Improving conversion rates on Ecommerce sites is hard. If you haven’t already, read through my first post about conversion optimization prior to the checkout process.
Now that you know how to improve your chances of getting customers to actually add a product to the Shopping Cart, it’s time to learn how to make sure they convert. You aren’t out of the woods yet!
Persistent Shopping Carts
The Internet lets consumers take window-shopping to the next level. Unless you are an Amazon Prime consumer, you are likely to shop around a bit before making purchases. Price, shipping costs and time, sales, etc. all influence the online consumer’s ultimate buying decision.
While you can’t control what your competition is doing, you can ensure that customers remember your website and don’t have to go back and re-add their item/s to the cart. This is accomplished by setting up a persistent shopping cart. You will need to set up a cookie to remember the customer’s cart and display it when they return to your site, even if they do not have a registered account on your site.
Shopping Cart Abandonment
According to Business Insider, in 2015 there was approximately $4 trillion worth of merchandise abandoned in online shopping carts: an estimated 63% of that figure is recoverable. In recent years, shopping cart abandonment has grown from 69% in 2011 to 74% in 2015. This is clearly a huge problem for companies that survive off of sales from their website.
There are strategic steps sites can take to mitigate shopping cart abandonment. Here are a couple of the most important…
Cart Progress: This is a simple addition, but having a cart progress meter can help customers see how long the checkout progress will take them. If your customers can see exactly how many pages or forms they need to fill out, they are less likely to be dissuaded from following through. Of course, if your checkout process is lengthy, showing a progress meter could backfire on you…but that’s a separate issue you should be tackling!
Goal Funnels In Google Analytics: You should also set up a goal funnel in Google Analytics to get greater insight into where exactly people are dropping off in the process. After all, if you consistently see that people are dropping off when they have to fill in three forms on the same page, it may be a clue that there are too many forms on that page. To set up a goal funnel in GA, follow these steps:
- Login to Google Analytics, select the website you want to create a goal funnel for, go to the Admin tab, and select ‘Goals’ (under the View heading).
- Click on ‘New Goal.’
- Under ‘Template,’ under ‘Revenue,’ select ‘Place an order.’ Hit ‘Continue.’
- Make your goal type ‘Destination’ and hit ‘Continue.’
- Plug in your destination URL, which is the last page of your checkout process. Usually, this is a confirmation or Thank You page.
- Assign the conversion a value in $ (optional).
- Time to set up your funnel! Name the various pages of the checkout process and provide the URL for those pages. Make sure you include every page in the process to get the most accurate results. After that, create the Goal, and you are done.
Time To Check Out: If you haven’t yet gone through the checkout process yourself for your website, go do that now! Test to see how long it takes you from beginning to end. Anything over 5 minutes is going to be too long for most people, and if it takes more than 10 minutes? You can just forget about a large percentage of potential conversions. Identify what it is about your checkout process that is taking so long. Here are a couple of common issues:
- Your site takes too long to load. This was discussed in depth in Part 1, but it applies to your checkout pages too. If it takes too long to load and submit forms your customers will be frustrated and may abandon the cart entirely.
- You don’t give customers the option to use their billing address as their shipping address. It’s 2016 now. This kind of functionality is expected, and can be a big time saver. Nobody wants to retype their name and address if they can help it.
- You force people to register for a website account. There’s nothing wrong with asking people to sign up for account. Having a customer register for account allows you to market to them and improves the likelihood that they’ll return to your site. However, forcing people to register for an account can really turn first time buyers off on your website and tank your conversion rates.
- Instead, what you should do is offer customers the option to create an account without forcing them to do so. This helps ensure that one-time-only customers actually make a purchase, while still allowing for people to sign up if they want to. You can include a ‘Create a password’ field in the regular checkout process that isn’t required. You can send a followup email after the purchase with the option of registering then. Either of these solutions is better than forcing people to register
Customers like to have options, including options when it comes to making payments. The site should of course support all major credit/debit cards, but you should also consider adding PayPal support. After all, there were nearly 180 million active PayPal users in Q4 of 2015.
Who doesn’t love free, 1-day shipping? While this is likely a pipe dream for most sites to offer, shipping is an incredibly important piece of the conversion puzzle. A 2014 study by Walker Sands showed that 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product online if it comes with free shipping, and 66% more likely to purchase if offered 1-day shipping. If there is any way your business can afford free shipping and still remain profitable, go for it. Your conversion rate and volume of sales will likely increase, and one study back in 2011 showed that orders with free shipping have a greater average order value (by approximately 30%) than orders without free shipping.
Consumers also like to know exactly when they will be getting their package, so make sure to provide an estimated shipping date. If possible, allow your customers to track the status of their package online. UPS and FedEx both offer tracking services.
If all else fails and the customer abandons the cart, don’t forget about remarketing! You should be using remarketing in AdWords and Bing; definitely check out this great post about remarketing in Bing, and read up on Google AdWords remarketing here. Set up your shopping cart so that if it is abandoned after the email address has been entered in, you can send a follow-up email reminding them that they still have the product/s live in their shopping cart. This simple reminder may secure conversions that you would have otherwise lost.
I hope the information in these posts will help you to improve your conversion rates. Let me know in the comments if you have any other strategies or things you would look at to improve Ecommerce conversion rates.