Let’s be honest for a second. You have a store. You sell things. Maybe you want to help people. But maybe, just maybe, you’d like to make A LOT of e-commerce sales and have that yacht-party life you always dreamed of.
The National Retail Federation reported a 3.8% rise in retail sales in 2016 and is predicting 3.7-4.2% for 2017.
That means all retail sales, excluding automobile purchases and gas station or restaurant sales.
This is an important number to hear, because ONLINE retail growth is expected to be up 8-12%.
Translated into dollars, this would mean e-commerce sales could total anywhere from $427 to $443 billion dollars.
Do you hear what I hear?
That’s opportunity knocking.
If you have an e-commerce site, you should be pretty excited. Here are 5 updates you can make to increase your conversions and watch that cash pour in. Let’s make it rain.
1. Know Your Audience
This is something you’ll hear time and time again. Whether you’re building an initial marketing campaign, deciding what to post on social media, writing blog content, or trying to get more conversions on your website, this information is vital.
You should know the customer persona, or avatar, for the product or service you’re trying to sell.
That is a particular kind of person with a particular kind of need.
Lucky for you, there are over 7 billion people in the world, so narrowing down to a subset could still mean millions of people for you to service.
Once you’ve dialed in on that persona, start to think about what they need first, how they’ll look for it, and what expectations they might have for your website and the experience you can offer to them.
2. Your Home Page
There are a few items that your site’s homepage needs to really attract your customer to your product or service.
First, a clear value proposition – Why are you any different from what exists?
Second, an emotional connection – How does your imagery make me feel?
Third, a clean design theme – Choose a background color, base color, and accent color.
The Amavara home page makes use of all of these elements.
These quick edits will make a world of difference for your ‘first impression’.
The average customer’s attention span is growing shorter and shorter each year, so it’s best to make sure they don’t have to hunt around for what they need.
If I can see why your product or service is new and different, your pictures and graphics are comforting or inspiring or interesting, and your design makes it easy for me to read your text and navigate from page to page, then you’ve hit a home run.
2. Mobile Experience
Online shopping from mobile devices will soon take over online shopping from desktop or laptop computers.
More specifically, more than 50% of digital commerce revenue in the U.S. will be driven by shoppers on mobile devices.
Enter the age of m-commerce…
We’ve all heard the word e-commerce thrown around pretty consistently for years, but at a time where shopping from your phone or tablet is the new norm, m-commerce is going to be your money maker.
Staying ahead of trends in a space where user experience on a small screen is EVERYTHING should be one of your main goals as an online seller.
To get this right, try designing for mobile first.
Think about how a display of your products will look, how button sizes will adjust, where text really needs to be legible and eye-catching, and how the checkout process and form-fields for name, address, and payment options will fit into the screen.
3. Product Category Pages
Generally, when people are shopping online they’ll start with some kind of search criteria.
This means you should have category pages for the types of products you offer that will make it easy for someone to get to what they need.
Glossier making use of a grid layout, badging, and clear calls to action.
Some quick tips you can implement on category pages to make them easier to view are:
- A grid layout
- Clear calls to action
- Helpful filters
- Multi-page viewing
Grids can make viewing your product and important information easier than trying to scroll down through a list of full-text and tiny thumbnails.
Badging allows you to differentiate your products and can help you draw attention to what is newest, most popular, or on sale.
A clear call to action offers more convenience to the customer looking at your product. If you just rely on a picture of your product to act AS the button to the page, don’t count on everyone figuring that out.
No need to lose conversions when it’s such an easy fix!
Helpful filters will allow people to narrow down what they really want.
If you can track the filters used most often over a period of time, you can optimize this process.
Maybe YOUR customers only want to look at sweaters by size and color, so those would be great filtering options to allow.
Multi-page viewing, also referred to as pagination, means that you only show a certain number of results at a time.
If someone just wants to see what you’re offering, they might click through 3 or 4 pages, but they’ll be more likely to remember the item they really liked was on page 2 and click back to that. If you’re not set up with pagination, then you’re probably relying on the endless scroll.
This is a great trick for consumption, but not for purchase intent.
If your customer scrolls down for 3 minutes, they’re probably not going to spend time scrolling back up again to look for what they want to get back to.
4. Product Pages
Since we just reviewed what the category pages should offer to help you increase conversions, let’s review what people actually want to see when they get to your product page.
A product page from Frank Body.
People really just want to see three things:
- Quality images
- Relevant information
- Ratings and reviews
Quality images are so important to the marketing of your product.
More specifically, several types of quality images that can really convey what the product is and how it will integrate into the customer’s life.
Take a watch, for example…
If you’re going to buy a watch online, you probably want to see it from several angles, including a close up of the face and maybe the band.
