14 innovative ideas for improving your ecommerce conversion rates

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Have a great product you’re selling online, but not getting the conversion rates you’d hoped for? Whether it’s getting the basics right, or mixing it up with new ideas, it’s important to understand that it’s not a straight clear cut win for any product.

#1. Offer Live Chat

Offering live chat may not be possible for every business, but larger ecommerce retailers should seriously consider it. Live chat offers customers the same bonus that shopping instore does – the bonus of real-time customer service and support. Live chat can help guide your customers through enquiries, upgrades, upsells, billing and delivery issues, returns or email capture, thus it is a fantastic tool for improving customer satisfaction and conversions.

#2. Write Comprehensive Product Descriptions

Product descriptions can help a customer make a purchasing decision. For best results, focus your product descriptions around the benefits to the customer not only the features.

#3. Use Simple Captchas

Captchas are becoming increasingly important in terms of security, but captchas that are difficult to interpret place a huge barrier in the way of sales. If you must use captchas, use simple captchas that are easy to interpret. Failing to do so can cause a huge spike in abandoned shopping carts.

#4. Create product videos

Research shows that product videos can increase sales by up to 144 percent! Videos add an extra level of reality than pictures can, helping increase the customers’ trust levels with your brand.

#5. Encourage Customer Reviews and Ratings

Customer reviews and ratings are the word of mouth advertising of the online world. Encourage all your customers to leave reviews and ratings. The more reviews and ratings you have (as long as they are positive) the more you are likely to see sales increase.

#6. Create Personalised Recommendations

Sometimes customers aren’t exactly sure what they’re looking to buy, or they don’t land on the ideal product page immediately. If you have encouraged people who have shopped with you before to register their details, then you can create personalised recommendations for them based on previous products they have bought. When dealing with new customers, you can present them with recommendations based on your top-selling products or products with the highest ratings.

#7. Display Security Badges

Utilising & displaying third-party audit badges is a great way to let your customers know that it is safe to enter personal information or credit card details.

#8. Communicate Your Privacy Policy

Your privacy policy should be highly visible on your website. If your site uses cookies this should be displayed in the header or footer of your site. Similarly, if you have an email sign-up form, take the time to reassure your users that their details will not be shared with third parties.

#9. Offer a Variety of Payment Options

A variety of payment options should be offered on your site to ensure that customers can pay in the method they’d prefer. Some of the most popular payment options that you should include are PayPal, Stripe, Amazon Payments, Visa and Mastercard. An alternative payment method that is gaining in popularity is BitCoin. This may also be worth considering.

#10. Consider Free Shipping

Shipping costs are one of the biggest factors that determine whether a customer will follow through with their purchase or not. 28 per cent of online shoppers will abandon their cart if the shipping costs are too high. In addition, according to Forrester Research, 75 per cent of customers will abandon their purchase if they can find the same product at another retailer that offers free, two or three-day, expedited shopping.

#11. Sales-Friendly Returns Policy

It’s just a fact that not everything someone buys online will meet their expectations once it is delivered. This is especially true for clothing retailers. Thus, having reasonable and fair returns policies and communicating these clearly is necessary for ecommerce. According to research, up to 66 per cent of customers read returns policies before making a purchase, so ensure that your returns policies are convenient and accessible.

#12. Test Your Checkout Process

Have you ever been trying to make an online purchase but the site keeps crashing or returning error messages. There’s nothing more infuriating. Make sure you test your checkout process on a regular basis to make sure everything is working smoothly.

#13. Improve Your Site Speed

The slightest delay in page load speeds can significantly affect your conversion rates. Each application or piece of video content you have on your site can slow your site down. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use apps or video content, but you do need to be aware of your site’s performance. Consider running your website through Google PageSpeed Insights. It will scan your site and offer recommendations for improving site speed.

#14. Optimise Site for Mobile

Research by Custora found that one third of all holiday ecommerce purchases made in 2013 were performed on a smartphone. In the three years since, mobile use has skyrocketed so this figure will be much higher now. Not having a mobile ecommerce site is just plain business suicide.

As I hope you can see, ecommerce purchasing decisions are not just a matter of chance that you have no control over. There are lots of factors that have been proven to drive and improve ecommerce conversion rates that the business owner has full control over. The question is, are you willing to do the work to incentivise customer purchases?

Luke Chaffey is a Digital Marketing Specialist with KBB Digital. For advice on Digital Marketing, including SEO services and Digital Strategy, visit www.kbbdigital.com.au

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Luke Chaffey
Luke Chaffey is a senior member of the KBB Digital team, and heads up the search marketing division. With a keen eye on innovation and developing digital trends, Luke regularly attends the Google Partners Masterclass, and is also a prolific writer for websites such as Yahoo, The Australian Government (Digital Business sector), Kochie’s Business Builders, Smarter.Digital, KBB Digital.