February 12, 2014

E-Commerce Conversion: 3 Surefire Steps

Posted by Sean Golden Category IconConversions & UX

Getting customers to spend time on your site can be a tricky enough proposition on its own. Flashy design, desirable merchandise, and the right mix of discounts and deals can attract visitors well enough. But the toughest hurdle is converting those browsers into buyers, and hopefully into loyal return customers. On average, companies spend $92 driving traffic for every $1 spent on conversion. Pulling off that conversion is essential to sustaining an online business, and there are some simple steps your online business can employ to do so.

1. Keep Your Checkout Obstacle Free

A simple, uncluttered checkout process is key to raising your company’s conversion rate. Online shoppers have a bevvy of retailer choices for virtually every product available on the open market, and close to 96% of those who visit are not, in fact, ready to buy. So why place obstacles in front of them when your site is their chosen avenue of acquisition?

Requiring your customers to register for an account with your site prior to completing the checkout process can be the death knell for any sale. A survey conducted by Econsultancy showed more than a quarter of customers would abandon their carts if asked to set up an account before finishing their purchase. So make it an option rather than an ironclad rule. Illustrate the benefits of creating an account — easier return shopping, promotional discounts, receiving first word on special deals — and let them choose whether to do so. Offer “guest” checkout, and you might just snag the 14% of shoppers who abandoned their carts elsewhere because your competition didn’t.

2. Easy Registration

If your customers do choose to register for an account with your site, it means they plan on returning some day to give you more of their hard-earned money. That’s why it’s best to make the registration process as simple as possible. Try implementing software that fills in address fields based on zip codes and automatically moves from cell to cell when information has been entered. According to Hubspot, it’s possible to increase conversion rates for your site by as much as 50% just by taking away unnecessary fields for your customer to complete.

3. Don’t Drive to Distraction

All the pertinent information about your customer’s purchase should be on display from the start. When the shopper reaches checkout, be sure the itemization of his or her cart lists size, color, and quantity and includes a lovely picture of what he or she has chosen. Clearly display buttons and fields used for adding to or editing the cart, and be sure to list any discounts they’ve qualified for or deals that were offered at the start. It’s important that the customer sees exactly what they’ve picked, and exactly how much you’re charging them for it. Oh, and don’t forget to list the shipping option they’ve chosen and the date it will arrive at their door.

Offering a live chat option gives customers a clickable option to alleviate any fears they might have about purchasing a product. If you have representatives waiting to advise on what parts are needed, but might not be included with a product, it could be a chance to convince shoppers to put those separate-but-necessary add-ons into their cart. Some small businesses could see as much as a 47% increase in conversion when implementing a live chat option, 61% of businesses test their site’s performance less than five times per month. But conversion is vitally important to the health of any online business.