While also running 3 businesses of his own, David writes super helpful content to help businesses better navigate the uncharted territory of the web to rapidly increase profits and sales
Many marketers and e-commerce business owners think that the goal to riches lies solely upon increasing website traffic.
"If we can increase our traffic by 25% this quarter, surely our sales will increase in correlation."
After all, more visits = more sales right?
Upon closer inspection you notice that despite your record level of visitors, your sales have remained quite flat.
Newsflash: You have a massive conversion problem and it's staring you right in the face.
Your website needs a good lick of conversion rate optimization, so fasten your seat-belt and pay attention. Here are 7 e-commerce CRO hacks that'll transform your ecommerce store into a money-making machine.
1. Recover Abandoned Carts
It is thought that around 70 percent of shoppers abandon their cart before completing a purchase.
Having a customer enter your site and add items to their cart only to exit without purchasing anything can be extremely frustrating.
After all the hard work of attracting the potential customer, they change their minds right at the last hurdle.
Adding an item to the cart shows serious "buyer's intent".
So it’s crucial to ensure that these potential customers follow through with the purchase.
Here are a couple of things you could do to reduce shopping cart abandonment on your ecommerce store immediately.
Email Abandonment Tools
There are many tools which help you close more sales by sending carefully-timed marketing messages to visitors who abandoned their shopping cart.
Rejoiner is one of the standout email abandonment tools which allow you to create, send and personalize email campaigns. You can send emails which trigger on a set number of days (e.g. 4 days) after a cart was abandoned.
For example, if a customer abandoned their cart on Monday. You could send an automated email campaign in 3 days time to encourage the visitor to complete their checkout.
In addition to integrating right into your eCommerce store, you can track visitor activity to intercept abandoned carts the moment a user enters their email address.
This allows you to send “browse” email campaigns, which help move prospective customers further along the buyer’s journey leading to higher conversions and more sales.
Google and Facebook Remarketing Ads
Remarketing should be a huge part of your marketing strategy to capture past website visitors and convert them into customers. Research shows that on average, people need to be exposed to your product or service 7 times on average, before fully committing to making a purchase.Research also shows that visitors you’ve had past engagements with are much more likely to convert into paying customers, opposed to visitors who’ve discovered you for the very first time.This is because they’re further down the sales funnel compared to a fresh lead and thus will be more receptive to your product offering.
To get started ensure you have a Google and Facebook tracking pixel installed on your website. This code monitors activity on your website and allows you to create custom audiences for you to show ads to.
A simple tip to maintain good conversion rates via paid ads is to exclude those who’ve already seen your ads. This might sound like a no-brainer, but it’s so easy to ignore and can make a huge difference.
Not only will you save valuable marketing dollars, but you’ll also avoid frustration from those who’ve already bought your offer.
2. Make Your Add to Cart Buttons Sticky
Your add-to-cart and checkout buttons are arguably your most important elements across your entire website. Why not design them in a way which encourages the user to click on them.
Make them sticky
The goal here is to have your add-to-cart buttons scroll alongside your visitor, so they'll never miss it.
To make this happen, get your developer to add this line of CSS code to your add-to-cart and checkout areas.
By designing your call-to-action buttons in this way, you're helping potential customers help you.
You may be thinking... "they only need to scroll up for 3 seconds to see the add to cart button."
True. But by making it super-easy for them to order, they'll be more compelled to.
Remember the goal is all about improving the user experience (UX).
When you're trying to increase your conversion rates, every little helps.
In other words, don't hesitate to test the small (big) things. They could very well be the difference between making some healthy profit this month.
3. Exit-Intent Popups
Exit-intent popups are boxes which appear with an offer as the user moves their cursor towards the top or exit of their web browser.
Popups are like mushrooms, you either love them or you hate 'em. Unfortunately popups have gained a poor rep due to marketers using them to harass visitors online.
Ask anyone and they'll tell you:
"They're annoying, sleazy, virus-ridden boxes designed by marketers to trap you into giving up your credit card information! Avoid!"
However, when done right, popups are a smart device that can dramatically increase the conversion rates of your e-commerce store.
Think of exit-intent popups as a last-ditch attempt to convince a potential customer why they should follow through with their order.
Create popups which encourage users to finish their checkout. Perhaps you could offer 10% off for first-time customers, free shipping or next-day delivery if they order within a certain time-period (Amazon are great at this!)
Be clever, not insulting
Use popups with caution and don't be insulting - otherwise you might just ruin a potential customer's shopping experience resulting in abysmal conversion rates.
4. Allow Customers to Review Your Products
Your customers are your very best salespeople.
They understand your product better than you do, because they're living with the problem your product solves every day.
Capitalize on a one-two "referral marketing" knockout punch, by allowing your customers to leave reviews on your product pages.
Fact: You can't claim that your moisturizing shampoo works effectively on Afro-american women. But your customers can leave a 5 star review letting others know that it does.
You've just made sales, and/or reduced the chance of a future refund.
Research shows that people value the opinions of friends when buying a product above everything else.
Even better, place a badge or medal next to commentators who are "verified" purchasers of your product. Their reviews are seen as a mark of trust and affect the buying decisions of potential customers far more greatly than unverified reviewers.
Doing this solves two problems.
