As Mark Twain said, “Comparison is the death of joy.”
It is key to avoid matching yourself against other businesses’ rates. There are simply too many factors that affect conversions, so don’t implement others’ strategies simply because their conversion rate is higher, and especially don’t copy big brands like Amazon! What works for them may not work for you, so instead of looking at where the grass is greener, it is better for you to water your own grass.
The importance of avoiding comparison isn’t the only piece of wisdom Twain had to offer. Most notably known for his novels, Twain knew how to sell himself and his works. He created a sales training manual titled The Successful Sales Agent to help his agents sell his books. Though it may seem strange, his manual, written in 1865, can be still be applied today, even to online businesses.
Twain knew how to present his products, emphasizing that “strong points”, like “interesting features, valuable features,” had to be highlighted. Likewise, you must also underscore your products’ strong points. You, luckily, have advantages that Twain did not have: photography and the internet.
Pearson Prentice Hall reports that 65 percent of the population is made of visual learners. As humans, our eyes are our primary source to see what is going on around us. So, to better sell your product, make sure to have a picture of it. As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. It is critical then that you select a quality picture of it—that will only help boost your product’s image. It’ll also help to have some good pictures from different angles. Make sure not to tarnish people’s perception of your product by adding low-quality images of it.
Images cannot stand alone; you must have something to frame it. Once your picture lures the buyers in, you provide them with more information about your product. This is where product descriptions come in. Like your pictures of your products, they must be visually appealing. A mass of text will turn off many buyers, so break off your description into sections to make it easier to digest. Of course, your choice of words will also impact how buyers see the product, so write the description in relatively simple language. Remember: the easier it is for them to read the description, the more likely they are to buy the product. Your products will have features that will be mentioned; some of them will have features that need to be explained. Either way, make your products shine by overlaying the features with benefits they will provide to the users.
In order to visually appeal to your buyers even more, make sure your actual site has a clean design that makes it easy for buyers to find where things are. Their time on your site is a journey—make sure it’s a smooth one. Your site should also have visible signs for important actions. Make your “add to cart” and “checkout” buttons stand out from the rest of the webpage to make them easier to find.
What else makes a journey enjoyable for people? Speed. There are reasons your buyers are shopping online, and one of the reasons is because they don’t like wasting time. Optimize your website for speed to increase your conversion rates.
Even if you put a lot of work into improving your site’s design and performance, a stylish webpage won’t be enough to pull in the amount of traffic you’re hoping for. People have to know about your site first. In this increasingly connected world, social media is a surefire way to promote your site. Better yet, have satisfied customers post their experiences and reviews on social media. If you have few people posting on social media, perhaps offer them an incentive for doing so, such as a coupon for the next time they shop.
When you start getting reviews for your product, make sure to display them clearly. In a study done by GE Capital Retail Bank, 61% of shoppers read reviews before they purchase something. If you don’t have many reviews, perhaps outsource reviews from other websites.
Once your buyers are on your page and checking out products, it’s important to continue luring them in. A foolproof way to draw people in? Sales. People love the sense that they’re saving, so either have a filter they can use to sift through sales, or have a dedicated section on your website to show them where special deals are.
When your buyer is checking out, cement their purchase by offering free shipping—it’s something that more than 50% of eCommerce merchants are doing. If the shipping costs are too high, 28% of online shoppers will abandon their purchase, so offering free shipping is a guaranteed way of driving up conversion rates.
Also critical during the checkout process is having multiple payment options, such as Stripe and all credit cards. If you can accept PayPal, then you will have one payment option available that Amazon doesn’t offer.
Even if you offer free shipping and a multitude of payment options, there’s still a good likelihood that customers will abandon their cart. Indeed, 69% of online shopping carts are abandoned. To counteract the amount of people who don’t take the final step in purchasing their products, send a reminder, ideally within thirty minutes to an hour. Radley London did this, and they able to recover about 8% of sales that would have been lost.
If consumers don’t like what they bought, have a way out for them. The last things buyers want to feel is trapped with their product; in fact, 66% of buyers read return policies before deciding to purchase something, so have a simple return policy with a reasonable time frame.
Besides having a clear return policy, reassure customers by having your contact information displayed clearly on your page. Large brands have a key advantage over you: trust. If your buyers feel like they might have issues or questions, they have the added insurance of your contact information.
If you cater more to the needs of your buyers by following the techniques above, you should be able to see your conversion rates grow. And remember, any conversion rate that was better than your past ones is a good conversion rate. However, be sure to continue testing in your pursuit of conversion rate optimization.