Running a successful ecommerce business is a lot of work. Generating sales requires not only having an excellent inventory of products, but also a user-friendly, expertly-optimized site.
Unlike a traditional retailer, you can’t simply approach customers as they shop and guide them in the right direction. Instead, you have to design a site that moves them through the buying process and compels them to make a purchase.
If you have any experience in ecommerce, you know that’s not exactly an easy goal to accomplish.
That’s why in this post, we’ll explain why ecommerce conversion rates are so important, along with five tips you can use to improve your site’s ability to turn visitors into customers.
Improving ecommerce conversion rates
Within the context of an ecommerce site, a “conversion” can mean many different things.
While the most obvious type of conversion for an ecommerce store is a purchase, this term can refer to a variety of actions a visitor takes on your site, ranging from signing up for an email newsletter to taking a product recommendation quiz.
That’s because each of these actions indicate that a visitor is engaging with your site — and on the path to becoming a customer. As a result, conversion rate is one of the most important metrics for ecommerce site owners to monitor and improve.
But achieving strong rates is challenging. In fact, the typical ecommerce conversion rate ranges from just two to four percent.
And while you might be discouraged if your ecommerce site’s conversion rate is low, the upside is that even small increases can have a dramatic impact on your revenue.
For example, let’s say your site brings in an average of 10,000 visitors per month, and conversion rate for sales is 1%. If each sale brings in $20, that’s $2,000 in revenue every month.
But if you were able to increase your conversion rate to 1.5%, your revenue would jump to $3,000. That’s a 50% increase, all because of a .5% change in conversion rate.
And as your traffic increases over time, those small changes in conversion rate can make an even more significant difference in your overall revenue.
So while increasing the percentage of visitors that become customers is challenging, it’s a goal that’s more than worth your time — because achieving it has a direct impact on your bottom line.
5 ways to improve your ecommerce conversion rates
Optimizing a site for conversions isn’t easy. That’s why we’ve put together a quick list with five strategies you can start using to improve your ecommerce conversion rates today.
1. Run A/B tests
Optimizing a site for conversions is challenging. This is largely because even if you have a lot of ideas, it can be difficult to tell which will actually make the impact you want.
That’s where A/B testing becomes invaluable. This process involves creating two different versions of a page, then dividing your traffic between them. Then, at the end of your testing period, you can determine which version generated the most conversions.
This way, you’ll never be making changes based on guesswork. Instead, you can make data-backed decisions about your site, with the confidence that each change you make is a step towards a higher conversion rate.
And as you work on your pages, you can use this process to test a variety of elements including buttons, calls to action, layouts, and copy. This way, you can get a clear answer as to which version of each of these elements is the most effective at driving the actions you want.
Plus, A/B testing can be used to optimize your site for a variety of goals. If you’re looking to earn more email subscribers, for example you could run tests on your signup forms and calls to action.
If you’re more focused on sales, on the other hand, you might choose to focus your efforts on the checkout process.
But regardless of your goals, it’s worth noting that A/B testing is most effective when treated like an ongoing process. You’ll never be truly finished optimizing your site, but including testing as a regular part of your marketing efforts will help you make sure that you’re continually improving it.
2. Use heatmaps to understand your customers
One of the most important steps in improving conversion rates is understanding your visitors and their behavior. After all, if you’re involved a site’s design and development process, it makes sense that you’ll be able to navigate that site quickly and easily.
But when it comes down to it, your site isn’t designed for your company’s internal team. It’s designed for your customers.
That means that you need to take their browsing experience into account when looking for ways to improve. And heatmaps are a valuable tool for doing just that.
Heatmaps show how visitors interact with your site and where they focus their attention. Areas that receive lots of clicks and engagement are highlighted in warm colors, while areas that go ignored remain dark.
This makes it easy to see whether your visitors are paying attention to the most important elements on each page. And if you learn that they aren’t, you can make adjustments to remedy that issue.
You can understand your audience on an even deeper level with heatmap segmentation.
Segmenting your reports based on where visitors are in the sales funnel can help you determine what customers at each stage in the buying process are looking for, and how you can adjust the browsing experience to meet their needs.
3. Simplify the conversion process
If you want to improve your conversion rates, you need to make it as easy as possible for visitors to convert — and this is true for every type of conversion on your site.
The fewer obstacles stand in the way of taking action, the more likely your visitors will be to do so. But figuring out what those obstacles are can be challenging.
Fortunately, tools like funnel report can help. If you’re using the Freshworks CRO tool, for example, you can create funnel paths and see how visitors move through them. Determine where in the funnel you’re losing visitors, and examine the page that causes them to leave. Then, look for ways to eliminate any steps on that page that complicate the conversion process.
For example, let’s say you notice that shoppers on your site tend to leave after being asked to create an account. This could indicate that the majority of your visitors are unwilling to take this step.
If that’s a step you’re willing to remove, doing so could be all it takes to achieve a steady bump in sales.
4. Personalize the shopping experience
Customer data has many uses for marketers. But one of the best is personalization.
Today’s consumers have plenty of brands to choose from. And while this means there’s a strong chance they’ll be able to find the perfect product for all of their needs, it also means that the shopping process can be overwhelming.
That’s why many consumers prefer to shop with brands that remove some of the effort. In fact, one study found that 36% of consumers will spend more if an offer is customized to them.
If you’re not yet offering customized product recommendations to individual users, this could have a major impact on your ability to generate sales.
5. Add trust signals to show that your site is safe
Although the ecommerce business model has now been around for over a decade, many shoppers are still hesitant to share credit card information with online retailers. In fact, one study found that of consumers who’ve decided against an online purchase, 17% cited “concerns about payment security” as a reason.
This means that showing your visitors that you’re a trustworthy brand can go a long way in preventing them from changing their mind about a purchase at the last minute.
Fortunately, there are several reputable companies that offer security that shoppers trust.
Considering how easy it is to earn one of these badges and add it to your site, there’s no reason not to — especially when the potential return is an increase in conversions and sales.
Achieving strong ecommerce conversion rates can be challenging, but it’s an important goal for any online retailer. Even an increase of a fraction of a percent can make a significant impact on overall revenue.
And there are plenty of tried-and-true strategies you can use to get your conversion rates where you want. Run A/B tests to see which elements drive action and utilize heatmaps to learn more about how your visitors interact with your site.
Then, look for ways to simplify the conversion process, personalize the shopping experience, and show shoppers that you’re a trustworthy brand.
These steps requires time and patience, but with a long-term approach, you can work towards turning your site into a powerful sales tool for your brand.