By now, every retailer recognizes that ecommerce websites are a must-have. Yet far too many treat their webstore as a set-and-forget channel, only to be updated when there’s a new product.
This attitude couldn’t be farther from the truth. Websites are more than just online stores; they are an online representation of who you are and how you treat your customers. When visitors experience your website, they’re experiencing your brand. Audience experience has a direct impact on ecommerce conversion rates and in the following article, we take a closer look at the 4 best ways to improve your ecommerce conversion rate in 2021.
What is an ecommerce conversion rate?
Ecommerce Conversion Rate is sales transactions divided by visits.
“The ratio of transactions to sessions, expressed as a percentage. For example, a ratio of one transaction to every ten sessions would be expressed as an Ecommerce Conversion Rate of 10%”. – Google
Last month, Kendall Giglio, Sr. Director of Conversion Rate Optimization at Tinuiti, took the virtual stage at Tinuiti Live to show brands how audience experience affects ecommerce conversion rates.
Giglio opened the webinar with a powerful statement on how brands need to change their attitudes towards their e-stores.
“The sooner you realize that ‘people don’t buy from websites, they buy from people,’ the sooner you can create a better site experience for your customers.”
Simply put, the more thought and effort you invest into improving your audience’s online experience, the more benefit you will see in your conversion numbers.
4 Ways To Improve Your Ecommerce Conversion Rate
According to Giglio, here are the most common areas that need to be improved:
Alignment of design and usability
Design and usability are two sides of the same coin. “These two things should go hand in hand,” Giglio said, “but in many cases, we miss the mark.”
It is possible to have an ecommerce site that is visually well-designed, yet still difficult to use. Part of the challenge is that usability challenges can either be glaringly obvious or insidiously subtle. Usability challenges are also cumulative; a customer may encounter a hangup or two as they shop and be fine, but too many and the customer becomes so frustrated that they leave.
Here are some common (and commonly overlooked) usability challenges:
- Navigation is overly complex and cumbersome
- Lots of “blocks” to easy user flow (i.e. sign-ups, low product visibility, site loading speed)
- Weak calls to action (i.e. poor placement, weak copy, bland design)
- Unengaging site content (i.e. weak copywriting, odd product categories, lack of good product photos)
Any one of these challenges could drive away a potential customer and cost you a sale. Your responsibility as a retailer is to make the shopping process as frictionless for the user as possible so they have no blockers that prevent them from converting.
Credibility and trust
Trust is a valuable commodity when it comes to selling your brand. Just go onto Amazon and search for iPhone accessories. There are plenty of people who sell them for a fraction of the cost of an official Apple product; so why are people still buying?
Because they trust Apple.
Not everyone can be a Silicon Valley company, of course. But your design and copy choices still help influence how you are perceived by your customers.
To make her point, Giglio reminds us of the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. “We can adapt this lesson to talk about credibility and trust, and how it’s conveyed to your customers. Not too little, not too much, just the right amount.”
“Reviews, testimonials, featured logos, stats, and words like “popular and trending” can ultimately make or break a visitor’s decision to convert. But it’s not just about using these tools, it’s about using them correctly.”
- Too little and visitors may lack the necessary trust to convert
- Too much and visitors may feel you’re overcompensating and anxiety increases
Retailers need to find the “sweet spot:” the appropriate amount of trust-generating content that convinces customers you’re the right choice.
Overall site messaging
Many ecommerce website owners make the same messaging mistake: they assume that both the customer and owner will understand the message the same way.
The best thing to do is to not assume anything at all.
“Visitors arrive at your site with their own agenda and their own needs,” Giglio says.
“Assuming your visitors understand nothing gives you the runway to ensure you’re communicating to them appropriately. Messaging acts as a buffer between you and your visitors. How you communicate who you are, what you want visitors to do, and why you want them to do it is pivotal to conversion.”
Headlines are important for immediately connecting with visitors. To ensure your customers get the message you’re trying to convey, Giglio suggests the following tips:
- Prioritize clarity above all things. Cute or clever wording can be misunderstood.
- Don’t lead with a question.
- Clearly state your unique value proposition. If your competitor can claim the same thing, it’s not unique.
- Ensure that your content is relevant to the user’s inquiry.
The best thing you can do for your site is to constantly test and refine your content. Change it up and measure the effects. Eliminate what’s not working and lean into what is. Over time, these kinds of incremental improvements will add up to huge gains for your site.
“There is a very fine line between the value you are trying to convey and the value your visitors actually perceive,” Giglio says.
Giglio defines the different types of feelings that bring visitors value:
- Visitors feeling you adequately address the need they are looking to have fulfilled
- Visitors feeling your brand aligns with the expectation they have for the type of product you sell and/or offer
- The feeling of exclusivity – no one else would be a better fit for their needs.
This is one reason why luxury brands are able to sell so successfully at a higher price point despite cheaper alternatives. They’re able to communicate value to buyers that are looking for – even expecting – that kind of exclusivity.
Improving in this area comes down to knowing your customers’ expectations and tastes, and aligning your own ecommerce site’s branding and messaging to fit.
Watch the recording for more of Giglio’s valuable insights and practical tips on how to improve your ecommerce site’s conversion rate.