If you get ample traffic to your online store, but that traffic doesn’t convert to sales, you will never reach your goals. Instead, your business will fail and all the hard work will have been in vain. You need to know how to effectively guide potential customers through your funnel if you want to succeed. eCommerce conversion rate optimization (CRO) is your key to a thriving online business.
Here’s what you need to equip yourself before heading down the path to an increased website conversion rate.
First, What is an eCommerce Conversion Rate?
In the digital world, a conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of visitors who take a particular desired action on your website or page by the total number of visitors to that site or page in a specified time period. Rates are communicated as percentages.
For example, let’s say you have 700 visitors on your new landing page in the first week after publication, 12 of whom take a goal action and sign up for your newsletter. You would calculate the percentage of newsletter subscriptions by dividing 12 by 700. So, the conversion rate for newsletter subscriptions on that page would be 1.7%.
An eCommerce conversion rate is simply the percentage of visitors to your online store who make a purchase in a specified time period.
So, if you wanted to measure your rate for the month of November when you had 13,021 unique website visitors, 201 of whom made a purchase from your store, you would divide 201 by 13,021. The eCommerce conversion rate for these numbers would be 1.5%.
Now, let’s move on and learn more about the rates your eCommerce business should aim for.
Next, What is the Average eCommerce Conversion Rate?
You’re probably asking, ‘what is the average conversion rate for eCommerce sites?’ because it’s important to know how your competitors are doing if you want to keep up. So, let’s take a look at the numbers.
According to GrowCode, who based their number on 15 studies published over the last five years and updated the estimate in July 2019, the answer is 2.04%.
*To be clear, you need to take number this with a grain of salt because the numbers vary considerably from study to study.
For example, according to Compass’ 2016 benchmark release, the average global eCommerce conversion rate was 1.33%. Meanwhile, Monetate was gathering data to later suggest it was 3.28%. So, you can’t base all of your business decisions on studies conducted outside of your operations.
So, what is a good conversion rate for eCommerce?
Some eCommerce experts say that a rate of 1-3% is normal. And, to many of these people, 4% would be fantastic. But, I have another take on the matter. From my 10+ years of experience working with leaders in the industry, I’ve learned that the best benchmark to use for CRO is your own internal data including how that relates to your individual business goals.
As a rule, your CRO plan should involve finding ways to continually improve your own rates, not comparing yourself to everyone around you. Of course, the higher the conversion rate you have, the better you’re doing.
And, if your rate is high enough, it may seem like it’s okay to stop worrying about conversion rates. But, there will always be a new tool or piece of technology coming out to help your competitors. Consequently, you can’t afford to become complacent.
So, even if your rate is above the industry average, learn how to increase conversions and continue to optimize the experience for your shoppers. And, if it’s on the lower end of the scale, start implementing the following advice right away.
Finally, How to Increase Conversion Rates for Your Store
Here’s what you’ve been waiting for: the tips and tricks you can implement to make sure your online store converts.
1. Track and Record Everything Visitors Do on Your Store
By tracking and recording each action shoppers take on your store, you empower yourself to use real data to make informed business and website UX decisions. The information you collect can be used to create long-term strategies and measure the success of your current CRO plan. In turn, your business will see increased sales.
And, in order to collect the right data, you need to use the right tools. Trusted solutions ensure that your insights are valuable. Here are some of the most helpful, proven eCommerce analytics software options that you can integrate with most eCommerce platforms.
[Image source: Google]
A free, open-source platform from Google, Analytics provides online store owners with crucial information. Connect to your store for help understanding your customers. Use machine-learning capabilities to gain fresh, powerful insights about your customers’ behavior and achieve greater transparency in your data.
With GA, you can collect data in real-time, run free reports instantly, and collaborate with others on your team to decipher the results. This is the only tool that provides such robust, accurate insights about which users are likely to convert, which pages lead to conversions, demographics about your audience, and where the most revenue potential lies.
B. Crazy Egg
[Image source: Crazy Egg]
Crazy Egg’s heat-mapping tools empower you with an additional tier of insights to your Google Analytics tracking and reporting. The platform displays heat maps, scroll maps, and click reports based on how users behave on your website, giving you a visual representation of how shoppers interact with your content on every landing and product page.
You can use the insights gained to make informed design decisions, make sure your CTAs are being seen by your customers, and place content in the order of importance to them (a fantastic way to design your navigation menu). In addition, you can actually track what happens behind pop up forms and login screens.
[Image source: HumCommerce]
Designed specifically for eCommerce stores, HumCommerce helps online store owners take their analytics to the next level. Like Crazy Egg, HumCommerce provides heatmaps. In addition, you can access other amazing insights:
- Conversion Funnels - set up goals, funnels, and identify store “leaks” by seeing the pages where shoppers most frequently exit your website.
