5 Areas for Improving E-Commerce Conversion Rates
If you want to improve the profitability of your e-commerce website, there are really only four numbers that matter:
- How many people are coming to your website?
- What percentage of those visitors actually make a purchase?
- How much are customers purchasing?
- What are your margins per order?
Each of these four areas has a laundry list of strategies and tactics that can help improve performance. Let's focus on what percentage of your site visitors make a purchase — i.e., conversion. According to research from Monetate, sitewide conversion rates for new visitors to an e-commerce website averaged 2.11 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013. This seems to leave a lot of room for improvement for most e-commerce brands. Here are five areas and associated tactics that can help increase conversion:
1. Create strong calls to action (CTA). A CTA is what you're trying to get your customer to do on your website. In the case of e-commerce, it's almost always to get a visitor to purchase an item or add an item to their shopping cart. However, you'd be surprised at how many e-commerce websites don't make it super simple to find their "Buy Now" CTA. There are four primary things to keep in mind regarding your CTA:
- Size: You want the CTA button to be large enough to contrast against body type and other links. Your "Buy Now" button should be clearly visible to the user.
- Color: You'll certainly want to avoid any color that's unattractive, but it's fine to use a contrasting color from your brand's general palette. Many website designers will choose an "action" color and use it exclusively for CTAs.
- Location: Place your CTA button close to your product image, but also at the end of the "options flow," which includes all of the possible options visitors can choose when buying an item (e.g., size, quantity, color, etc.).
- Wording: Use language that clearly tells your visitor they're purchasing this item or adding it to their cart.
2. Build trust. Consumers need to have confidence when they arrive at your website and consider making a purchase. They want to know that they'll get exactly what they pay for. Therefore, you want to convey that your company can be trusted. Here are four tactics for conveying trust on an e-commerce website:
- Quality of design: A poorly designed website is a huge detriment to conversion. Major retailers invest millions of dollars per year on their websites, raising consumer expectations regarding their online shopping experience. Luckily, with e-commerce platforms such as Shopify and BigCommerce offering beautifully designed, affordable, pre-made themes, there's no reason your website can't compete design-wise with established e-commerce brands.
- Offer easy support: Adding accessible phone numbers, live chat, retail locations and anything else that can offer a human connection through your e-commerce website is a surefire way of building customer trust. These channels provide the security that if something goes wrong with an order, or if the customer had a question, your company is readily available. Tools such as Olark make adding live chat easy.
- Customer testimonials: Consumers become more confident in a product they know other people have purchased. By highlighting customer testimonials, reviews and product shares on social media, you add "social proof" that your product is something people trust. Tools such as Candid make adding customer photos from social media sites easy.
- Press coverage and awards: Similar to customer testimonials, highlighting media, awards and industry coverage provides a level of professional social proof that can often build added confidence in the mind of a potential customer.