Getting traffic to your e-commerce store is a big deal. In fact, it’s so big that way too many people spend all of their time (and money) only focusing on the number of visits their site gets each day. Sure, having visitors is a requirement for making sales, but getting people to your website is really only the beginning. If the majority of the visitors you work so hard to get only stay in your digital store for less than a minute (and even that’s being generous), then you have to be smart about how you garner their attention.
Turning traffic into conversions is the only way to keep your store in business. If you want to succeed in e-commerce, then you have to learn (and fast) how to drastically improve conversions online. When you do, everything gets better – from the amount of time your visitors spend browsing to the number of products they place in their cart (and then, of course, buy).
If you want to increase your e-commerce website conversions so that you can make more money online, then these five tips need to be implemented as soon as possible.
1. Better Product Photos
The world we live in is incredibly visual. When you think about brick and mortar stores, if a person has never visited the shop before, the main reason they’ll choose to go in is because they see something from the outside that’s compelling. Online, the images that you use will help visitors decide if this is a store they want to spend their time visiting. The higher quality your images are, both for the products and any other images used on your site, then the more engaged your visitors will be from the very beginning.
When you use better photos of your products, you improve customer engagement, conversion rates, customer retention, and even the lifetime value of each and every customer. While the words you write on your website are important, the very first thing your visitors will notice are the images. Because this is the first interaction you’re having, and your one shot to persuade a visitor to stick around and purchase, each image needs to be the highest quality possible. And, if you want to make the visual elements of your site even more compelling, then finding a way to infuse your brand and story into your images is everything.
With so many images floating around online, the more you can find a way to make yours unique, the more likely your visitors are going to pay attention.
Are you wondering how your images are performing? The first thing you should do is ask yourself if they are actually improving the non-verbal communication happening with your potential customers. In other words, are the pictures adding value to what’s being offered? Are they helping to tell the story of who you are and what your brand stands for? If they are generic or low-quality, then the answer is definitely no. Invest the time and money into getting professionally taken and edited photos so that your website – and its products – perform better.
2. Clear Calls to Action
A Call to Action, or CTA, is what motivates your visitors to take action (hence the name). Without CTAs on your site, your visitors will be hard-pressed to take the next step towards purchasing – and it’s not necessarily because they don’t like what they’re seeing. As obvious as it might be by now, online shoppers still want to be told what to do. If you fail to make these steps obvious, then your lead will forever stay in the realm of “visitor”, rather than crossing into the much more important “customer zone”.
If you want your e-commerce store to succeed, then you need to have compelling CTA buttons. Each of these buttons serves as a bridge from one part of your site to the next, acting as guide posts on the customer journey. The more enticing you can make your CTAs, then the more likely it is that your visitors will continue taking the next step, whatever that might be on your website. Of course, CTAs can’t just be clever; they also need to be simple and clear. Even a split-second of hesitation can cause your customer to desert your store – and their shopping cart.
You’ll find that the best CTAs are easy to understand, well-placed and brightly-colored. To improve the way your site converts, go through each page and make sure that you’ve made purchasing your products as simple as possible. Each “Add to Cart” button and checkout button needs to be visible. From there, go through your site and double check that every single page leads to either a product or a purchase action.
3. Trust Signals
If you want your leads to convert to sales, then you have to be earning their trust from the second they land on your site. The only way you’re going to convince a visitor to purchase from you (or even enter their email in a form) is to ensure that they feel safe. If they doubt you or your business even a little bit, then they will quickly become a bounce rate statistic. To avoid that, you can use signals that help generate trust online. Some of these signals are fairly obvious, while others are much subtler.
Trust logos, like the “100% Satisfaction Guaranteed” icon, make more of a difference than you probably realize. Also known as “trust badges”, these popular icons are used often for good reason – they work. By placing a trust logo on your checkout page, you can dramatically increase conversions because your customer is being reassured that they are safe and secure. More than just an icon, however, the best trust badges mean something because they are backed by real security features that will protect their personal information as they continue to buy your products.
Another important trust signal is social media presence because it shows your potential customers that you are real and involved with an external community. Knowing that other people have liked and followed you on various social media platforms gives them proof that they can, and should, trust your business. Adding direct links to these pages, even if your visitors never actually click them, helps them feel comfortable while moving through the steps of your customer experience.
Remember, the more trust you can build with your visitors, the more likely they will turn into customers. And, hopefully, the more likely it is that they will share your business with their friends and family.
4. Simple Checkout Process
Getting people to your checkout page is the name of the game in e-commerce. Of course, if it was simple, then we’d all be millionaires. The truth is that even tiny percentages in your checkout process conversion rates can make all the difference, tallying up to thousands of dollars either made or lost each and every month. In order to not only get people to the checkout page, but actually have them checkout, you have to prevent your potential customers from abandoning their shopping cart.
According to most shopping cart abandonment reports, a surprising 7 out of 10 people will actually leave your site during checkout.
In order to improve your checkout conversion rates, you have to make the process as smooth and painless as possible. That includes being fair and honest about shipping costs and never requiring a customer to create or register an account in order to make a purchase. If your checkout process is complicated, not secure or takes too long, then your conversion rate is going to drop – and you’re going to feel it when you look at revenue.
To simplify your checkout process and, in turn, improve conversion rates, you should:
- Make sure there are multiple payment options available for your customers
- Promise that there will be no shipping cost surprises (and then follow through)
- Provide multiple shipping options for the products you sell
- Remove as many pages as possible to make your checkout short and simple
5. High-Quality Design
Regardless of how well your website performs in search engines, if it doesn’t look attractive, people aren’t going to stick around. Although the design and aesthetics of your website have always mattered, today, more and more people are expecting higher quality designs simply because they have been exposed to it in their time online. According to a study done by Stanford University, nearly half of all website visitors say that design is the “top criteria” for deciding if a company is credible (i.e. trustworthy) or not.
Directly linked to the user experience, the better your website is designed, the more money you will end up making. The biggest design features that impact conversions are:
- Visual Cues
- Color Schemes
- Mobile Optimization and Responsive Sites
Your e-commerce store has the potential to make you a lot of money, but you have to get your visitors to convert. Remember, creating a successful online business is an ongoing project – if you can commit to testing and retesting until you find a winning formula, you are much more likely to hit your goals.
Author: Gonzalo Gil
Founder and CEO of 3dcart, a leading online store builder ranked as the best shopping cart software for SEO. As an eCommerce expert, Gonzalo works with businesses of all sizes to help them build their online presence and succeed in selling online.