10 tips to increase the conversion rate in e-commerce
Simplified, the goal of an e-commerce shop is quite banal: Ultimately, it’s “only” about getting visitors on their side and then turning them into shoppers.
In recent years, the focus has been on the former and search engine marketing has received a lot of attention;
Terms like SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) have become part of our business language.
Currently, the focus is increasingly on the second part, on the conversion to the buyer.
And quite rightly: It does not help a shop if it has many visitors, but is unable to turn them into buyers.
The increase in the so-called conversion rate has been a high priority for years in Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian countries.
In Germany there is a lot of catching up to do.
The good news is that there is a noteworthy sales potential, so to speak, which can be lifted by appropriate measures!
For example, if a store with an annual turnover of ten million euros and a conversion rate of three percent increases it to five percent, then you will achieve an additional turnover of four million euros!
The bad news: In the conversion process, you can do a lot wrong and cause crashes.
This guide is intended to give an overview of the major issues in the conversion process and to outline which criteria need to be considered.
1. A GOOD LANDING PAGE PRESENTS TO THE VISITOR THE INFORMATION AND PRODUCTS YOU NEED.
The function of landing pages is to guide visitors to the desired conversion goal in just a few steps on the most linear click route possible.
In addition to the generation of traffic, advertising campaigns also make the goals that visitors to the website want to achieve transparent (for example, ordering a catalog, purchasing a specific product) transparent.
Web site operators can tailor their intentions by channeling traffic directly into the appropriate area of the site to meet their expectations.
This confirms to the visitor that the requested item can actually be found on the provider page.
However, if you pick up the user with his creatives, not with a tailored landing page, he will judge your offer to be irrelevant within a short decision span.
You’re likely to lose qualified traffic to your competitor with the more convincing landing page.
So how can the bounce rate be reduced?
Access search terms and headlines in the Landing Page headline to create a concrete relationship between the search query, ad, and associated landing page.
Incorporate the vocabulary typical of your target audience into the content.
Make sure that the landing page purchase arguments of the ad (for example special offers, free delivery) are clearly visible.
When linking your search engine ad, keep in mind which phase of the decision process the user is in.
If someone is looking for a generic search term, they probably only have a rough idea of the type of product they are looking for.
The Ad Words ad should refer to a product category page accordingly.
On the other hand, with product-specific keywords (for example, article number), it is advisable to steer the traffic to the product detail page.
Even if the topic you are looking for can be found on the landing page, this is no guarantee that it will not come to an end.
This can be the case, for example, if the product range does not meet expectations. If I find exactly the right offer, I am entering the registration phase.
There I will be directed to a form, in which I must enter next to name and address and hobbies, travel habits, etc.
Consequence: Abort due to overloaded registration.If I have completed this form nevertheless, I will get on the payment page.
There I can not find the payment method of my choice. Consequence: Abort in the transaction and payment process.
There are many reasons for discontinuations in the further process:
– Too long loading times – Abort due to poor technology.
-The shopping cart icon looks different than usual,
-from the navigation I feel misguided – abort for usability reasons.
From a shop owner’s point of view, the process is not over yet, of course.
After all, I also want the money to really come in and, ideally, to win a regular customer: the after-sales process is also an integral part of consideration.
Here are 10 best practices to help you design your shop as conversationally as possible to minimize page breaks and increase conversion rates.
2. THE PRODUCT OFFER SHOULD BE CONSISTENT AND COMPLY WITH CUSTOMER’S PURCHASING INTERESTS.
PRODUCT RECOMMENDATIONS CAN HELP THIS.
Communicate on the homepage the offer of your online shop as well as the unique selling points to highlight the added value of the website compared to the competition.
In addition, the homepage should have a high recognition value and promote a consistent brand experience.
A structured and clear presentation of the product range makes it easier for potential customers to find the right product class.
If a concrete article arouses the consumer’s interest, then on the product side, the purchase intent can be further strengthened by means of relevant product descriptions whose degree of detail is appropriate to the complexity of the article.
Tip: Eye tracking studies show that the short attention span causes webs to be scanned in an F-shaped pattern with the eyes.
Face this selective pattern of perception by presenting key information in headings and directly at the top of the page and at the left edge.
Remember that users want to reach a specific goal efficiently.
Epic continuous texts do not support this need and motivate at best to search for an alternative provider.
Reduce information to the essentials and choose easily recognizable text formats such as lists to communicate services or unique selling points.
Create an authentic product experience by adding product zooms or moving images.
Also, inspire by offering X-Sells to buy more goods that are typically purchased in combination.
