Having an e-commerce website can be challenging. There is inventory to monitor, customers to keep happy, advertising to do, and of course security to maintain in order to protect the integrity of the site and your customers. With all of the important steps involved to make sure your business website is a success, conversion rates should be taken into account.
So what is a conversion rate? Essentially, a conversion rate is the number of visits or “hits” you receive on your website that change over, or convert to, a sale. For example, if your site were to get 100 visits in one week and one person made a sale, you’d have a 1% conversion rate.
Effective advertising is important in ensuring a higher conversion rate. Making sure your website is noticed and that the product you’re selling is very clear is essential to success. Getting the hits is important, but finalizing that sale is even more important. A good website that does a lot of business is much more involved than many people might think.
A lot of factors are involved with ensuring that visitors click on and then actually buy items they see. There are many things you can do to get the most conversion rates possible which means those website views and random clicks actually turn into cold, hard cash (otherwise known as sales).
Here are 10 helpful tips to ensure that your website’s hits and simple clicks and visits turn into actual sales.
1. Color is important. Be sure you choose an appealing color theme for your website. This should be universal throughout the site, and look appealing to the eye. Psychologically speaking, colors really do influence how people perceive things. Do a little bit of research and look for colors that will go with your overall business type and the attitude you’re trying to project. This is not limited to just the font and background colors. It also applies to graphics and wallpaper that you might use on the website. In some cases, white is better so decide which pages need extra background color and which ones do not.
2. Logos say it all. When you create your website, think about a company logo first and foremost. This logo will be an absolutely invaluable part of your conversion rates. Good company and website logos enhance the feel of your site, and create brand recognition. When people recognize the brand or product because of your logo, the odds are they will have better faith in your goods and services, which results in a sale.
3. Make the website easy to use. Be sure your website is easy to navigate, and products are clearly described and thoroughly explained. Divide the site into sections based on item type, and make each page look professional. People will want to buy your products only if they get a complete description of them. Otherwise, they may shy away and turn to another site.
4. Shopping carts should be easy to use. Choose your shopping cart software carefully. Include an area for promotional codes, sales tax, and make choosing shipping options easy. This really helps so that customers can see the total amount of their order before they check out, and can easily add or delete items from their cart as they shop around.
5. Security is number one. Ensure that your website’s SSL Certificate is up to date. The small lock at the bottom of the website ensures people that you are secure and that their information is completely safe. This will not only instill confidence in the visitors, but will protect you from liability in any potential cases of fraudulent activity.
6. Headlines, headlines, headlines. The headline of your site is usually the first thing people see when they click on the home page. You want the headline to be catchy and something they will easily pass on to other people. Make sure the headline is snappy, intelligent, and unique to your site.
7. Incentives help increase conversions. Tantalize people with free gifts, or free months’ supplies of your products can help convert that hit over to a sale. Free shipping, or a coupon code that allows for a certain percentage off of their total purchase are also both good incentives to offer. These encourage people to buy something since they get a freebie or a discount so they can save money. In today’s economy, free shipping is a huge bonus and will almost always encourage sales.
8. Affiliate programs work. Come up with a good affiliate program. Affiliate programs offer people incentives for directing visitors to your site in order to get sales. The affiliate can get revenue from the sale, free products, or other things that will get them to promote the website. A good affiliate program can help your conversion rate increase quite significantly. Remember to keep in touch with your affiliates on a regular basis and encourage them to get those sales! Affiliates can do wonders for your business, and hit the ground working for you. Come up with a good template that affiliates can use to publish on their own websites and include in their own emails.
9. Customer service can keep them coming back for more. Be sure you offer thorough and efficient customer service. People will not return and will tell others about the website if they are not receiving top notch customer service. This includes technical support as well. Make sure you are able to answer all customer questions and help people in a timely manner so they will want to buy from your website. People who get less than stellar service often never return.
