy and simple as possible – you can ask for a one-question review, like a 1-10 rating, and then allow the customer to leave more detailed feedback,
- Highlighting reviews on your social media channels, which can motivate other customers to leave reviews, too.
Just like you should respond to reviews on sites like Yelp, thank customers and respond to their reviews on your own product site, as well. Doing this shows shoppers you value customer feedback.
5. Display High-Quality Photos and Videos
As we’ve covered, compared to words-only recall of 10% of information, adding photos increases recall to 65%. About two-thirds of humans are visual learners, so adding photos and videos to your products can both improve memory of those products and reinforce product knowledge.
High-quality photos and videos:
- Provide instant information about products to shoppers
- Give context to ways the product can be used
- Clearly explain how to use the product
- Can be shared on sites like social media
- Are taggable and can boost search engine results
Show your products or services from a variety of angles. If you have how-to explainer videos, add those to product pages. Shoppers get more context and will move along the buyer journey since you’re educating them.
6. Make Product Search and Navigation Easy
On any device, it should be easy for shoppers to find what they’re looking for and navigate your site. Users should be able to easily:
- Identify how to navigate the site
- Go back to pages they’ve previously visited
- Search for products they want
- Find products based on keyword searches
One way to improve your search is to auto-populate search fields as customers are typing, so that you suggest possible product matches they can click on.
You should also take into account that customers might be misspelling items, especially when they’re typing in a hurry on their smartphones. Matching searches with possible misspellings can keep customers engaged with your site, versus delivering them zero search results.
7. Keep Shopping Carts Full
Since about three-quarters of online shoppers will abandon their shopping carts, keep those carts full even if they leave your site, so they can access the same items if they return. Even if a customers abandons their shopping cart, they may still be interested in buying from you. For example, someone using their phone to shop while they’re at work may quickly abandon a site on their phone when their boss walks in. You’ll want those items to reappear when the online shopper returns.
Increase the likelihood of converting those abandoned shopping carts by sending a personalized reminder to customers about what they left. According to data from customer relationship management service Salesforce, 60% of shoppers who received personalized content after abandoning their shopping carts went back and made a purchase. Send an email to the customer showing the items they left behind, with a link to return to the cart to check out.
8. Offer a Guest Checkout Option
One reason driving up online shopping cart abandonment? Retailers who force users to create accounts cause many to leave. Research by Econsultancy shows more than 25% of shoppers will abandon a cart when they’re asked to register to check out. Shoppers who simply want to buy their stuff and leave will not want to have to go through extra steps to sign up for an account.
There are still ways you can capture customers who signed up with guest checkout, though. After purchasing, you can send them an email with an option to create a free account, highlighting the benefits (loyalty points, exclusive offers, etc.) They can provide your business with more information when they have time, so you can continue to market to them.
9. Provide Reliable Customer Support
Customer support can be make-or-break for your e-commerce business. According to Business Insider, 66% of American shoppers will spend more money with a company that provides excellent customer service, while 60% of shoppers have decided not to make a purchase based on poor customer service.
On your e-commerce site, add a live chat option. Benefits of live chat include:
- You can offer customers immediate help and assist them in finding what they’re looking for.
- You’re able to upsell products based on what a customer is asking about.
- Your business can provide personalized service in an online setting.
- You’re able to capture leads when you get personal information from the shopper, like an email address.
You should also make customer support for your e-commerce site a priority on your social media channels, since 42% of consumers expect a customer service response on social media within an hour, according to Convince & Convert. Offer a dedicated customer support page on your website, and make sure you respond in a timely manner to requests sent through that, as well.
Create an E-Commerce Site That’s a Great Experience for Customers
Website design for your e-commerce site is just the beginning for how to create an engaging customer experience. You also need to make sure the details of your site focus on conversion optimization, through:
- High-quality content, photos and videos
- Social proof and testimonials
- Personalized customer interactions
- Dedicated customer support
If your e-commerce site is experiencing a high bounce rate or high number of abandoned shopping carts, we can help you improve your conversions and revenue. Contact AlphaMind Studios for a free consultation.