8 Ways to Increase your Ecommerce Conversion Rate | Brighton SEO
Our Digital Marketing Specialist, Faye Watt, spoke at BrightonSEO for the first time in April 2019, talking about 8 ways you can increase your ecommerce conversion rate.
Here are the slides:
So, why speak about CRO at BrightonSEO? Well, no matter how amazing your SEO is or how much traffic your website gets, if that traffic doesn’t convert then you are wasting time and money.
There are literally 100s of ways that you can increase your ecommerce conversion rate, when we audit a website, we look at over 600 elements. But when given a 20-minute timeslot, I could only fit in 8!
- Personalise your homepage
- Promote alternative and compatible products on the product pages
- Use multiple product images
- Provide user reviews
- Display shipping costs on product and cart pages
- Always offer a guest checkout
- Simplify your checkout process
- Promote trust using icons, badges and copy
We see personalisation every day in the adverts that are served to us and the emails that we receive, but we less commonly see websites that have been personalised.
Personalising your homepage can increase sales by 7%, in fact, 35% of all Amazon sales come from their personalised recommendations.
How can you personalise your homepage?
Previous Browsing History
Display products on the homepage that a user has previously viewed on your website but did not purchase.
Current Cart Contents
Display products on the homepage that a user currently has in their cart. We often see users that add items to their cart and continue to browse products and potentially forget they have items in the cart. Showing the user these products on the homepage is a gentle reminder to continue with their initial purchase.
You can display products on the homepage based on the user’s gender, which we often see on fashion websites, similar to how ASOS handle this.
Previous Purchase History
Display products that are related to the user’s previous purchase history. I recently bought a camera, so Amazon are showing compatible products that I might now be interested in buying, such as an SD card, camera film, and camera strap.
However, make sure you don’t over personalise the homepage! Significantly changing your homepage can make it unrecognisable to users, which is a problem for two main reasons:
- Users rely on the homepage to be a starting point, and if they get lost on your site and want return to the beginning, showing them a completely different homepage is likely to confuse them further
- If users initially see a product they like on your homepage that they later can’t find as its been removed, you are making it too difficult for the user to find the product they liked and they might abandon your site
Bad example: HP
A drastic example of this is the HP homepage.
This is the initial homepage that you will land on:
There’s a banner for a movie, but you’re there to buy a laptop so you visit the laptop page in the main navigation.
And then you might think, ‘wait, what was that on the homepage?’. You head back to the homepage and it is completely transformed, none of the original elements are there at all.
Good example: WayFair
A good example of this is WayFair, who are showing both my current cart contents and products based on my previous browsing history on their website.
Next up, we are looking at cross-sells and why you should be promoting both compatible and alternative products on your product pages.
When a user is looking to buy a product, they often also want to find a compatible product too and sometimes this can be essential to their purchase. For example, if a user is buying a camera, it might be essential to their purchase to them that they also buy a lens, and if they can’t find this on your site easily then they might shop elsewhere.
Compatible products are particularly important for tech-based industries. If the user knows nothing about cameras, they aren’t likely to know which lens is the correct one to buy. By displaying a compatible lens directly on the product page, the user will feel more confident that this is the right lens to buy.
Alternative products are also important to display directly on the product page. When a user lands on a product page, they might deem that product unsuitable for them and want to look for alternative. Rather than having the user start their search again, you should show them similar products that are in a different colour, style, or price range. Debenhams do this really well here:
Debenhams are showing the user the same style top but in a different colour, as well as showing different style tops but in the same colour.
Bad example: Oasis
A bad example of this is Oasis. They aren’t showing any secondary products on their product pages at all. For this particular product, they do have a compatible product available to buy elsewhere on the site. When buying a bikini, the user is likely to want to buy both the top and bottoms. However, this isn’t easily available to the user and they will have to search for the matching bottoms.
Good example: River Island
River Island show both compatible products, with their ‘Wear it with’ suggestions, and alternative products with their ‘similar items’ section.
You need to be aware of how ad blockers impact your site. Ad blockers can break so many elements on a webpage, and we have researched 100 ecommerce sites that provide secondary products and found that ad blocker extensions hide secondary products on 26% of ecommerce sites.
3. Product Images
Products images are one of the most important elements on a product page.
56% of users interact with product images before any other element on the page.
So, you should ideally have at least 3 to 5 images, and this number can go up to 10 or 15, and the types of images should vary.
You should have the following in your product gallery:
- An image that shows the product in scale so that users have a better understanding of how big the product is without having to search for its dimensions
- An image that showcases the products' features to help sell the product
- A lifestyle image so the user can easily images themselves using the product
- An image that shows all of the accessories that are included in the price
Bad example: Sainsbury's
A bad example of this is Sainsbury’s, who only have one tiny image on their site and it doesn’t include any of the accessories that come with the main product.
Good example: John Lewis
A good example of this is John Lewis, who have:
- 8 photos
- 1 video
- Image in scale
- Lifestyle image
- Feature image
95% of users rely on reviews to evaluate a product, so reviews are clearly an extremely important aspect of the buyer journey.
The number of reviews a product has is also important. A user is more likely to choose a product that has a 4.5 star rating from 50 reviews, over a product that has a 5-star rating but from only 4 reviews, which means you need to make it as easy as possible for a user to leave a review!
How can you do this?
- Don’t require users to set up an account in order to leave a review. You can authenticate their purchase using just their email address.
