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Your e-commerce conversion rate sucks, so do something about it

You’ve started a new e-commerce website, but your conversion rate sucks. Is it your product? Is your website broken? Or do you just need to improve your onsite marketing? I can’t tell you what’s wrong with your website, but I can give you some pointers on how to improve that conversion rate.

So here we go…

Add a review section to product pages

Your product is great, so why is nobody buying it? Well one of the reasons might be that you don’t have reviews on every product. The web is full of scam artists, and frauds. There are thousands of stories out there about how consumers have been screwed over by a dodgy website, and if you’re a new business you need to ensure you’re doing everything possible to ensure your customers feel safe and sound browsing your website. So naturally, one of the easiest ways to do that is to encourage reviews on all of your products. I wouldn’t normally say follow Amazon’s lead on anything, but when it comes to reviews, they set a good example. Every product page has a review section even stuff like this, and they even encourage users to upload their own images of products so people know what they’re really getting. If your product is good, then you have nothing to worry about!

 

Offer a great service and people will go out their way to say thank you. Naturally not everybody is going to be happy, but the majority rules. People want to see a good range of responses, not just some false looking reviews saying how much they love the product, so don’t be worried if you get some negative reviews. If your product is good enough to compete, the exceptional reviews will shine through. Another good example of product reviews is on Wayfair.

Sign up to Trustpilot

This is kind of a cheat, as it follows the same principle of the above. It’s about social proof. Whenever I shop somewhere new online, I always check them out on Trustpilot first. Yeah, it’s expensive but trust me if you’re selling online… it’s worth it. The other reason to encourage people to leave Trustpilot reviews, is it’s used as an indicator for Google. That’s because Trustpilot reviews are bloody hard to fake. If they think it’s fake they’ll ask for a customer number, date of purchase and screenshot of a receipt and then will remove it from their website if there’s no response from the reviewer within X number of days. Again, if you’ve got happy customers, then it’s a win-win (except for the sometimes extortionate costs).

Make sure your email marketing game is strong

As we’re all aware… email marketing campaigns can be a pain in the ass. Nobody likes their inbox being spammed. But, it’s still kind of an essential arm of your marketing arsenal.

The trouble with a lot of small e-commerce stores i’ve worked with in the past is they’re often owned by quite progressive thinking individuals who think they’re too cool to spam their user base every week. But the sad reality is, people WILL forget about you, that’s a fact. Joe, Jane and Jeremiah Doe don’t give a shit who you are half the time, they’re there because you’re cheaper, your closer, your website is better or you can deliver to them faster than anybody else. Think back to the number of times you’ve bought something online and forgot where you bought it from and never shopped there again, I bet it’s more often than you’d imagine. Email marketing is a great way of reminding your customer why they shopped with you in the first place. Companies like Zavvi have a strong email marketing game. They’re constantly sending you promotions, suggestions and they even send you discounts if you haven’t shopped with them for a while. Offer discounts, people bloody love discounts. I know it may seem like you’re just reducing your margins but the reality is, marketing is free and you need to factor these kinds of things into the cost of your products in order to have a sustainable business.

In saying all of that, don’t be one of those companies who does it daily. You’ll just piss the customer off and they’ll leave. Once or twice a month should be enough to keep their attention and remind them how great you are.

Add Social Login and Social Signup buttons

Humans are lazy, lazy creatures. And quite frankly we’re fed up of jumping through hoops to buy something from a store. If a store I’m already signed up for has the same product as you for a similar (or a couple of quid more) price, I’m going to forget about you and go with them. Nobody likes filling out forms… it’s boring. That’s why social logins are a godsend. They pull all the information from a customer’s social profile and transpose them onto your site. It means a pain-free sign-up profile for your user and means they’re more likely to return. The most important one for me is Google. I use my Google account for most online services, so if a website offers a ‘sign in using Google’ I’m going to use it.

So remove that barrier and allow users to sign-up in seconds.

Promote products on social media

Again with the social media! Social media is everywhere. Almost everybody uses social media (Fun fact Facebook has over 2.38 billion active users – that’s over 30% of the world population. Mental) so it’s essential you utilise it to promote your products to a wider market. Obviously it depends on the product you’re selling as to which social platform you utilise most, if at all. For example, If you’re selling b2b it’s not going to be as important as if you’re selling products to consumers.

If you’re selling products aimed at the professional, linked in is going to be your go to. Expand your network, post articles around your chosen industry and promote your website. Facebook Advertising can also be a powerful tool, it’s generally cheaper than using Adwords or Bing Ads, and gives you a good range of targeting options to narrow down who your ads get shown to.

If you’re selling fashion or lifestyle products, Instagram is your new home. Don’t just post photos of your products, you need to have real people (or models) wearing them, people on Instagram respond to real people. They go bat-shit for an influencer, so outreach to an influencer in your area and offer them a free product for a share or a photo.

Add abandoned cart functionality

One of my favourite Ecommerce tricks in the abandoned cart functionality. This allows you to track the users who leave your site during the cart process. This is a huge win for you. People generally leave carts because they’ve had second thoughts about buying that particular product… or they have been hit with a postage cost they didn’t expect. Use this to your advantage. A good abandoned cart system will automatically email a user a few hours after they left your site. The best technique is to offer them a small discount or coupon for free delivery to encourage them to come back to your site and finish the transaction. This works in a massive percentage of cases. I love getting abandoned cart emails. The customer is happy because they’ve got themselves a personalised bargain… and you’re happy because you have your sale. Everybody wins. But remember, factor these discounts into your product costs before you start.

DO NOT HIDE FEES LIKE YOUR SHIPPING COSTS

Following on from the previous point… NEVER… and I mean NEVER hide your pricing. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve personally gone to order something then been hit by unexpected shipping costs when I’ve got to the checkout. It’s a major buzz-kill for your customer and more often than not they’ll be so pissed off, they’ll leave. So always be as up front about shipping your shipping costs as possible, offer a shipping calculator on page if necessary.

Another similar point, is if you’re selling b2c, always include VAT in the price of the product, and don’t stick it on at checkout. That’s only OK if you’re selling b2b.

So that’s all I’ve got for tonight, but I’ll be adding to this post as time goes on.

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