Generating traffic to your site is amazing, but if it does not affect your average ecommerce conversion rate, it’s almost useless.
Conversion rates can fairly indicate one’s success or decline in their online business. If your sales are not going up, you know you need to take a good look at how your website works or how your marketing campaigns are framed and identify the possible factors getting in the way of your conversions.
While there is no average ecommerce conversion rate you should be using as a baseline, a good conversion rate you should strive for is any value better than what you have right now. With so many ways on how to improve conversion rate, we will be discussing seven of the best practices to keep you always ahead of the ecommerce race.
Always track your numbers
An effective way to know whether you are improving your conversion rates or not is by regularly tracking your numbers. You can see if the changes are good or not.
Using Enhanced Ecommerce reporting, Google Analytics is a great tool to start tracking your conversions. You get to have insight into your sales and your customers, uncover the reasons behind your ecommerce bounce rate, know which landing pages are giving you sales and identify whether your marketing campaigns are effective at bringing you more customers or not.
Proper and effective conversion tracking is essential not only in your Google Analytics, but for the other platforms you use to market your business like your Instagram ads and Facebook ads using your Facebook Pixel. Although higher funnel campaigns are a bit harder to monitor, it is still possible to do effective conversion tracking to make sure your business is on track.
By regularly tracking your conversions, you can effectively establish your goals, which will now serve as your benchmark whether your conversion rate is going up or down.
If you take a look at your Google Analytics account, you will notice that your Goal Conversion Rate is computed using the formula below:
Goal Conversion Rate = Total Goal Completions / Total Sessions from Visitors All Over the World
This is essentially the same formula for computing Ecommerce Conversion Rate:
Ecommerce Conversion Rate = Total Transactions / Total Sessions from Visitors All Over the World
A problem with a formula like this is not everyone in your Total Sessions from Visitors All Over the World belongs in your target market.
Although it is logical to say any person who visits your site is a potential customer, certain limitations in your business (e.g. shipping and payment) does not guarantee everyone to be a likely conversion.
To have a more reliable ecommerce conversion rate calculator, change ‘Total Sessions from Visitors All Over the World’ to the number of sessions from your target market. How? Do this by applying a new advanced segment on your Google Analytics view using ‘Traffic from Target Market’.
Applying this will show you the number of sessions specifically coming from your target market.
When you have an idea what your real performance is from people you expect an action from, you know exactly what you need to change or improve in your website or campaigns.
Guide high-quality leads to purchase pathways
Not all leads are good leads. You need to separate high-quality leads from the cold ones. This is your way of ensuring you are engaging with people who are at the point of purchasing than people who are not yet ready to purchase or will never convert.
Lead scoring is a reliable way of separating your high-quality leads from the cold ones. In this process, you automatically assign a value to each of your leads based on their characteristics and behaviors.
Even if your ecommerce business is small or your technological capabilities are limited, you have to come up with some form of lead scoring on your own. This will make your lead and sales nurturing processes more efficient in improving your average ecommerce conversion rate.
In lead scoring…
Know the key characteristics your high-quality leads should possess. These characteristics can be an age bracket or particular job titles that to you indicates a capacity to purchase or make decisions in a household or company. You can also consider the location of your leads.
Once you establish what your key characteristics are, ask for those data on your site registration page or any lead generation form in your marketing campaigns.
Take note of certain behaviors that are striking among your high-quality leads from your cold ones. Below are some examples of behaviors you can include in your lead scoring:
- viewing product pages
- sending queries about a particular product
- inquiring how to enjoy free shipping or if their location can be accommodated
- downloading your store app
- abandoning a shopping cart
- responding to your ads and posts on social media
Assign a value to each characteristic and behavior. Create your own points system and assign a value per characteristic or behavior you have in your list. This will allow you to easily visualize how near your high-quality leads are in your conversion funnel.
