eCommerce Sales: It’s Not About Your Traffic
Need more traffic to your eCommerce website? Sure you do. Everyone could use more traffic, but improving your visitor-to-sale conversion rate may be the most profitable tactic an eCommerce retailer can make. Let’s say you have a brick-and-mortar storefront. Would you invest thousands of dollars on advertising to drive in-store traffic if you had no sales people to tend the register? Of course not, so why are so many eTailers obsessed with search engine optimization and pay per click when their website is broken or poorly functioning?
9 Ways to Improve Your eCommerce Conversion Rates
You can improve your sales without driving more traffic! Improving your eCommerce conversion rate (total number of orders divided by total visitors) can be one of the most effective ways to improve your eCommerce sales. Many companies overlook this very effective strategy to growing their online business. Depending on who you ask, data shows that the average eCommerce website conversion rate is 2-3%. That means for every one thousand visitors, you get somewhere between 20-30 sales. Whether you are below the average, above it or are simply just "average", you should still put a significant effort on improving your conversion rate. Why you ask? Improving your conversion rate means increasing the total number of sales for the traffic you already receive. Many customers I work with want to drive more traffic to increase sales. Driving traffic is important, but why drive traffic to an underperforming website?
XYZ Company has an eCommerce site and is getting about 18,000 visitors per month. The site gets about 72 sales per month with an average order value of $125. If you owned this company you would have a .4% conversion rate, which really sucks. At this rate you will sell $9,000 of products each month or $108,000 a year. Now, take that same number of visitors (18,000) and improve your conversion rate to just 2% (the lower end of average). Your orders will increase to 360 per month and sales will jump to $45,000 monthly and $540,000 annually. This is what a strong focus on your conversion rate can bring.
Provided below are some examples on how to improve your conversion rate.
FACT: If your web page load time is longer than 2 seconds, you lose 10% of your customers for every second thereafter.
TIP: Make sure your page caching is turned on and operating properly. Reduce image file sizes and make sure your database is optimized properly.
Check your website speeds with Google’s free Speed Test.
FACT: Your website visitors come from many different Internet browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari (just to name a few), and your website may not be optimized for all of these browsers or versions of these browsers, causing a loss of functionality and sales.
TIP: Check your Google Analytics data for the most popular browsers your visitors use and make sure your site is properly optimized in each browser and version. Invest your efforts in the 90% of visitors from good browsers (current versions of Chrome, Safari, IE or Firefox) and ignore the 10% from bad browsers. Bad browsers (old versions of IE & Opera) are outdated, problematic and declining in users.
FACT: Mobile Commerce is a standard. If you do not have a website with a responsive design for mobile devices, you need to consider the investment.
TIP: "Mobile sites" are the old standard. Responsive design is the new standard. On average, 20-25% of online sales are coming from a mobile device and climbing fast. If you are not in a responsive design, you may be losing 20-25% of your potential sales. Open your smart phone or tablet device and see how your website looks. If it looks exactly the same as it does on your desktop or laptop, but smaller, it’s not optimized for mobile.
FACT: Many companies are selling third-party products from other vendors or manufacturers. These products typically have "standard" product descriptions and information provided by the OEM.
TIP: Rewrite all of your default product descriptions as provided by your product vendors to help differentiate yours from others. Start with the best sellers or most profitable and work down the list. You must differentiate yourself online to stand apart from similar product retailers. Tell a unique story.
FACT: Video and good photography convert.
TIP: Videos and good photography tell a more impressive story and fill in many bits of information for buyers that you cannot possibly communicate in writing. Video and photography for eCommerce show the product materials, quality, colors, size and so much more.
FACT: Your contact us, terms and conditions, and other often forgotten pages can convert.
TIP: Use these pages to engage the buyer by asking questions, pointing them to specials or free shipping offers. Make these pages fun and engaging to stand out from your competition.
FACT: The empty shopping cart is a conversion opportunity.
TIP: Website visitors often click on the shopping cart button before they put product in the cart. Instead of an empty page, use this as an opportunity to add a call to action such as “sign up for our newsletter” or provide a coupon code.
FACT: Buyers forget their password.
TIP: When a past buyer forgets their password and requests a password reset, don’t just send them the link to log in. Use this as an opportunity to show them specials for returning buyers or other offers.
FACT: Buyers/Customers log out.
TIP: When a customer completes an order or logs out of the website, don’t direct them to a boring “You are logged out” message. Use this opportunity to thank them and provide them with an offer like: 10% off your next purchase within the next 30 days.
Provided above are 9 simple tips to help improve your conversion rate. You don’t always have to provide a monetary offer as suggested in several tips above, but do provide value. The idea is to get creative. Your competition is doing everything they can to gain market share and if you aren’t, you will soon be out of business.