Traffic is an important measurement of how successful your website is, but it doesn’t represent sales and income. If your site fails to convert visitors to customers, the number of people who browse your online store becomes irrelevant. Design plays an important role in conversion and an easy to use, great looking site is a big step to improved sales figures.
1. User experience dictates design
Create a straightforward website with as few pages as possible. The checkout process should be simple and limit the opportunities for the customer to opt out. There’s no easy answer for number of steps, but a three-page system can be effective i.e. Add to cart → Checkout → Confirmation.
2. Put your best stuff front and centre
Show the best sellers and on trend products on the home page. Monitor social media and traditional media to understand what is currently trending and use analytics to find out what people are searching for. You can then base your front pages on this data for a more targeted approach to digital merchandising.
3. Keep it secure
Customers want to know that their details are safe. Display your security credentials in prominent places to engender trust and provide peace-of-mind. When customers sign up for your services, include a sentence or two that assures them their information won’t be sold to third parties.
4. Customer service
The best way to ensure you have a constant stream of conversions is to keep customers coming back for more. A large part of this is to ensure your products are well priced and of the quality you promise, but customer service plays a major role. Be available for complaints and queries, return their emails and messages, and be genuinely helpful. Install a live chat function that they can use at the pivotal moment before purchase when they suddenly think of a question. This can be the difference between a purchase on your site, or heading to a competitor who can give the answer they want.
5. Quality landing pages
Websites will often have a multitude of landing pages for locations and various long tail search terms to help with SEO and advertising. These pages are rarely linked from other places on the site, but they must always have a simple way for customers to return to the main website, or get to other parts of the site. Dead-ends on your site will lead to customers bouncing and lost sales. Ensure landing pages have clear calls to action and are easy to navigate.
6. A reassuring order confirmation page
There is nothing more unnerving than a lack of confirmation after a purchase. Ensure your customers understand that the transaction has been a success and include any pertinent information such as an order number. It is also a great chance to upsell with related items and build a relationship for future sales.
7. The right content
Think carefully about your content. Don’t simply describe products and services; relate it to the customer and how they will experience it. Describe its benefits in real terms and how it will relate to their lives. Dry lists of numbers and specifications may work for a few people, but proper copy will cast a wider net. Make it engaging and enjoyable to read, but above all make it grammatically correct. Nothing makes a site seem amateurish faster than poor writing and a lack of attention to detail.
Additional tips to consider
- Include multiple payment options such as PayPal, credit cards, B-Pay
- Implement an abandoned cart win-back system to close sales
- Optimise your site and purchase process for mobile devices
- Reduce the site’s load speed with optimised graphics
- Allow for purchase without registration
- Offer free shipping above a certain threshold
A cumulative effect
Small adjustments and incremental improvements will make a huge difference in the overall effectiveness of your website. Test your changes and compare the results, implement the ones that work and discard the ones that don’t. There is no golden formula for turning your business into a money making machine. It is about making it as simple as possible for people to make purchases and encouraging them to return to your site.