- Don’t require unnecessary personal information, such as full name, phone number, address, etc. Again, you only need their email and they should be able to leave a review anonymously.
- If you are asking for personal information, make sure you explain why it is required. There’s nothing worse than a website asking for your phone number and not telling you what they will be using it for!
- Lastly, don’t forget to remind users to leave a review! Send follow up emails and incentives to encourage users to leave a review.
Bad example: Nike
A bad example of this is Nike, who require users to sign up to an account in order to leave a review.
Good example: Adidas
A good example of this is Adidas, who allows users to leave a review without creating an account, explain why personal information is required, and allows users to leave a review anonymously.
5. Shipping Costs
Users hate paying for delivery and 55% of users will abandon checkout due to high delivery costs.
How can you overcome this?
Ideally, you should absorb the cost of delivery into the cost of the products. However, this isn’t always possible, particularly in a competitive market or on websites that resell the same items.
If you can’t offer free delivery, then you should be as transparent as possible and display the delivery cost every chance you get.
You should always display the cost of delivery on the product and cart pages, even if it’s free! This helps reassure users that there won’t be any unexpected costs during the checkout process. The cost of delivery should be added to the total amount payable on the cart page too.
Bad Example: Ancestry
Ancestry state that shipping is an additional cost but don’t specify how much it actually is, leaving the user to wonder how much they’re going to end up paying.
Ancestry then force users to create an account before they can even find out how much delivery costs .
At £9.99, they charge a higher than average delivery fee but don’t explain why. It would be simple to add a tooltip that explains the fee covers the cost of posting the kit to the user, and the cost of the user returning the kit to Ancestry too.
Good Example: Apple
Apple include the cost of delivery on their product and cart pages, even though it’s free.
6. Guest Checkouts
It might seem obvious that offering users a guest checkout option would increase your conversion rates, however, when we researched 100 ecommerce stores we found that 25% of ecommerce websites still don’t offer a guest checkout. And this proves to be fatal.
34% of users abandon checkout if there isn’t a guest checkout option available.
The placement of your guest checkout option matters too. Users tend to look at the top left-hand side of a webpage first, so this is where you should be placing the guest checkout option and placing the existing customers login on the right, similar to how New Look is displaying it here:
This will obviously depend on your business, if 90% of your users are repeat customers then maybe don’t do this, it’s something to A/B test.
If account creation is important to your business then you should ideally delay it until the order confirmation page, and let users know that they can create an account at a later step.
To encourage users to create an account, explain the benefits of creating an account, such as order tracking, quicker checkout, and exclusive deals.
Bad example: Topshop
A bad example of this is TopShop, who force users to create an account before they can proceed to checkout. They also don’t list any benefits, and they don’t display the new customer option on the left-hand side.
Good Example: Debenhams
Not only do Debenhams allows users to checkout as a guest, they also allow account holders to checkout as a guest. So, if you’ve forgotten your password you don’t have to go through the process of retrieving it before you can complete your purchase.
7. Checkout Interruptions
26% of users abandon their cart if the checkout process if too long or complicated. So, you need to make the process as simple and as short as possible, and you can do this by:
- Minimising the number of form fields – you don’t need to know what their title is, the name field does not need to be separated to first and last names, and you don’t need to have multiple fields for a phone number or postcode
- Displaying each step in the checkout process so the user has an understanding of where they are and how far they’ve progressed
- Automatically applying the shopping address as the billing address
- Hiding the coupon field behind a link so that a user doesn’t get distracted by it and ends up leaving your site in search of a coupon that might not even exist
- Don’t set character limits so that users with long names or addresses are able to fill out the form with no issues
- Keep password requirements to a minimum. Don’t force users to have special characters, numbers or capitalisation – a minimum of 6-10 characters is enough
Bad example: Apple
A bad example of this is Apple, who have 35 form fields, which is 3 times more than they actually need, and they also don’t indicate which form fields are required.
Bad example: River Island
Another bad example is River Island, who don't hide the coupon field behind a link. You can find out more about how to display coupon fields here.
Good Example: ASOS
A good example of this is ASOS.
- Only have 12 form fields
- Hide the coupon field behind a link
- Set the billing address by default
- Have an auto-complete address function
8. Promoting Trust
17% of users will abandon their cart because they don’t trust the website with their credit card details.
How can you promote trust?
It can be as simple as adding security icons to your checkout pages, such as a padlock icon. You can also display security badges, such as McAfee or Norton Security, and you can also use reassuring copy, such as ‘checkout securely’ or 'secure card payment'.
Bad Example: American Eagle Outfitters
A bad example of this is American Eagle Outfitters who don’t’ show any security information or icons at all.
Good Example: Tesco
A good example of this is Tesco, who display reassuring copy in multiple places and have multiple security badges.
They also include a tooltip explaining what these badges mean.
By implementing the above changes on your website, you will hopefully see an increase in conversion rates and sales. As with all conversion rate optimisation, we would always recommend that you consider testing any changes to your website before fully implementing them.
There are hundreds of ways that you can improve your ecommerce conversion rate, and these are just 8 of them. When we perform a CRO audit, we look at over 600 elements that can impact your conversion rate, from the homepage all the way through to the checkout completion step, and even post-order elements, such as the email confirmation and order tracking. Get in touch if you’d like to know more about our CRO services and how we can increase your conversion rates and drive more sales for your business.