There’s no question about it: increasing your checkout conversion rate is the number one task you can do to grow your business' profits.
But how do you go about it?
There are dozens, if not hundreds of ways to get more ecommerce conversions. Go ahead and make a Google search; you will be overwhelmed by the options available.
Today, we don’t want to do another mashup of tactics so you get even more confused.
Instead, we’re going to give you five proven recommendations that have worked for other online retailers and that you can easily copy today.
Want to take a look? Let’s get started.
Tactic 1. Use guarantees to cut through objections
Every consumer goes through the same buying process:
- They find they have a problem
- They become interested in a solution
- They research different solutions
- They purchase the one that’s best for their problem
From all of these steps, the last one is perhaps the most easily overlooked. Digital marketers often focus on attracting large volumes of visitors; that’s what SEO, paid advertising, and content marketing is all about.
However, turning an interested visitor into a customer takes persuasive skills that usually copywriters and salespeople have.
The main difference between the two groups is that the latter know how to handle objections — the reasons why a prospect wouldn’t buy.
One way that they do so is through the use of guarantees.
As you surely know, a guarantee is a statement or promise wherein the seller will compensate the buyer if the latter doesn’t like the product.
For your buyers, a guarantee is the proof that your business stands by its products; it means it has “skin in the game.”
There are different types of guarantees your business can offer, which vary by their compensation method and the buyer’s value perception:
Money-back: Your business refunds the buyer if they don’t like their purchase. It proves your business is confident in the quality of its products.
Best-price: Your business refunds the difference between the buyer’s price for a product they bought from you and the same one they saw in another store. It proves that your company sells the lowest-priced products in the market.
Lifetime: Your business will refund the buyer throughout the customer, product, or manufacturer’s lifetime.
Try-before-you-buy: Your business allows a customer to test a product for a certain time without buying it.
As a rule of thumb, any guarantee is better than no guarantee. However, make sure to research your industry standard and what the customer values the most.
For example, UK-based watch retailer Express tested changing their “price guarantee” stamp with an “authorized dealer” stamp on product pages 👇
Considering that luxury watch buyers aren’t price sensitive (this is due to luxury watches ranging from a thousand to tens of thousands of dollars), the test version saw a 107% jump in sales compared to the control version.
Bottom line? If you’re a retailer in a luxury segment, or if you’re selling on platforms like eBay or Amazon, an authenticity guarantee may be a more powerful tactic to help increase your ecommerce conversion rate.
Tactic 2. Minimize distractions
No one likes to part with their money. But once a buyer decides to do so, the last thing a seller should do is get in the way.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the customer information, the payment, or the delivery pages (and god forbid an account sign-up/login page); the customer should be able to add their information and finish the purchase quickly.
There’s a principle copywriters use called “the most wanted action,” which states that every page has one goal.
Do you want a customer to sign up, add more products to their carts, and share your product pages with their friends? Sure. But the average buyer, especially the first-time one, doesn’t care about any of that.
Following the basic four-step process mentioned in the previous step, you could separate your pages into three groups:
- Pages that educate about the problems buyers have and potential solutions — let’s call them “educational pages.”
- Pages that show the different solutions you offer — these are your “product pages.”
- Pages that allow a buyer to complete a purchase — we’ll call these “checkout pages.”
Each page type must fulfill its one goal. Anything else can (and should) be deleted from the page. Get the buyer’s attention to what they need to do, and get out of the way.
Does it work in practice? It sure does. Consider the case of Taloon, a Finnish hardware brand that increased its ecommerce conversion rates by 11.9% by simply removing social buttons from product pages.
Tactic 3. Let consumers personalize their shopping experience
Personalization will increase your conversions. It’s not just a statement, but a fact proved by several studies:
- SmarterHQ found that 72% of shoppers only act on marketing messages when customized to their interests.
- Epsilon found that 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase when brands offer personalized experiences.
- Evergage found that 55% of marketers see the highest benefits of personalization on their visitor’s engagement and customer experience, and 51% on their conversion rates.
Ecommerce personalization may seem like an afterthought, but with all the fanfare it gets, what does it really mean to personalize a shopping experience?
Such a broad question can lead to an equally broad answer, but to give you an idea, ecommerce personalization means:
- Showing a product or landing page that adapts to the visitor’s information taken in the “pre-click” stage. For example, running Facebook ads to Michigan residents and adding the keyword “Michigan” to the product/landing page.
- Suggesting similar products to the ones the customer has bought. For example, Amazon’s below-the-fold suggestions.
- Sending an email based on a customer's past behavior. For example: sending an abandoned cart email to people who, well, abandoned their carts.
To create a tailored (personalized) shopping experience, you need data; the more, the better. You can extract most of this data from tools you already know and use like Google Analytics, Heap, Mixpanel, and Clicky.
Email marketing platforms such as ActiveCampaign, Klaviyo, and SendX can also take your existing visitor data taken from your ecommerce platform and use it to create post-purchase emails, abandoned cart emails, and so on.
Data enrichment tools like FullContact and Clearbit are other options that provide further data from your subscriber’s email address.
