5 Conversion Rate Optimization Strategies for Ecommerce Websites

(Image Courtesy of Sean MacEntee)

Businesses are constantly looking for ways to increase website visits and sales. They spend millions on SEO and marketing campaigns, paying for banner ads, PPC ads and juggling multiple social networks to get potential customers onto their websites. All of these things are important in driving traffic to a website, but they can do little to ensure that visitors perform the types of actions the business desires, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), however, can. By making a few key changes to their website, companies can funnel users towards desirable conversions and improve the overall user experience.

Identify and Contact Lost Opportunities

People visiting ecommerce websites will frequently load items into their virtual shopping cart and then, just before the final sale, leave the website. If the website can identify the person through a login, email address or browser cookie, they can use one (or many) remarketing techniques to bring the visitor back to the site and complete the conversion. The business could send an email reminding the customer of the items in their shopping cart or use an ad network to display the company’s ads on other websites the user visits.

Identify and Improve Landing Pages

The pages that customers first encounter when they visit a website, whether they find it through social media links, an email newsletter or a search engine, are the most important pages they will see. Their impression of the design of those pages will either lead them closer to a conversion or drive them away. Businesses should use analytics to determine what the most popular landing pages are and focus primarily on those, ensuring that there are clear calls to action on each page and that the designs are consistent across the site.

Increase Page Load Speed

Every type of website, even blogs, will benefit from increased page loading speeds. Users are more likely to bounce away from a website if it fails to load quickly, so sites heavy with flash or large graphics will tend to be detrimental to CRO. Removing duplicate scripts, staying away from redirects and changing the order of things like JavaScript and CSS can help speed up page loading speeds and keep users interested.

Reduce Clutter

When a web page is full of unbroken walls of text or dozens of links, users can become confused and leave the website in search of a simpler page. By using analytics to determine the most popular areas of the site, the design of the website as a whole can be refocused to drive customers to those pages by reducing the amount of links to other areas. By prominently featuring the links that will lead users to their most desired destination, the navigation of the site is improved and the user experience gets a boost.

Make the Process Simple

When a user wishes to make a purchase, they don’t want to have to go through half a dozen pages before the checkout. One easy way to alter the web design of an ecommerce site is to prominently feature an “Add Item to Cart” button for each item on its product page and make the button load the customer’s cart screen when clicked. On the cart view page, the user should have easy access to a “Checkout” button. Any special deals, coupons or announcements can be displayed on either of these two pages and should not be placed on their own page and inserted into the purchasing process. Any page that doesn’t give the user the ability to perform one of their desired actions will only serve to frustrate the user and make them feel as though the business is wasting their time.

CRO should be used to augment a website’s design and complement a company’s marketing initiatives. By placing increased importance on improving the user experience by speeding up page loading, making navigation clearer and simplifying the purchasing process, a business can keep users content and drive profitable conversions.

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