- Visitor Recordings - see what visitors see on your site with session recordings of taps, scrolls, clicks, and more.
- A/B Testing - run tests on your pages and forms to ensure that you’re making the best decisions with your content.
- eCommerce Analytics - see visitor demographics, popular products, and popular categories to build powerful customer profiles.
- Form Analytics - use form analysis and reports to boost individual form conversions.
While this tool is newer to the market, it’s definitely worth checking out.
[Video source: Kissmetrics]
Kissmetrics is a tool that will give you insights about your customers and help you turn them into super-targeted Facebook and email marketing campaigns. Segmenting your contact lists becomes an automated process when you integrate the software with your store.
The platform allows easy integration with WooCommerce, Shopify, Instagram, Facebook, and Slack, so you can access data from one dashboard. Then, the information is sorted to power behavior-driven campaigns. Understand what drives sales on your store to improve your customer engagement and nurture higher conversions.
2. Hone Your Customer Service Strategy
Customer service is the lifeblood of your long-term conversion success. When customers don’t feel they can rely on you to solve problems, they will move away and never return. So, your customer service strategy is paramount in the relationships you build with shoppers.
[Image source: Gorgias]
In our latest State of the Industry eCommerce Customer Service Industry Report, we found that 61% of stores currently offer on-site chat. That’s because it is an extremely effective communication channel between brands and shoppers. So, learn what you can do with live chat and zero-in on your customer service operations to make shoppers fall in love with your brand.
3. Optimize Your Shopping Cart Flow
One of the reasons shoppers leave your store before making a purchase is because the checkout experience is over-complicated. If you don’t streamline the shopping cart flow and your customers become even slightly irritated at the last minute, your eCommerce conversion rate will take a huge hit. So, make create a checkout experience that is simple, quick, and user-friendly.
The checkout flow needs only four steps:
- Registration/ Login
- Payment & Delivery Information
- Order Details Verification
- Order Submission
That’s it! And, the fewer pages you can make this happen on, the better -- just keep it simple.
4. Leverage an Email Marketing Plan
Email marketing is a crucial piece of the online sales puzzle. And, yours should include more than just order confirmations and links to your blog posts. Rather, they should include abandoned cart recovery, lead nurturing, advanced segmentation, and more if you want to drive subscribers all the way through your sales funnel.
We highly recommend transactional emails to increase the lifetime value of your customers. For example, you can recommend products based on what the customer has purchased in the past or send discount codes to lure repeat orders. Alternatively, you can use email to ask for reviews from satisfied customers.
5. Display “Social Proof” and User-Generated Content
There are so many online stores out there selling junk that consumers are naturally untrusting. And, there’s nobody better to prove your trustworthiness than other customers. So, show your shoppers what their satisfied peers are saying about your products. Here are some ideas.
- Allow users to post reviews on product pages. Even negative reviews are valuable as they give you, the store owner, and idea what products you shouldn’t sell. Positive reviews entice more sales.
[Image source: Rothy’s]
- Run UGC campaigns on social media. For example, ask customers to share images of your products on Instagram with a hashtag and display their content on your homepage or individual product pages.
[Image source: Instagram]
- Involve your customers in answering FAQs. Amazon provides a superior example of how this works by posting customer questions and answers on product pages.
[Image source: Amazon]
When your customers read what others have to say, they’re more likely to trust it than they are sales copy. Plus, more content can help your search ranking, which is another way to improve your eCommerce conversion rate.
6. Offer Free Shipping Whenever Possible
Modern consumers are so accustomed to free shipping that they cringe at the thought of being asked to pay even a few dollars. Plus, they don’t want to be surprised by additional charges when it comes time to check out. So, try to offer free shipping whenever possible.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to pay all the shipping and handling out of pocket. Instead, you can compound shipping costs into the product price and offer free shipping on orders over a certain amount. And, if it’s fair, you might be able to offer bulk pricing discounts on certain products, which is another enticing offer.
7. Consider the Devices Shoppers Use to Browse
If a customer first visits your site from a PC then later finds that it’s not accessible from their mobile device (or vice versa), it can kill your sales. So, you need to be mindful about your traffic sources and cater to everyone who visits your site.
Responsive design is the first recommendation, but most eCommerce platforms already offer this as a standard option. Another idea is to create a mobile app, which kills two birds with one stone by giving mobile users convenient access to your store and sales, plus it puts you in front of more shoppers. When you’re on their home screen, you’re at the front of their minds.
8. Offer Multiple Your Payment Options
If you’re only offering one payment option, you could be losing out on a ton of customers. Many shoppers will decide not to make a purchase at the last second because they were planning on using Apple Pay or PayPal. So, you need to expand your horizons on the payment options front.
