How to Design an eCommerce Store to Maximize Conversions (13 Strategies)
eCommerce is about making sales. Period. That means if you own an eCommerce website, maximizing conversions should always be one of the top items on your to-do list. Today let’s look at a few ways you can improve the conversion rate on your eCommerce site.
Search the web, and you’ll find all kinds of advice about how to “improve conversions.” Let’s focus on the ones that are important in eCommerce.
1) Quality Product Images
A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Well, only if that picture presents your product in a positive light.
I mean that literally. If your pictures are poorly lit, your product won’t look nearly as appealing as it could be.
One quality photo per product is the minimum. Ideally, you should have photos from multiple angles, especially if the product is unique. Some studies have even indicated that larger, high-quality photos lead to an increase in conversions.
Focus on creating high-quality images and you’ll see an increase in conversions.
2) Write Unique Copy for Your Products
People rave over the product descriptions for sites like American Science & Surplus and The J. Peterman Company.
And for good reason. Both sites have amazing, unique writing.
Too many eCommerce sites never take the time to write unique product descriptions. Many simply cut and paste the descriptions from their manufacturing or wholesale provider.
3) User Reviews
People trust reviews from other customers. Whenever possible, include them with your products.
A recent article by the Harvard Business Review has indicated that even negative reviews can actually help you boost sales in some situations.
Why do reviews matter? Because people want to know they’re using a product that has been tested by others and is approved by others.
A recent article by eConsultancy indicates that 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site that includes reviews. Clearly reviews matter!
4) Video Demos
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a quality video can be worth 10,000.
If you have an iPhone, you have the technology you need to make a simple product video.
KissMetrics recently indicated that videos can make customers between 64%-85% more likely to purchase products!
Of course, this makes sense given that video results appear in 70% of the top search results listings.
More video equals more conversions!
5) Free Shipping
Your customers want free shipping.
A recent Inc. article claimed that free shiping “is a must” for eCommerce sites. The author cited research that people are 88% more likely to shop at an online store with free shipping, and that 74% of US consumers cite free delivery as a top factor that would improve their online shopping experience.
If you decide not to have free shipping, at least be up-front about it. Surprise shipping costs at checkout will kill your conversions.
6) Sales and Specials Section
Online or in a store—shoppers love a deal.
People will spend minutes flipping through every single ugly shirt on a clearance rack in a store.
They’ll do the same thing online if you give them the opportunity.
Several years ago, video game producer Valve ran a sale the game Left 4 Dead. When they offered a 75% discount, they saw 1470% increase in sales!
Offering clearly marked sales triggers something in the psyche of the buyer. Suddenly they find themselves wanting to buy, even if that desire didn’t exist prior.
7) Persistent Shopping Cart
People get distracted. Especially when they’re on the Internet.
Sometimes they’ll get distracted while they have an item in their shopping cart, but before they’ve checked out of your site.
A persistent shopping cart makes it easy for them to complete their checkout the next time they return to your site.
8) Shopping Cart Abandonment Emails
Speaking of distractions…when someone adds an item to your website’s cart, but then doesn’t check out, do you send a follow-up email?
One report found shopping cart abandonment emails from an online shoe company converted at 24% percent, increasing the site’s revenue by over 5%. Another company found that followup emails produced a 500% ROI!
Abandoned shopping carts a problem, and follow up emails are a great way to tackle that problem head on.
9) Multiple Payment Options
A simple way to increase conversions is to give people more choices for how to pay.
A 2010 study showed that 26% of shoppers will abandon their carts if their preferred payment option is not available. This makes sense. In our Internet age of endless choice, people will leave if you don’t offer them their preferred choice.
Some people will choose PayPal over anything else. Others would rather enter a credit card directly. Giving them options makes it more likely they’ll actually complete their purchase.
If you’re using a simple WordPress site, Shopify has a killer plugin that allows you to add a ‘buy now’ button within seconds.
10) Search that Works
The more products you have, the better your search results need to be. It’s especially helpful to have built-in “suggested search.”
Ecommerce store FootSmart was able to increase their conversion rate by 82% simply by improving the search function on their site.
11) Clear, Bold Calls to Action
Don’t make people search for your call to action.
Make the buttons big, clear, and with colors that make them stand out on your page.
The last thing you want to do is leave potential customers confused. Your calls to action should be clear and they should be easily understood. When in doubt, keep it as simple as possible.
If you need some ideas on how to improve your calls to action, start with this fantastic article from Neil Patel.
12) Use the Words “Add to Cart”
Again, clarity is key. Don’t use “continue” or “submit” as these don’t clearly describe what’s going to happen when you click the button.
“Add to Cart” leaves no room for confusion.
13) Don’t Copy Amazon
As great as Amazon is at eCommerce, it’s site is very different than most eCommerce sites.
It can be difficult to navigate the categories on Amazon, for example. That’s because there are over 200 million products that Amazon’s trying to categorize.
You won’t have nearly that big a site, so the way you setup your categories probably shouldn’t copy what Amazon does.
Bottom line: you have your own site with your own audience and your own needs. Look to Amazon for inspiration, but realize that what works for Amazon might not be right for you.
Optimizing an eCommerce site is a numbers game. If even one of these changes can boost your conversions by 1%, what might that mean for your overall sales?
Try a few, measure your results, and see what works.