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eCommerce Conversion Rate Optimisation

By Laura Taylor • Wednesday Jun 24th, 2020

Convert more window shoppers into loyal customers by optimising your conversion rate.

Marketing and eCommerce managers spend a lot of time and effort driving traffic to sites, and rightly so.

Marketing and eCommerce managers spend a lot of time and effort driving traffic to sites, and rightly so. 

Getting your name out there attracts new visitors who you hope will be persuaded to make a purchase.

But what happens when they arrive on your site? What strategies do you have in place to effectively convert window shoppers into loyal, returning customers?

Endlessly driving new traffic to your site but failing to optimise the customer experience means your efforts will mostly be wasted. This is why you need to adopt a conversion rate optimisation strategy to drive long-term eCommerce growth.

Let’s take a step back and look at the basics of eCommerce conversion rate optimisation: what it is, why you need to do it and how to get started.

What is a conversion?

Broadly speaking, a conversion takes place whenever a customer takes the desired action. This can be any number of things, such as signing up to your newsletter, following you on social media, filling in a form or getting in touch with you. 

In eCommerce, a conversion usually refers to a customer making a purchase.

But it can also be useful to track micro-conversions occurring throughout the customer journey. These could be when a visitor adds an item to their basket, interacts with an Overlay or creates an account. 

These micro-conversions offer an insight into which aspects of your site are performing well and where you need to focus more attention.

What is eCommerce conversion rate optimisation and why is it important?

eCommerce conversion rate optimisation is all about increasing the percentage of visitors who make a purchase.

To work out your current conversion rate, divide the total number of orders you received in a particular period by the total number of users who visited your site and multiply this figure by 100. Bear in mind the average eCommerce conversion rate is between 1 and 3%.

No doubt you're now eager to increase this percentage.

To do this you'll want to focus on evaluating your site to see what works and what doesn’t. You don’t need to increase ad spend or grow your marketing team, you’re simply improving what you already have to provide an elevated customer experience.

If your site isn’t optimised from homepage to checkout, you're wasting your PPC and ad spend. No matter how successful your paid marketing campaigns are at attracting new customers, delivering new traffic to an unoptimised site will never result in the growth you’re looking for.

The margins in eCommerce conversion rates are so small that often simple changes across your site can accumulate into an impressive increase in conversions.

In the long-term, this will reduce cost per acquisition, increase revenue and drive growth.

What are the common causes of a low conversion rate?

Conversion rates are complex things. There are a whole host of factors that could be contributing to a low conversion rate. Let’s take a look at a few common reasons. 

Design, layout and navigation

Users form their first impressions in a matter of milliseconds. If your design and layout are unclear and unappealing, visitors won’t want to continue exploring your site. 

Confusing site navigation and non-responsive web design will make your site difficult to access and provide a poor customer journey. As a result, users will be unengaged and less likely to convert. 

Product imagery and copy

Shoppers are on your site for your products, so make sure you do them justice. If your imagery is poor and your product descriptions are uninspiring, customers won’t be compelled to add them to their baskets. 

Complicated checkout

When a user reaches your checkout page they are only a few quick clicks away from converting. This means you need to do everything possible to keep them moving toward a purchase. 

Make sure your checkout process is as simple as possible. Lengthy forms and confusing layouts will turn shoppers away at the very last moment. Make your users’ lives as easy as possible to ensure they convert.

No exit intent or email retargeting 

If they do decide to leave at this crucial point, without exit intent Overlays and basket abandonment emails they may be lost forever. If you’re not attempting to capture and re-engage audiences who change their minds at the last minute, you will be missing out on a whole host of conversions.

Where to start with CRO

Evaluate the customer journey

Analytics is a crucial tool to consult when beginning your conversion rate optimisation journey. 

Tracking customer behaviour throughout your website, analytics expose patterns and trends which can inform your eCommerce strategy. By evaluating analytics data, you can discover where customers drop off the user journey. 

Perhaps your data shows that a large percentage of visitors don’t even make it further than your landing page. Or maybe your checkout page has a high bounce rate. 

A data-driven approach is a sure-fire way to identify the pain points in the customer journey and acts as a starting point for your optimisation efforts.

Away from analytics, tracking the customer journey can also be as simple as making your way through your website just as a customer might. 

Begin at your homepage and navigate your way through the site, searching for products, browsing product descriptions, adding items to your basket, creating an account and completing checkout forms. 

Experiencing this process from start to finish, rather than dropping in and out of individual stages in your day-to-day work, highlights pain points which could be affecting your conversion rate. 

Gather insights and data

Although you may know your website inside out, the people who can give you the greatest insight into your customer experience are your visitors. 

When dealing with conversion rate optimisation, success comes in the form of a customer-centric approach. You can only improve your customer experience when you know what your visitors like and dislike.

Gathering feedback from converted customers is just as crucial as surveying those who chose not to convert. 

Ask them to complete a post-purchase questionnaire on-site once they have completed their order, or email a survey to complete a few days after they make a purchase.

Knowing what went right is just as important as learning what went wrong, as you can apply these learnings to the areas of your site which you may identify as weaker.

Email Retargeting can also target users whose custom you didn’t quite manage to capture. Schedule an email to deliver to customers who have been inactive for three months and ask why they didn’t complete their purchase and what would encourage them to return.

Gathering qualitative responses from your customers supports your quantitative site analytics to capture a complete picture of your site, including its successes and its areas for improvement. 

With this information, you can then implement changes which will drive conversions.

Identify pain points and opportunities

Compare the comments in your customer surveys to the data from your analytics and look for similarities. 

Often the pain points your customers identify in the surveys will be reflected by a drop off of traffic in your analytics at this point in the sales funnel.

Perhaps your research has unanimously identified a page that is not performing well and would benefit from an injection of social proof or personalisation. 

Or maybe customer feedback has identified that your customer support system is lacking, so you look to integrate a smart messenger system

If your results aren’t showing any obvious starting points, now that you are aware which pages receive the greatest amount of traffic from your analytics, you can focus your optimisation efforts on these pages first.

When implementing changes to your site, you must conduct A/B testing to make sure the adjustments you’re making are positively affecting your conversion rate. Learn more about A/B testing.

How to improve your conversion rate

Now you’ve worked out the areas of your site that need addressing, you can start making improvements. 

You’ll want to tailor your conversion rate optimisation tools depending on a customer’s position in the sales funnel and their on-site behaviour. 

Dynamic recommendations 

If a user has spent time browsing your products and interacting with your site, you can assume they are interested in what you have to offer. 

Showcase your product catalogue and inject dynamic product recommendations to increase product exposure and connect shoppers to the items they’re looking for.

Reduce basket abandonment 

Use exit intent Overlays to re-engage users and guide them towards a purchase. 

Overlays could promote your free shipping, incorporate social proof in the form of reviews, or display the credit cards you accept and payment gateways you offer.

Displaying these messages as users attempt to exit reduces basket abandonment and persuades shoppers to remain on your site.

Email retargeting

If a visitor has left their email address before abandoning, put it to good use with an email retargeting campaign. 

Offer to save their baskets for checkout at a later date and send a discount incentive to encourage them to return.

Or deliver your new launches to inactive users' inboxes and encourage them to return to your site. 

For a more detailed approach to increasing your conversion rate, take a look at these nine strategies you could implement to turn window shoppers into customers. 

As conversion rate experts, we know how to get the most out of your website traffic.

Our intelligently designed products replicate the experience of the in-store sales assistant to drive conversions to engage customers, prevent basket abandonment and maximise online revenue.

Contact us at [email protected] or call 0204 505 9040 to discuss how we can convert the traffic visiting your site. 

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