If shoes have been chosen, for example, a customer might also be interested in a matching handbag.
Track a website owner’s search history of registered users,
targeted products can be recommended based on the data stored in the cookies.
For example, in a later session, the same visitor may be presented with the previously viewed products on the personalized homepage.
3. PRESENT SERIOUS: TRUST MAKES A PLEASANT ATMOSPHERE!
Confidence signals are important throughout the transaction process: therefore, use trust amplifiers early in the process.
They mitigate the perceived risk that may be associated with an online purchase, for example due to the lack of haptic product experience and the associated difficulty in judging the nature of a product.
Guarantees such as money-back promises, the option of postage-free returns or the availability of a large number of payment options create security when making a purchase decision.
Test the inclusion of well-known seals of quality (such as the Trusted Shops logo) in a prominent position and use common symbols, such as a padlock, to indicate data transfer via SSL – Secure Sockets Layer technology.
Also media reports or customer recommendations (testimonials) promote the credibility of a provider.
Brands also provide orientation in the face of supplier diversity – and act as a catalyst on the purchasing decision.
Take advantage of this by, for example, presenting your company logo in the expected position on the top left of the page.
4. GOOD USABILITY MAKES YOUR VISITORS EASIER TO FIND THE REQUIRED INFORMATION AND PRODUCTS.
One factor that is relevant to the total click distance from page entry to completion of the transaction is the usability of the website.
User-friendly websites and applications are characterized by the fact that e-commerce visitors can achieve their goals effectively, efficiently and satisfactorily.
A website can be regarded as effective if a user can achieve the goal at all, for example completing the order process in an online shop.
Efficiency is given when the respective goal has been achieved with little effort.
For example, an order process is efficient when completion is accomplished in a few order steps.
The criterion of satisfaction refers to the emotional quality of use.
These include factors such as positive experience quality (joy of use) or the perceived trustworthiness of an online shop.
The more intuitive the users are through the process, the better site operators can support decision-making and quickly channel user flows to the register.
This is particularly successful when the product and service offer is clearly presented, so that a visitor can quickly decide whether the requested item can actually be found on the website.
Another factor for usability is the navigation.
Prominent navigation elements such as click-to-action buttons serve as visual guidance aids to guide users through the buying process.
Clear phrasing and eye-catching call-to-action buttons have proven to be particularly successful.
A position in the visible area of the screen also helps to draw the attention of potential buyers to targeted actions.
By contrast, competing visual elements, such as buttons in signal colors, animations, etc., should take a back seat.
In general, an intuitive layout and clear web design focusses attention on the desired transaction without overwhelming the user with many choices.
5. EASY AND FASTER PURCHASING PROGRESS HIGH PURCHASES.
Registration and purchase are closely linked with the optimization of the usability of the shop system with regard to the topic of “increasing the conversion rate”.
From the product offer out the purchase must be triggered directly and independently of the used terminal (PC, mobile, etc.).
Each additional click until the completion of the purchase process increases the abandonment rate, thus lowering the conversion rate.
Therefore, it must be checked whether the offered products should primarily be sold via a shopping cart or an immediate purchase functionality.
The primary goal is to reduce the clicks needed.
The links “Add to cart” or “Buy” are clear and easy to recognize and must behave as expected.
The shopping cart facilitates the purchase of multiple products with one transaction.
That should use the provider. The attractiveness of the portfolio can be increased by intelligent bundling and linking with a recommender system.
This reduces the customer’s inhibition to buy multiple products.
Important is a clear design of the shopping cart, which represents all information relevant to the customer.
These are the selected products including number, unit price, shipping costs.
Do not re-invent the wheel – the shopping cart has become a recognizable symbol.
The latter should always be displayed to the customer, so that the accidental exceeding of a personal limit does not cause a purchase cancellation.
The final design of the shopping cart depends on the type of products offered.
Particularly practical: If the shopping cart remembers the products stored there, even if the customer closes the browser window or turns off the computer.
This leaves the chance that the purchase will eventually take place in a later session.
A static design should be avoided – the technical implementation should allow a flexible handling of layout and structure.
This allows the operator, for example, to test new layouts or sales campaigns in front of customers and, in case of doubt, quickly undo them.
Example: “Can sales effects be achieved through additional product images in the shopping cart?”.
An instant buy dispenses unnecessarily many clicks – in the ideal case, a single one is enough.
However, this assumes that the customer is already registered and logged in.
It follows that such procedures are less rewarding for tenders that primarily appeal to casual buyers.
The simultaneous offer of shopping cart and immediate purchase option on one page is allowed, but should be thoroughly examined and optimized in the interests of the customer for clarity and usability.
