How to Increase Sales and Conversions on an E-Commerce Site
People are demanding by nature. They won’t settle for a regular latte if they can get it with whipped cream and cookie crumbles on top. Especially if the price is virtually the same.
They expect no less from their online shopping experience either. To be competitive in the field of e-commerce and to increase sales and conversions, retailers should strive to provide an impeccable service. Let’s see how it can be done.
Can visitors tell what I’m selling within a few seconds?
Does the site look trustworthy?
If one of the answers is no, it’s time to start optimizing.
Did you know that the top trending items to sell online in 2016 were beard products?
Sporting a hipster beard is still going strong, apparently. So, let’s assume you own a beard-related e-commerce store.
First off, you will have to think about the visual aspect of the website. An unwritten rule for an e-commerce homepage design is – the simpler, the better.
But, what does “simpler” even mean?
It means a visually appealing and uncluttered look with an easy navigation throughout the site. One trend in the last few years is to use a white background and put the focus on the products. This results in a clean, sophisticated design.
A little bit of text, a lot of high-quality images, and all artfully composed.
Well-Placed Call-to-Action Buttons
Another factor shaping the overall impression is cleverly placed call to action buttons. A call to action button encourages the customer to do something in order to get something. Even though there’s a whole new field of study behind these buttons, the common practice tells us they should be:
Helpful– A CTA button should help the visitor along in their shopping journey.
Example: “Get our tips on best beard care directly to your inbox!
Enter your email address/Subscribe here”
Consistent– Their color, size, and font style should stay the same, no matter the position on the site.
Recognizable– If visitors can’t see the button, why put it there in the first place?
Clear Product Descriptions and Images
After the first impression of the overall design, the product search is imperative to converting traffic into sales. A user-friendly and always-present search function will help customers find what they are looking for quickly, before they become impatient and leave. Concise descriptions of your products should supply enough information to your customer within a few seconds of reading. They key is concise. If a customer has to read through a lot of information to get a good idea about a product, there is a risk that they will become impatient and leave. A good product copy is short, captures the essence of the item, and turns specifications into benefits. Easy to read and engaging content is just one element used for effective ecommerce seo.
However, the descriptions don’t help when they’re poorly written or when you use the same chunks of text to five different products. Duplicated content is bad for SEO and can lead to penalties that can affect your traffic. Writing a special description for each item will help your site to avoid penalties and will help your customers appreciate the differences in your product pages.
You can also opt for a longer description for those wanting additional product details, like a tab that gives more information such as ingredients, materials, dimensions, etc.
The decisive factor, however, is the images. High-quality photos are crucial for improving conversion rates. You would want to include product photos from different angles and add a zoom option for a close-up in order to give your customers the best online shopping experience that rivals an in-store shopping experience.
Imagery is enough for some to make the purchase, but product video is the current trend. Nothing describes an item better than video, so consider adding it to the best-selling product descriptions. Customers love to see a product in action. It gives them more confidence in their purchase decision.
The last thing that enhances the customer shopping experience is customization. Let’s assume that you sell more versions of the same item. An option to choose from a few colors or to pick other item features shows the visitors that they have a full control over their decisions.
When the visitors can modify the product by themselves, they get the satisfaction of being directly involved in their product choice. Customization builds a sense of ownership which leads to higher conversion rates.
Fighting Shopping Cart Abandonment
Retailers’ biggest nightmare is called shopping cart abandonment. Cart abandonment occurs when a potential buyer adds items to their cart and then leaves the site without finalizing the purchase. Almost 70% of the visitors will engage in cart abandonment. Some may return to finalize the purchase at a later time, but some may never come back.
There are 3 main reasons for shopping cart abandonment:
Complicated checkout– Any checkout that entails many steps or screens is a conversion killer. Try reducing your check-out process to as few steps as possible.
The obligation to create an account– Visitors want the easiest way to buy the desired product. The most convenient option is to purchase it without creating an account, so make that possible!
Unexpected costs– Added costs are a frequent deal breaker. Most notably the shipping costs that magically appear at the end of the checkout process.
Clear Price Information
Customers want pricing clearly stated as they shop. Clear price information includes exact shipping costs and price information that is easily accessible from each page.
Shipping costs should be mentioned right next to the product price specifications. Customers need to know their approximate total at all times.
However, clearly stated costs are just the beginning. To increase sales, offer free shipping for orders over a certain amount. Even better is to provide unconditional free shipping. In fact, as of 2015, 78% of Amazon users joined Amazon Prime because of the free 2-day shipping.
It all sounds great, but many small retailers and e-commerce sites that ship worldwide cannot afford to send the goods for free.Their best bet is to provide a flat rate shipping. This is a compromise and works well if the price is reasonable and clearly shown well before the checkout page.
Effective Marketing Strategy
There are couple of things to do before creating an effective marketing strategy:
Ask yourself which advertising channels you’re going to use (SEO, pay-per-click, social media, email marketing etc.) and how much money you can invest in them.
