How to increase a conversion rate on a website?
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How to Increase the Website Conversion Rate?
The strategy of most online marketing specialists is focused on attracting more visitors to the website. This allows increasing the lead number automatically and improving the website sales volume. Increasing the online platform traffic ranking allows boosting the sales volume. This is how the algorithm of most online marketing companies looks like if put it more bluntly.
But only a few specialists make some efforts for improving the quality of the sales volume, i.e. increasing the website conversion thus strongly benefiting from the existing traffic and the number of prospects that increase all the time. This article is about increasing the website conversion rate.
Website conversion rate optimization: what is it and where to start
Let’s start with the ABC.
What is a website conversion rate?
Website conversion rate is a percentage ratio of the number of reached goals to the number of website visitors for a certain period. In other words, the website conversion is the indicator of transformation (conversion) of the traffic into the number of visitors’ actions that are effective for reaching the corresponding goals. It should be mentioned that the goals can be different: lead generation, purchase, visitor registration, etc.
The given definition makes clear that the website conversion rate is a qualitative traffic value, unlike the traffic ranking that is a quantitative indicator. If one tries increasing the number of visitors only (using SEO, advertising, etc.), but does not consider conversion, soon it will appear that the budgets spent on increasing the qualitative values are used inefficiently as qualitative indicators (e.g., conversion in e-commerce) stay rather low and the platform potential is not used properly.
Even though marketing efforts attract many visitors and the website conversion rate seems to be rather good, it should be increased anyway as this allows developing the business and cutting the specific expenses for attracting one buyer to the website.
The process of increasing the website conversion rate is called Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). This can be gained in different ways - by content SEO optimization, improving the website UX and usability, applying different marketing methods (e.g., free sending of the digital version of an article or a book for signing up, participating in a giveaway when making a purchase, etc.).
Conversion rate optimization can be made on any website page, however, there are a few main pages that play the most important role in improving this value.
1 Conversion rate optimization of the main page (homepage)
The main page is the store-front of the website. Most visitors pay attention to it. The main page is the icon of your company so the main page CRO should become one of the foremost targets of online marketing specialists.
2 Price page conversion rate optimization
The e-commerce conversion rate can be improved by optimizing the CRO of the price page as it serves as the concentration of the marketing “P” Big Five.
The price allows making the product, presentation and other elements of a unique sales offer more significant.
3 Blog conversion rate optimization
Blog development on a website increases its CRO. The materials on this page show the seller’s competency. As there is no direct contact, such materials make a good impression on the visitors.
4 Conversion rate optimization of category, item, cart, order pages
Besides the mentioned pages, the CRO of these pages also should be improved. These pages are the most critical ones for the website.
They generate sales or leads, the visitors make a decision there and perform meaningful co-operation with the website.
Naturally, the conversion optimization rate is very important for e-commerce. Let’s discuss this question in detail.
Statistical values of the conversion rate in e-commerce.
For boosting the e-commerce CRO firstly you need to determine the “foothold”, i.e. the parameters that should become the basis of your analysis and estimations.
Based on many-year researches in the sphere of e-commerce performed by the leading online marketing think tanks, some factors play the most important role in conversion estimation.
1 Determining the level of “good” conversion rate
Conversion of one or another website can not be estimated exactly without considering the industry, business size, specific nature of the activity, and perceptions. The most objective level assessment is the increase of conversion of a certain platform for a certain period.
E.g., in 2018 1.41% was the best conversion rate for the accessory and clothes market while 0.58% was the best conversion rate for agricultural supplies.
As of January 2020, 2.63% was a “good” conversion rate for e-commerce. Wild values were excluded when determining this value.
2 Branch of economy
The conversion rate in e-commerce strongly depends on the industry where online sales are made.
Thus, as at the beginning of 2020, the average conversion rate in some branches of the economy was as follows:
- spare parts for farming equipment 1.41%
- pieces of art - 4.01%
- baby products 0.71%
- car and motoring goods 1.36%
- electronics and commercial equipment 2.70%
- fashionable clothes and accessories 1.41%;
- food and drinks 0.90%
- healthcare 2.02%
- animal goods 2.51%
- kitchen utensils 1.61%.
Of course, the given values depend on the country or even the region.