1. Prevents spammers from writing terrible fake reviews
2. Helps your existing customers convert more customers for you
5. Simplify Your Checkout Process/Pages
Having a convoluted checkout process is a surefire way to turn your ecommerce store into a leaky bucket. When creating your checkout pages ask yourself the following:
"What information or elements does the customer need, to complete the sale?"
Only include elements which aid the buyer's journey. Everything else is a distraction.
For example, replace your usual navigation bar with a sleek progress bar that tells customers how many steps are left to complete an order.
By removing all links which point to other pages on the site, you're helping your customers to focus on nothing but completing their order.
Allow your customers to shop as a guest
The first is dismantling the idea that you must force your customer to register an account before making a purchase.
Having data from customers’ accounts is great, but this demand often leads to a potential customer abandoning their cart.
Around 90% of people leave a website when they are asked to create a new account.Of course you want the analytics, but you also want the sales!
It’s about striking that perfect balance.
And one way to do so is by offering the customer the option to checkout as a guest, as well as the option to create an account.
You want to make the customer experience hassle-free. Essentially, when it comes to checking out and paying you, the customer should have to spend as little time as possible.
This is why your website must be user-friendly.
Have a feature that allows your customer to automatically use their shipping address as their billing address, rather than having to type the same address once more.
Also, it’s a great idea to offer more than one method of payment, such as PayPal or Google Wallet.
Finally, gain trust by alleviating security concerns.
Explicitly state your shipping policies, contact information, and your return policies. This, with the addition of “trust logos” (logos from well-established, third-party brands) can give your customers confidence in your services.
Use Multi-step Forms to Triple Your Conversion Rates
Research shows that using multi-step forms can increase conversions by up to 300%!
Think about it. Would you rather fill in a checkout page with 15 fields on one page, or 5 fields per page.
At first glance, a checkout page with 15 fields looks very daunting. Especially if most of them appear below the fold.
By splitting up your checkout forms, your customers are forced to make micro-commitments which encourage them to finish their order.
The first micro-commitment could be filling in their first name, last name and email address.
Segmenting your checkout pages in this way allows you to identify and fix cart abandonment issues early on.
How? Imagine, a customer reaches your checkout form, completes the first step but fails to complete their order.
With a multi-step form, you could setup an email automation campaign which triggers as soon as this event occurs.
The email would be written to encourage and remind the customer to complete their order.
With a single-step form however, you're stuck. The information a visitor entered will be lost and they would have to start the checkout process again (if they decide to come back).
6. Write Detailed Benefit-Driven Product Descriptions
What is the first and biggest difference of making a purchase at a brick-and-mortar store and at an online store? You don't get to see the product before you buy it.
You cannot hold the product in your own hands, inspect it in any angle to your liking, or read that tiny description box on its packaging.
Customers need to know exactly what they're paying for; they hate requesting refunds as much as you hate processing them.
Therefore, having detailed product descriptions which describe how it adds value to their life (benefits over features) is perhaps the most important part of your product pages.
Don’t be lazy by simply telling them what materials were used to make the product. Your customers honestly don’t care.
Here's an easy formula to follow to write product descriptions that convert:
[Paragraph(s) of benefit-driven prose] + [Bulleted list of Specifications]
This is a common formula seen in loads of online retail websites.
The key to writing a compelling product description is to find a way to include the most essential information without it sounding boring.
Even if you are selling technical products and need to include all the dull but crucial details, your descriptions should make it easy for anyone to know how it improves their life.
Here are two ideas for making your product descriptions easy and fun to read:
Use Storytelling to Describe Facts
Writing in a creative manner can establish a voice or personality for your brand and also make those boring bullet points more readable.
Customers would most definitely enjoy reading about the passion behind your product rather than cold and calculating facts.
The sky's the limit when it comes to creativity, so better get your gears turning!
Include Images/Icons/Graphics to Replace Words
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. That is very true in this case.
See how easy it is to understand the bullet points if paired with a picture. You might not even have to read the text beneath to get to know the product features.
Moreover, designing your icons or including specific images can also help define your brand, so, despite the hassle, it would be a win-win situation for you and your customers.
7. Take Many High-Quality Product Images
This isn't exactly a hack, but it's often neglected. People are drawn towards objects, scenery and people that are pleasing to look at.
The photo of the product is the first visual impression for a potential customer, and you know what they say about first impressions. A poor quality photo can allude to a poor quality product.
I can't tell you how many times I've decided against buying a product due to poor imagery.
It's just like online dating. You could have the best profile in the world, but if your pictures are in sub-HD, grainy or with poor lighting - you're going to struggle to gain attention.
Running an ecommerce store is no different. Pretty pictures matter.
An indistinct picture raises suspicion. Why are you hiding what the product looks like? Is there something wrong with it? These questions naturally come to mind when the photo isn’t clear.
Take photos of your product in many different angles.
Take it to the next level by having product videos. Research has shown that products with video content, drives conversions through the roof.
If a picture can tell a thousand words, then a video can say so much more.
Videos of your product being used in a real setting allow you to dictate how a potential customer will envision your product in their hands. A sharp and well-edited video can really push a potential customer over the edge.
Perhaps the most important tip I can share with you today is to test everything.
Following CRO best practice is a good place to start, but it won't be enough when sales and traffic start to dip.
The reason why stores like Amazon, Ebay and Etsy have become juggernaughts is because they don't solely rely on CRO best practice. They test anything and everything, until they have empirical data which enables them to make smart, informed business decisions.