BUT, wouldn’t it also be great to see a lifestyle shot of that watch ON someone’s wrist?
Maybe in a real-life situation, like waiting for your spouse to come downstairs so you can head to that party?
If you can see how those extra images can provide more value than all of the descriptive text in the world, then start to include them anywhere they work.
Relevant information is an important distinction from just…’information’.
Your customer has specific questions about this product, and you should provide the answers.
If we’re still talking about the watch, then make sure you’re telling them things like what material it’s made from, if the band is hypoallergenic, if it’s lightweight or durable, if it’s water resistant, etc.
5. Use Ratings and Reviews to Increase Conversions
Ratings and reviews, especially when authentic, are incredibly helpful in a customer’s decision process.
Even if there are only 2 reviews, seeing 4 or 5 stars from other buyers is a great way to convince someone on the fence that this is worth the purchase.
Amavara product reviews.
If you posted a new product and you don’t have any reviews, that’s OK.
Because it’s authentic. If you’re a smaller site with a bunch of products, it feels more believable that a few of the newer items may still be unrated.
However, if you’re not capitalizing on reviews by integrating a plugin or email sequence follow-up, then you’re losing out on something that could easily boost your conversions.
5 MORE Tips to Increase Your E-Commerce Sales
6. Better Cart Viewability
Cart viewability refers to how easy it is for a customer on your site to check their cart, see how many items they’ve added, and quickly access it for checkout.
A common best practice is to make sure that you have the cart in the top navigation of the website.
This can be as simple as an icon that shows how many items that have been added or a button that says ‘cart’.
The idea is to have a static but persistent notification to the customer that they have something in their cart.
It also makes it incredibly easy for them to decide to check out anytime they’re done looking through items.
If you’re not reminding them of things they’ve already added and decided on buying, it becomes a lot easier for them to just close the window and leave your site.
7. Offer Free Shipping
Customers expect free shipping.
If this isn’t something you can offer on all shipments, then you should be sure to address it immediately and clearly.
Have a banner that tells a customer exactly how much they need to spend in your store to get free shipping and then make sure you list that everywhere.
If a customer hits that amount, offer a popup that they’ve satisfied the free shipping requirements to get them to checkout without hesitation.
Along this same vein, notify them when they’re 50-75% eligible and let them know how many more dollars they have to add to get that perk.
While it’s true that some customers will leave because free shipping isn’t an option out of the gate, many others will enjoy the slight gamification of adding to the cart until they reach a free shipping option.
8. Guest Checkout
By default, most store owners would like customers to make accounts.
Unfortunately, it’s not realistic to expect a customer to want to do this, and it’s not really that important.
In a world where people buy from all different websites all the time, and already get so many emails, the last thing a customer wants to do is have to remember one more login for a site they may or may not visit again in the future.
A guest checkout option is a great way to collect money in exchange for your goods from someone who wants to buy without the extra hassle.
Why not offer them that?
Especially when you consider that they’ll still be providing you with an email address anyway.
If you set up a way to capture that then you can continue to market to them after the point of purchase.
9. Offer Multiple Payment Options
This is incredibly important for online purchasing.
We’re currently going through a period where people do not feel that their information is safe and new instances of hacking are all over the news.
Offering a variety of payment options to a customer is a great way to save a sale on a smaller or newer site that they may not feel 100% secure with.
You should take the basic credit cards – Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover… but you should also accept payment via Paypal, or card processing via a Paypal plugin.
Another great option is the Amazon checkout integration.
We already know that most U.S. households currently have an Amazon account with a credit card saved and this makes it a two-step process for them, which is great.
Remember, how do you feel when you shop?
We’re all about convenience.
10. Try Live Chat
This is a great way to promote a brand and close a sale.
If a customer cannot find what they’re looking for in the product description or a peer-to-peer review, or especially if what you’re offering is a service instead of a product, the next step is for them to reach out to support.
Younger generations that are used to online shopping, and prefer it over visiting brick and mortar retail stores, are usually not going to send an email with a couple questions and hold off on buying until they find out the answers they’re looking for.
They’re just going to leave your site and find what they need somewhere else.
Offering an easy-to-use live chat service allows the customer to open a message box and shoot a question off to, hopefully, a live person (robots are not recommended).
If this is monitored properly, by someone already in a support role, this becomes a great access point for the customer to get information and assurance about a product they already WANT to buy anyway.
An extra bonus?
This customer will also remember how easy it was to communicate with the company and will be appreciative of that extra touch — making them more likely to recommend you to their friends.
What tips do you use on your e-commerce site to boost sales? Share them in the comments below! For more marketing tips, sign up for our weekly newsletter.