Do you accept Discover or American Express cards? Can Google Checkout users pay easily on your store? If not, it’s time to start allowing more payment methods. Talk to your developer to find out what options you can add.
9. Perfect Your Calls to Action
Your calls to action (CTAs) are the little bits of text that ultimately guide your shoppers to take action. And, modern shoppers, frankly, need to be told what to do. So, learn to write compelling calls to action and place them in front of users in an impactful way.
CTAs should create a sense of urgency using words like “now.” They should be concise. Simple buttons and text seem to be the best way to trigger desired actions.
“Learn more,” “join free,” and “add to cart” are some proven phrases to use on your web store. And, you should A/B test your wording to find out what CTAs nurture the highest eCommerce conversion rates for your store.
10. Publish High-Quality Images & Videos of Your Products In-Use
Crappy photos can be a turn-off for many shoppers. If they can’t envision what a product will look like once they have it in their possession, they are more likely to take the effort to shop offline so they know what it is they’re buying. So, you need to give your product images and videos some extra love.
[Image source: Roolee]
Interesting backgrounds, real-life use situations, and entertaining or educating imagery will have a tremendous impact on your sales. Really, your product photos should be treated as mini ads, showcasing the value in the purchase. Use professional photos and enhance each of them to drive more transactions for your online store.
11. Implement a Referral Program
I’ve already mentioned social proof and UGC because your shoppers trust other consumers. And, people who are just getting to know your brand are more likely to trust a family member, friend, or influencer over you. Why? Because they know you have something to gain. A referral program allows you to leverage previously-established trust to grow your retail operations.
Tools like Referral Candy and Conjured Referrals can help you create stunning, automated referral programs. Your customers get rewards for finding new customers, and most of the work is off your plate.
12. Provide Coupons and Discounts to Entice More Sales
When a customer lands on your website for the first time, they are looking at your prices and researching the best store to make the purchase. If you can offer a discount code for signing up for your email list, you complete two tasks: 1. Build your email list; 2. Tempt the shopper to make the purchase with you rather than your competitor. And, discounts that expire soon have a higher potential for triggering an immediate sale.
Most eCommerce platforms have a built-in coupon and discount code generator to help you create deals that nurture more sales. Research the options available on your system and see what apps, add-ons, and plugins you can find to create discount campaigns that boost your transactions.
13. Create a Shopping Cart Abandonment Strategy
Once a shopper leaves your shopping cart at the last minute, you know they’re interested in buying from you. But, without an abandoned cart recovery plan, you may never see them again; there’s a gaping hole in your bucket. So, do everything you can to get shoppers back to complete their purchase.
Try implementing the following:
- Exit-intent popups to collect shoppers’ contact information
- Abandoned cart recovery emails
- Optimize your subject line
- Offer a discount that will expire soon
- Leverage social media messaging
Once you get shoppers back to their carts, and you delight them with your products, your sales will skyrocket.
14. Optimize Your Navigation and On-Site Search Features
When a shopper lands on your website interested in a specific product, it must be extremely easy to find it. Otherwise, they will just move on to a competitor. And, once they’ve started a relationship with someone else, it will be more difficult to get them back. So, make sure your navigation and search features are user-friendly.
[Image source: Thrive Causemetics]
Drop-down menus, menu pages, fat footers, and “sticky” buy buttons can help. But, ultimately, you will want to test your navigation and organize it strategically; this is where heat-mapping and other advanced analytics methods really come in handy.
15. Display Product Stock Levels
One of the most disappointing experiences an online shopper can have, second to a disappointing product, is no product delivery. And, disappointing your customers is an expensive mistake to fix. By displaying stock information on your products, your shoppers know what to expect.
[Image source: L’ange]
For example, you may only have three of a specific item in stock. If users can’t see that on the front end, and four customers try to make a purchase at the same time, one of them will miss out. Then, they’ll either reach out to customer service, utilizing your internal resources, or they’ll move away to your competitor and never return. So, display your product stock levels to keep expectations realistic.
16. Give Your Search Engine Optimization Ample Attention
One of the best ways for new shoppers to find you is through a Google search. And, if you haven’t given any thought or attention to your content and search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, that will never happen to start with. So, keep SEO at the front of your mind when creating your store.
In a previous Shopify SEO guide, Romain Lapeyer covers this topic thoroughly. You need to create a list of keywords you want to rank for then implement a comprehensive strategy to generate new search traffic to your online store; this will improve your conversions.
A CRO plan isn’t just for enterprise eCommerce businesses -- everyone with an online store needs to continually hone their operations. The advice above will help you on your journey to a higher conversion rate. Start implementing your newfound knowledge today and schedule a demo with us to see how we can help you with your customer service strategy.