In the world of e-commerce conversions are everything. What can you do to make your current visitors convert into customers? You can drive more traffic to your site or you can utilize your existing traffic and create a better conversion rate. There is nothing wrong with driving more traffic to your site, but once you create more conversions, it your traffic will start increasing automatically.
1. Utilize the 404 page
This is an often over looked detail with e-commerce sites. If you are like most shops, you have to discontinue products every now and then. Now there are two ways that you can handle this, you can either make a redirect for every product in your .htaccess file or you can sell from your 404 page. If you rarely run out of products putting a redirect in your .htaccess file works fine, but if you are a drop shipper who has a stock that rotates often that might not work. Putting an error message on your 404 page and having a featured section just for it, is your best bet.
2. A URL for every combination
Most e-commerce packages can create combinations of products, but they have one page for the combination. Having your combinations set up with their own URL, but leading to the same page, is awesome for SEO. You can take one product that has 10 colors and 10 sizes and turn that into 100 products on 100 pages. Depending on what package you are using, it might take a little bit of custom programming to achieve this effect, but once you do, you will notice the extended reach.
3. Guest checkout
Guest checkouts convert customers that you might ordinarily lose during the checkout phase. From past experience with clients we have found that guest checkouts generally increase sales 10-30% depending on the market and the traffic. One thing to keep in mind with using guest checkouts, is they tend to take up quite a bit more customer service resources. But when sales are higher it is usually cancelled out.
4. Abandon cart follow up emails
When someone starts to checkout on your site, but leaves during the process it can be discouraging. One thing we have found to get customers to reclaim the carts is to send them an email a day or two later with a coupon. Through testing we have found that 10-15% is the magic number to get someone to complete the purchase. Although, if the order is substantial we often times send out bigger coupons.
5. Get an honest opinion on your design
Websites with a better design convert more often than sites that are not appealing to the eye and easy to use. An honest opinion is not asking your wife or other family members, those people are more likely to be nice, which will hurt you in the long run. Post your site to reddit’s design critique board or a similar place. But be ready for some harsh criticism, even the most seasoned developer can get his feelings hurt doing this. If you can to take it one step further, you can use reel and set up a presentation also.
6. Rich snippets
Rich snippets are all the rage these days. There is a format especially for e-commerce sites that will let you mark your products up into offers. Everyone touts Google’s rich snippets, but the truth of the matter is all the major search engines support them. It makes no sense not to use them, especially when your competition is.
7. Reduce page load time
This is becoming a theme on this site, but it is true. Customers abandon slow websites, if you Google it, a lot has been written on the subject matter. There have also been some pretty nice studies on it too. Use tools like Yslow and Google Page Speed to get your site optimized. If you are selling globally using a service such as Cloudflare might be a good idea, as well as offloading static files to a media server.
8. Use a live chat
If someone is experiencing problems during checkout, they usually will not send you an email and let you know. They just won’t buy from you. But using a live chat option they are more likely to. They are invaluable when someone has a question about a product that your description does not cover also. I generally recommend Olark for live chat since the integration is super easy and it has a full list of features.
Using these tips properly you should almost instantly notice a higher conversion rate, which translates into more money, more word of mouth, and more backlinks.
About the Author: Lesley Paone
Lesley has worked in e-commerce for over a decade, and is the founder of dh42. Starting out with PrestaShop and brancing out into other platforms like Shopify. He loves all things e-commerce and loves a challenge, in his spare time he helps moderate several forums on SEO, e-commerce, as well as the PrestaShop forum. If you have any questions for him about any of his articles just use our contact form to contact him.