According to new data from Digital Commerce 360, 36% of consumers now shop online weekly. That’s up from 28% pre-pandemic. With more people shopping online than ever, your e-commerce sales should be skyrocketing, right? Not necessarily.
Online shoppers have greater expectations, access to more choices, and more external influences affecting every purchase. Suppose you're seeing more traffic to your site, but your conversion rate is low or stagnant. In that case, it may be time to evaluate why your visitors aren't converting to customers and identify opportunities for improvement. To help, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite e-commerce conversion optimization tactics from around the internet.
According to online marketing expert Neil Patel, if your site takes longer than two seconds to load, 53% of your customers lose interest. A single second delay can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. If your e-commerce site makes $10,000 a day, that’s a quarter-million dollars in lost revenue each year.
To stay competitive, Neil recommends regularly testing your speed using a tool like Google PageSpeed, upping your hosting package to a higher level, and ensuring your images are optimized for both web and mobile.
Neil also stresses the importance of adopting a “mobile-first” design strategy for your e-commerce site. Did you know in 2020, mobile accounts for over 67% of all e-commerce revenue?
If you can’t make an immediate switch to a mobile-first e-commerce platform but want to start designing with mobile in mind, begin by targeting smartphone users. Smartphones are the “driving force” behind m-commerce with US volume expected to increase from $128.4 billion in 2019 to $418.9 billion through 2024. If your target audience includes Millennials or Gen Zers, doing so is even more imperative as those demographics make the widest share of purchases on their smartphones.
If your goal is to drive e-commerce revenue, the checkout process is the most important part of your buyer journey. Yet, in 2020, the average cart abandonment rate across all industries is nearly 70% for desktop and over 85% for mobile. The reason? Long checkout processes drive customers away.
To increase conversions in the checkout stage, Databox recommends eliminating redundant steps, lowering the number of fields required for guest checkout, and reducing the number of options, buttons, and overall clutter in your cart.
Piggybacking on our third tactic here. Let’s say you do all of the suggestions outlined above, and you’re still losing a number of visitors in the checkout stage. Don’t get discouraged! Distractions happen. Maybe the baby woke up from his nap. Or the phone rang. Or there was a knock at the front door.
It’s still possible to recover an abandoned cart. Databox suggests sending automated reminders via email or paid social (e.g. Facebook Ads), encouraging potential customers to revisit the items in their cart and complete their purchase.
By definition, a conversion is when a user completes a desired action in response to a call to action (CTA) on your website. But when your call to action isn’t easily comprehended or clearly visible, your customers get lost. Optinmonster recommends having a “single, clear call to action so visitors have no doubt about what to do next”.
Ensure every CTA button on your website includes both simple, directive copy and a prominent color and design to quickly and effectively guide buyers along their path to purchase.
Hick’s law states that the time it takes to make a decision increases with the number and complexity of choices. The longer it takes to make a decision, the more the user experience suffers.
MonsterInsights reports 98% of web visitors leave your website without taking any action. And 70% of those users don’t return because they don’t trust your brand, products, or services.
To build trust with your visitors, the company recommends adding social proof to your site. Social proof can take many forms from celebrity endorsements to user testimonials to social shares, etc. It shows potential customers that other (real!) people are using your products or services, builds trust, and ultimately, creates a “bandwagon effect.” Never underestimate the power of a personal recommendation, especially in 2020 when FOMO is at an all-time high.
You can’t begin to tackle conversion rate optimization (CRO) without also addressing search engine optimization (SEO). The two go hand-in-hand. According to similarweb.com, “Both heavyweight acronyms (SEO and CRO) involve using data-driven insights to improve your online performance - which is why your CRO strategy should also include SEO, and vice versa).”
Think about it. You can’t improve your conversion rate without first ensuring you are attracting the right visitors to your site. If your SEO strategy fails, you’re going to see that reflected in a high bounce rate and low conversion rate. Strengthen your SEO strategy, and the visitors on your site will be more inclined to purchase because they’re in your target audience - you know, the people who actually need or want your offering. While many e-commerce platforms include SEO capabilities, you can also leverage free tools like Google Analytics or Keyword Hero.
For most e-commerce businesses, the majority of traffic comes to a small number of pages. To increase online sales, identify those pages and prioritize improving them. SimilarWeb also suggests adding a link or banner to your homepage to help drive traffic to top-performing pages.
Once you’ve got those pages optimized, you can revert your focus to your highest-performing marketing channels. Where are the visitors who convert coming from? Direct traffic? Organic or paid search? Display ads? Email? Invest more heavily in the channels that are proven to convert visitors into customers.
Digital experience platform provider Episerver explains, “With so many products yet so little space on a page, manual rules and gut instincts are no longer enough to win in today’s cutthroat world of commerce. Machine learning algorithms drive revenue by optimizing which products are sold to each visitor based on real-time behavior, order history, and similar journeys.” Product recommendations work for re-targeting as well, where customers get a reminder of the product viewed across a variety of channels from email to push notifications to social, along with alternative products to the one viewed.
Offering visitors personalized product recommendations is proven to not only increase conversions but engagement and Average Order Value (AOV) as well. In fact, Business2Community finds customers offered high-quality product recommendations are 70% more likely to convert than customers who don’t.
Thanks to this year’s pandemic, even customers who prefer the in-person shopping experience are now defaulting to online shopping. So it should come as no surprise that 41% of today’s customers expect live chat on your website. That number grows to 50% for customers that visit your site from a mobile device. Today’s e-commerce buyers want the opportunity to ask questions throughout the buying process and get answers in real-time. Live chat is a great way to meet that need and drive revenue.
Forrester has found for customers who chat prior to making a purchase, there is a 10% increase in average order value, a 48% increase in revenue per chat hour, and a 40% conversion rate.
In 2020, the average e-commerce conversion rate in the United States is 2.63%. But the best performing websites boast a conversion rate of 11% or more. Use these figures as benchmarks. How does your own e-commerce conversion rate stack up? If you’re struggling to improve your site’s performance, try some of the strategies outlined in this article.
Not sure where to start? We can help. Contact us to begin optimizing your e-commerce website for increased conversions and revenue.