Improving your site’s conversion rate is one of the most efficient ways to generate additional revenue for your company. Done correctly, it can produce instant results with an extremely high ROI.
This article looks at some of the methods you can use to immediately start driving more revenue through your site.
The Purchase Funnel
One of the big mistakes that many companies make is assuming that improvements to their conversion rate can only be achieved through changes to their site. This ignores one of the most important parts of the user-journey, which is the journey to the site itself.
By the time a potential customer visits your site, they should have a pretty accurate idea of what to expect. If they don’t, then it’s time to start looking at your marketing messaging. For online specifically, this means ensuring that your creative is up-to-date, product feeds contain the correct information and are updated regularly, and that other collateral, such as voucher codes, are in-date and relevant to your on-site promotions.
Where the user arrives on your site is another factor to consider. Although the majority of online retailers will have been using deep linking to specific landing pages for some time now – which are great for conversion - but in many cases this means that the customer skips past the strongest promotions, which are usually featured on the homepage. This is a potential missed opportunity to upsell to customers, and increase your site’s Average Order Value. Intelligent site design should give some web page real estate to a retailer’s strongest offers, even on product specific landing pages.
Taking the decision to start posting customer reviews on your site is a big one. What if some of the reviews are negative – not even the best businesses can please everyone? Fortunately, there’s evidence to suggest that even the bad reviews can actually improve your conversion rates (provided they are in the minority!). According to a study by Revoo, 68% of people trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores and less than 1% of consumers leave a site after seeing one badly-reviewed product.
Think long and hard about the information you NEED from your customers, and bear in mind that need is not the same as would like to have. Several successful businesses have been built on the back of basket abandonment, where direct marketing is used to target specific customers that have started the purchase process but, for some reason, have not completed it. Checkout and payment pages that ask for the minimum information necessary will have a much lower abandonment rate than those requiring oodles of data from their customers. Also, while we’re on the subject of payment, consider the payment methods that you accept on site. In the UK, debit/credit card and Paypal are fairly common, but if you ship outside the UK, it’s worth considering that many emerging markets have bank transfers as the most common payment method.
Testing is probably the single most important point to consider when looking to improve conversion rates, but it’s amazing at how many companies get this wrong. I’ve lost count of the number of times that I have tried viewing a site with one browser and experience a major usability issue, just to discover that the issue disappears when using a different browser. But the concept of testing should go much further than a means of ironing out compatibility issues: retailers should not be afraid of A/B or Multivariate testing their site and analysing the effect that small changes to the user-journey has on their conversion rate. A study by Econsultancy/Redye demonstrates that companies whose conversion rates have improved over the previous 12 months are performing on average 24% more tests and using 26% more methods to improve conversion than those companies whose conversion rates have not improved.
Perhaps most important of all – listen to your customers! Ask for their feedback, conduct surveys and implement the more popular requests. Not only will this improve conversion rates, but it will also do wonders for customer retention.