Most of us have experienced slow-loading websites, a surprise fee, or a confusing payment process on a website, and instead of dealing with these, we just abandon our shopping cart. If you’re the business owner, you’re left wondering what happened. Why were they interested, but not enough to complete the order?
Luckily, marketers have developed a good metric for figuring out what works and what doesn’t. It’s called the conversion rate, and you can learn to increase yours with just a few small changes to your website.
What is a Conversion Rate?
You calculate your conversion rate by taking your total website visitors in a given timeframe and dividing it by the total amount of orders that come in during that timeframe. If you have 1000 website visitors in a month, but only make 15 sales, you have a conversion rate of 1.5%. Very few companies, if any, achieve 100% conversion. That being said, getting a higher conversion rate after a change to your website is a strong sign that you’ve made something about the buyer’s journey better.
Calculating your conversion rate isn’t hard. Once you have this metric down, you can start making your online order process the best it can possibly be for your customers.
A/B Testing and Your Conversion Rate
While there is data on the things that generally increase conversion rate, every customer population is different. That’s why businesses use A/B testing, which is a form of experiment. Basically, you choose two interventions that could potentially change your conversion rate. You might A/B test the description of a popular item, or the add-ons you offer, or where in the purchase process you mention shipping and fees.
The goal of A/B testing is to experiment with two different tactics and pay attention to the percentage of web traffic that ends up making a purchase. If, for instance, Headline A gets a 4% conversion rate and Headline B only gets a 1% conversion rate for website visitors who saw it, you should stick with Headline A moving forward.
What’s more is that, over time, you can tweak various elements of the customer experience to get higher and higher conversion rates.
Why Experiment With the Customer’s Online Order Experience?
You might be losing customers that would otherwise make a purchase because you have an ineffective website. Here’s how to build a better one.
What kind of tweaks can you try? The list is endless, and we’ll share 26 of our favorites. However, follow the experimental process:
- Calculate your conversion rate now.
- Decide on a timeframe, like a day, a week, or a month.
- Make one of the changes below.
- Calculate your conversion rate after the change, and decide whether it’s worth keeping.
Even if your conversion rate holds steady after a change to the process, you might want to keep it – the only reason to take steps backward is if the conversion rate actually falls, which is unlikely since these changes are all designed to make the experience of buying easier and better.
26 Strategies to Bump Up that Conversion Rate
For many of these strategies, you may have a harder time seeing opportunities if you’re very familiar with your own website and customer journey. Consider enlisting a friend or family member to help you notice any ‘bottlenecks’ in the process.
1. Simplify Options and Decisions
Are you overwhelming customers with too many options? Do your customers really need six different shades of blue? Giving customers choices comes with attention costs that you need to be aware of.
2. Modify Product Descriptions With Bolding and Bullet Points
Do you have any “walls of text” in your product descriptions? Turn your descriptions into shorter paragraphs, bulleted lists of attributes, and bolded keywords.
3. Experiment With More Visuals and Less Text
If better or bigger visuals would make it possible to cut some of the text, it’s worth doing. Many companies find that conversion rates go up when a customer can see the product clearly.
4. Offer a Guarantee
Don’t want customers worrying about the quality of the product? Offer some kind of money-back guarantee. It shouldn’t be complicated or have a lot of caveats — that’s just more text for the customer to read. A guarantee can offer peace of mind, and very few people actually return items, even if they’re dissatisfied.
5. Offer an Initial-Order Offer
Offer 10% off a first-time purchase or a free shipping coupon code. After all, they’re already interested in your store. This is the perfect time to sweeten the deal.
6. Try Bright-Colored Buttons
Eye-catching buttons for “order here” or “shop now” can be more compelling than in-text links, especially if you’re putting them on a landing page. Heat map testing, a method of seeing where customers look most, shows that bright colors and arrows actually draw more attention than the text of the page, regardless of what’s on the button.
7. Make Customer Service Easy to Access Via Contact Forms or Chat
Having a chat window pop up during the customer’s shopping experience does two helpful things. First, it gives them a clear way to get their questions answered. Second, it gives you insight into what questions your customers are asking. Good customer service can make the difference!
8. Swap Stock Photos For Personal, Unique Images
It’s fair if you had to rely on some stock photos when launching your site, but if you’re established, it’s time to move to bespoke photos. Get some professional photos of your products or services, and maintain a good relationship with your photographer — they can help you develop your brand identity as you grow.
