There's a lot that goes into running a successful ecommerce site. No matter what product or service you offer, the first hurdle is getting a steady stream of traffic to your site. Clicks to the site are only so helpful however if visitors aren’t buying.
Using Search Engine Marketing and Google Ads campaigns are one of our favorite ways get more traffic to your site. However, in today's highly competitive ecommerce world, your success relies on your ability to encourage (and persuade!) customers to buy from your company once they’re there.
This is where Conversion Rate Optimization, or CRO comes into play. Keep reading for five quick ways to improve conversion rate to and in turn your improve your Google Ads results.
What is Conversion Rate?
First things first, let's talk about conversion rate. This is the percentage of sessions on your site that ultimately yield the desired action, in this case, making a purchase.
It's important to note that sales aren't the only indicators of success. There are several other conversions that you may also want to track, including:
- Wish-listing a product
- Adding a product to the cart
- Signing up for emails
- Sharing on social media
We call these conversions “micro-conversions” as they don’t necessarily lead to direct revenue, but they are often precursors to purchase. As a result, when you optimize for micro-conversions, you are often also optimizing for purchases.
While we’ll often track micro-conversions as ways to optimize our campaigns, we don’t typically count these intermediate actions when we calculate conversion rate.
What is a “good” conversion rate?
While you’d like to think that you’d close a relatively high percentage of sessions hitting your site, in reality, conversion rates are actually much lower than you’d probably think. Take a look at the benchmark list below from ecommerce website Smart Insights:
Notice the variability in rates by industry. It’s important to remember that while these benchmarks give us a good starting point, there is a ton of variability from business to business. Even beyond industry, things like your product price point, product customization, number of competitors selling similar items, etc. will all change what is a “good” conversion rate for you.
Wherever you’re starting out, improving your conversion rate can make a huge difference in your bottom line. Even slight increases in conversion rate can be the difference between successful Google Ads campaigns and efforts that are deemed to be not profitable.
Best Ways to Boost Your Conversion Rate
1. Measure where you’re currently at
Before you can optimize your ecommerce site, you need to know how you’re doing today. One great (and free) tool to figure this out is Google Analytics.
Google Analytics offers all sorts of data, including:
- How a visitor got to your website
- How long visitors stay on your site
- Unique vs. returning visitors
- Device used by each visitor
- Demographic info of each visitor
- How often different types of visitors purchase or execute micro-conversions
With this data, you can better understand your customer base and how to best serve them. This will always lead to better conversion rates.
If you’re ready to take your understanding to the next level, you can use a screen recording or heat mapping tool like Hotjar or Lucky Orange. These can record user sessions and give you a better idea of where customers are dropping out of the purchasing journey.
2. Boost Product Visuals to Boost Time on Page
Put yourself in the shoes of a digital shopper. Since you can't see or touch the product in person, the next best option are detailed images.
High quality product images allow customers to see exactly what they're getting, pixel by pixel.
These images are also beneficial in that customers can visualize the product, whether it's a couch, a pair of shoes, or a flower vase. You can take things a step further by posting product videos as well.
Big retailers, such as Amazon and Wayfair, have also had great success with the use of augmented reality. In fact, research has found that 61% of customers prefer to shop from stores that offer AR technology.
3. Offer Expected & Unexpected Deals
Online shoppers have grown accustomed to certain features, namely, free shipping. For many products, this is essentially table stakes to getting a purchase. If you can’t offer free shipping due to cost, try using a free shipping threshold (e.g. free shipping on orders over $99). This can often increase average order size as well!
You should also consider occasional sales. One way to do this is to structure deals around holidays and other seasonal events that make sense for your products. If you sell Summer themed items, maybe try a Spring sale to help customers gear up for the Summer.
You can also try unexpected or Flash Sales. These can be a great way to move extra inventory that you’re trying to clear out. They should also be structured to enforce a sense of urgency to convince the customer to buy now!
4. Streamline your checkout flow
Online shoppers are all about fast purchases. They don't want to have to click 20 times and fill out several forms before they can buy an item. If your store's checkout process is cumbersome, you may be losing customers as they are ready to buy.
Figure out the flow of the checkout process. What do users have to click to add an item to their cart and checkout? Think about the flow and remove any unnecessary clicks or bottlenecks.
Using a platform like Shopify can make this process very easy. They have a great default checkout flow, and you can usually find an app to help with other features that aren’t available out of the box.
Some good places to start are:
- Offer one-click checkout for return customers.
- Offer as many payment options as possible. Integrations with Paypal, Stripe, Amazon Pay and Shop Pay can make your customers’ lives easier.
- Remove any unnecessary form items and implement address auto-complete.
- Allow customers to checkout without creating an account if they’d prefer not to.
5. Utilize abandoned cart email(s)
Regardless of how frictionless your checkout flow is, you are bound to lose some customers after they’ve started checkout. Sometimes they just got distracted and went elsewhere on the web, other times they may have decided they didn’t like your shipping policy. Whatever the reason, you can often win some percentage of these customers back with an abandoned cart email, or better yet, a flow of 2-4 emails.
We like to use the Klaviyo to set up an abandoned cart flow that includes 3 or 4 emails. It usually starts out as a gentle reminder and eventually offers a strong sense of urgency and maybe a discount as well. Perhaps the third email begins “Still not sure, we’ll make it easy for you. Come back in the next 24 hours and receive a 15% discount using this code just for you!”
Remember that the purpose of these emails is to help the customer with any roadblocks in their purchase decision, not to pester them.
Paid ads are a great way to drive traffic to your ecommerce site. But getting a steady flow of traffic is only one part of the equation.
To maximize your site’s success, you must optimize it for conversions. Since most traffic will cost you the same, regardless of whether a customer buys or not, even slight improvements in conversion rate are like free money! Using these five tips, you can improve user experience and encourage customers to make a purchase while they’re here.
In turn, you’ll not only make a profit, but increase the chance of brand ambassadors and repeat purchases in the future.