7 Specific CRO Techniques to Boost E-Commerce Product Sales
You’ve worked hard on your store’s SEO and traffic acquisition strategy. Now that you’re obtaining a plentiful number of visitors, you can just sit back and watch the profits roll in, right?
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case!
Running a successful online store isn’t just a traffic and visitor numbers game. If the conversion rate (traffic to sales ratio) is poor, you are literally leaving money on the table.
So what can you do to improve your bottom line without spending more on traffic acquisition?
You need to work on boosting your conversion rate using some of the most effective conversion rate optimization (CRO) techniques mentioned below.
What is the typical E-commerce Conversion Rate?
Put simply, the conversion rate of an e-commerce store is simply the percentage of visitors who become paying customers.
Let’s say your online shop received 5K visitors or sessions, and out of those visitors, you get 500 orders.
10% is, therefore, your current conversion rate.
You should always know this figure for your online store so that you can monitor performance (weekly or monthly, or as you deem fit for your business) and discover any problems with conversions as soon as they become apparent.
The average e-commerce conversion rate is somewhere between a rather disappointing 1.51% and a much stronger 4.4%. Many factors influence this rate, such as devices being used for the shopping experience, familiarity with the brand, seasonal changes, offers being promoted, reviews, your website’s text and language, the design of your site and many other factors.
There is a lot of variation in the conversion rate in different categories of e-commerce sites.
Many stores see less than a 1% conversion, while the top performers see more than 5% or 6% of visitors converting to customers.
Even if your e-commerce store is closer to the mid and top conversion ranges, there are still ways to grow your conversion rate.
Let’s keep using the example above.
Imagine if you did a few tweaks on your site and suddenly, instead of converting at 10%, you are converting at 15%. This automatically means that in the next month, if you get another 5K sessions, the number of orders will be 5000 * 0.15 = 750 orders.
On the contrary, if your conversion rate stays the same, to get 1K orders, you will now need to get 7.5K sessions, which typically takes a great deal (or money) of effort.
Essentially, by improving the conversion rate, you’ll see a jump in revenue, removing the need to generate additional traffic to your site.
This is an incredible opportunity for most businesses, especially if the current conversion rate is at the lower end of the scale.
7 Best E-Commerce Conversion Rate Optimization Techniques
This list represents some of the best ways to improve your store’s profitability and revenue without breaking the bank or taking up too much of your valuable time.
Most of these techniques can be implemented on any e-commerce platform, such as WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento, or other online store frameworks.
1. Use Scarcity to Create a Sense of Urgency
People want what they can’t have and value things more that are difficult to attain. There’s also the dreaded FOMO effect, the “Fear of Missing Out.” The feeling that if you don’t close the deal right now, you will lose the opportunity.
This is why people panic buy when a resource is threatened, they will wait in line for hours for a product, even if they might not really need it.
They will also be much more likely to buy if they feel that the opportunity to buy is limited or about to run out.
The great thing is that you can use this psychological effect to your advantage. Some websites such as booking.com use this to a great effect (see above example).
If you can create a sense of scarcity in your store when the customer is browsing, you will boost conversions dramatically.
So how do you create this urgency?
Limited time offers are a great way to promote some urgency in the minds of shoppers. Simply adding a countdown timer to an offer has been shown to boost e-commerce conversion rates greatly.
The offer can be a limited time sale price, free next day shipping, or a bonus product giveaway.
Pointing out that there are few items remaining is another method to create scarcity. If the customer sees that there aren’t many opportunities left it WILL motivate their decision to purchase now instead of later.
2. Offer Free Shipping
People love free stuff.
But this is not the reason why free shipping is a great e-commerce CRO technique.
Free shipping ensures that the final price does not increase beyond a customer’s expectations when they come to check out.
Of course, the store will naturally have to charge them more for the product to cover the cost, however, this cost can be “hidden” in the cost of the product, and spread across multiple products.
The perception that the customer feels they are getting something for nothing is more important than the reality, though.
Free shipping has been shown to increase sales and the cart value of the average customer.