When determining the website key performance indicators (KPI), consider the operating country peculiarities. the website conversion rate can differ strongly depending on the area:
- Germany - 2.22%
- USA - 1.96%
- Great Britain - 1.88%
- Denmark - 1.80%
- Netherlands - 1.78%
- Greece - 1.44%
- France - 1.10%
- India - 1.10%
- Italy - 0.99%.
From the given example it is clear that the cultural differences have a significant impact on the success of e-commerce.
According to the researches, it is clear that referral channels that confirm the information on the website are the most powerful tool for increasing the conversion rate of e-commerce.
Thus, average conversion rates for different traffic sources are given below:
- direct 2.16%
- e-mail 5.32%
- organic search 2.08%
- Facebook 0.93%
- AdWords 1.42%
- referral traffic 5.44%
- social ties 0.74%.
The indicators may vary widely: from 11% in food trading to less than 2% in furniture trading.
E-commerce conversion rate strongly depends on the type of user’s device - desktop, tablet, or smartphone. The most efficient devices are desktops and laptops (4.84% and 4.06% correspondingly), the less efficient ones are smartphones (2.25%). This is probably connected with the features of display visualization and the absence of convenient means for visiting a website from a cell phone.
6 Operating system
Windows show the best website conversion values. Most likely, this is connected with highly-developed e-commerce tools for the most popular platform in the world.
Secure and easy payment is an important factor in e-commerce CRO. PayPal is the most efficient one.
Mistakes of optimizing the conversion rate for e-commerce in 2020
Mistakes happen in e-commerce CRO, so as in other spheres of human activity. Their reason is also “universal” - business owners or Web-analysts often make decisions based on subjective perceptions without relying on precisely known facts.
The reliable data in e-commerce can be obtained from different researches only: website usability and UX testing, estimation of the impact of the above-mentioned factors, determining the top-priority spheres for improvement. It is important to use proper testing tools and software that allows interpreting the obtained results properly. The main goal of the research is to obtain data on visitor behavior and detecting “weak” points.
The second largest block of mistakes that hinders the process of website CRO is the wrong optimization technique. Very often there are too many or, vice versa, too little changes or they have a cosmetic effect only. Sometimes there is a lack of understanding of the terms required for responding to the improvements and regularities of prospect behavior.
In terms of content, very often e-commerce marketplaces suffer from underrepresentation of goods. Marketing specialists often do not consider the peculiarities of remote trading when the content serves as the seller explaining the peculiarities of the goods and giving reasonable advice.
From the technical point of view, trading websites should not have a low speed, broken links, poor optimization, or ill-advised structure. Also emerging mobile device users should be considered; trading platforms and ultra HD advanced monitors should be adapted for this.
The website technical aspect should be thoroughly tested both concerning the platform work and usability before running.
As a result, mistakes in traffic conversion into sales can derail the efforts of developers and trading platform SEO specialists, and the investments into the project lose efficiency.
20 ways of improving the e-commerce conversion rate
We have analyzed the typical mistakes online marketing specialists make in trading platform CRO. Now let’s discuss some efficient methods of improving the conversion rate. Their efficiency has been proven by researches and a many-year experience in e-commerce.
1 Easy ordering
Reducing the number of steps when making an order is one of the most efficient website CRO methods. This allows cutting the “last mile” distance for a prospect.
Regular analysis of customer behavior with heatmaps allows detecting problems and improving the conversion rate. More details about using Plerdy heatmaps here.
Provide a reliable feedback service between the online marketplace and digital platforms for product/service advertising.
4 Simple design
Simple and intuitive website design allows a prospect to focus on the main items.
Often the intention to decorate the projects seriously harms the website usability.
5 Page speed
Low website speed wards off buyers no less than a complicated sign-up system. More details about page speed here.
6 Representation proof
Feedback, reviews, photos, and videos about the advertised products or services improve the e-commerce conversion rate.
7 Campaigns and bonuses
Free shipment, prize and discount coupons, campaigns attract website visitors and improve its conversion.
8 Customer-oriented approach
Customers should be able to recover personal accounts that were unused for a long time.
9 Online support service
Online (chat) customer support increases conversion.
10 The existing customer feedback system
The feedback system should be transparent and not nominal.
11 Purchase stimulation
For stimulating an effective action it is recommended to evoke an urgency perception in the customer with decrementing counters, banners, and other similar tools.
12 A/B testing
A/B testing often allows finding the most suitable design and content solutions for the conversion rate.
