Everyone wants to increase conversion rates and there are a lot of research and reports on how to do so. We gathered around and summarized all the important methods on how to optimize your e-commerce in order to increase conversion rate. We tried to take a deeper look on some of the well-known methods to increase conversion rates and tried to conclude practical tips for you.
It doesn’t really matter what feature you are trying to add or which changes you made in your page layout. Track and monitor everything … and I mean everything. You should have a monitor of metrics for each one of your actions. Whether you are engaging users on Twitter or adding new product features, keep those changes tracked and try and do A/B testing to see what works best.
There isn’t a single research we stumbled upon where the subject of monitoring didn’t pop up in some way. We can’t emphasize enough how much monitoring is important; you can even take example from Amazon, one of the world leaders in A/B testing. Almost every new button, page or service is subject to multiple A/B testing to check what works best. After a short time, you will get the right feedback from your users.
If you are using some kind of paid PR or ads, you should track those actions also. We strongly recommend developing well-defined monitor metrics that will be very clear through your sales cycle.
Research has shown that it doesn’t matter if you are a 1,000 employee company or just a one man show; monitoring your customers will increase your conversion rates.
In the next figure you can see the sales funnel monitoring for a startup. We actually work with this model and I think the model should be exactly the same for an e-commerce business. You should think of the first time a customer is buying one of your products as the trial he/she is getting. Meaning, this isn’t a free trial, but your goal is that the customer will come back and start buying products regularly.
As you can see at each step in the funnel, you should use the conversion rates your last actions produce. If you had a social engagement campaign you need to check the conversion to how many visitors arrive to your site. If you have changed your web design, you should check how many visits turned into first time customers.
The last step is to make sure you check your support and shipping methods to see how many customers are coming back.
Everyone talking about and pitching an e-commerce website should engage with their customers through all the possible channels out there. We tried to figure out what exactly it means to do so.
We took a closer look at the very successful e-commerce sites, such as Amazon, BestBuy, Sears and the rest of the world leading e-commerce. What we found out is that beyond the obvious engagement through Twitter and Facebook, those companies are starting to combine their social profiles.
A good example for that is the email campaign.
32% of the top retailers send 5-10 emails to the customer in the first 30 days.
In these welcome/discount emails, 78% of the top retailers include social media links.
It is a good way to combine different social channels/profiles. You should include in almost every mail a “Follow” and “Like” button.
Another thing a lot of e-commerce misses to see is that social engagement is about the process, not just a one-time conversion. You should integrate social engagement in your customer support, content and even shipping.
As the total U.S. e-commerce increased by 14.8% to $165.4 billion, there is another very important side effect … the big get bigger! It is not enough that new e-commerce is popping up everywhere, but also the big ones are starting to take over the market. If you are Jeff Bezos this one is not for you. For the rest of you, the question you need to be concerned with is, “how can I do it effectively?” How can I stand above all the noise and reach customers? And this is the big point research has shown … you need to reach your customers; don’t just wait for them to come to you.
So engagement is reaching, what is reaching?
- Social Profiles: Continue reaching and searching for new customers on Twitter or Facebook. You can search for users who are asking questions related to your product and offer them to check your site out. You can try and start a relevant Google/LinkedIn group for your community. It is your place to think of cool creative methods and campaigns.
- Content Producing: As Google still dominates the traffic coming into your site, you need to start producing valuable content for your customers. Producing valuable content is divided into 2 clear segments: the first one in ‘while shopping content.’
Did you know that 60% of online shoppers first check Amazon for product reviews & pricing? Try to establish a rich customer experience in your site. Every user should have all the information he needs in order to make a smart purchase (this mainly implies customer reviews and product descriptions).The other segment is ‘off shopping content,’ which means in most cases your company blog. You should think who are your customers (from the monitoring metrics we discussed), what they are researching and how you can produce valuable content for them. Think about amazing articles, videos, slides and basically just about every piece of content that will be useful to potential customers. This will cause both better SEO and also good content for others users to share and spread the word about your site.
As John Ernsberger wrote in the Internet Retailer book, “Customer service is the next competitive battleground for online retailers.”
The successful 2010 online retailers are great examples to customer service oriented companies. The company, which made customer service and happiness a number one priority, is Zappos, one of the fastest growing online retailers. What is customer service these days, anyway?
- Online Tools: There are many service-oriented features that can drive the customer service you want. It doesn’t matter if it is a chat service, phone calls or e-mail support … you should include as many as you can (in a logical order of course). This will allow your customers to feel your company’s support in every step of the shopping experience.
- Phone Support: 60% of customers categorize great service as reaching a live person in less than a minute.There aren’t many Internet retailers that meet these expectations, but there has been great improvement in that field. Remember that it is not enough to just have a phone line; you should have great phone support or don’t have it all.Think of your angry customer when he waits 10 minutes to speak with a rep … how happy is he/she?
- Easy Access to Support: A great way to improve your customer service is to give your users the ability to reach the support, easily. Just put an email/phone contact in a clear place.
- Support All the Way: Another great way to improve your customer service is to remind your user that you are always there throughout the shopping process and checkout.Many companies make the mistake of not presenting customer support info at checkout in order to keep the customer focus on buying. This was proven a mistake; customers often have questions about shipping, return policies.
In general, customer service is a critical factor for improving conversion rates. Increase your customer satisfaction rate and your conversion rate will increase.
Throughout my research these are the main three points that will increase your conversion rates. Are there any other methods that you’ve found useful?