Basically, the short rule applies: The customer buys where he feels comfortable.
The sales process should be as simple as possible.
Thus, the sales success increases almost automatically!
6. IN THE REGISTRATION ASK ONLY THE NECESSARY DATA – THE CUSTOMER WILL THANK YOU.
First, it must be clarified whether an extensive registration process is necessary for the sale.
Often, a product order can also be processed without an upstream registration process by querying only the data necessary for the purchase (name, e-mail address, payment data and postal address – the latter only if physical goods are sent).
This is usual for sales in advance.
In this case, the customer registration can be taken over by the provider and run in the background.
If the business model or other reasons make registration absolutely necessary, it can be optimized for a high conversion rate.
It is especially important here that the registration for the customer is made as short, simple and comprehensible as possible.
The advantages of a registration must be explained to the customer.
To attack the customer with extensive forms at the beginning can be a deterrent.
At any point in time, it must be clear to the customer why a specific date is requested from him.
The transfer of personal data is a ‘vote of confidence’, which the provider has to adequately acknowledge with as many confidence-building measures as possible.
Indications of encrypted, secure transmission methods and explanations of the registration steps should be understandable, easy to find and convey transparency.
Clearly formulated terms and conditions (there are customers who read the terms and conditions!) Are another confidence-building measure – not least because the customer must explicitly agree here.
Above all, however, it is important to avoid unnecessarily long input forms so that the customer can “finish” the registration as quickly as possible.
Multi-page registration processes can usually be dispensed with.
The information actually required can (almost) always be stored on a clear screen.
However, the spirits are different here;
Some online retailers and web designers prefer multi-page registrations.
In case of doubt – and if the budget allows it – you should do a usability or A / B test. On the registration page, any distractions should be avoided.
The registration itself is without advertising or links to other products etc. short and in the context of the layout requirements clearly arranged.
Many input fields can be summarized with creativity and appropriate technical use (see example Google Maps).
If the customer requires the creation of a username or password, the comfort of this step – from a customer’s point of view – can be greatly enhanced by providing immediate feedback, for example, about the security of the selected password.
Upon completion of the registration, a confirmation e-mail will be sent to the customer. This must be done not least for legal reasons;
This is the last step to consider from the perspective of conversion rate optimization.
The e-mail traffic (confirmation, notification e-mail for activating the customer account) must be quick and immediate, and a good coordination of the systems is the technical prerequisite.
A clearly formulated e-mail text that appeals to your target group in the right tone of voice is the responsibility of product marketing.
Transparency is the leitmotiv of the registration.
If customers feel they are in control of their data, they will be less likely to cancel their purchases during registration.
In the case of registration forms distributed over several pages, particular attention must be paid to clarity and transparency.
Comparison of a single-line address input that is interpreted “intelligently” with a multiline input that requires four fields to be filled.
7. EVEN THE TECHNOLOGY MUST VOTE: MODERN E-COMMERCE SITES ARE SECURE, FAST AND RELIABLE.
In terms of technology, a distinction must be made between technical options on the provider side (server side) and customer side (client side).
A high-performance server architecture is a must for modern e-commerce systems.
The shop system used must be suitable for the expected workload and configured accordingly.
Even in peak times, the system must not be held responsible for long loading or waiting times.
All inquiries (requests) through the customer browser must be served immediately.
If there are too long waiting times, the customer jumps off.
The use of secure sites through the use of SSL technology is a matter of course when sensitive data is requested.
Attention should be paid to the trustworthiness of the certificate and the period of validity.
Especially in smaller editors can forget to extend the certificate in time.
After sufficient time and money has been invested in the system technology, technical errors on the web pages must be avoided.
Priority is given to dirty or improperly programmed HTML code, faulty style sheets, browser incompatibilities, and unthinkable page designs that are not appropriate for the sales process.
Above all, it is important that the shop works equally well on all popular browsers and operating systems.
Structure and content are ideally completely separable.
That is, texts and images are managed separately from information about colors, layout, images, texts, etc.
This is technically solved with CSS layouts (CSS = Cascading Stylesheets).
The initially often somewhat higher development effort is quickly made up for by a simple maintainability and the quick adaptation to other output media (print, smartphone, etc.) or changed design specifications.
8. PREVENT ARTIFICIAL AND TECHNICAL BARRIERS AND THUS REDUCE THE RISK OF A PURCHASE CANCELLATION.
If it is possible to realize the e-commerce system barrier-free and with optimized usability, there is a win-win situation for all parties involved: the customer feels comfortable on the pages and breaks down their purchases less frequently;
The operator has the advantage that the residence time on the website increases and the demolition rate in the purchasing process decreases.
