HOW TO: Increase Your Site’s Conversions : Back To The Basics

Site ConversionOnline shopping has become a retail stronghold in the recession; in spite of falling retail figures offline, more and more shoppers have turned to the internet for wider selections and better deals.  A study by Forrester Research shows that 69% of European internet users over the age of 18 purchase products through online vendors; over half of those do so monthly.

Also check : 30+ Tips To Improve Your Website Conversion Rate

Nonetheless, online store owners are familiar with the many hassles of trying to get people to purchase from the internet.  In spite of the best intentions, many shop owners have a hard time getting conversions.  What are some of the reasons that a full third of internet users don’t want to shop online?

  • Security concerns.  Most customers who don’t shop online say they fear sharing their credit card information over the internet. 
  • Shipping issues.  Customers don’t like paying high shipping prices.  They also fear their items will be damaged during shipping, get lost in the mail,  or simply not be sent at all.
  • Returns.  Some users worry that returns will be a pain. This is due to having to schedule time to go to the post office, as well as having to pay the return shipping.
  • Customer service problems.  Some people are upset if there is no live person who can be contacted during a transaction online. They don’t want to wait for an email.

How can you, as the owner of an ecommerce site, address and remedy these issues?

  • Lower your shipping prices.  You may be surprised – check into flat rate shipping options if you haven’t already.  Or – if you’re already using flat rate shipping but your items are small and lightweight, consider switching to standard envelopes.  If you still can’t bring down your shipping costs, consider altering your item prices or offering free shipping as incentives during high volume shopping seasons.
  • Clear Terms of Service Page. Include a clear terms of service page for your shipping and returns policies.  Make sure people know exactly what to expect as far as how you will be shipping, when you will be shipping, and how long it will take.  Explain the reasons a customer can or cannot return an item and whether you will return their money or provide them store credit.
  • Security Matters. To address security concerns, add a guarantee of safe shopping; offer to compensate users for unauthorized purchases. Having a third party icon (like PayPal’s icon) on your page can help ensure shoppers that there is a third party arbitrating their transaction and thus protecting their interests.
  • Give customers a clear way to contact you.  Live help is best if you can staff it; if not, make it very obvious how to contact you and when customers can expect a reply.  Welcome communication and feedback.

As you might expect, people who don’t normally shop online are generally less tech-savvy. Consequently, there trust of online sales, something that’s relatively foreign, is limited – but they still have the same desires for security, convenience, selection and communication as everyone else.  If you cater to these people using some of the suggestions outlined above, you will not only convert more customers but increase your sales to the people who are already purchasing goods online.

This article is written by Spencer Belkofer. He is the founder of Lumin, a Birmingham, AL Internet marketing company. He writes about anything related to search engine optimization, social media, and pay-per-click (PPC) adverting.

18 thoughts on “HOW TO: Increase Your Site’s Conversions : Back To The Basics”

  1. That's a good article Spencer – you get that from another freelance writer that you stiffed for payment? Just to let everyone know, I am not a spammer. I'm just a frustrated writer who Spencer ordered a bulk of work from and then disappeared a month ago without payment. He refuses to answer emails or offer any sort of explanation for lack of payment. Be wary of this one – he doesn't seem to be very professional.

  2. Paid Listing Directory: for a listing fee your website is listed, often these are higher quality directories as only serious website owners and business’s will pay to be listed. These are usually the fastest way to get listed and get links to your website, as the paid listing directories are run as a business. There are niche/specialist and general directories.

  3. Nice guide indeed.
    But, hey can you post about how to choose a really good product to promote..
    I mean I got an idea and have tried some, but would be good to get your point of view on the same.

    • Sure…What do you think about some sort of “WordPress SEO” tool? Although I think the market is cornered by Yoast..and legitimately so.

  4. Security is very important, maybe not the security itself which is good if you use a secured way of payment, but the perceived security.

    For example I sold some products over paypal and the buy page hosted by paypal displayed my e-mail address on the top, with a big font and bolded. When I changed it to display a custom image the conversions raised considerable.

  5. Great tips on increasing sales and conversions on an ecommerce site. I agree with you, it’s important to make customers easy to contact you. Live Help is a great option!

  6. Initially, live help and address would be very important to know about the shop very well.In fact, live help would be more helpful for the customer to increase your site conversation. And at the time, it will be helpful for the business as well.

  7. A great call to action design and a well organized email campain also can increase your conversations.

  8. Great post Spencer. I agree with your point that many online shoppers have concerns when it comes to purchasing something on the internet.

    I think the biggest concern of most people is security issues with their credit card information. You gave some great advice to have a third party icon on your site like paypal.

    When shoppers see an icon they know and trust it will normally eliminate the security concerns they may have. Thanks for sharing your insights Spencer.

    • Jason,

      Thanks for the feedback. I’m glad you found it helpful. Sometimes clients will want to get really involved in conversion rate optimization before they’ve taken a look at the basics. By no means do I think the information in this post is in any way novel…It’s just good to be reminded of the basics every now and then. Because, unless the fundamental building blocks are in place, the effectiveness of other efforts to improve conversion rates will be minimized.

  9. Give customers a clear way to contact you:: Live help <<<< People wont believe this as there as many automated live chats.

    Having correct address ( better if it on google Maps ) and contact over phone will really helps to increase the business.

    • Live chat is awesome! The reason I really like it is that when you initiate a conversation with “live chat”, the first thing you have to fill out is you name, contact info, and your question. So, even if you don’t happen to have someone available for live chat, your still getting the question and contact info of the site visitor. This can often times be a valuable lead because someone who is contacting live chat is usually pretty far along in the buying process.

  10. Call to actions on landing pages are a very important tool when it comes to maximizing conversions. On every landing page, the user should be able to buy or at least enter his email address or like your fan page so that you can re-contact them

    • That’s so true and a common mistake of many marketers. I think the reason for this is that there’s also one person doing the design and another marketing the product. If you think about, most calls to action aren’t exactly pleasing to the eye..they have to be worked into the design. So unless a designer is specifically told to created them, he or she may not.

  11. Great tips for increasing conversions in e commerce sites Spencer. I think the most important concern of a customer when it comes to shopping sites is the security and the shipping concerns and if the website owner can handle those issues and gain the trust of the customer then certainly the conversions will be quite good.

    • I couldn’t agree more…trust is central to strong creating any type of business, but especially an Ecommerce site.


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