You can also use a tool like Getsitecontrol to conduct surveys and extract detailed information about your visitors. Even though this approach may only work on a small segment of your visitor’s base, the data you can extract will be priceless.
Finally, you can add a price filter to help customers personalize their experience and minimize the number of products to look through. A generic price filter looks like this 👇
As a store owner, you can recreate it in Getsitecontrol even without a developer. All you need to do is assign product collection URLs to each button on the template.
Price filters have proven to be surprisingly efficient. A Romanian-based watch retailer Watchshop saw a 74.51% conversion rate increase and an 81.52% revenue-per-visitor uplift after implementing one. Not too shabby for such a simple tactic.
Tactic 4. Show customer reviews
Who doesn’t love customer reviews?
Unlike product descriptions, written by marketers, in the eyes of consumers, reviews are honest, relevant, and believable.
No matter how much we as marketers like to talk about our capacity to persuade people with our copy, a product page can’t be considered as finished if it doesn’t have customer reviews in it. After all, 94% of consumers trust online reviews to make informed purchases (the same principle applies for negative reviews, except that they disincentivize purchases).
Think about them this way: your product pages are your (biased) vision of reality, whereas your customer reviews are reality.
Their product photos are imperfect and often poor quality, and their words are unpolished and raw; that’s what customers want. Even after you have broken every prospect’s objection, they want to see what the product is like IRL.
Customer reviews are another proof that your company has skin in the game; you are so confident that your product is great that you even let your customer speak for you.
Take Compass Coffee: customer reviews take up to 30% of their product page space 👇
Create an email sequence that emails your customers 15 to 30 days after purchase to add a review. Consider giving them an incentive to write a review, like a coupon, to show that you value their time and increase the chances that they will follow through.
This is what such an email may look like, according to Yotpo:
Want more proof of how efficient reviews can be? Then read the case study by HeartS, a supplement retailer. They tested adding customer reviews to their affiliate marketing and Facebook ads funnels. The result led to a 30% and a 110% increase in conversion rates, respectively.
They even tested adding Amazon-style customer reviews, and they increased their purchase conversion rate by 40%, leading to additional revenue of $3,706.
Tactic 5. Offer free shipping to lower objections
Shipping costs are one of the largest reasons why people abandon their carts. Take a look at these stats:
- 49% of shoppers abandon their carts because of extra costs, including shipping. (Baymard)
- 9 out of 10 shoppers are motivated to shop online when free shipping is offered. (Walker Sands)
- 83% of customers are willing to wait an additional two days for delivery if shipping is free. (ComScore & UPS)
Pretty much every ecommerce marketer knows how important free shipping is, which explains why it has become so prevalent in the industry. However, free shipping comes with one big issue: if the free shipping threshold is not properly analyzed, it can destroy profit margins unnecessarily.
We suggest you offer free shipping, but only to those shoppers who are on the fence about purchasing and need an extra “nudge.” That includes offering it to:
- Past customers
- Past customers with high profitability
- Purchases that have met a minimum order value
- Members of your loyalty program
Alternatively, you can offer free shipping for specific products, during promotions, and only for specific shipping methods (e.g., ground shipping).
To use free shipping properly, you must take your average profit margin per sale — say $40 — and discount from it the average shipping cost.
If the latter is already too large — say $35 — you will need to define a larger order value whose profit margin won’t be affected by the free shipping discount.
Alternatively, you can add your shipping costs to the order and position them not as a “fee” but as a part of the sale price. For example, for a $25 product whose shipping cost is $5, add that latter to the former and name it “$25 + FREE shipping” on the checkout page.
To spice things up a little, you can use a dynamic text replacement feature and tell customers how much they have left to spend to get free shipping. This is what it may look like 👇
Heartland Bread, a Texas-based bakery, tested the power of free shipping to see if it could help them increase sales. Before they made free shipping part of the sales price, they had an average of five sales per week — some 20 to 40 loaves, with its customers paying between $8 to $12 for shipping, depending on the number of loaves and the destination.
When they increased their prices by $2.00 and offered free shipping with a $28 order threshold, the company scaled its sales to 100 to 300 per week.
These five tactics shown here will surely increase your conversion rate. However, we want to close this article by reminding you that the ultimate goal shouldn’t be to spike your checkout conversion rate by a few percentage points (although we all know that feels great when it happens!).
To boost your conversion rate, you need to put yourself in the shoes of your customers. What do they need to finish their purchase? Is it a guarantee? Is it a leaner checkout experience? Is it free shipping?
If you need help with that, run a survey and ask them what’s stopping them from making (or finishing) a purchase. Otherwise, test any of the five tactics shown here and see how effective they are for yourself.
Ivan Kreimer is a freelance content writer for hire who creates educational content for SaaS businesses like Leadfeeder and Campaign Monitor. In his pastime, he likes to help people become freelance writers. Besides writing for smart people who read sites like Getsitecontrol, Ivan has also written in sites like Entrepreneur, MarketingProfs, TheNextWeb, and many other influential websites.
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