3 ways to improve conversion

Three ways to improve conversion

There are lots of reasons why your web visitors may not convert into customers. Perhaps they haven’t found the products they’re looking for, or maybe they’re simply browsing and are not yet ready to buy.

Naturally, your products won’t appeal to all visitors at all times so a 100% conversion rate in unrealistic.

However, if you’re getting a continually good volume of visitors to your site who don’t become customers, or people are adding items to their basket but failing to checkout, it may be worth reviewing your site. Often, a few simple tweaks can make a big difference to your conversion rate. Imagine what a 5% rise in conversions could do to your bottom line.

In this article, we look at three important issues which commonly affect e-commerce conversion – site speed, checkout process and product display.

The need for speed
Web consumers have very short attention spans. A recent survey by Kissmetrics showed that 47% of consumers expect a page to load in less than 2 seconds.

  • 40% abandon a site which takes more than 3 seconds to load.
  • 79% of web shoppers who are dissatisfied with a website’s performance are unlikely to visit it again.
  • 52% said site speed was important to their site loyalty.
  • Even a 1 second delay could reduce conversions by as much as 7%.

The Financial Times reported interesting results of a speed test, concluding that ‘over the testing period users read fewer articles each day whilst experiencing delays loading each web page.’

So, speed contributes to a good user experience which has an overall impact on conversions. Really slow sites may find an impact on their Google rankings too.

That means a fine balancing act between displaying lots of product information (which may persuade a consumer to buy) with the need to keep load speed times to a minimum.

You can check your site’s speed performance in your analytics dashboard. If your page load speeds are slower than necessary (you should be aiming for 2 seconds or less) you need to take a long hard look at the information which is displayed on the page and rule out the unnecessary.

Then, the information you do need to display should be configured to load with maximum efficiency. Images are often the biggest issue to contend with. All images should be optimised for the web as this reduces the file size. Web developers will often, for example, combine similar images so that your site isn’t drawing on a large number of images at all times (one of the biggest causes of speed issues).

Create a simple and sleek checkout process
The next priority for improving conversions centres on creating a simple and sleek checkout process. When a customers has added items to their basket and is ready to checkout, they need to be able to do so in as few steps as possible.

One of the most common mistakes that ecommerce companies make is to request too much superfluous information from the user. The main rule is that if you don’t need the information to fulfil the order, don’t ask for it at checkout stage.

A good checkout process will:

  • Allow the user to review what’s in their bag and show the total cost
  • Have a prominent ‘checkout’ or ‘buy now’ button
  • Request billing and delivery information (ideally there is a check box so that if the billing address is the same as the delivery address the customer doesn’t have to enter the same information twice).
  • Provide a confirmation page once the order is complete.

Of course you’ll want customers to sign up to your newsletter, follow you on Facebook or provide a testimonial, but consider the best way to time these marketing requests. Checkout is not the place – look at ways to engage with your consumer while they’re browsing your site or once the order process is complete. A simple message thanking the customer for their purchase with an invitation to sign up for news and offers might be a more effective way to capture the data you need to continue the relationship.

Make it simple to choose the right product
All customers want choice but with choice comes complexity. What you need to do is find a way to help the customer to see the choice that is on offer but then enable them to filter search results so that they can more easily see the products which suit their needs. This isn’t easy, of course, but it’s an important step in improving your conversions.

There are a number of ways to display a large product range without bombarding the customer.

  • Categorise your products – it’s likely you’ll already have this in hand but if your conversion rates aren’t where you need them to be it’s worth taking a fresh look at your product categories to ensure they are logical and user-friendly.
  • Allow customer to apply filters – view products by colour, size, price, features. The right filters will depend upon what you’re selling, of course. Talk to customers and find out what filters they would find most helpful. Think about where the options should be positioned so that they are easy to view, use and remove (the left-hand column is the most popular position). To further simplify the process you could leave filters like sizing or colour options to the product detail pages.
  • Guide customers to additional information which may help them confirm their choice. Displaying related products which match what they’ve already chosen can be helpful as can displaying alternative products which other customers have viewed. It can also be helpful to show customers thumbnail images of products they’ve already viewed or allow them to add to a wish list so that they can compare.

Measure your results

By analysing what people do when they visit your site – and by measuring conversions – you’ll be able to build up a picture about what works and what doesn’t for your customers. Small tweaks can make a big difference over the long-term.