9. Make Testimonials/Reviews More Prominent
Some businesses keep reviews off their website, worried about negative feedback. Others include them but keep them low on the page, where customers may struggle to find it. Make your testimonials or reviews front-and-center and see what that does to the conversion rate. If you have strong positive feedback from loyal customers, this will offer new customers insight into what they love about the products.
10. Expand Your Payment Options
While it may be tempting to only take payment options that are convenient for you, if a lot of your cart abandonment happens on the payment screen, it might be time to expand how people can pay.
11. Try Making Some Info Optional
If you want details from your customers, it’s helpful to make a few fields optional. This way, if they get overwhelmed by all the data you want to collect, they can just skip it and purchase anyway.
12. Cut Out Distractions In Favor of the Primary Goal
Do you try to do too many things at once – tease a new product that’s coming, increase sales on your keystone product, and get more people to make multiple purchases at once to save on shipping costs?
Have one thing you’d like your customers to do more often, and retool the customer experience to make them do that more often.
13. Make Titles/Product Names Crystal Clear
Some brands can be cute and playful, but if it’s not a good fit for your brand, don’t force it. It’s better to be clear than to be confusing.
14. Create Scarcity
Some inventory systems will allow you to post when you’re low on a particular item. FOMO can make someone who was on the fence decide to buy now.
15. Include Complementary Products
While in some cases adding an additional step to the process may reduce conversions, some products are just matches made in heaven with other products. Enable an easy-to-navigate complementary products sidebar and see if more or fewer people complete their orders.
16. Feature Videos
Videos are good for keeping people on your website. Just make sure the videos are high-quality and relevant to your business.
17. Clear Value Statements
Nearly every business can benefit from a periodic re-evaluation of its position in the market. Clearly and quickly convey what makes you better than your competitors, and use that language prominently on your website.
18. Can You Get to the Point Faster?
If there’s anything unnecessary that you can cut or move to a separate page, do it! Streamlining, as we’ve mentioned, is the name of the conversion rate game.
19. Disclose Shipping and Other Fees Earlier
If you get a lot of abandoned carts at the very end when checkout reveals shipping costs or other fees, customers might be feeling baited and switched. Experiment with making shipping costs visible earlier.
Sometimes, the fees and shipping costs are prohibitive, and you can’t change that, but that’s a logistics problem.
20. Play With Your Brand Personality
While being clear is key, if you know that customers love a particular element of your brand’s style, aesthetic, or attitude, you should play that up more in your web copy, design, and photographs.
21. Make a Personal Connection
It’s so valuable, especially for a small company, for customers to remember that this isn’t a faceless brand. When you put yourself on your site, you often remind customers that they’re directly supporting a real person. Add a little info about yourself, why you started, and where you want to go.
22. Make Coupons Work For Your Need for Returning Customers
Coupon codes make people feel like they’re getting a better deal than other customers, which can be a powerful motivator. If, for instance, you know your customers think the shipping costs are expensive, consider offering discounted or free shipping as an insider perk for newsletter subscribers.
23. Create Customized Landing Pages For Different Market Segments
If your product appeals to very different segments of the market, some elements of your product descriptions might appeal to one but not the other of your groups. For instance, if you create camping stoves that are popular among outdoorsy people but also popular among people who want to be prepared for or respond to disasters, your marketing language might be different. Stoves for survival versus stoves to go an enjoy a nice weekend have a very different tone.
For the search engine keywords that relate to one segment of the market, create a landing page just for them. It may lead to the same purchase process, but that initial page will be addressing just the needs of those search engine users.
24. Improve Your Call To Action in Your Website Content
On your blog, you should include a strong call to action in each post. If you’re not, adding one can really change how many blog readers convert into customers. And if people aren’t following your call to action, improve it! Make your message quick and clear, encouraging engaged readers to take the next step.
25. Keep Product or Service Quality High With Great Customer Service
Good customer service drives sales, even after-the-fact. People would rather buy from companies that take care of their customers, and with social media, word travels fast.
26. Make Your Website Easier to Use on Mobile Phones
If your website has any issues or is hard to use on mobile, consider investing in a website that’s optimized for mobile browsers. Customers who are frustrated with the mobile interface are likely to abandon their shopping process even if they really wanted to make a purchase. If your business is big enough, it might be a good idea to invest in building an app.
Key Takeaways for Conversion Rates
Every set of potential customers is unique in some way, so not every strategy will be work on every customer. However, continually fine-tuning your purchase process helps you retain customers and keep them from abandoning their carts at the very last minute.
Ready to incorporate conversion rate boosters into a more comprehensive digital strategy? Reach out to Redstitch Digital, trusted by big and small companies to help you prioritize your marketing options well!