From there, you can label which of your leads are high-quality and know which ones to engage with sooner or more to make their interaction with you translate into a sale. Guide them to your purchase pathways such as through proactive customer service, sales calls, email marketing, automation and re-engagement.
Another way to outline the trail to your purchase pathways is to have a fantastic web design in place. In addition to being trustworthy and professional, your ecommerce site should be clear, easy to navigate, and is accessible on desktop and mobile. It must be attention-grabbing too, uses simple terminology and offers great deals.
As your digital storefront, it should serve its purpose of properly showcasing your products, making it easy to manage shopping carts and leading your customers seamlessly to the checkout page. Aside from referencing your Google Analytics data, use ecommerce heatmaps so you know what people are doing on the different pages of your website and what’s getting in the way of your conversions.
Check out the website conversion optimization tips we have discussed in this article too for more optimization ideas that go beyond your site’s design. For website conversion optimization tips with case studies, check this article out.
Actively track for bugs
On top of having a fantastic design for your ecommerce site, being on the constant lookout for bugs like browser-specific errors, dead links, and incorrect graphics, is another smart way of improving your average ecommerce conversion rate.
Active and passive bug tracking are essential in improving your conversion rate.
Active bug tracking is the active search and documentation of bugs before releasing your site or a new product page. Passive bug tracking are bugs reported by your visitors for you to fix.
Passive bug tracking is crucial for ecommerce businesses. How fast and efficient you react to reported bugs can give you a good reputation among your potential customers. Bug tracking goes beyond customer care because eliminating the factors getting in the way of your conversions is one way of significantly improving it.
Make sure to arrange an automatic reply to let your concerned site visitors know that you have received their report and you are fixing it already.
Ultimately, active bug tracking also plays a role in your conversions. When your visitors can easily navigate your site without encountering dead links or errors, you can fulfill your goal of converting your traffic into sales. At the same time, you are able to foster your customers’ loyalty and satisfaction with a simple and user-friendly website.
Optimize site on search
You know your SEO efforts are effective if the traffic it is generating is converting into sales. If SEO is able to direct high-quality leads to your site, you will see the results in your conversion rates.
According to Avinash Kaushik, Google’s digital marketing expert, there are three categories of site traffic – see, think and do.
The largest classification of site visitors you can have are those who make up the ‘see’ traffic. These are people browsing your site without the intention of buying anything.
Site visitors who are thinking whether to purchase or not make up the ‘think’ traffic.
The ‘do’ traffic is comprised of people who are in a buying position.
Of course, it is not enough that you channel all your marketing and SEO efforts to your site visitors in the ‘think’ category. You need to cater to the other two categories as well because the path to conversions is not very linear and it takes time.
Make sure that you incorporate the five must-haves in this SEO checklist to your strategy and check if your current checklist needs improvement.
It also helps to put yourself in your user’s’ shoes, experience your site yourself and ask the following questions:
- Is my site user-friendly?
- Is it easy to navigate?
- Are the steps to the shopping cart and checkout pages simple?
- Are the images and embedded videos loading well?
- Are my conversion buttons working?
- Does my site appear on the search results when I use my targeted keywords?
If you are unsure to any of these questions, re-check your SEO strategies. Anything you can improve can positively influence your conversion rates.
Take advantage of social media
Did you know that about 1 in 5 minutes of all digital media time is devoted on social media?
As social media use becomes more and more popular, its role in businesses is very obvious. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and even Snapchat can all help drive traffic to your site and in the process, convert that traffic to sales.
So, how to improve conversion rate using social media?
Practice link posting. Share links on your social media pages or always have a link with any type of media you are posting. Having specific links to your pages easily available saves your fans and followers time looking through the information they want to see.
Use high-conversion keywords in your posts as these can help generate more engagement from your fans than others. It can also double your social media traffic exposure and increase the effectiveness of your posts.