10. Make your return policy clear. Customers want to know they have 100% satisfaction guaranteed, and that they can return items they are not happy with. Be sure your return policy is very clear and shown somewhere where people can easily find it. Some customers will not make an online purchase if they are not assured that it can be returned. Let people know in advance if your company will pay for the return shipping, or if they are responsible for paying to get it back to you on their own dime.
12. Having sales creates more sales. Come up with creative sales so people will want to buy something from the website. Use promotional emails, forum postings, and banner ads to attract the attention of customers who are looking for a good deal. Forum links can encourage people to check out your website.
13. Advertise effectively. Use banner ads, flash movies, and other forms of Internet advertising to attract new people to your website. Think of some unusual ways that will grab people and force them to click onto the site. Teaser ads and colorful flash are great ways to attract new visitors that will hopefully become sales. Talk to affiliate websites, and other businesses who sell products in the same niche as yours, and see about perhaps swapping your ad on their site for their ad on yours. Look for advertising discounts, and only advertise in places that will attract real buyers.
14. Describe your products fully. Be sure every item you sell has a thorough description about it and good, clear, professional pictures. Every single thing you are selling should be easy for the customer to see and understand. This includes color, size, and detailed descriptions such as materials used (i.e. if you sell shirts, let customers know the material like 100% cotton, etc). The more description included with each item, the better. Remember, people cannot actually hold these items in their hand and look at and touch them, so they need to be able to get a sense of everything they look at on the site.
15. 800 numbers really matter. Website surfers and e-commerce shoppers want assurance that they can contact anyone at any time if they have a concern with your website. Adding a 1-800 phone number can actually increase your conversion rate by a few percent each month. If customers can call and get in touch with someone if they have questions, they will most likely continue shopping and make the sale. If they have a difficult time getting a hold of someone, then they will probably move on to another website.
16. Enlarge the photos. As previously mentioned, good clear photos can really make a difference. Having the enlarge and zoom option make it even more appealing. If people can get a clear view of the items they might buy, they feel much more confident in making that final purchase without holding the item in their hand.
17. Add in FAQ’s. Frequently Asked Questions are a great tool to help encourage customers to get the help they need simply by clicking on your FAQ page. Come up with the most common questions people would ask, and add them on a dedicated page along with answers. Of course, people can always email or call your 800 number, but having FAQ’s really does help.
18. Be upfront with all pricing. Don’t try to hide pricing, especially shipping. Make it easy for potential customers to know just how much their total purchase will be with shipping right from the outset. A lot of times, Internet shoppers will turn away at the last minute if the shipping cost is unexpectedly too high.
19. Live chat is effective. Include a live chat option to your site if possible. The 1-800 number is great, but some people prefer to just email or chat online. Adding in a live chat feature is a good way to show your business is sophisticated, and concerned about its customers’ needs. While you probably won’t have Live Chat online 100% of the time, it’s good to have operators on staff during regular business hours, or during your particular website’s peak hours.
20. Be realistic. Use compelling text that convinces people to make a purchase, but stay away from melodramatic or overly exaggerated words. Sounding too unrealistic does not appeal to most logically thinking customers. They want the facts and want to hear or read more, but don’t need too much.
21. Keep it fresh. Try to rotate your items as much as you can. If something has been on your website for a long time and it is not getting any bites, consider removing it and adding something new. Changing up your inventory entices people to see what’s new.
22. Check on the copyright. Make sure the copyright at the bottom of every single page is up to date. If it’s 2018, you don’t want your copyright to read 2006. This makes the whole site look and feel outdated, even if you’ve just recently updated it.
23. Customize errors. If your customer happens to run across an error, you can customize your 404 error pages. If there’s a problem with the server, make it look professional and give people a secure sense that the website will be back up and running as soon as possible.
24. Sorting makes life easier. Add a sort items option to your web store. Allow people to sort by sizes, price, color, and most recently added items. This makes navigating the website much easier, and shopping a breeze. You should also allow customers to choose how many items they see per page of results, such as only 10 per page, 40 per page, or all items on each page.
