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The Ultimate Guide to Increasing E-Commerce Conversion Rate

Introduction

What if:

  • More shoppers completed their purchases?
  • More readers took action after clicking your ads?
  • More shoppers participated in your surveys?

What if you had better tools to help your business realize these goals? 

The Ultimate Guide to Increasing E-commerce Conversion Rates by Splitit provides you with just that: the most important things you can do right now to make a difference in your business’s Conversion Rates.

We’ll discuss the elements of your website that play a vital role in increasing average e-commerce Conversion Rates including landing page design, CTAs, shopping cart features, purchasing experience, and other essential elements. We’ll also cover the psychology of online shopping and why it is vital to understand your particular shoppers. 

As you navigate through the Guide, feel free to jump to the sections that are most relevant to your business. We’ve provided a useful, bullet-point list of the 12 Things You Can Do Right Now to Increase Conversion Rates towards the end – don’t miss it!

  1. What Are Conversion Rates and Why Do They Matter?
  2. Landing Pages – Best Practices 
  3. Essential E-commerce Elements
  4. The Psychology of Online Shopping
  5. 12 Things You Can Do Right Now to Increase Conversion Rates
  6. Conclusion

1. What Are Conversion Rates and Why Do They Matter?


Here is a simple conversion rate definition: it is the percentage of customers who complete any action that you wish them to take. When your business sells a product, entices a viewer to click on an ad, captures a new lead, or convinces a customer to fill out a survey
successfully, you have increased your Conversion Rate. The higher your Average Conversion Rates, the more successful your business is; i.e. a greater number of your shoppers are taking the actions that matter, resulting in higher Return on Investment for your digital marketing efforts. 

However, many businesses fail to consider how much money is left on the table due to poor Average Conversion Rates. Poor Average Conversion Rates cost businesses money in lost revenue and in ineffective customer acquisition activity. Considering that the average e-commerce Conversion Rate is only 2-5%, there is a lot of room for improvement to achieve good conversion. 

According to Sleeknote, men spend an average of $220 and women spend an average of $151 per online transaction. If you have 5,000 men and 5,000 women completing purchases per month, even a 10% increase in your website Conversion Rate can drive your revenue from $1.85M to $2.04M.  A 100% increase will more than double your current revenue, bringing it from $1.85M to over $3.7M.

2. Landing Pages – Best Practices

There is no second chance to make a first impression. The adage is particularly true for e-commerce retailers. If your site doesn’t instantly grab a potential shopper’s attention, they will move on to the next option. You won’t see good conversion.

The design of your landing page will make you stand out, and in an increasingly crowded marketplace, this is essential. For example, according to CNBC, there are over 170 online mattress retailers and consumers are having a hard time telling them apart. Make sure to differentiate yourself, yet keep it simple, and you increase the odds that landing page visitors will convert. 

Your pages and site should also load nearly instantly. They should be engineered to decrease load times. The most important items should load first, while other content fills in. This is even more critical for mobile devices, which do not benefit from the speed of a wired Internet connection. Slow loading pages on mobile devices are a recipe for low conversion.

This is because 47% of shoppers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less and 40% of shoppers abandon sites that take more than 3 seconds to load. If this is a problem for your business, consider implementing strategic loading of items on your website. For example, if you are touting a sale, your carefully designed, front and center headline should be the first item to appear (for example “BACK TO SCHOOL”) while the background images, videos, CTA, and other information all load in secondarily, around it. 

The careful use of overlays to promote value can make shopping on your site attractive to potential shoppers. An overlay touting “SIGN UP TODAY FOR 10% OFF” encourages shoppers to begin engaging immediately and provides an incentive for them to complete their purchase. It also creates a conversion from anonymous visits to registered users.

Once your shopper has landed and decided to stick around, they’ll need an easy to use interface that caters to their needs. It is worth investing in site functionality that provides your shoppers with the tools they’ll require to complete their purchases seamlessly. Accessible search functionality, convenient (and removable) filters, straightforward categories with some crossover, uncomplicated comparison tools, and a variety of choices for payment including solutions such as Splitit in your checkout process, all serve to improve user experience.

Finally, no landing page is complete without a clear shipping policy. A persistent shipping banner, (for example: “FREE SHIPPING ON ORDERS OVER $75”) should be reiterated throughout your site. This one element can have a big impact on both Average Conversion Rate and Average Order Value, too.

3. Essential E-commerce Elements

Strong CTAs

Calls to Action (CTAs) are words that inspire people to act. 

  • EARN UP TO 40% REWARDS ON THE NEWEST PRODUCTS
  • BRING IT HOME TODAY
  • ADD A HANDBAG TO COMPLETE YOUR LOOK

These phrases direct shoppers so they know what to do next and provide them with the motivation to do so. CTAs are an essential component of successful digital marketing. They should be incorporated throughout your site and be strong enough that they convince people to take action. Time and time again, we see retailers put enormous amounts of effort and energy into digital marketing efforts such as ad creation, email marketing, and content marketing such as social media and blog posts, and only to finish off their campaigns with a weak CTA. Turns out, humans are really good at telling people what they should do. But we’re less good at telling them why.