It will also reduce cart abandonment as shipping costs are one of the biggest reasons for people not completing the checkout process.
3. Implement Cart Abandonment Processes
No matter what steps you take to remove obstacles, potential customers will still leave your site with items not purchased in their cart.
The problem is a big one, with stores seeing around 70% of carts abandoned.
Just imagine what effect recovering a good amount of that business would do to your store’s bottom line!
With such statistics, you really need a process to recover those lost customers.
There are three main abandonment processes to win those people back;
- exit popups,
- email marketing,
- and retargeting ads.
Exit popups allow you to make your customer an offer as soon as they are about to leave the site.
Recovering abandoned carts with email marketing is, of course, only possible if you have the person’s email address. The potential customer may quit before they give you this information and could even be a cause for abandonment in the first place.
Even if you do have their email address, you still have the issue of getting them to actually read your marketing email. With most people’s inboxes full of unread mail and promotional messages often filtered from the main view, this is a challenge.
If you do have their email though, you are able to personalize the message including images of the abandoned items, and you have the opportunity to incentivize them to complete their purchase.
Retargeted advertising is when your adverts are shown to customers who have abandoned carts when they visit other websites.
This is achieved using cookies, and such scripts as the Facebook Pixel and Google Ads pixel, so you don’t need to collect information from your visitors.
4. Set up Live Chat
Live chat is an increasingly more popular customer support channel.
This is because the majority of customers prefer the option of chatting to someone on the spot, rather than emailing and having to wait for a response.
The response time in which they receive the answer to their question is important here as well. If a potential customer has to wait for an answer, they may have already abandoned your site and purchased from a competitor before they receive it.
Also, the desire for the product may have passed or they could just forget about it and move on before they get an email from support.
Another benefit to using Live Chat is the removal of some of the purchasing fears or doubts that people have.
It shows that there are real people behind the store and in the event of a problem with their order, it shows that they will be able to easily contact support to get it solved.
5. Add Social Proof / Testimonials
Social proof is the phenomenon where people look to others to validate their own decision in the situation they are in.
In e-commerce, social proof can be created with customer testimonials. In this way, visitors can see what other people did when they were in the same situation as they are now. They had similar needs, chose to purchase and they can read how well that decision turned out for them.
See most people, when they are about to purchase, suddenly get a sense of doubt. They start questioning whether this is the best product to purchase or if they should perform further research.
You need to act to mitigate that fear as soon as it creeps in, usually right after they see the price of your product.
Seeing people that are already happy with their purchase is very important to improve conversions as a large number of online shoppers will also read customer reviews before deciding to purchase.
They also trust the opinions of other customers far more than whatever is written or claimed in the product description.
6. Let Customers Check Out as Guests
Reducing the number of steps that visitors need to take to become customers has been shown to reduce cart abandonment.
For whatever reason, a lot of people are put off filling out the necessary information to become a member of another new site.
This is a stumbling block in the checkout process.
Give your potential customers the option of buying without joining the site and see your conversions increase.
7. Use a Unique Detailed, Benefit-Oriented Product Description
If you just copy and paste the manufacturer’s description to your site, you are missing an opportunity.
Not only does creating a unique product description produce an SEO boost, but it also gives you the chance to sell the benefits of the product, increasing your conversion rate.
People frequently like to read as much as possible about a product they are interested in. They want to learn more about it to make sure it is right for them.
Don’t leave questions about the product unanswered or potential customers will leave to research the information which might be missing, finding the answer at another store, and completing the purchase there, instead of at your site.
Be as comprehensive as possible with your product descriptions.
As you can see, the above are some of the best ways to improve your e-commerce conversion rate and the profitability of your store. Most of them preempt your customers’ concerns so answers to questions or doubts they eventually might have. While some of these techniques can be set up in a few minutes, others have to be incorporated into the way you run the store, but all of them have a proven track record in increasing return on investment for e-commerce store owners.
Plan to implement all of these conversion rate optimization techniques to push your profitability from your store’s traffic as high as possible!