If your business is eCommerce, then conversions are your lifeblood. Conversions are what count on the bottom line, they are the metric by which eCommerce success is defined. If you’re seeing substantial traffic coming to your site and leaving without converting then you may want to think about implementing some conversion optimisation methods.
The essence of conversion optimisation lies in monitoring and testing, of the three main means of increasing conversions each falls into one of these two categories. Implementing optimised call to actions will require sustained testing, while optimising checkout flow, and reducing abandoned baskets is more focused on monitoring. Read on to learn more about these methods, and to decide which one may work for your business.
Optimising Checkout Flow
When it comes to optimising checkout flow, few do it better than the biggest eCommerce giant of them all, Amazon. We all make purchases on Amazon, so we’re familiar with how easy it is to go from browsing a product and scrolling through the customer reviews and on to the checkout screen.
The key to Amazon’s checkout flow is speed and ease of use. These two key elements can be implemented by virtually any eCommerce site, as what matters most is good design sense rather than deep pockets.
In terms of speed, think about the number of steps it takes for your customer to go from adding an item to their basket to completing a transaction. On Amazon, it is five steps, the average checkout process consists of 5.8, and some of the best eCommerce sites manage to do it in just two. In order to speed up the checkout flow process, direct your customers directly to the basket once they have clicked ‘add to basket’. Some eCommerce sites prefer to focus on upselling, on getting users to add additional items to the basket, this is a valid approach, but you do run the risk of the customer getting distracted and neglecting to complete his or her transaction.
For ease of use, there are a number of small elements to focus on, which can make a big difference when combined. For example, don’t force your users to register to make a transaction. This is one of the greatest turn offs for users who were hoping to come to your site to make a quick purchase. Also be sure to get your visual hierarchy right. If your customers have to make an effort to find the checkout button then you’re doing it wrong! This button should be displayed proudly and boldly, inviting the user to go ahead and click it. Finally, provide your customer with multiple payment methods. If they prefer using Paypal, then make sure they have the option to do so, likewise with debit and credit cards.
Reducing Abandoned Baskets
The art of reducing abandoned baskets can overlap with optimising checkout flow, as getting people to complete a transaction is in many ways the same thing as trying to reduce the number of people abandoning their baskets. However, there are a different set of tactics you can use to make sure the user completes their transaction after abandoning the basket.
Abandoned basket recovery emails allow you to contact the customer directly to remind them that they have left something in their basket on your site. Timing is key here. Over three quarters of the top 500 eCommerce businesses, send abandoned basket recovery emails within the first hour of the action occurring! The big businesses do this because it’s been proven to work. Why? Because people who have added an item to their basket within the past hour are still likely to be in the same buying mindset as when they initially took that action. If we leave it a day, a week or a month, it is highly likely that the moment has passed, that the customer has either bought the item elsewhere, or has forgotten why they even wanted it in the first place.
Remarketing is another great way to bring users back to the basket after abandonment. We’ve all been followed around the internet by those clever ads, advertising the very thing which we had recently come so close to buying – well that’s remarketing. Remarketing of this kind can be done using Google AdWords.
AdWords not only allows you to advertise on the Google search engine results page, but across the internet in the form of banner ads. You can use these banner ads to remind the user, as he or she browses elsewhere online, that they have something waiting in their shopping basket on your site. All they have to do at that point is to click on the ad to return to the basket!
Click here for a guide on how to set up remarketing for abandoned baskets.
Call to Action Optimisation
Call to action buttons may be small, but they can have a big effect on your conversions. They have also generated big conversation online, with call to action optimisation an ever expanding field of information and counter information. To cut through this noise, we’ve put together a couple of rules of thumb which should stand you in good stead should you want to optimise your CTAs.
Your use of colour is important throughout your website, perhaps nowhere more so than in your call to action. More than anything else, you need this to attract the user’s attention, so big, bold, bright colours like green and orange are perfect. This is only generally applicable, however, you need the CTA to stand out, so green and orange isn’t going to do the trick if you have a background of a similar colour.
A call to action is essentially a miniature bit of copy, meaning you should follow the golden copywriting rule and make your CTA clear and concise. Don’t confuse the user with fancy images or graphics, and don’t detract from your core message with extraneous text. Keep it clean, and keep it simple.
Bigger is better, mostly. The same principle applies here as elsewhere, you want people to notice your CTA, and you want people to respond appropriately by clicking on it. It stands to reason therefore that your CTA should be large, and indeed it should be. The button itself and the text should be large enough that no user is likely to miss it, but not quite so big that it’s intrusive, as this may have the opposite effect and deter the user altogether.
By far and away the most important thing to do with your CTAs, however, is to test. Unsure as to whether green or red would work best? Test! Really big text, or just big text? Test! A couple of words or 4-5? You guessed it, test!
We hope that you’ve found this blog useful. Conversion rate optimisation is a labyrinthine field, and it is not the intention of this blog to provide a comprehensive account of the process. But we do hope that you go away with a clearer idea of the kinds of things you can do to increase conversions on your website.