The most effective method to figure out what CTAs work best for your business is A/B testing. Create 2 CTAs. Change only 1 variable between the versions. Serve version “A” to half of your visitors and version “B” to the other half for a set period of time. Crunch the numbers to determine which version resulted in an increased e-commerce Conversion Rate. 

For example:

Smart CTAs also can have a big impact. These are phrases that are personalized to the specific visitor. For example, a shopper that has never been to your site may be presented with the CTA, “WHAT TYPE OF SLEEPER ARE YOU? FIND OUT NOW.” This can lead them to a short quiz which directs them to the mattress or pillows that will likely be best for them. A repeat visitor that hasn’t yet made a purchase may see, “FREE MATTRESS COVER WITH PURCHASE – TODAY ONLY!” 

Shoppers clearly respond when presented with messaging that reflects their current level of interest in your product. This is also called a conversion funnel.

CTA Best Practices

  • Meet your shopper no matter which phase of the conversion funnel they are in. 
  • Avoid generic phrases. 
  • Sit in your shopper’s chair and think about what motivates you; avoid generic phrases. “SUBMIT” or “PLACE YOUR ORDER” are mundane and uninspiring. 
  • Create a sense of urgency by using time sensitive language such as “TODAY” or “SHOP NOW.”
  • Use first-person phrasing wherever possible.  In one study, “Start my free trial” resulted in a 90% increased Average Conversion Rate vs “Start your free trial.”

Customer Service That Converts

Nothing is worse than bad customer service. In fact, 44% of shoppers will tell their friends about a bad experience online. However, this problem can easily be solved with Live Chat. 

Live chats have quickly become the preferred method for customer service worldwide. According to HubSpot, Live Chat is the #1 favored mechanism for customer service in the US and ranks in the top 3 worldwide.

Not only are live chatters more likely to convert and complete their purchases, they are more satisfied with their purchases. These visitors are also 63% more likely to return to the site. Even among shoppers who make online purchases on a weekly basis, 38% make their purchases due to the chat session itself. 

Reviews & Testimonials

What is the difference between a product with 5 reviews and a product with 0 reviews? The product with 5 reviews is 270% more likely to be purchased.

Previously, shoppers relied upon a shopkeeper or salesperson for product recommendations and questions about that product’s care and use. Now, shoppers turn to their peers. 91% of female shoppers regard online reviews with a higher importance than information from a salesperson in the flesh.

The importance of product reviews increases for higher-priced products. Data from the Spiegel Research Center shows that Conversion Rates go up 190% when product reviews are included for lower priced products. Higher-priced products see a Conversion Rate increase of 380%.

Asking shoppers for product reviews can be tricky, but the data show that the increased Conversion Rates make it worth the effort.

Return Policy

Returns can be the bane of a retailer’s existence. The reality is that 41% of shoppers purchase variations of the same product with the intention of returning all or some of the items. 

That does not mean you should tighten your policy. Free returns or exchanges are the number two reason that shoppers give for purchasing items online, just below free shipping. 69% of shoppers are discouraged from completing a transaction when they have to pay for return shipping or restocking fees

While a liberal Return Policy may not increase your Conversion Rates explicitly, not having one could end up tanking them. 

Shipping Policy

The primary reason for cart abandonment in 2018 was the cost of shipping. 

While “FREE SHIPPING” has been proven to dramatically increase Conversion Rates, it may not always lead to the highest profit margins. It’s not worth it unless it is profitable. This can usually be managed using a shipping threshold to encourage shoppers to spend more in order to qualify for free shipping. 

Moreover, shipping costs added to a cart just prior to a purchase can be interpreted by shoppers as a lack of transparency, something sneaky on the part of the retailer. 

Bottom line – shipping doesn’t need to be free all the time, but it does need to be explicit. Be clear and upfront about your shipping policies.  Shoppers need to know what to expect from the get-go. 

Checkout Made Simple

A  shopper has landed on your site, stayed there long enough to search through products, read reviews and add items to their cart. And then they move on. And their cart sits there, abandoned. WHY? It’s a wasted opportunity? The addition of just 1 field can decrease Conversion Rates by as much as 11%. Nobody wants a bulky check out experience, either on desktop or on mobile devices. If you don’t absolutely need the information, don’t ask for it prior to check out. 

Try to keep the checkout process to one page. Behavioral research studies show that the more clicks the user has to take on their journey, the lower their Conversion Rates. If you need several pages for checkout make sure to give users a visual so they know where they are in the process. 

Give shoppers the option of creating an account OR checking out as a “Guest.” 

Source: Usabilitygeek.com

Offer multiple shipping and payment methodsboth paid-in-full and installment options. Shoppers may qualify for free shipping, but their timeline may require a different option. They may want the product immediately and be willing to pay the increased costs. Likewise, shoppers should have multiple payment options. Splitit Buy Now Pay Later provides shoppers with the power to manage their earned credit by choosing the amount of installments that fit within their budgets. There are no applications, credit checks, fees, or additional interest charges. 