13 High-quality blog
A prospect should have a reason to stay on the website as long as possible. This means that the website is interesting to him.
So a good blog managed on behalf of the project keeps the visitor on the website and increases the e-commerce conversion rate.
14 Good visual material
Before running a project please make sure that all images on the website have a high-quality and that the visual imagery is supplemented with videos.
Popups stimulate trading platform visitors.
16 CRO sequence
It is recommended to improve the conversion from the bottom-of-funnel (BoFu).
17 Traffic structuring
Please make sure that the traffic is directed to the target page.
A product guarantee improves e-commerce conversion.
19 Easy payments
Please make sure that the customers can use every possible method of paying for the products or services.
20 Traffic analysis
Analyze and segment the traffic all the time.
Surely, the list of the above-mentioned methods is not full. Although implementing the described methods allows making the first steps for improving the e-commerce conversion rate.
It should be noted that the intention to influence the prospect with various marketing methods should not obscure the unique project sales offer. In other words, the customer should check out the offer and purchase without any problem without distracting on a lot of popups, chats, and other communication tools. They should not form a bad attitude to the e-commerce conversion rate but improve it.
CRO vs SEO: what to focus on right now?
We have found out that CRO is the key to a good cooperation with the audience. But what if the changes recommended in the previous section would be harmful to SEO?
The general reply is simple: SEO and CRO are not mutually exclusive, but the activity sequence should be considered in any certain case.
If the website generates not enough traffic, the e-commerce CRO activities would not be very influential. In this case, start from creating content interesting and useful for the target audience as without it you can’t reach the necessary conversion level using testing, color changes, placement, button or font sizes, and calls to action.
First of all, the content should be used for establishing a dialogue with the visitors and creating an emotional value of the brand/product/service. The customer should have a reason for visiting the website once again. When this goal is reached, the loyalty conversion should be developed.
If there is enough traffic for performing A/B testing, the second CRO stage can be started - reaching a higher involvement level and boosting the sales volume by combining SEO and CRO. Finally, everything depends on the intentions of the target audience.
We are talking about CRO and deliberate efforts for creating a high-quality and semantically relevant content providing a good customer UX. Finally, the UX will determine the number of loyal and qualified leads.
Don’t worry that CRO will destroy the SEO. Often CRO efforts make the audience more clear with help of long queries. This allows segmenting the traffic and improving its quality. For sure, 30 out of 100 visitors that make a purchase are better than 10,000 visitors that do not perform effective actions.
So arising from the above, the following conclusion can be made - at first, such traffic that allows the audience to find a platform should be created and then SEO and CRO should be combined for extending the conversion funnel.
Why are CRO and UX efficient co-operation methods?
CRO (conversion rate optimization), UX (user experience), and usability are often used as synonyms. Indeed, they are related, but there is a big difference between them.
CRO is a strategy that allows transforming a visitor into a customer. It is based on a thorough study of behavioral responses and creating a conversion funnel without any obstacles for the visitors.
UX is a tactic that leads the website visitor through the created conversion funnel.
Usability determines the convenience of the visitor’s cooperation with the platform.
That’s why CRO and UX optimization measures should be agreed with and regulated by common approaches.
CRO specialists can determine common UX directions using tests considering that all SEO and CRO efforts can appear to be useless without a positive UX.
For avoiding fragmentation of efforts it is recommended to follow some rules:
- Your actions should be based on research and tests. A properly organized hypothesis check only can confirm its validity or falsehood.
- CRO should determine the main directions and priorities of the e-commerce project design.
- UX specialists should always commit to the presentation of the platform in different browsers and devices.
It can be added that only regular website usability audits, A/B testing, and co-operation with UX specialists can improve the website conversion rate in a long-term perspective.
What should you know about CRO for lead generation
In the struggle for positions on the market in the sphere of e-commerce the project with constant website CRO improvement has the biggest advantage under other equal conditions. In numerical terms, this will mean the conversion of customers that are ready to shop online inside the market segment.
In simple words, lead generation is a process of transforming the website visitor into a prospect or capturing it in the widest area of the conversion funnel section. CRO of lead-generation websites is no less important than target audience search with SEO methods.
The most important factors of successful CRO of lead-generation websites are given below.
1 Optimization for mobile devices
More than 50% of consumers do online shopping with their smartphones.
2 “About us/about company” page
Use the “About us” page for providing the prospect with the fullest information about the company.
