Operating an e-commerce website is no easy task. Building content, maintaining your website, and reaching out to your audience takes time and money. With e-commerce growing 23% year-over-year, you can’t afford to ignore this massive revenue opportunity. But digital sales are very different from retail, and you may be wondering how to increase web sales without getting overwhelmed.
We have five universal tips on boosting your website’s conversion rates.
#1. Clearly Communicate Your Value Proposition
It’s easy to get bogged down in the details, especially when you’re developing content for your website that’s comprehensive and informative. But that’s no excuse to forget the most important part of introducing yourself to new customers: explaining your value proposition. You know what your business and product offer, but they don’t.
When a lead is brought to your landing page or home page, it should only take a second or two before they understand exactly what you’re pitching to them. This isn’t the time to be coy or overly clever, unless you can be concise too. Tell them who you are, what you offer, and why they should get it from you.
We love working with local clients like in Detroit or Ann Arbor. They often find us when they’re looking for a digital marketing agency in the Southeast Michigan area because we make it immediately clear who we are and what we do:
In many cases, you only have these precious few seconds to turn a curious clicker into a qualified sale. Don’t leave out what you need, but make sure start by giving them exactly what they’re looking for, and let the details come in after they’re interested.
#2. Improve Your Website Experience
An intuitive and responsive website is much more than a luxury – it’s a necessity when it comes to building consumer trust and increasing your conversion rates. It’s already difficult to drive qualified leads to a website, the last thing you want to do is frustrate them with a bad shopping experience. There are dozens of factors that go into your website’s user experience, and each one can impact your bottom line more significantly than you might believe.
One of the biggest problems? Load times. And consumers are getting more impatient over the years. Marketing Sherpa has a great article showing how a slight increase in load time can drastically undermine your conversion rates. In this one example, a page load time in 2015 exceeding 2.4 seconds equated to a quick decrease in conversion rate – reaching a 37% decrease by the time this drop leveled out. This is down from a 2014 glance at the same site, where conversion rates didn’t begin to decrease until 4.2 seconds or greater.
But load times are just one piece of the puzzle. You need to do a full audit of your website to make sure it’s not discouraging your customers:
- Avoid clutter and distractions like excessive content blocks, ads, or frames
- Make sure your navigation is simple and intuitive
- Let your website naturally funnel users to other pages when they’re ready
- Don’t make signing up a hassle – better yet, allow guest purchases if they really don’t want to sign up. Better to have a low-information sale than no sale at all.
- Never surprise your shoppers with extra fees or unexpected shipping costs, it’s a leading cause for abandoning a purchase.
You should be frequently going through your website like a customer would. Experience the flow that they would when trying to shop. If you run into hiccups on your own site, you can be sure your customers experience it to a much greater magnitude. Fix those roadblocks and never let down your guard – website errors can happen at the most unlikely of times.
#3. Don’t Forget to Follow-Up
Good service can create a customer, but great service can create a brand evangelist. After you make a sale, it’s important not to rest on your laurels. Take the opportunity to keep in touch with your clients and show them that they matter, even after they made a purchase. There are a few effective ways to do this:
Review Requests – Contact a recent customer with a request for a review, reminding them that their opinion is important and making sure they don’t have any questions or concerns about their purchase.
Technical Support – If it’s appropriate for your product, you can integrate an automatic e-mail that follows completed purchases with support information that helps them use or maintain the product they ordered.
Thank You Offers – If you want to help build repeat customers, you can even send them a “Thank You” and include a small offer. Including social share buttons can also help you encourage endorsements from your new customers.
The other important side of following up is dealing with abandoned shopping carts. Baymard Institute’s aggregated data shows that 69.23% of e-commerce shopping cards are abandoned. Each one of these carts showed user intent to buy, but something discouraged them from completing the process. In some cases, it’s surprise fees. In other cases, it’s a poor shopping cart experience. Ultimately, however, if they started to shop, they’re at a point in the funnel where they’re ready to buy. If you’re seeing this to be true for your site, learn about converting your abandoned shopping carts into sales.
#4. Track Your Analytics
For small-to-medium businesses operating with limited resources, you should take advantage of every tool you have at your disposal. You may not have access to focus groups or opportunities for completing your own case study, but you do have data collected by your digital platforms like Google Analytics. Few things can tell you more about your e-commerce business than this wealth of customer data.
Setting up your data collection web isn’t too difficult. Google has a great resource for everything related to Analytics. Just setting up a Facebook business page and building a following will give you access to their organic information. And if you’re using an e-mail service, it likely has a good amount of information integrated into its platform. You’ll be able to learn:
- How many visitors does your website attract?
- What pages on your website attract the most visitors?
- Where do people spend most of their time on your website?
- Which ads are driving the most referral traffic?
- Which landing pages are converting into sales?
- What ages, genders, and locations engage with your content the most?
And that’s just the beginning!
The sheer volume of data can be overwhelming, start by focusing just on data like your conversion rates and details about those engaging with your content. Learning the demographics that are following you on social media, which accounts convert into sign-ups on your website, and comparing it all to the accounts that make purchases can help define your customer.
Once you have a more confident definition of your audience, you can look back towards your messaging and advertising to make sure you’re hitting the right mark. Tracking results lets you tweak your strategy, which lets you track more results, until you find what works for you. That leads to the most important part of how to increase web sales…
#5. Test, Test, & More Tests!
There’s no such thing as a perfect plan when it comes to selling and marketing. Every idea you conceive can be improved – made more efficient, more targeted or more impactful. On top of that, your product is unique. Which means your customer base is, to an extent, unique. What works for others may work for you, but if you don’t try something different, you’ll never outperform your competition.
Ideas that sound perfect may fail. Ideas that sound ridiculous may succeed. With the data you can collect and the relatively immediate results you can see, there’s no excuse for letting your e-commerce website stagnate. A/B test new landing pages or get creative with your social media marketing. Track the results and use it to form new strategies.
There’s no magic bullet, but with a bit of work and attention, you can turn bounces into conversions and find new ways to increase web sales on your e-commerce site.
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