Examples of high-conversion keywords are ‘Tell Us’, ‘Like’, ‘Share’, ‘React’, ‘Deals’ and ‘Discounts’ for Facebook, ‘Retweet’ and ‘Follow’ for Twitter and ‘Discover’, Notifications’, ‘Like’ and ‘Comment’ on Instagram.
Use the right platform for a particular offer. Not all social media platforms are created equal and you need to align your promotions with the right channel.
Aside from being the easiest platform to use, Facebook can serve so many functions in promotions from one-to-one customer engagements to general community management. You can invite people to follow your business or share events with them.
Twitter is more suited for offering special promos to particular followers. It is a great platform to use if you want to nurture your followers’ loyalty through exclusivity.
Instagram can be used as an extension of your product catalogue as it caters more to the visual element of your business.
Aside from being creative with the promos you will run, be equally creative with the platform you will be using to spread it around.
Leverage on social media tools like Hootsuite and Buffer for scheduling your posts and Bitly to cut your links and track real-time activities such as clicks, reach, number of likes, comments, shares, retweets, replies and more.
Invest on listening tools as well to see how your business is performing on social. Although there are similar tools for free that can provide you with relevant insight, investing on it can be beneficial for your business in the long run.
Always be testing
There is no perfect ecommerce site that converts traffic constantly into sales. Hence, running several A/B tests is crucial to know what works on your site, what doesn’t and what needs to be improved.
Check out our ultimate split testing guide for ecommerce site for reference.
With data from your analytics tools and ecommerce heatmaps, decide on what you need to test on your site. It can be your headline, page layout, site navigation, promos, the size of your CTA buttons, photos, videos and the list goes on.
To arrive at conclusive results from your tests, use a reliable testing software.
It’s not enough to use a ecommerce conversion rate calculator to see if you are improving your numbers or not. You need to complement it with regular A/B testing, which are fast and easy to do. Once you have a winning page, build on it and keep testing your other pages. Track any small change you can see as it can eventually lead to substantial growth in the long run.
Invest on social proof
Social proof is a psychological phenomenon that plays a crucial role in website conversion optimization.
It is a widely used marketing strategy where people assume the actions of others as correct in a given situation. If a person experienced certain benefits from product X, then it is enough to assume for everyone to buy product X too.
Interestingly, social proof need not come from someone close to you as 70% of people will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know. With that, it is important you make social proof known and accessible on your ecommerce site to boost your conversion rates.
Product reviews are worth investing on. If 61% of customers read a product review first before purchasing anything, it should be enough reason to have it on your site.
Of course, if you want your product reviews to count, it has to come from real customers who honestly enjoyed your product or has something to say about it. Check out our guide on how to get product reviews for your business for practical tips. You can also ask your customers to set up an account on your site with a username and password before leaving a review for verification purposes.
Testimonials are also wise to have on your site. A testimonial is different from a review in the sense that a willing customer does not need to create an account and password with you to leave their good word.
When publishing testimonials on your site, make sure to include your customer’s name, company and other verifying features like a photo. Studies show that including supporting information add more credibility to a testimonial.
Social media reviews and blogs are great too as you can gain social proof outside your ecommerce site. Messages of validation, customer satisfaction and appreciation whether in the form of a published blog, a comment or a private message can go a long way in encouraging other people to purchase from you as well.
Aside from your customers helping you sell to other people, reviews allow you to validate the claims you have about your products. When your visitors see a good mix of what you have to say about the products you sell and what other people really think about it, it can encourage them to reach the end of your sales funnel.
There are many ways on how to improve conversion rate. To summarize, keep the following seven best practices in mind if you notice your high-volume traffic is not translating into sales:
- Make it a habit to track your numbers
- Lead potential customers to purchase pathways
- Track for bugs on your site
- Keep SEO a priority
- Leverage on social media marketing
- and social proof
- Test, test and test
What about you – what are your best conversion optimization practices and how do you stay ahead of the ecommerce race?