With 90% of the UK’s 60 million or so population online, just having an online presence is no longer enough for your prospective customers. For many, the mind set of creating a website; setting it live and waiting for the orders to roll in is all too common.

But the truth is, to make the most of your website and the most of your investment, you need to promote and optimise your site with continual improvements to outpace the competition. Increasing your website’s e-commerce conversion rate will maximise the ROI of your site and provide additional budget to invest in further growth, so how do you go about this?

The following tips will help improve your site for your customers and increase those elusive conversion rates

1. Let the data lead

Chances are your web analytics package will give you a top line ecommerce conversion rate figure. While this serves as a general benchmark things get far more interesting, and actionable, once you segment the data. Which browsers are working better? What channels are converting higher? How is mobile doing? The data informs your next course of action, as to where efforts need to be focused.

2. Search box

There is a reason why all major sites such as Amazon, John Lewis and Ebay feature bold prominent search boxes, they know that people who interacting with them are far more likely to convert. For an ecommerce site selling thousands or products, users need an efficient way to get to specific products they want to buy; relying on top line navigation isn’t enough. Reducing the steps required to purchase will ultimately help increase conversion rates.

3. Emotional response

Leveraging an emotional response increases a consumer’s intent to buy by 3-to 1 for TV commercials and 2 to 1 for print, there is no reason why this can’t be applied to your website. Rather than just serve product images, incorporate a human element into images that potential customers can relate to.

4. Imagery

Invest in good professional photography and images. Your website is your online shop window, your products need to shine, just as how shops need spot lighting to make the most of their products, your online imagery needs to be bright, clear, sharp and bold.

5. Set up purchase funnels

The customer is ready to buy; they’ve added to the basket and are checking out, but they leave… why? Setting up purchase funnels in analytics will allow you to see where customers are dropping out of the purchase continually refine the purchase path to reduce funnel drop out.  

6. Test, test, test your website

How many times have you actually gone through a purchase on your own site? You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find by navigating the site like a customer would. Test your site thoroughly to see if there are technical issues or UX barriers that need to be rectified.

7. Mobile first

On average over 60% of website traffic is now coming from mobile and this is set to rise. Making sure your website is mobile friendly needs to be on your list of improvements.

8. Leverage familiarity

Unless you are the leading authority or brand who has a fair share of the market, straying too far from the experience offered by the competition is a bold move, but could ultimately be costly in terms of conversions. Check your competition, how are they implementing filtering? What is their checkout process like? What do they show on the homepage? Make sure you can match the experience provided by your competitors as that’s what your customers will be experiencing and improve upon them.   

9. Trust

Is your site trustworthy? How long have you been established? Do you leverage user reviews and security markers onsite? Can users trust that your site will keep all personal and financial details safe? What are return policies like? Providing these reassurances improves trust and increases the likelihood of a purchase.

10. Further testing

So you’ve checked the usability, your customer journey appears flawless; it’s time to make sure that it works for YOUR audience. Testing the site with methods such as A/B and multivariate testing will deliver invaluable insights into how your audience reacts to changes in messaging and calls to action but you’ll only get real business changing result if testing is done in a structured, methodical way led by data.