25. Too many choices can be annoying. If you’re selling blue t-shirts, and blue t-shirts only, there is no need to have a color choice drop down box. This can seem misleading and make people think other colors were once available. It is also overkill, so try to only use this when there are actually multiple colors or other options to choose from.
26. Give people estimated delivery times. Although it’s impossible to predict UPS and the post office, adding an estimated delivery time for your customer is helpful. This keeps up anticipation, and encourages people to make a purchase since they have an idea when the item will arrive.
27. Allow for mailing list sign ups. Create a page where people can enter their email address in to sign up for a newsletter or mailing list. That way, they can be updated when you have new sales and your conversion rate will improve. A lot of online merchants add this to the home page, but you can put it wherever works best for you.
28. Don’t get too technical. When customers enter in their credit card number, do not use the term CVV code. Instead, explain that it is the last 3 digits on the back of their card. Avoid sounding too techie, since a lot of online shoppers will not understand the technical lingo. Show a picture of the back of a “fake” credit card, and circle the last three digits so people can clearly see and understand what the CVV code is. The CVV code is an excellent anti fraud method, so it’s recommended that you turn on this option in your shopping cart.
29. Showcase your best sellers. Use the home page or another main shopping page to highlight the top 5 or 10 items that sell on the website. By showing people what is selling well, they will be interested to learn more. Don’t feature more than 5 to 10 items, or else it will look cluttered and the customer may think that you’re boasting that everything is a big seller. By choosing a few select items, you’re enticing people to buy these items and to check out some other things throughout the website.
30. Make your buttons stand out. Be sure your “buy now” button and other buttons on your website look professional, colorful, and attract people to buy. Even something as small as a button can make a big difference in what people end up doing when they visit.
31. Highlight your links. Underline and highlight all clickable links. This will entice people to click on, and it lets them know that certain text can be clicked on to take them to a new page with more information.
32. Pay attention to your keywords. Implement good keywords into your website so people who search with them will stumble on your site. Be sure to use a good SEO service or program that can help you maximize your keywords effectively.
33. Showcase one special deal each week. If you can, try to rotate a hot deal every week. This will keep customers coming back, and will entice new ones. This is not the same thing as the special items or best sellers, but instead one, specific item that is on sale for the week.
34. Highlight the seasons. Make a list of all seasons and holidays, and then come up with interesting graphics and promotions for each. Don’t forget to include these promos in your email newsletters or weekly mailings for those who have signed up on the sight.
35. Make it short and sweet. Don’t make the checkout process so tedious that it scares buyers away. Try to streamline your cart so that adding items, entering in billing & shipping information, and then paying with credit card is a snap.
36. Go above and beyond. Do not use a generic template to create your website. Instead, design the site yourself or hire a web designer who will give your web page pizzazz. You don’t want to look like other sites, and you want to have a unique feel to your business that distinguishes you from the rest
37. Test, test, and test some more. Always test your site and cart to make sure it’s working properly. Feel free to make changes as you see fit, and try to eliminate website errors. By performing frequent and thorough testing, you will ensure that your website is working the way it should be.
38. Show costs as they go. Instead of tallying up the total cost when the customer adds in their shipping information, try to tally this info. as they go along. People are very money conscious these days, so knowing how much they’re spending in total as they shop can be very helpful.
39. Be competitive. Not only does your site need to be competitive in the Internet world, your prices should be also. Don’t overcharge people if you can avoid it. Most web savvy shoppers know a good deal when they see one, and if they feel like they could find it elsewhere, odds are they will.
40. Search tools rule. Make sure your search box and tool work properly. Be sure to program this script so that it shows results to the customers in detail. A lot of people go to different sites just to search for a specific item, so you want that item to easily be displayed. Test your search tool often to ensure that the results are being displayed properly.