4. The Psychology of Online Shopping 

Understanding Consumer Behavior 

We’re referring specifically to YOUR consumers. Get to know them. Understand them. What do shoppers want from YOUR business? If you are able to get a handle on these immensely important items, it will be much easier to market to shoppers, give them what they want, and increase your Average Conversion Rates. 

Consumer behavior studies can be immensely valuable for retailers. Splitit has learned a lot from regular analysis of shopping transactions. For example, we analyzed transaction data for purchases made through our platform for 12 months (May 2019 through April 2020). Then we compared those same metrics to data from the 4 weeks during which the economic uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis took hold (March 15, 2020 through April 10, 2020).  

  • We found that shoppers are still spending but their needs have shifted. 
  • We saw that shoppers are choosing to use credit cards over debit cards. 
  • We learned that shoppers want more time to pay. Over 40% of checkouts have moved from a five-payment-plan option (the most typical length of a plan prior to the Covid-19 situation) to a seven-payment-plan option. 

Retailers can use these research insights to their benefit. Because Splitit charges no additional interest or installment fees as part of a plan, retailers offering this option may see greater uptake of this solution, and as a result, higher Conversion Rates even in challenging times.

Understanding Your Shoppers

Who are your shoppers? What do they want? Where do they feel like they belong?  

We’ve done the research for you in several popular market sectors so that you can optimize conversion rates across them. They may likely resonate with you and your shoppers in other categories, too. Highlights include:

MATTRESSES

What shoppers want in the product:

  • New bedding technology
    • Comfort and support
    • Construction materials
  • The right size and thickness
  • Customization
  • Fair price point (49% of shoppers say that mattresses are fairly priced while 43% say they are too expensive)

What shoppers want from the retailer:

  • Free delivery
  • Money back guarantee
  • Easy returns
  • Warranty
  • Financing or installment pay options

(Sources: Bedtimes Magazine, Digital Commerce 360, eMarketer)

FURNITURE FOR HOMES

(including Standing Desks and Massage Chairs)

What shoppers want in the product:

  • Quality (ahead of price!)
  • Features
    • Hi-tech
    • Ergonomic
    • Stability
  • Ease of assembly
  • Price (31% of people are ready to pay more than their intended budget if they find the perfect item)

What shoppers want from the retailer:

  • Product reviews
  • Easily available product information 
  • Ability to comparison shop
  • Customer care
  • Warranty
  • Financing or installment pay options

(Sources: ResearchGate, Arcade.co, SmallBizTrends, EurekaDesk, Retail Customer Experience, SemanticsScholar)

HOME GYMS

(including Stationary Bikes, Treadmills & Free Weights)

What shoppers want in the product:

  • Features
    • Adjustable stationary bike seat height
    • Treadmill motor horsepower
    • Free weights made from quality material
  • Price – highest quality at the lowest price
  • Brand
    • Reliable
    • Highly recommended
  • Fair price point 
  • Safety
    • Minimize the risk of injury to users and others (such as young children)

What shoppers want from the retailer:

  • Product reviews
  • Delivery & set-up (if applicable)
  • Warranty
  • Financing or installment pay options

(Sources: FitnessCheat, VeryWellFit, Gymsource.com)

CHILDREN & BABY PRODUCTS

What shoppers want in the product:

  • Safety
  • Functionality
    • Comfort
    • Durability
    • Easy to clean
  • Age appropriate
  • Lifestyle – products to fit the shopper’s personality
  • Quality – Shoppers are willing to spend more for higher quality items

What shoppers want from the retailer:

  • Product reviews
  • Lifestyle awareness
  • Financing or installment pay options

(Sources: MyKidsUK, ViralRang )

EDUCATION

(including Online Courses & Learning Opportunities)

What shoppers want in the product:

  • A step-by-step path to get the information and learning they want
  • Instruction from experts in that particular field
  • Time sensitivity – the learning should be fast & easy
  • Personality – the human experience of the expert/teacher & real-life examples

What shoppers want from the retailer:

  • Testimonials
  • Community
    • Social media groups
  • Free advice & access to the expert/retailer
    • via social media
    • Email newsletters
  • Financing or installment pay options

(Sources: CourseMadeMillionaire, Unemployable, LearningRevolution, Entrepreneur.com)

5. E-commerce Conversion Rate Optimization: 12 Things You Can Do Right Now 

6. Putting It All Together

E-commerce retailers need not be left adrift to weather the whims of shoppers or guess what their shoppers want. If you want to know how to increase conversion rates, you can implement changes to your online store and your e-commerce funnel, based on data, in ways that make a real difference in Conversion Rates.

If you want to improve your conversion, contact us for a free demo and to find out more. 

 

Christopher Fox (Content Contributor), May 3, 2020 Share this article

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