7 Guaranteed Ways To Improve Your Sales & Conversion Rates

Written by Jon on 25th April 2016

If you’re running an ecommerce website you will be aware that getting customers to your website is only half the battle; once you have the customer then you need to entice them to stay and purchase.

There are a number of features and functionality that can be implemented to increase sales and are ‘nice to haves’, however the following list includes absolute must haves with no exceptions. If you’re missing one off the list, cancel lunch and get started!

1. Quick Load Time

As a general rule if your website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, then it is very possible you’re losing customers; there are various studies out there which indicate that 40% of customers will just leave if the website takes too long to load.

There are a number of tools available to test the speed of your website, all will look at different areas and may require a professional to implement, particularly when minifying or re-structuring the code.

Some of the tools you could use are:

On the mobile version of your website, speed is even more important and you should take into account if it is responsive to ensure a positive user experience.  To test this from a user point of view, just view your website on your phone (ensuring it is not on Wifi) and see what you think. Make sure you’re critical, after all this is now the first impression for a lot of your customers.

2. Mobile Site/Responsive Design

I never want to spend too much time on mobile and/or responsive as given the level of media attention, blog posts and articles all informing us about the rise of mobile and how it can affect your search ranking, if your website isn’t already mobile friendly then it is quite simply not meeting the minimum requirements of today’s online shopper.

If you want to drill down into some stats on mobile usage and conversion rates then I would recommend taking a look at this article.

A user’s mobile experience should be engaging and encourage the user to return (over and over again). All areas of the website should be fit for purpose; gone are the days where if you wanted to view the whole website you had to visit the desktop version, um, no thank you!

To summarise – if you do not have a mobile strategy in place, drop everything, grab a coffee and sit somewhere quiet and make it happen!

If you do, then I would recommend spending some time on it every now and then to ensure it still offers the same experience you remember!

via GIPHY

3. Call to Action Buttons

You might have a beautiful website, however, clear call to actions throughout the website are incredibly important and you should be guiding the user throughout their browsing experience all the way through to (we hope) a purchase!

Anytime you make a change to your website it is always worthwhile asking an independant person (or even better – persons!) to go through the website journey and ask some questions about how they found their experience, from this you you may discover you need to look at the signposting you have in place throughout your website.

4. Friction Free Checkout

If I want to purchase something I don’t want to be asked tricky and mandatory questions like date of birth and how I found out about you; I may not even want to open an account at this time. While I understand why you want this information from me, I am not the kinda guy that just hands out his details as soon as we meet!  You are going to have try harder 😉

If you do want to collect additional information about your customer then as a minimum the fields should be optional, however, I always think the better solution is to remove all unnecessary information from the checkout; once an order has been completed then give me the opportunity to provide additional information i.e. password, DOB, Twitter Handle et al!

Focus on what you need to process the order and then look at the marketing afterwards and integrate this within your after-sale process, if you do this well enough I might not even notice! 😉

5. Contact Information

Pretty obvious right?  Unfortunately not and making your customer have to hunt for contact details is not a positive user experience. As an absolute minimum you should offer at least one method but ideally you should be offering 3 or 4 and then letting the customer choose their preference on how they would like to contact you.

  • In order of Priority
  • Telephone (Yep, we still like to talk)
  • Email
  • Physical Store Address
  • Skype
  • Live Chat (if resources allow)

Social Links should also be included throughout your website, this will allow users to contact via these mediums and you should be prepared for this. A lot of users use social media for customer service so you need a plan in place.

6. Security Certificate

This is, as far as I am concerned, mandatory when it comes to ecommerce websites and anyone that does not have one is putting their business at risk.

We are going to write a post about SSL and how this can affect your website however this is not a complicated area to setup and also not the financial barrier it may have been in the distant past, a SSL cert will cost less than $10 a month and no longer an investment but a necessity.

If you are using a hosted service such as Shopify or BigCommerce I would also consider a private SSL cert so you are not directed to a shared hosting URL.

If your website redirects you to another page hosted externally from your website you should still have an SSL certificate in place from the checkout process start or customer login.

The online shopper is now a lot more clued up on what they should be looking for and if an SSL certificate is not present you are highly likely to be losing customers.

7. Reviews

The statistics vary from site to site, however I think it would be fair to say that over 50% of customers will look at reviews prior to making a purchase, there are a number of ways reviews are helpful to your website:

  • Trust – people trust other people, if they read reviews that answer their questions they are much more likely to purchase
  • Fresh user generated content, all of this content is going onto your website with little or no effort on your part, this is great for your search engine rankings
  • Find out exactly what your customers think, reviews are great when they are positive but the negatives ones are even more important and provide a great opportunity to find out how you can improve your service and address any areas that might adversely affect your customer service.
  • If you are using an external review system this provides you with the opportunity to link your reviews to your Adwords account and display your stars proudly and watch your click rates increase.

Got all of the above in place? Nice one, time for a pat on the back, do a little dance and then look at how else you can improve your online business.

Not quite ticked all the boxes?  No worries, but at least you know what you need to concentrate on in the future.