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is a method of improving the position of a certain website in the organic (unpaid) search results. The higher the position of the page, the more traffic it gets.
If you’re new to SEO, take a look at some of the beginner’s guides out there. Using only SEO won’t increase your sales, but using it alongside other marketing tools will double the chances of leading more visitors to your e-commerce site.
The most widely spread advertising channel today is, without a doubt, social media marketing. The grand prize for doing it right? Organic traffic.
Organic traffic leads to increasing sales if you know how to manage social media and what channels to focus on most. They are used in every part of the funnel.
First, social media creates brand awareness. Actually, more than 70% of digital marketing budgets are used to attract new customers through social media. Social media is a powerful marketing tool.
The value of conversions you earn from social media depends on the channels you use. Facebook is still the first and foremost platform to attract customers.
Nevertheless, your product may advertise better on Pinterest or Instagram, depending on the audience and the type of the product itself.
Also, Pinterest users outspend others 2 times during holidays. It is, therefore, crucial to do some research and figure out where to focus your time and money. Again, look at what your competitors are doing.
Moreover, sites such as Facebook and Twitter are perfect for creating and sharing your own content. Content that gets shared or likes reaches many people and can bring new visitors to your site.
The information you collect after the first sales affects two things. It helps you turn other visitors into customers and the existing customers into advocates for your e-commerce store.
Encouraging social media shares spreads your message across multiple channels and doubles the chances of reaching people who may be genuinely interested in your product, and who could become valuable customers.
The last advertising channel that is pivotal for your marketing campaign is email marketing. Targeted email marketing accounts for 81% of shoppers who visit a site to potentially make a purchase, especially if the email contains a discount offer.
Here are top 5 reasons why email marketing campaigns are essential for e-commerce businesses:
Email keeps the customers informed– 28% of US online shoppers will subscribe to product emails to stay informed. Time to invest in a little campaign!
It’s perfect for discount offers and coupons– Special offers and coupons drive sales, and many customers will not even shop withoug them.
The cost of running an email campaign is low– Compared to other campaigns, the budget you have to spend on emails is small, saving you money for other marketing channels.
The volume of users it can cover is huge– People use email more than any social media platform.
It’s far less intrusive than other means of marketing– Email doesn’t interrupt one’s daily activities.
An effective marketing strategy will boost conversion rates and increase sales, but it involves many strategies. If you are new to the latest marketing trends, hiring a digital marketing acency may be a smart move to get your business on the right track in the shortest amount of time, leading to higher profit potential.
Applications and Optimization Tools
Althoughnthere’s not a single magical program that increases sales and conversions on an e-commerce site, you can do the job with the help of multiple applications and optimization tools that each focus on certain parts of the conversion funnel.
E-commerce can thank mobile devices for its staggering growth. Since mobile devices are app-driven, it’s imperative to not only market your store through apps like Instagram, but use a mobile commerce platform, as well.
Following are some of the tools that help in the conversion game.
The last important factor affecting sales and conversion rates is customer support. Once a visitor sees an item they would like to buy, questions that are not listed in the FAQ section may arise. Remember, customers can be impatient. Their time is valuable and they want answers immediately. Providing customer support through live chat can address their questions and boost overall sales. Customers feel a site is more trustworthy when a live person is ready to assist.
Other E-commerce Website Features for Higher Conversions
Simple Returns – Returns are unavoidable in e-commerce. Provide a clear return policy that assures your customer they will be taken care of if there are damages, an incorrect delivery, or if the customer changes their mind. Keep the policy clear and simple to understand and follow. An easy return policy encourages customers to return and do business with you again.
Pop-ups – You may think of pop-ups as those little annoying windows on websites that do nothing but interrupt your shopping experience.Well, think again. They actually work when the annoyance is disguised as a strong and helpful call-to-action. You should use pop-ups at different points in the customer experience to keep the customer shopping on your site.
Giveaways and Competitions – These depend on the social media site you’re using. You may make a giveaway on Facebook to promote your site for free and gain more visitors. You can even organize a competition on Twitter to spread the word on this particular platform.
Reviews – Many people underestimate customer Certain e-commerce owners don’t even include them on the website. But, the fact is that 72% of peoplewill make a purchase if they read a positive review.Rankings can help you see if your products are of bad quality and whether you can try ameliorate them or order better products next time.
Multiple Payment Options – A single payment option sometimes drives the buyers away, so think about adding multiple payment methods to the last stage of the payment process. Paypal is being offered as a payment method on many sites.
Incorporating many or all of these ideas should help convert your website traffic into sales, and ultimately into higher profits for you. If you have any inquiry regarding this topic, feel free to contact SurgeStream or fill out the form below for a free website analysis.
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SurgeStream is a full service online marketing and SEO company that works with small businesses in order to help increase their website's online visibility.
SurgeStream is a full service digital marketing agency offering ecommerce seo services, in-depth SEO website audits, search engine optimization, social media marketing for small to medium sized businesses looking to grow their visibility online.