All eCommerce sites would like to be making more sales. And while there are many techniques that you can try on your site, some are effective, and some can actually have a negative effect. Here are three techniques that have been shown to improve sales, along with three that actually make it harder for you to push conversions.
Techniques to make sales
- Simplify your checkout process
You might be surprised to learn that nearly three-quarters of online shopping carts are abandoned after products have been added; the average rate of cart abandonment is close to 70 per cent. There are a number of reasons why this is the case, but crucially one of the major issues is that the checkout process was too complicated.
What’s interesting about that is that it is something that you are in full control of, so if you do not simplify your checkout process, you are effectively purposefully missing out on sales. Checkouts can be simplified by reducing the number of fields that need to be filled in, adding an autofill option, and making filling in the form simpler with buttons inside of large dropdowns.
- Promote customer loyalty
It is amazing how many eCommerce businesses put huge efforts into finding brand-new customers — it’s repeat business where the money is really at. The stats on repeat customers are impressive to say the least. Not only are more likely to convert (nine times more likely than a first-time customer), they will spend more (67 per cent), and they are more likely to share your store on social media.
So, you need to be doing everything that you can to get customers to come back to your store. Don’t place too much focus only attracting new customers at the expense of previous ones. This could include everything from offering discounts and coupons to an actually loyalty scheme were customers can get free products when they buy. If you are a more sophisticated marketer you can also use your 1st or 3rd party data to target and retarget your segments. In this case it is very important to know the 3rd party data description, as it states how a segment was made.
- Improve your site search
If you have never put any focus into your site search – now is the perfect time. Customers will often attempt to use site search to find what they are looking for, but due to poor implementation, search will often return the wrong results.
It is essential that your website should invest in quality site search technology which includes both auto suggestions when users start typing, and spelling correction so that misspelled products will come up. Your search should also include top previous searches, and make sure your search always returns results.
Techniques to avoid
- Carousel content
If your site currently has ‘carousel’ content – or any kind of automatic slider content – or you are thinking of putting it on your site, now is the time to avoid it. There is evidence to suggest that just 1 per cent of users will click on a carousel image, making it a very poor use of visual space on your site, and development time.
There are many reasons for this. Firstly, visitors often consider banner sliders to be adverts and therefore ignore them. However, the human eye also reacts to movement which can then draw the visitor’s attention away from the other aspects of the site.
- Checkout after add to cart
We have talked about the need to simplify the checkout process – but this doesn’t mean you need to actually put your customer on the checkout page itself. Some websites will redirect a customer immediately to the checkout screen, in an effort to get them through to complete the order as soon as possible.
However, this is a bad idea. It can be disorientating for customers to click an ‘add to cart’ button and then be taken to a different screen. It is better to just allow them to add the product and then continue browsing.
- Compulsory account registration
It was mentioned earlier in the article that customer loyalty is extremely important, however, that doesn’t mean that you should force customers to sign up to an account to purchase. As many as 35 per cent of users will abandon their cart if they are forced to create an account to buy.
Promoting loyalty is important, but there are other, more effective ways of doing it, and it shouldn’t get in the way of making actual sales.