If you’re an online business owner, you know how difficult it can be to get interested buyers to visit your website. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in; you’ve got no shortage of competition. Once you begin to get that traffic, though, it can be heartbreaking to see how few of those visits actually result in sales. According to Alexa, the average conversion rate for all e-commerce sites is just 2.9 percent. That means you’ll average around three sales for every 100 visits your website receives. Are you discouraged yet?
Before you become too unhappy about your site’s conversion rate, remember that an average is just a baseline by which to judge your own site’s success. The best e-commerce sites aren’t converting at a rate of 2.9 percent; they’re converting at much higher rates than that. The poor-performing sites, meanwhile, are dragging the average down. So, no matter what your site’s current conversion rate is, you have room to improve.
One of the best ways to improve the conversion rate of your e-commerce site is by reducing bounces – those dreaded visits in which a person views just one page before leaving the site. In this article, we’re going to describe a few simple and incredibly actionable steps that you can take to prevent those bounces and keep people from leaving your site before checking out.
Publish Your Own Coupon Codes
Does your site’s checkout flow have a field in which customers can enter coupon codes? Of course it does. Over and over, research has shown that e-commerce buyers expect merchants to offer coupons because they know that if they don’t use coupons when buying products online, they’re probably paying too much. The problem, though, is that your coupon code field is almost definitely costing you sales.
Think about your behavior as a consumer. You’re shopping at an e-commerce website for the first time. You’re checking out, and you see the coupon code field. What’s the first thing that you do? You open a new browser tab and google “(business name) coupon code.” You end up on a coupon code aggregator’s website, and either you find a bunch of coupon codes that don’t work, or you find a deal that’s even better and abandon your purchase.
Don’t let that coupon code field rob you of potential sales – publish your own coupon codes. Prominent vape shop E-Cigarette Empire, for example, has devoted an entire section of its site to vape coupons. People can find the deals they want without ever leaving the site. That’s a much better solution than sending your traffic to a coupon code aggregator’s website.
Improve Your Recommendations and Product Discovery
If you have a large product selection – and your site doesn’t have the ability to automatically recommend related products – you need to add that feature right away. Amazon, for example, uses intelligent product recommendations to great effect by automatically suggesting products that customers with similar interests have viewed. Amazon uses machine learning, so its recommendations never stop improving. Many modern content management systems for small e-commerce sites have similar features.
If your product selection isn’t large enough to justify automatic product recommendations, you can still help with product discovery by creating a curated experience for your customers. When you shop at a small online fashion boutique, you’ll often see a link at the top with a title like “Summer Look Book.” When you click the link, you’ll see models posing in various outfits. You’ll also see links that will take you directly to the products shown. Building a curated collection of products is a great way to keep people on your site and browsing, and it works in virtually any industry.
Use Your Own Product Photos
One of the best ways to prevent people from clicking their “Back” buttons after visiting your site is to make sure that your site doesn’t look the same as every other site on the search results pages. Are you using manufacturer-provided stock photos on your product pages? Hire a photographer and replace those stock photos with your own pictures. High-quality original photography gives your site a sense of identity and encourages new visitors to stick around and browse.
Use an Exit Intent Popup
One of the most effective ways to reduce cart abandonment is by installing a plugin that displays a popup when the user intends to exit the page. When the user moves the mouse cursor to the top of the window, a popup appears and offers the customer an incentive to remain on the site. Usually, that incentive is a single-use coupon code. Be careful with exit intent popups because some people actually look for sites that use those popups. They use the coupon codes, and they never come back. Don’t provide a coupon code until you’ve captured the visitor’s email address for later marketing attempts.
Remove Surprise Shipping Fees
One of the things that online shoppers hate is going through the entire checkout process just to find out how much shipping will cost. That’s especially problematic on websites that force you to enter your full address before they’ll even calculate the shipping charges. Nothing is worse than getting to the end of the checkout process only to find that a $10 item is actually going to cost $21 after shipping charges and taxes are applied.
Once again, Amazon leads the way when it comes to shipping charges in the world of e-commerce. Almost since the beginning, Amazon has offered free shipping on all orders over a certain dollar amount ($25 at the time of writing). When you state your shipping policies up front, you give prospective customers the assurance that they aren’t going to see any nasty surprises when they check out. If you ship all orders for free, advertise that fact prominently on every page of your site. If you don’t ship all orders for free, then make sure that customers know the minimum order that they need to place to qualify for free shipping.