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Improve Your E-Commerce Conversion Rate with These 4 Tips

conversion rates, average conversion rate, conversion rate, page loading, social proof

Whether the business is authentic baseball souvenirs or a screen printing shop that sells apparel with pop culture references, conversion rates never seem good enough.

Per Invespcro, the average conversion rate of all e-commerce websites globally in Q2 2018 was 2.86 percent. In the U.S., the average conversion rate was slightly lower at 2.63 percent. Of course, the industry-to-industry data skews higher. Per a 2014 benchmark study, electronics, business services, as well as publishing and entertainment led all industries with conversion rates around 20 percent.

Yet, the majority of all e-commerce stores have conversion rates between one and five percent. It’s the select few brands that drive up average conversion rates. What are they doing differently? There’s no telling exactly, but aside from researching the top eCommerce website builders, you can ensure they’ve addressed these four things.

Build Trust Through the Customer Experience

These days, it’s rare to find someone hesitant to input their credit card information to place an online order. But getting customers to believe you’re not trying to scam them as opposed to convincing them that you’re a company they should trust, are vastly different things. Everything from the passive to the overt—the customer-friendliness of your policies, your site’s appearance, the thoroughness of the information you provide, the ease of your checkout experience—needs to be thought of through the perspective of building trust with customers.

Place security badges in clear view on every page, especially checkout screens. Allow customers to check out as guests. Tell them what’s a mandatory field to fill out and what’s not (and don’t have it reset if they miss a necessary form). Provide a wealth of shipping options for various delivery windows and price points, and communicate them before checkout on product pages. Make your contact information and shipping policy easy to spot on your homepage and deeper store pages. Have live customer support hours and a detailed, accessible FAQ knowledge base. Establish a blog, publish content regularly and position your company as an authority in your niche.

Improve Page Speed

As much as we’d like to think that every visitor is eager to check out our store, visitors arrive for several reasons. Some may just be checking things out. They may not know anything about your brand. They could have no idea why they’ve landed on your store. So should your store fail to load promptly in any of these circumstances, you can bet that visitors won’t have a second thought about leaving.

But what is a normal page loading time for an e-commerce website these days? Like average conversion rate, it varies across industries, but it’s still much higher than the recommended three seconds. Per Neil Patel, even a one-second delay in page loading speed can reduce conversions by seven percent and 40 percent will abandon the site if it takes longer than three seconds to load.

Whether or not these stats hold true in your experience, fast page loading should be a top priority. But where do you start? Look at your average server delay times, the number of resources per page, webpage size, and load time to get benchmarks. If your numbers leave a lot to be desired, look for fundamental issues with your site hosting and mobile performance. You’ll also want to look into using a content delivery network (CDN), avoid pop-ups, compress and reduce image sizes, minify code, and comb your site’s linking for 404s and redirect loops.

Incorporate Social Proof

Per Shopify, the definition of what an e-commerce site includes any kind of commercial transaction facilitated through the internet. However, stores that aren’t leveraging social proof will have long uphill climbs. Why?

A big part of improving conversion rates has to do with influencing certain behaviors. This doesn’t mean brands should try to sell customers with marketing jargon and features disguised as benefits. Today’s consumers can see through that. A big reason why is that they research everything before they buy, whether they purchase online or in-store, and user product reviews are a big chunk of the pie. According to Consumerist, 70 percent of online consumers look at user reviews before making a purchase. This doesn’t mean brands shouldn’t advertise themselves. But if they want to sell products, they need firsthand accounts from customers.

An effective strategy for generating social proof is to automate email reminders for recent purchasers to submit reviews. Set emails to send around a week after delivery so that customers have had a chance to use the product but not long enough for them to ignore your email. Don’t limit your user review section to text, either. Offer loyal customers extra discounts if they share an honest video review demonstrating a product’s components and how it’s used.

Offer a Generous Return Policy

Is there anything better than a brand that’s willing to give customers the benefit of the doubt? In the age of Amazon, fast and affordable shipping may seem like the norm. But the truth is many e-commerce companies still don’t have the margins or logistics infrastructures to offer competitive policies. If you’re like the majority and can’t do so either, consider compromising with a “heavyweight” feature such as a free return policy — with stipulations of course.

Offer free return shipping on all orders for 30 days, or a longer return window for specific products to entice more purchases. The choice is up to you. When you craft a returns policyyou’re satisfied with, decide where to place it on your store. Offering a lenient return policy will definitely eat into your margins, so you need to ensure you drive enough sales to make up for it, and website placement is critical. You’ll want to promote your policy, particularly your leading feature on every page of your site. Brainstorm different ways to draw attention and test the effectiveness of each location.

When it comes to improving e-commerce conversion rates, a never-ending list of details will always warrant investigation. Brands can save themselves from torture and agony before proceeding with any conversion rate optimization process by doing two critical things. They need to ensure data is trustworthy and test only between variants of the same detail. After that, your canvas is wide open. But before you get too invested in testing any and everything, examine these four business areas to drum up more sales.

More on this topic: How Good Is Cloud Hosting for Ecommerce Portals?

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