According to a recent study conducted by Compass , the average conversion rate for e-commerce stores is just 1.4%, with top performers achieving around 3%.
While this may come as no surprise to anyone who manages or markets an e-commerce store, the reality is that the average marketer sees only one sale delivered from every 100 visits.
Do you want to be just average? Or do you want to be better than the rest? Better than your competitors? If so, you need to ensure that your conversion rate is better than average and converts as many visitors into purchasers as possible. You need to aim to achieve a conversion rate which exceeds 1.4% and comes in closer to 3%. Achieving higher may be possible in some industries, however for the most, 3% should be seen as the upper target.
Luckily (or perhaps unluckily), most e-commerce stores suffer from some common issues. Issues which, in many cases, are relatively quick and easy to fix.
Here are 10 tips for mastering e-commerce conversion rate optimization:
1. Never Underestimate the Power of a Search Box
With an estimated 30% of visitors using the search box of an e-commerce store to quickly find the products which they’re looking to buy, it’s important to take the time to ensure you are using this to your advantage.
First, ensure that you clearly display a search box in a prominent position in your store. That means that it shouldn’t be hidden away in the footer of the site or even below the fold. Make it easy for those looking for it to find your search box and don’t try to reinvent the wheel.
The search box should, in most cases, sit within the header section of your site. However it’s not uncommon for this to now be the primary above-the-fold focus on some stores. Why? Because it’s disruptive and does a fantastic job of leading a consumer on their journey through your store. What could be clearer than offering the opportunity to search for products rather than trying to navigate menus?
This has become almost commonplace in the travel industry, with hotel and flight searches taking center stage.
It’s not only seen in the travel space, however, and there’s becoming a real justification to do something a little different and offer this sort of search option when selling everything from fashion to electronics.
Take a look at these eight great examples of great e-commerce site search on the Lemonstand blog.
Secondly, ensure that your site search returns relevant results. All too often, users search for a product only to be returned no results. This is a surefire way to pass your hard-earned traffic over to your competitors.
If for any reason you don’t stock a product being searched for, look at ways to return an alternative or, at the very least, get creative with how you can encourage a different search to be made or navigation to be made in a different way. For some inspiration, check out this post from Baymard.com which shares 50 ‘no results page’ examples.
2. Offer Universal Free Shipping
Charging for shipping (especially when your competitors aren’t) can be a conversion killer for e-commerce stores. It’s absolutely vital that you regularly monitor what your competitors are offering in order to be able to at least match what they’re doing or, ideally, better it.
Not all stores will be able to offer completely free shipping as this, of course, depends on upon the products being sold and the costs associated with dispatching an order. Where possible, however, take the time to experiment with the effect which removing all shipping costs has upon both revenue and profit.
Offering free shipping allows consumers to make purchase decisions based solely upon the price of goods and makes it far easier to compare the total cost of an order between different retailers. This can be an especially useful tool if you offer the lowest total cost and are retaining low-value consumables.
In instances where you are unable to offer free shipping on all orders, test the effect of decreasing the ‘Free Shipping Over…’ threshold.
In short, keep a close eye on what your competitors offer on this front and explore ways to not only match but better their pricing.
3. Implement Independent Reviews
As a consumer, reviews collected by a retailer themselves often raise a slight concern as to their authenticity. At the end of the day, if you read a review directly on a merchant’s e-commerce store, what’s to say that it is genuine and hasn’t been left as a result of gifting or offering financial incentives? Trust is one of the reasons for a poor conversion rate of an e-commerce store.
Whilst many retailers have recently claimed that less than 2% of reviews are spurious , experts suspect that the actual percentage could be far higher.
It’s important that marketers give consumers a reason to trust the reviews and ratings left by previous customers and the easiest way to do this is to sign up an independent reviews platform. While Trustpilot is perhaps the most established and widely-used option available, both Feefo and Reviews offer comparable solutions, all of which work in the same way.