Recently, our CEO Craig Smith and the team at VWO partnered to create a webinar for marketers that are hoping to increase the conversion rate on their websites.
Using information collected by real-world tests and experiments we performed with our clients, we compiled a list of current best practices backed by accurate statistics and case studies.
While these recommendations worked for our clients, it’s important to remember that works for one company may not work for another. Proper optimization requires A/B testing to identify the practices that work best for your website experience. However, we believe these are some of the best places for most websites hoping to increase their eCommerce conversion rate.
1. Remove Checkout Distractions
There are a million reasons for your customer to bounce before they convert, many are out of your control, but some of them aren’t. Are distractions on your checkout page preventing customers from completing the sale?
Including banners or links to other pages can distract customers, sending them away from checkout before they complete the purchase. With this sporting goods retailer, we optimized the header and reduced the alternative paths customers had on the checkout screen, resulting in a 15% increase in conversion.
Not only does the page look cleaner, but it helped increase revenue noticeably.
Everything your business can do to make the sales process easier for your customers can contribute to an increase in your conversions. One potential point of frustration in the checkout experience is the time it takes to fill out shipping and billing information.
Implementing Autofill is one way to improve this process. While it may only save a few seconds, it can have a significant impact on conversion rate.
For example, we used the tool Zippopotam.us to autofill the city and state on the form after customers entered their zip code on a client’s checkout page. This simple change increased their overall conversion rate by 7.8%.
Conversion optimization comes down to the little things. A few seconds can earn, or cost you thousands more in sales annually.
3. Utilize Checkout Boxes
Amazon dominates eCommerce. Even if you offer products that are exclusive to your company, it’s likely that your average customer also shops at Amazon. You can take advantage of this by updating your checkout design so if feels familiar to anyone who made a purchase at the eCommerce giant.
This familiarity will help reduce confusion, and you can also take advantage of the research Amazon puts into design optimization. They are large enough to run complex A/B testing, and by mimicking them, you can take advantage of their findings without paying for the optimization software yourself.
One change, Amazon implemented that performs well is the addition to a checkout box in the cart. This preview allows customers to see their expected shipping before they have to enter billing information. When we implemented this on our client’s website, they saw a 4% increase in conversion. For them, that translated to over 1mm in annualized additional revenue.
What happens when your customer adds an item to the cart? Unless you take them to their checkout cart immediately, many customers can forget about the products they added, or that they added anything at all. On the other hand, taking a customer directly to checkout can reduce the number of items they add to their card.
We tested variations of what to offer shoppers when they added something to their cart and discovered that the most effective method was an overlay. The dialogue box gave them the option of proceeding to checkout or continue shopping.
When we implemented this overlay for one of our eCommerce clients, it increased the conversion rate by 20%.
5. A/B Test Category Filters
Many eCommerce specialists spend a lot of time thinking about their site navigation. The goal is to help your users get to the right pages and products they need while showing them as many relevant products as possible.
Our client used checkboxes that allowed customers to search for products in every category on their site. We wanted to test what would happen if we limited search, so we created an experiment that changed the search from checkboxes to drop down menus that only offered appropriate options.
The results were dramatic, with the condensed search option increasing PDP views by 30 percent, moving the customers deeper into the funnel.
We can’t emphasize this enough: the more you distract your customers during the buying process, the more your conversion rate is going to suffer.
Reducing the number of buttons, text, and links will give your checkout page a simple, visually appealing experience. In some cases, optimizing the color you use on the page can help as well. For one of our clients, simplifying the page and making the purchase button a high-contrast green lead to a 20% increase in conversion rate.
7. Optimize for Re-Orders
One common trend that we’re seeing with retailers like Amazon is the option to re-order supplies automatically. Customers need to buy some supplies, such as cat food or shampoo, regularly. Automatic re-ordering makes them less likely to go to a competitor when they need to replenish their supplies.
While automatic re-ordering might be beyond the capabilities of your site, optimizing your website for returning purchases can lead to an increase in overall conversions.
For our test, we added a cookie to customer’s browsers when they completed a purchase. When they returned to the site, we presented them with past orders and a streamlined buying process. Our client saw an 8% increase in conversions as a result.
Even as your customers fill out their credit card information and prepare to convert, they may still have doubts about completing the sale. Will the product arrive on time? Will it be right? Will it be broken? Is your store trustworthy? Adding trust signals to your checkout process can help them overcome these doubts and fears and finalize their purchase.
These trust signals might be endorsements by professional business organizations like the Better Business Bureau or a Google Trusted Stores banner. A guarantee on shipping or an average rating from a third party review site can dramatically improve completion rate. One client saw a nine percent life in their conversions just by utilizing them.
9. Avoid Analysis Paralysis
For example, one website presented customers with warranty, shipping, and add-on options all within the buy box on the PDP. This lead to confused customers, who couldn’t figure out what they had added or if they had added the items correctly.
By simplifying the buy box and presenting the options only after they went to check out, conversion increased. In fact, that particular client saw a 25 percent increase in items added to the cart and a 20 percent increase in the overall conversion rate.
Optimizing around completed sales is only the beginning. What should you do if a customer goes to leave your site without buying? Recapturing customers who already left the sales funnel is another way your website can improve its conversion rate.
Once you have basic exit prevention overlays in place, start personalizing them to what the customer is buying and tailor promotions to their intent. For one client, tailored overlays lead to an 11 percent total conversion increase.
Never Stop Testing
Often, clients end up overthinking the conversion process. By taking a step back and making the purchase path clearer and easier, you’re setting yourself up for more conversions and more revenue in the new year.
Conversion optimization should be an ongoing process with your business. Even small changes, like making your buy button green or auto filling a customer’s address, can lead to measurable improvements in your bottom line.
If you’re interested in learning more about our testing process, get in touch. We’ll help you optimize your website to increase sales and customer satisfaction.