Monday, July 18, 2011

5 ways for online marketers to increase conversions

If you have or have in the past operated any type of ecommerce website then you are probably familiar with low conversion rates and you probably have looked at things like time on page, time on site, cart abandonment, keyword conversions to try and improve those low conversions.

According to a recent study, about 10% of visitors to the average ecom website are actually there to consider making a purchased, and only 2% will actually make that purchase. 2%!!!!!

2% is a very low number for ecommerce (unless that is your chargeback ratio) so what most online marketers will do is try and push even more traffic to the site. The numbers do work, since 2% of 1000 is a lot more sales then 2% of 100. However, what about that 8% that were interested? How can you convert them? Increasing traffic is always important but why not look at some ways to increase the conversions to your site as well.

I believe that improving conversions is not only to look at the actual site, but look at suppliers to your business. Is your credit card processor the best fit? What about your call center?

Here are a five ways I think you can make your site more attractive to potential customers and increase conversions.

1. Look at declines from current Credit Card processor.

Depending on the type of account you have, where your customers are coming from and host of other factors, your decline rates might be way too high. If you have a US merchant account, but a significant portion of your traffic is international, then you may look at opening a international merchant account that you can process international transactions from. I have seen a lot of companies really increase conversions by doing this.

2. List popular items

This is very easy to do my looking at search queries and what is hot on your site. This is clearly what people are looking for the most and if you make it easy to find but putting it right in their face, you will have a better chance at selling it to them.

3. Engage your customer if they are taking too long.

This is great strategy if you see that customers are spending too much time on a certain page or on the checkout. Try and initiate a conversation through online chat to see if there are questions that the customer has.

4. Listen to your customers

Anyone can look at a best practice guide, but the best resource available your customer. Implementing a customer feedback system so you can see what people have issues with AND what they really like. But don’t just listen, it’s very important to take the feedback and address it on your website if you think its valuable.

You can also look at using incentives to get better feedback. Maybe entering customers into a draw of giving a prize if the feedback provided is valid and can be used.

5. Customer Service is Key.

Imagine walking into a store and you have some questions about a product you would like to buy. However, when you look around there is nobody to ask the question to or to help you. If that was me, I would walk out. The same principle applies online. Make sure your customer service is always available and can respond in a very quick manner. When a customer is making an impulse purchase, you need to make sure you address any concerns immediately before they are given the chance to walk away.

Having a great FAQ section, clear pricing shipping and return policies can address a lot of questions upfront, so make sure you have that in place. Also consider adding a live chat service.

In summary, online marketers invest massive amounts of money and effort to get visits. But if your site or service isn’t optimized to convert those visitors then a lot of money is being left on the table.

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