Any website looking to make a profit can benefit from conversion optimization. Optimizing a site will ensure you are not losing income, creating bottlenecks, or damaging user trust. Conversion optimization can be a detailed process, with numerous items offering minor alterations when subject to an A/B test. Most elements won’t have a major impact, though, with only a few areas that really drive conversion optimization. So what are the three elements that should take up most of your attention?
Cart abandonment is a major issue affecting retailers in all sectors. Many investigations have been carried out on the problem, with the Baymard Institute suggesting an abandonment rate of 68.63% based on an average of 33 studies. This significant number indicates that many visitors are coming close to making a purchase, but leaving at the last minute. While you won’t be able to save all these sales, improvements to the checkout process can reduce abandonment.
A good checkout page will make everything clear, with no difficulty finding shipping costs or estimated delivery dates. A visual guide showing the number of stages also helps to avoid confusion. Testimonials can often improve conversion rate by allaying any second thoughts a customer might have. Typically, a customer will need to set up an account, but you can test whether this should happen before or after the purchase. While these are just a small number of factors to test, they all show the importance of clarity and simplicity in the checkout experience.
User experience (UX) is about providing users with a simple, effective, and pleasurable visit to your site. In many cases, a negative experience occurs when a visitor is overly conscious of various aspects of the site, rather than the design, navigation, and functionality operating smoothly in the background. One major UX factor for an ecommerce site is loading times. Most visitors will not wait for extended times, with even an additional few seconds damaging conversion rates. The UX also involves providing user-friendly browsing, so complex navigation systems must be simplified. The more products you stock, the more complex your site architecture will have to be, but testing will help indicate the optimal system. Finally, UX is enhanced by an attractive design, with outdated web design and cheap graphics not inspiring confidence in visitors.
Trust and reputation are major factors in the purchasing process, with any negative feeling likely to lead to a reduction in conversion rate. Trust factors are important for the site as a whole, but also for individual products. For the entire site, building trust happens before visitors even land on a page, with external review sites influencing your reputation. Within the site, elements like credit card symbols and business trust logos can subtly ease any concerns for visitors. Using the HTTPS protocol will also help ease security concerns. For individual products, allowing customers to leave reviews shows you are open to public opinions. Most visitors aren’t explicitly looking for signs of trustworthiness, but their absence can raise doubts.
Conversion optimization is an ongoing process, so you can continue testing aspects of an ecommerce site as part of your routine. Small changes in results can add up to a significant difference, particularly if you are diligent with your testing. The bulk of your improvements, though, will come from the three elements mentioned previously. These elements are the areas of an ecommerce site that convince a visitor to follow through with a sale, so naturally, they are subject to the biggest changes. For some site owners, conversion optimization can feel like a distraction from running a business, but the process is one of the easiest ways to turn a struggling store into a thriving one.