The 11 Commandments of Conversion for Online Stores

The 11 Commandments of Conversion for Online Stores

Effective user engagement is the Holy Grail for e-commerce, but how do you measure it?

A generally accepted view is that user engagement can be summed up in three key metrics: how much time a visitor is spending on your site, how often they visit your site and what they do while they are on your site. But this perspective misses out on the most important metric: conversions. User engagement can’t be an end in itself and conversions have to be the goal of any good user engagement model.

Conversions online stores are quite complex, because a few important factors are missing from the communication process: you can no longer see or hear a customer. To get a user to buy something, you first have to get them to see a product.  Doing this means you have to be relevant, but it doesn’t stop there.

What could you do?

Conversions work on the basis of understanding your users, using that understanding to provide relevant content, and then giving an extra push to get them to a point of purchase. There are a few approaches you could take to work towards a better conversion rate.

  • Page optimization: Optimizing your content to reflect what someone’s looking for can go a long way in helping with conversions. Some of the possibilities here would include:

    1. Optimizing Your HomePage: It is only logical that you list your top selling products right up where everyone can see them. You can also go one step further and list products that are most likely to sell, although you would need a really innovative analytical tool for that.

    2. The Checkout process: Ensure transparency. Allow guest logins. The checkout page should be free from distractions. Focus on giving information to the user that might inspire confidence such as a confirmation of purchase details, delivery info, or help information.

    3. Landing pages: Customize landing pages based on the customer source

  • Site design: “Design is not just what it looks like. Design is how it works.”
    1. Use breadcrumbs for navigation.
    2. Customers often have way too many user names to remember, let them use mail ids instead.
    3. Include a prominent help section.
    4. Ensure a contact number is always available, especially during the checkout.
    5. Include a search box on every page.
    6. Allow users to zoom in on images.
  • Copy writing: A lot of selling revolves around being able to tell a story well. Use your copy writers to write short, engaging product descriptions

  • Chat solutions: This is probably one of the easier ways to keep your users engaged. You get to chat with your customers in real time and actively influence their decisions. Chat based solutions typically work better with products that require a fair bit of explanation.

  • Recommendation Engines: Amazon got a runaway hit with in-site product recommendations and the model has since been replicated almost as a standard across most e-commerce firms. Recommendation engines come with the inherent risk of false positives compromising the customer’s experience.  A new way of looking at recommendations would be to exclude products that the user is almost surely going to dislike.

  • Faceted search: Faceted search tools are a great way of filtering out a lot of products and will enable your customers to find goods they actually want.  However, they can sometimes cause more problems than they solve. They can be extremely restrictive. Using ranges instead of hard numbers can help.

  • Using the right analytics tool: Data when used effectively can be a great tool to drive more conversions.   There are a dime-a-dozen tools out there that provide insights on user behavior online. Most of them provide url based insights (a different and more effective way would be make interpretations on product level data). Some of the possible improvements here could be better campaign management or inventory management.

  • Email personalization: Deliver relevant content to users via mail and then bring that content to the site for purchase.

  • Pre-purchase analytics: Insights from data that are collected while the customer is still in the store can help you make more informed decisions.

  • Knowledge based marketing: Choosing the right time to run a promotional scheme is half the battle. Choose your discounts, offers, and campaigns carefully and pick the right time to introduce them to your shoppers.

  • Shopping assistance: Assistance that is always available can be a key driver for offline conversions. Translating assistance to an online setup is a bit of a challenge but there are a select few tools that do it well. Offering your customers automated yet intelligent assistance during the shopping process will definitely improve their experience and boost conversions.

Eby Giftalin


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