Ecommerce Customer Conversion – Top Ten Tips
It takes the same amount of time and effort to build an unsuccessful online business as it does to build a successful one. Take heed of the following ten tips and you will enhance significantly your online business’s prospects for success.
1. Get inside Your Customer’s Heads...
...through a visitor personas’ exercise. Create a unique experience for each valued visitor. Understand your audience and the product you are offering.
A visitor persona is a representation of the goals and behaviour of a target user/potential customer for your eCommerce site. This exercise requires a comprehensive understanding of your market, your website’s objectives and users. It enables you to plan the different requirements of each in areas such as information architecture, usability and browsing paths. Additionally, communication with these target groups is heightened through a more personalised user experience.
2. Understand Your Market Behaviour
Understand your online markets and associated niches; how they reveal opportunities and accept the role of keywords in unlocking business growth potential.
Central factors in determining whether your eCommerce efforts succeed or fail are based on:
- the market you select
- the keywords you target
- the value proposition you communicate
This begins with a study of your market, in which you will discover multiple niches. Once market niches have been identified, you must explore the keywords or phrases which can be used to unlock the online potential. The next stage involves measuring the value and strength of these keywords against the competition.
Competition research is critical. Increased competition makes it more difficult to rank well in Google, which means reduced traffic, sales and business. Successful website owners research markets carefully, identifying profitable niches before specific keywords are targeted and a proven plan is followed.
3. Don’t be Afraid to Sell Your Products
Deliver key pages quickly and effectively to users across all browsing platforms and be clear and upfront on pricing and delivery time/costs.
Display your product images in the best possible light to heighten engagement with shoppers – multiple views and zoom functions will also encourage shoppers to convert there and then.
Allow shoppers to inspect the detail and read the detail on the reverse of a CD/DVD/Book etc – mirroring offline browser behaviour. Tap into the ‘emotional sell’ – making people feel good about themselves and their choice of product.
4. Realise the Power of Good Design
Good eCommerce web design follows strategic planning and addresses the balance of reflecting your brand values and market position whilst supporting usability, content and a quality online shopping experience for your customers.
Design must be used to engage and communicate clearly and concisely, focussing the visitor’s attention on key selling messages and calls to action above the fold. This is especially important on key landing pages for your online shop such as homepages, category root pages and product detail pages.
It is important for your brand to maintain consistency across logos, strap-lines, navigation and layout to gain shoppers’ trust, confidence and comfort.
Good eCommerce design applies to the tone of your presentation and encompasses look and feel, branding, content and language. The tone is vital for engaging first time and repeat shoppers and underlines the importance of conducting the visitor personas exercise.
A visitor’s experience of your brand online can have a direct association with your website’s bounce rate and is closely related to trust.
5. Don’t Skimp on Content
Editorial content can add value and contribute to your overall user experience. Good quality, keyword-rich content can boost search rankings and user-generated content can increase engagement and loyalty, especially on product detail pages. Remember to include buyer’s guides, company, supplier and staff information to further boost the personal touch and instil confidence. Additionally, an FAQs section can provide immediate answers and reduce the pressure on your admin team.
Ensure that key information is easily accessible, reducing frustration rates amongst customers as well as your bounce rate.
Customer service and multi-channel contact information should be clear and consistent throughout your site. This goes above and beyond the effects of an FAQ section and, when combined with a Live Chat feature, can save you time in email response. A forum for user-generated content and discussion can also answer questions whilst building your brand at the same time.
Search engine content – the first thing the search engines look at is the actual content of your pages. By reviewing the titles, descriptions, headings and many other factors on your pages, search engines can accurately determine what your site is about. These factors are called the ‘On Page Factors’ and can play a big part in determining the rank of your website.
6. Harness the Power of Customer Endorsements...
...through social networking and marketing options. More than one in four adults in the UK use social media which can often be more valuable to your eCommerce site than other online marketing forms. Make it easy for customers to champion your brand and products, sharing a wide range of product information.
User generated content is fast becoming an essential element of online brand building and promotion. Motivating customers to review, comment and share information builds brand loyalty and the quality of their relationship with your brand.
The inclusion of a blog communicates personality and culture and boosts your search engine profile. Customer reviews add weight and credibility to product pages, supporting impulsive sales.
7. Don’t Make Shoppers Think!
A persuasive and intuitive navigation and catalogue structure, combined with a search feature all play a central role in leading shoppers through to the completion of an online purchase.
Easy to find and easy to use search is an essential element of an eCommerce site, especially one with an extensive product range. Additional refinements and filters and a predictive search will further aid in providing visitors what they want and enable them to easily compare and contrast products.
Product navigation and search functions should be consistent and prominent across your site. Information sorting, paging and filters should all be considered to enhance overall usability.
Use of merchandising techniques, combined with sales-orientated copy, instils confidence in shoppers and increases customer conversion. Promote the features and benefits and provide more images, product spec and copy than your competitors, allowing buyers to view you as an authority – again increasing the sales opportunity as well as being good for search engine rankings.
Clearly displayed stock levels, delivery and buyer’s guide information all contribute to a more informed visit. Product features and ratings make it easy for shoppers to compare and contrast. Tap into potentially lucrative markets overseas by offering a simple currency conversion option.
8. Don’t Lose Customers at the Checkout
Online security is paramount to ongoing eCommerce success. With identity fraud and phishing well documented, you must communicate trust and confidence to reassure shoppers of the safety of transacting through your site at all times.
Delivery options and conditions are central to a shopper’s final decision – successful eCommerce sites offer low cost, flexible and reliable delivery, displaying delivery information clearly and early in the checkout process. Consider delivery-related incentives as an up-selling technique, such as free delivery over £50, and offer multiple carrier options to meet a range of customer needs.
Product recommendation and loyalty schemes – inclusion of related product suggestions, ('customers who bought...also bought.../we recommend...') drives cross-selling and impulse buying opportunities. Positioning is key: consider during checkout, on confirmation page, thank you and auto responder email correspondence.
9. Keep your competition close
Enter the marketplace at the right level and ensure your online value propositions are clear throughout your site.
By evaluating a range of competitor website factors, including brand position, web design (from a usability and find ability perspective), product presentation, price, content and key selling messages, you will be well placed to define your market position, brand values, key products and online value proposition.
10. Get Your Fulfilment Right
Make the customer feel valued and further impart trust and confidence. Keep close contact through fulfilment, making customer aware of any delays or potential issues well in advance. After delivery build and grow the relationship – don’t undo all your hard work!
Post-sale and despatch email confirmation is a must, containing details of the purchase and the payment method used, whilst keeping all emails concise and clear with your contact details, delivery and returns information throughout.
Online order tracking is another sure fire method of retaining confidence during fulfilment.
If you would like us to help you get the most from your eCommerce website, contact us now.
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