Improving Ecommerce Conversions

Posted by Masen - July 12th, 2011

Improving conversions on a non-ecommerce site should lead to more prospects which might lead to more customers. However, improving conversion rates on an ecommerce site means more money DIRECTLY in your pocket. These simple tips will help almost any ecommerce site improve sales.

  1. Enable visitors to buy right from the home page. Whether you put popular products, recent additions, on-sale items or all of the above, you should be selling from the very start. Don’t hide your store 3 clicks deep in your site – anything that takes people longer to get to what they are looking for means reduced sales.
  2. If you have hundreds of products, you need to have a good search. A search feature that quickly returns what people are looking for can increase conversion rates by as much as 25%. The built-in search of most standard ecommerce packages is not sufficient. Large sites implement natural language search engines like the one from EasyAsk.
  3. Provide clear information about pricing. Not all businesses should show pricing up front. For example, if yours is a service business with high ticket sales, it’s best that you DON’T put pricing up front. However, if you are trying to sell online, providing clear and easy to find pricing will make it that much easier for people to choose to buy.
  4. Calculate shipping rates as accurately as possible. Many ecommerce stores have fixed rate shipping calculations which means that they might charge as much as 100% of the cost of the item in shipping! In other words, a $5 product might cost $5 in shipping. While $5 in shipping is not necessarily a lot, when a visitor notices that they are paying as much in shipping as for the product itself, there is often a natural reluctance to buy. On the other hand, if you charge $5 in shipping for a $35 product, most people won’t bat an eye. The best shipping methodology is usually to provide the customer with options for USPS as well as FedEx or UPS. Provide the shipping for your ACTUAL cost so that people don’t feel like you are trying to gouge them on shipping.
  5. Reduce the number of steps to checkout to as few as possible. If you have a lengthy checkout process, you increase the likelihood of losing people during that process.
  6. Avoid PayPal or Google checkout at all costs. While these are inexpensive and easy to setup as a merchant, they are problematic for customers and will definitely decrease your conversion rates because people will have to leave your site in order to pay. Instead, have your developers setup real-time credit card processing through Authorize.net using your own merchant account.
  7. Display customer reviews and don’t edit them. This is hard for many merchants to do but it will greatly increase trust with your customers. When a customer sees negative reviews of a product on your site, they are much more likely to trust the positive reviews.

Follow the above steps and watch your ecommerce sales increase!

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