Particularly in the technical design of forms it is worthwhile to comply with the requirements of a barrier-free Internet.
It not only results in a high level of user-friendliness for all customers, but also creates – with competent implementation – a clear distinction between (technical) structure and content.
With simple “implementation tricks” already measurable effects can be achieved.
As soon as the page is loaded, the focus (ie the flashing cursor) should be set to the first input field.
The customer does not have to spend too much time searching – the time gained reduces the risk of a cancellation.
Check the references when selecting the commissioned agency.
Since every web designer now writes down the topics of usability and accessibility (“usability” and “accessibility”), particular care must be taken when choosing an agency, because the quality differences are often grave.
Modern e-commerce systems rely on intelligent web technologies and ensure a high conversion rate by complying with the rules for optimized usability and barrier-free Internet.
9. CUSTOMERS WANT SECURE PAYMENT PROCESSES.
At the latest on the payment side the favorierte payment procedure must be to be found immediately.
The logos of the known payment methods and a clear design help.
If the logos are already on the landing page, a potential buyer knows instantly which payment method they can pay for and will not be negatively surprised if “his” payment methods are not available.
Paying is a matter of trust – and even more on the internet, because buyers and sellers do not know each other directly.
Therefore, a buyer requires a secure payment method in which a third party makes the middleman who enjoys the trust of the buyer.
This is the role of the major payment service providers: The customer knows and trusts them – and they guarantee help in case of problems.
Good examples are Paypal, ClickandBuy or Moneybookers.
These payment service providers also typically offer buyer protection so that a customer is less concerned about abuse or fraud by the merchant.
Further confidence-building measures are the certifications of, for example, the bvh, TÜV or trusted shops.
In order to be really sure, a customer will want to make the purchase only with the highest security for him – ie pay his purchase by bill.
Therefore, the payment method bill is also the most popular payment method for German online shoppers.
When paying by invoice, the dealer trusts in the creditworthiness of the customer.
Unfortunately, there are also many buyers who abuse this trust.
A trader offering an invoice as a payment method should therefore have the customer’s creditworthiness and solvency checked during the purchase process.
In order to avoid bad debts, the trader usually pays the commission of a collection agency to collect the outstanding debts.
The bill, however, also facilitates the returns processes for a trader.
Thus, he does not have to initiate a money transfer with a return, but can only post back the goods issue.
If a merchant transacts many returns, these savings can outweigh the costs of credit check and collection.
In advance, customers pay only with great confidence in the dealer – for example, because he is one of the big brands on the net, because already positive reports and recommendations have been published or because he is also offline to reach.
As advance payment guarantees the merchants receipt of money, they are often willing to give discounts or other benefits to persuade customers to pay in advance.
If the preferred payment method has been selected on the payment page, the next pages must always be secure pages because important, sensitive data is disclosed.
If the customer is sufficiently convinced of the security, the data is entered.
Here really only the most necessary data should be queried.
A re-entry of all data that was already registered at the registration, only upset and increases the risk of demolition.
A regular customer of a retailer will also be happy to find his or her data from the last purchase and pay for it with a few clicks – but the retailer must be able to assure the customer that his data is really protected.
Now only the processing has to run smoothly – that means without long waiting times, in which the buyer does not know, whether only a check of the data takes place or whether the system has canceled the process.
Without a brief explanation of the dealer risks that his customer still terminates the payment process.
However, if the customer is informed about the current status of processing at any time, this strengthens customer confidence in the process.
A quick information that the payment process was actually successful and the goods are delivered to the customer shortly as well as the return to the dealer round off the positive payment process.
10. CUSTOMER RISK MANAGEMENT MAXIMIZES SALES AND PROFIT.
The use of customer risk management offers companies the opportunity to improve customer risks and customer development – and thus to increase sustainable sales and profit potential.
This is particularly relevant with regard to two developments:
-increasing costs by customers with poor creditworthiness due to higher bad debt losses and consequential costs associated with insolvency, such as debt collection expenses.
– High competitive pressure, especially in the TIMES markets, reduces the sales and profit potential through new customer acquisition and requires intelligent existing customer management for a sustainable sales and earnings development.
The lifting of the additional cost savings and profit potential through customer risk management is achieved with the help of statistical models.
By using these scoring models, customers are valued at every stage of their customer life cycle in terms of customer development and customer credit.
This enables companies to identify customer risks and potentials and to take appropriate measures to minimize risk or enhance customer value.