No matter how many strategies you use for driving e-commerce sales, it’s important not to overlook the state of your website. After all, it’s where conversions happen—and a site that’s optimized for conversion rates can lead to years of increased sales for your brand.
In the increasingly competitive e-commerce space, optimizing your site is more crucial than ever. Why? Countless other online businesses are vying for the same sales that you are. Managing to draw potential customers to your site is a good start, but if they find the purchasing process clunky, they won’t hesitate to abandon their shopping cart. If that happens, you’re handing your competitors an opportunity to make the sale…and the sale that should have been yours can result in repeat purchases and a lasting relationship with your competitor down the line.
In other words, you have limited opportunities to turn website visitors into loyal customers, and you definitely don’t want to waste them! This is why so many brands have questions about how to improve conversion rate, or generate a high conversion rate, through e-commerce marketing.
We have all the answers in this guide to Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), so read on.
Understand Your Audience
The first step toward conversion rate optimization is understanding your audience. Researching your audience behaviors can help you pinpoint what’s stopping them from converting so you can make the necessary adjustments on your site. Here’s a list of the information you should be looking for in order to create an effective CRO strategy:
- Where your visitors come from. Whether your site visitors are making their way to your site from your ads, social media, Google, or some other source, knowing this provides valuable insight into their behavior online.
- Which site pages they spend most time on. Do your customers linger on your product pages, where there may be an opportunity for you to nudge them toward making a buy? Are they spending an inordinately long amount of time on the checkout page, indicating that they’re having a problem completing their purchase? Knowing exactly how they interact with your site can guide you to the right optimization strategies for your needs.
- Which devices they use to access your site. This is crucial information, as conversion rate optimization applies to both desktop and mobile. Identifying which device your customers use to make the majority of their purchases will help you provide a more seamless e-commerce experience.
- Which pages they leave your site from. This will reveal the aspects of your site that aren’t currently working effectively, and that are creating friction for customers as they shop.
- How many pages they visit before leaving. This, too, will tell you what’s getting in the way of that all-important sale by providing insight into the customer experience.
- Demographics—age, gender, location, interests, etc. The more you know about your customers’ demographic makeup, the better equipped you’ll be to determine whether factors like age play a part in your conversion history (for example, if Millennials are having an easier time navigating your e-commerce experience than Baby Boomers).
As you get to know your audience better, don’t forget to assess any comments or complaints you get from customers that might provide additional insight into their site experience—and what, if anything, is lacking. Conducting surveys and gathering user feedback, especially when you’re experimenting with changes and upgrades, are key to gauging how your users feel about such enhancements.
Create Compelling Value Propositions
One great way to boost your CRO rates is by featuring a compelling value proposition on your site. This can attract new customers, while also building affinity with your brand and encouraging a lasting relationship with your e-commerce business.
A value proposition is a brief statement that conveys why customers should choose your products, and what differentiates you from your competitors. It’s not a product or service description, but more of a promise of what customers can expect from your business if and when they make a purchase.
For example, beauty brand bareMinerals chose the value proposition, “Better bare skin everyday” to let customers know it’s committed to using pure, clean ingredients that are good for the skin. From the standpoint of differentiation, this message is a strong one that is likely to help bareMinerals secure online sales.
Optimize Website Speed and Performance
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that website speed and performance are critical when conversion rate improvement is the ultimate goal. If you hope to increase traffic, you’ve got to make sure your pages load quickly and are responsive when users attempt to navigate or make a purchase—and that goes for both the desktop and mobile versions of your online store.
Website speed can have a huge impact on both user experience and SEO. Why? While relevance is still the top consideration for Google when it comes to search rankings, the speed with which your pages load plays a part as well. According to reports, page speed is still a ranking factor in that it helps Google evaluate your site experience. What this means is that site and page speed and performance are key on two fronts: not only does a fast site create a better user experience, thus helping you with conversion rate optimization, but it could help you optimize for search as well.
You can use a content delivery network (CDN)—a network of servers that delivers content by geographic location to reduce the distance between the server and user and increase site speed—to boost your site’s performance. Don’t forget to adopt some other proven SEO strategies as well.
Implement A/B Testing
Remember when we mentioned experimenting with site changes to see what users respond to most? A/B testing is a big part of developing a strong CRO strategy. A/B testing, which involves testing different website elements to see which are most effective at boosting site performance and conversions, can really help you maximize your online sales.
A/B testing shouldn’t be a “one and done” strategy; instead, test your site on an ongoing basis to improve and refine its performance for your customers. Goals like maximizing conversions are well-served by a long-term site testing strategy like this one.
Improve Website Navigation
Every CRO effort involves an analysis of website navigation. You want your site to be easy to navigate and user-friendly to reduce friction and eliminate barriers that might get in the way of a sale. Issues with website navigation don’t only impact brand perception and influence what customers think of your online business, but they can impact your SEO rankings as well.
In order to boost conversion rates, consider these strategies:
- Make your site categories and product pages clear and easy to understand
- Make navigation elements clickable links to your customers can easily get where they want to go
- Make sure every clickable image has ALT text (a line of text that describes what’s happening in the image) so site users know what the image is meant to convey regardless of how they’re viewing it.
