Whether it’s the ambient lighting, soft music, luxurious wall hangings or dynamic product merchandising, there are certain elements when you walk into a shop that entice you to spend.
Even though websites cannot boast these features (it’s really just a buyer, a web browser and your website), there are features that you can include to encourage visitors to make online transactions.
Below are the first 5 tips to help optimise an eCommerce website and turn more online browsers into buyers. We will go through the next 5 tips next week.
1. Know your customers, know your website
The people that ensure the profitability of your website are your customers. That’s why knowing your customers intimately can help you customise your website to appeal to them (and their pockets).
To help you understand what’s needed for your website, start by building a persona for each of your customers and by asking these questions. Who are they? Are they new mothers, do-it-yourselfers, tweens, keen golfers, people working in large multi-national corporations, lawyers or insurance agents? What informs their decision making process when they are buying your product or service? What affects their behaviour? Do they make an emotional or a rational decision? The answers to all these questions can help you understand the triggers that induce them to spend.
The easiest way to learn about your customer is by talking to them. You can use online polls or surveys or by picking up the phone. Once you understand who your customers are, you can start to work out the requirements for your new eCommerce website, or the improvements to make to an existing one.
2. Learn from your competitors
To take a leaf out of the secret shopper’s handbook, you can spy on your competitors, documenting and learning the tricks that make their online business successful. For example, Amazon.com is the acknowledged leader in online retail and their website regularly converts above 15% of all visits into shoppers. So it wouldn’t surprise anyone if other book and music retailers have referred to Amazon as an inspiration for their own websites.
Beyond Amazon.com, you can also make a list of your direct and indirect competitors. Whether they’re big players or the average online start up, visit their websites and document what they do well and what could be improved. You’re sure to pick up some tips to help you avoid the mistakes an eCommerce website novice would normally make.
3. Make it easy to buy
Make sure you offer a buying experience that addresses your customer’s concerns. And most of the time, it’s about ease. Whether their concerns are about the shipping policy, product guarantee, the return policy or the security of payment options, they want their doubts answered in the most efficient, effective and upfront way possible. If your online customers have any remaining doubts, they’re really still miles away from the online check out. So aim to answer these common questions in relation to your product or service.
Another way to make it easy for your customers to buy is to provide multiple ways to find your products or services on your website. If they are known by different names, then call them by the different names. You can offer a site search to help customers find what they are looking for easily.
4. Swift Checkout
Research by comScore shows that 67% of online shopping carts are abandoned at check out. Especially when online shopping is stripped of the ‘feel-good’ factor of making a purchase in a physical store (such as seeing and touching the product, the shop ambience, the friendly customer service and the satisfaction of leaving for home with the purchase), what’s left is just a transaction. So it better be swift. For swift checkout processes, you can look to tools such as Paypal Express Checkout to help you do just that.
5. Be relevant
It sounds simple, and it often is. Offer your customers what they are looking for. That’s why relevance is key, as it is one of the most important attributes of a successful and profitable website.
One way to establish relevance is to make sure your product categorisation makes sense to your customers. If you have a page about a particular range of products then show only that range. If you are advertising in search engines, make sure your landing pages are relevant to the offer.
Also look to your website statistics for an indication of the keywords people are using to find your website. Look at the webpages which have a high exit rate and deduce where these visitors have come from, in order for you to make changes to that webpage or to the overall direction of your website.
Being relevant may not immediately or directly impact your online takings, but it’s been demonstrated that a targeted website experience can dramatically improve sales conversion and profitability.
Relevance + Targeted website experience = profitability
Need help with your website?
Whether you are building your first website or upgrading your current website, we can take the hassle and expense out of the whole process. Talk to a Melbourne IT eBusiness Consultant about our Done-For-You, Do-it-yourself or eCommerce website packages. Request a FREE Website Design Quote. Call 1300 654 677.
Top 10 online retailers by conversion rate,
www.marketingcharts.com, January 2009.