3 Short data acquisition forms
Do not collect unnecessary information.
4 Unfavorable “Send” marker
“Send” button on the form is too formal. It is recommended to demonstrate the result of the user’s action (e.g., “Get free subscription” or ”Find out more”).
It is recommended to publish facts that prove the company competence.
6 Proof of trust
Participation in industry-specific associations, voluntary or obligatory certification, and other trust-confirming references increase the website conversion rate.
7 Results/Topical researches/Achievements
Publish news about the company’s achievements and its work results regularly. This will prove that the company’s activity is continuous.
Texts should be written in a clear and simple language.
9 Page speed
Visitors often leave the website due to low page speed. When designing a platform consider that it can be used with a poor Internet connection.
10 A clear and short call to action.
The user should clearly understand what to do.
11 User-friendly text typography
The texts on the website should be imposed in such a way so that the visitor’s eyes would not be tired after reading the very first lines of the text.
12 Website architecture
The website architecture should be designed simply and intuitively.
13 Heatmaps analysis
Such analysis will allow finding out where do users click and where do they just move the cursor and do not engage with this element further or when they leave the page.
14 Visitor behavior analysis
As has been mentioned above, CRO decisions should be based on researches. Surely, you may pay external companies for website usability audit and conversion,
but it is recommended to study your audience yourself as Google Analytics and Plerdy provide wide opportunities for this.
CRO advanced tips and best practices
When major efforts on project development have been taken (information was collected, enough traffic for A/B testing was received, hypotheses were made and the testing was performed, general design directions were determined and a good UX was provided), it is not time to stop. It is time for more thorough and hard work on website CRO. It is worth remembering this as the e-commerce market is a very competitive environment and activity reduction can extremely affect the sales volume.
1 Checking the weakest links in the conversion funnel.
As a rule, most people focus on the beginning (target page) or end (ordering page). This is a mistake beginners make.
Focus on eliminating “narrow” areas that, at the same time, serve as the areas of the maximum possible development.
Make a conversion roadmap and then measure the conversion rate with analytical tools. The optimization steps should be based on analyzing the CRO of each stage.
Often for getting “it all immediately” e-commerce platforms try persuading the customers to accept large obligations (e.g., pay for a yearly subscription or large service package). But this does not work.
By contrast, the micro-obligation tactic is much stronger. Instead of an offer of an expensive package you can present a trial period with the personalized purchasing of a package in installments or by stages.
Don’t be afraid of showing customer’s objections on target pages; this can be done if they answer the visitors’ questions.
Please note that online trading has very limited live dialogue means, so make sure that customers can check out the objections even if this requires a lot of space. The more expensive the product is, the more information is required.
4 “About us” page
As the project team members can not introduce themselves personally, the “About us” page should contain maximum information.
This page should inspire trust towards the company when a prospect reads or watches it.
5 Test chat support
For continuing the previous item it can be added that a live chat compensates the lack of live communication in e-commerce, so its features should be used to full extent.
6 AutoComplete fields when making an order
The website conversion rate, especially for mobile devices can be increased a lot with AutoComplete fields in obligatory forms.
7 A lot of target pages
According to Hubspot, companies with more than 10 target pages generate by 55% more leads than companies with 5 target pages.
More target pages generate more traffic and create more personalised offers. But you need to make sure that the content is unique.
8 Presence in social media
Persuade users to share their purchases on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media. This provides referral sales and increases the brand awareness.
Website conversion rate is one of the most important qualitative indicators, but it should not become an end in itself as the profit is more important for e-commerce.
Conversion rate optimization includes several measures intended for solving the problem in the sales funnel. They should smoothly correlate with SEO and UX causing a synergistic effect. SEO and CRO demonstrate the two process aspects - attracting more customers and distinguishing a target segment. CRO is prescriptive for UX but still, they have strong feedback.
“Good” conversion value strongly depends on the operating country, industry, and market segment, however, in general, 3% can serve as an approximate guide.
CRO should be started after reaching a certain traffic level that allows making A/B testing. Implementing hypotheses without researching behavioral responses can affect the sales volume.
No need to follow the sequence of actions described in the article - this depends on many circumstances and largely on the budget, however, the provided information serves as a guide to the shortest path to success.
No website SEO or CRO can boost the sales volume in e-commerce if people don’t need the product and are not interested in it.