Optimize Landing Pages
An effective landing page is part of every conversion rate optimization strategy for the simple reason that it’s the place where a conversion is most likely to occur. You finally have your website user right where you want them, on a page that can lead to a purchase, so designing a landing page that’s effective is a must.
That’s why you need to take full advantage of Taboola’s landing page best practices. The best landing pages:
- Speak about the problem your products can solve, and explain how your product can help
- Feature key design elements like an article title, hook, nutgraph, and clear call-to-action/CTA (more on that below)
- Keep text to between 400 and 600 words and use easy-to-read font
- Open links in a new window and use pop-ups sparingly
Always test major elements of your landing pages, and innovate by using videos, photo galleries, and quizzes. The focus should be on user experience (our landing page checklist can help).
Use Clear and Compelling CTAs
We all understand the importance of a compelling call-to-action. CTAs are designed to incite an immediate response from consumers; feature clear, strong language; and drive conversions.
Familiarize yourself with CTA for conversions strategies that you can incorporate into your e-commerce site. Be explicit about the action you want customers to take so there’s no confusion on their part. The web is a cluttered place where countless actions are being asked of consumers daily, so make sure yours is concise and as easy for users to execute as possible.
Leverage Trust Signals
When consumers shop online, they want to know they can trust the brands they choose to purchase from. Incorporating trust signals into your site can build credibility and boost your conversion rate, and that makes them an important part of all e-commerce strategies.
Trust signals range from testimonials provided by existing customers to positive reviews and security badges conveying a secure checkout experience. It stands to reason that delivering a message of trust to site users will make them feel more comfortable with your brand and more likely to complete a sale.
Any forms on your site—like sign-up forms that allow users to opt-in to receive your emails, free trial forms, or forms that allow users to download gift guides or white papers—can be optimized to streamline the conversion process. Luckily, form optimization is as easy as only asking users for essential information. If you require them to fill out too many fields, they’re likely to get impatient and leave your site before completing their transaction.
Another aspect of your forms to consider is how they indicate errors while validating the user. Truly frictionless forms:
- Appear above the fold of your site page
- Feature a user-friendly layout, clear formatting and instructions
- Are responsive
- Incorporate Autofill
- Are both desktop and mobile friendly
Optimizing your forms using these tips can improve your conversion rates on key actions that occur on your site.
Use Persuasive Copywriting
Words have power, right? That goes for the words on your website as well. Persuasive copywriting can have a big impact on audience engagement, so focus on language that resonates with your target demographic.
That means using clear language, avoiding acronyms that users may not understand, employing active language (rather than passive) that energizes and excites the reader, and perhaps most importantly, highlighting the benefits of your products. Leverage the text on your site to tell a story about what sets your brand and products apart, so potential customers see the value in choosing your site over a competitor’s.
Provide Live Chat Support
Conversion rate optimization starts with your website, but in order to generate repeat sales by making sure your customers are satisfied, you also have to provide high-quality real-time customer support. Giving customers a platform where they know they can always connect with a brand representative if needed goes a long way toward building trust in your busienss—and trust leads to more sales.
These days, live chat support is a must. Many customers are already accustomed to the instant gratification of messaging apps, so providing this easy-to-use method of interacting with brand reps can boost satisfaction rates. Live chats can also provide customer insights that your e-commerce business can use to make additional improvements online, once again benefiting your conversion rate optimization goals.
Utilize Remarketing and Retargeting
Another strategy that can be extremely effective at improving your e-commerce site’s conversion rates is retargeting, sometimes called remarketing. The goal with this marketing technique is to target and re-engage previous site visitors. Why? These are consumers who have expressed interest in your products, and are already on the path to purchase. They often only need a small nudge or reminder of their interest in order to finally make a buy.
Native advertising through platforms like Taboola is excellent at helping brands reach those qualified customers through engaging ads that blend seamlessly into the site environment. With Taboola, you can retarget users who have already demonstrated interest by clicking on your previous campaign. The key is the “Campaign Clickers” option in Taboola Ads.
By creating an audience within Taboola Ads where your campaign clickers or previous viewers are contained, you can easily reach users who have already leaned into your brand. Native ads are a must-have for cross-channel remarketing strategies, as they can identify and reach your site visitors wherever they are.
Analyze and Iterate
Similar to A/B testing, executing a website performance analysis on a regular basis can provide insight into how your site is doing and whether the optimization techniques you’ve implemented are effective. Conversion rate improvement efforts are iterative, meaning they should be reassessed and built upon over time, so don’t be tempted to take a “set it and forget it” approach to CRO.
Revisiting the changes you’ve made, both in the short term and over time, will empower you to continuously boost website performance and website optimization. You’ll be able to identify additional opportunities to enhance the site experience, too.
Post Purchase Survey
Even when your goal is to secure a purchase, fulfilling a sale isn’t where your commitment to your customers ends. Be sure to conduct a post purchase survey, delivered by email or right on your site, that asks site users about their e-commerce experience.
When it comes to customer experience, customer retention, and conversion rate, knowing how consumers feel about your brand’s site puts you in a great position to snag repeat sales and turn one-time customers into long-time fans of your brand.
Ready to tackle your site’s conversion rate and deliver the best possible experience for your customers? With both Taboola and these strategies in your marketing toolbox, your brand will be in great shape. Get in touch with us today!