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10 Ways to Increase Online Sales

business sales website Aug 04, 2020

5 min read

What leads a customer to ultimately click that “Complete Purchase” button? Is it helpful product descriptions? Quality and detailed product photos? How about shipping and return guarantees?

A combination of all of the above and then some?

Of the hundreds of choices you have to when optimizing an ecommerce website, any one of them or all of them combined could be the golden ticket that leads to increased purchases. 

For many first time ecommerce business owners, it becomes a game of trial and error to figure out what is the magic combination of features and incentives customers value.

The question becomes: how do I know that the changes and upgrades I’m making to my website are positively impacting my bottom line?

The Fix: Ecommerce Conversion Rate

An ecommerce conversion rate is the ratio of the total number of people who complete a purchase compared to the number of people who visit the website. To calculate it, simply divide the number of purchases made by the number of visitors. 

For example: If you had 1,000 visitors to your website yesterday and 20 of them made purchases, your conversion rate would be 20/1000 = .02 = 2%.

Note: Conversion rates vary across industries, ranging from 0.6% to 4%.

This metric is important because it can pinpoint issues in your customer journey, and when making improvements to your website or overall customer purchase journey, you can keep an eye on the conversion rate to see which changes made a difference. 

Case Study

Marie owns an ecommerce shop that sells custom candles and other local-made home goods. She recently ran an Instagram ad campaign that led to 30,000 website visitors in 30 days. However, during the same period her conversion rate was at 0.9%, quite lower than she projected it should be. 

This was an indicator that there was a gap between the time visitors arrived on the website and left. Something needed to change in that area of the customer journey for her conversions to increase. 

Marie identified three possible reasons for her low conversion rate: the checkout experience on the website is poor, product descriptions aren’t communicating the value customers are looking for, or her ads are reaching the wrong audience.

She addressed each area one-by-one (using tips listed below) and made improvements, keeping an eye on the conversion rate to see which had the biggest effect.

10 Ways to Increase Ecommerce Conversions

  1. Videos - Include videos on your product pages. You can show the product from various angles or in use. This will help overcome the common customer objection of not being able to “see” the product in person. Sizing, fit, and quality is better expressed through videos than photos.
  2. High-resolution - When you do include photos make absolutely certain that they are high-resolution and that the customer can zoom in. This also helps with the not being able to see and feel it purchase objection.

  3. Detailed copy - Know your customer persona when writing copy. Do they want quirky and funny or straight-to-the point? Make sure copy is concise, grammatically correct, and accurate. Basic information to include: product measurements, material specifications, and warranty details. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and think about any other key details they would need to make a purchase decision. 

  4. Chatbots - You will not be able to foresee every detail a customer might want to know about or question that will arise. It is critical to be able to answer questions in real time while the customer is on the product page. Chatbots are a powerful tool that can address any last minute objections or questions when the customer is just clicks away from buying.

  5. Test your CTAs - Test out different placement options and copy wording with your CTAs (call-to-actions). It’s a low effort way to finding a combination that can significantly increase conversions.

  6. Social proof - Almost everyone can create a great looking website with convincing copy, but not everyone can feature raving customer reviews. Collect reviews on product pages or prominently feature customer quotes to help website visitors convert with more confidence in your product or service. 
  7. Free shipping - On the backend, this ends up costing you, but it is the biggest barrier customers have to online purchases. Why pay shipping when you can purchase the same product within a 10-minute drive? But free shipping can eventually compensate for itself by the increased number of conversions it brings. 

  8. Easy checkout - Eliminate as many question fields as you can and include a progress bar that shows customers where they are in the process. A difficult checkout can cause would-be purchasers to abandon their carts. Test out your checkout process yourself and see if there are any hurdles that come up. 

  9. Guest checkout - After shipping costs, having to create an account to complete a purchase is the most common reason visitors abandon their carts. People don’t trust your brand enough yet to save personal info or they simply don’t have the patience to create an account at the moment. If customers become repeat customers, they will eventually create the account, so make their experiences prior satisfactory!

  10. Payment methods - Have as many payment methods available as you can. Customers will end transactions if their preferred method isn’t offered. 

With all of these tips it’s important to keep your conversion rate top of mind as you implement changes and attempt to find the combination of features that will lead to your highest rate.

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