You put a lot of time, money, and energy into building your online store. First, you needed to decide what you wanted to sell. Then you determined how to source your products. You set up the ordering process. Then placed ads to attract visitors to your site. Then you sat back and the money started flowing in. Right? It felt good until someone asked what your conversion rate was and pitched conversion rate optimization (CRO). Wait. What?
In an increasingly competitive online digital world, it’s a daily challenge getting customers to your online shop and having them make a purchase. No matter what type of product you sell, how cool your website is, or how optimized it is for Google core web vitals, every online retailer has the same goal as you: to sell more products. And, the more products you sell, the more you need to optimize your conversion rate.
What is a Conversion Rate?
If we are talking about an online store, the sales conversion rate defines the number of purchases in relation to the number of page views. That’s the real KPI we love to track. However, as you know, a conversion does not always have to be defined by a sales transaction.
A conversion can occur when a website user becomes a prospect by entering their contact details or even downloads your latest free ebook. A conversion rate indicates — in a percentage — how many of your website or online store visitors perform the desired action.
Example: You produce t-shirts that say “HTML is a programming language,” and sell them on your online store. To find out whether your recent Twitter marketing campaign has had any effect, you see the following data: 100 (number of transactions) / 5000 (number of visitors) x 100. As a result, your sales conversion rate is 2%.
Conversion rates differ from product to product and sector to sector – there is no “one size fits all” conversion rate. That said, 4% is considered the industry average conversion rate. So, how can you increase your sales conversion rate?
“Sales Conversion Rate is an effective KPI for eCommerce retailers to determine the impact of their website design on their business objectives. Ecommerce companies looking to increase their online sales must consider sales conversion rate as a key factor in improving their online sales.” Countants (1)
Upselling to Existing Customers is Cheaper than Winning New Customers
Think about it. If your online store was a brick-and-mortar store, how many customers could you honestly make happy with good service? One hundred? Two hundred? Having a thousand customers in your store at one time will probably still mean you can only make a few of them happy and the rest will likely leave. (No one wants to wait in a long checkout line.)
Focusing on your existing customers and improving repeat customer care has three rewards. First, satisfied customers are likely to buy more and leave less frequently; and second, they recommend the store where they are well looked after. That goes for brick-and-mortar as well as online stores.
The third reward is that by focusing on existing customers you will save money. How? Acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer! Now that could cut into your profit margin.
I know the first thing we think of when we want to increase sales is to bring more people onto our online store, right? Bums on seats. Get the punters in the door! Well, that might have worked in Atlantic City in the 1920’s, but customers are savvier today. People want to be enticed, served fast, and delighted. How do we do that with an online store? Faster loading times, personalized content, free downloads, and free delivery all sound like something that would entice and delight you.
“If you concentrate on converting the traffic you already have, your return on investment and revenue can significantly increase without putting more money towards generating additional traffic.” Thrive (2)
Optimize Your Website and Get Better Conversions
Before you beat your opponent at any board game, you first need to understand the board. I mean, honestly now, when was the last time you sat down with your website and your analytics and looked at what was happening? How about your competitors? Have you seen what they’ve been up to lately?
Your online shop is a tool. Just like the knife you use to chop the ingredients for your favorite dish, it needs to be kept sharp.
Steps to Optimize Your Conversion Rate
Track customer behavior. If you can’t measure it, it doesn’t matter. Find out what your visitors are doing, where and when they are leaving. Look to understand the flow of your visitors.
Review your home and landing pages. If people don’t find what they are looking for, they will leave.
What can you do to your pages that will make people hate to leave them?
Make your online store searchable. This is important! Most tests show people don’t even look at your carefully crafted navigation. They go right for the search bar!
Optimize the ordering process. The checkout process is the key element of the entire store. The shopping cart is increasingly taking on the role of a general notepad. You need to complete the sale!
“Your brain, ears, eyes, and mouth are the primary tools you need to understand your customers, empathize with their experience, draw conclusions based on the data, and ultimately make the changes that improve your product conversion rates.” hotjar (3)
The First Impression Counts
Anyone who runs an online store knows how important that first impression of your website will be. Your focus is on converting visitors into buyers – and keeping them. To make this conversion process successful, it‘s important to take users by the hand and guide them through the buying process. Really from the first moment.
Conversion optimization plays an important role within the overall online marketing strategy and a complementary role for search engine optimization. A user-friendly website that explicitly promotes user activity automatically invites users to stay longer. A longer visit in turn has a positive effect on the rankings within the search engine results, and that means a higher chance of even more customers.
So, don’t complicate your checkout with plugins and features users don’t actually want. Offer rock-solid functionality using the most proven selling tools instead. It just works — perfectly.