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CRO 101: How to Optimize Ecommerce Conversion Funnel

By August 9, 2018CRO
CRO 101_ How to Optimize Ecommerce Conversion Funnel

If you are running an ecommerce store for a while, you know that it takes a lot of time and effort and a hell lot of money to drive traffic to the website. You invest in SEO activities to build your reputation in search engines while running some well thought paid campaigns to drive traffic to your website. Although you’re successful in getting new visitors, the sales figures are not how you thought would turn out to be. Very few visitors make a purchase. You try some new avenues to increase traffic to no avail. It gets frustrating.

You see, the problem is not of driving more traffic, you already know how to do it, the problem is people are dropping off from your website without buying anything.

The solution is, making certain changes on your website so that the existing visitors buy from you. In more sophisticated terms, it is known as conversion rate optimization (CRO).

In CRO, you analyze the sales funnel by identifying the page drop-offs and its reason with the help of CRO tools and implement certain strategies that would reduce the drop-off.

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In this article, we will take a look at how you can optimize your conversion funnel at each stage so that you can increase your conversion and maximize sales.

Ecommerce Conversion Funnel Stages

The term conversion funnel might sound intimidating or complicated when you hear it initially, but if you’ve been running an online store, you’ve already implemented with it. You just may not be aware of it.

When buying online, shoppers go through a certain set of steps to buy any product. The conversion funnel is simply the visualization of these steps.

There are plenty of examples of conversion funnels available on the internet. To avoid getting bogged down by the various examples, we will stick to a simple 4-step conversion funnel.

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Now, let’s look at how the conversion funnel relates to the buyer’s journey. Understanding this will help you enhance the user experience of your ecommerce store and optimize each step accordingly. Let’s look at the 3 stages in brief:

Awareness: The shopper recognizes a need and starts searching for a solution.
For example, the shopper is looking to buy a t-shirt of their favorite TV series. They look it up in the search engine. They land on your website by clicking on the search ad that pops up at the top of the SERP.

Consideration: The shopper shortlists a few products after browsing the catalog.
The shopper has selected a few t-shirts that have their favorite quotes or dialogues from the show. They might add the products in the cart or the wish list.

Decision: Finally, the shopper makes the purchase.
After evaluating all the shirts, the shopper buys their three favorite shirts.
So, in this journey, there are many things you can change on each step of the funnel that can greatly impact the conversion rate.

How to Increase the Conversion Rate of Your Ecommerce Website

In the rest of the article, we will take a look at why people drop-off from your website and what you can do to reduce the drop-offs. Let’s dive in!

Optimizing the Product Page

Your product page gives the in-store sales representative feel to your shoppers. If your product pages are not optimized for conversion, all of your marketing, SEO and paid ad efforts fall flat. Here are four reasons why your visitors bail out on you.

Why Do People Drop-Off from Your Product Page?

You Do Not Show Necessary Product Details: The product photo gallery, videos, and description give more clarity about the product to the shopper. Poorly written product copy, pixelated or blurry images are a huge turn-off.

Solution: Since online listed products are not tangible, you need to convey as much information as you can through description, products, and images/thumbnails. List out all the necessary product dimensions and any details that increase the credibility of the product.

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In the above screenshots, you can see that the main image is the front cover of the book. Apart from the name, author and pricing of the book, the site also offer a sample chapter. The description lists out the accolades the book has received. You can also see the coupon code giving the shopper an incentive to make the quick purchase.

Your CTA is not enticing: The color, placement, and content of the call to action matter a lot. It’s what makes the user buy from you. A humdrum CTA with dull colors and a non-actionable copy will not excite the user to buy from you.

Solution: Remember the ABC rule of sales. Always be closing. That’s what your CTA should do. Tempt people to make the purchase. The CTA should always appear above the fold. It should look bright and clearly instruct the user the necessary action step.

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In the screenshot above, you can see the text Add to Cart on a bright red button. The  CTA stands out on the webpage, and the user can easily click on it to buy the t-shirt. Also, notice the share buttons below the main CTA that serve as secondary CTA buttons, allowing shoppers to share the link in their network.

No social proof: Shoppers get to know more about the product and your service through reviews on the product page. Not having sufficient reviews sets off alarm bells in the shopper’s mind as the product or website not being genuine.

Solution: Encourage your buyers to leave reviews when they buy from you. Don’t get concerned if you get some bad reviews. It will only help build trust as shoppers will see such reviews fair and appreciate your transparency.

Poor website UX: Terrible website load speed, non-responsive website, video autoplay feature, poor navigation, cluttered content, all these contribute to driving visitors away from the website. Along with visitor drop-off, your website may get penalized by search engines as well driving it down in search rankings.

Solution: Compress the images before uploading them to the website. Use a tool like TinyPNG to reduce the file size without compromising the image quality. Enable browser caching to increase site load speed. Make sure your website is responsive so that it is accessible across all types of devices. You can develop mobile apps alternatively to enhance UX for mobile devices.

Optimizing the Cart Page

The cart page leads the shopper to the checkout page. It consists of the items you have added in the cart, their images, quantities, pricing, etc. Your cart page design should be simple and clear with no clutter and with as fewer options as you can. The goal is to drive the shopper to the next stage of the funnel. However, there are some major conversion killers that make shoppers drop-off at this stage. Let’s take a look at three such mistakes:

Why Do People Drop-Off from Your Cart Page?

Not showing the product summary: Apart from guiding shoppers to the checkout page, the purpose of the cart page is to review the order. Not displaying the products and their relevant details may lead the shopper to leave your website altogether.

Solution: To avoid this happening, show the product details including product name, clear thumbnails, color, size, and quantity. You should also allow the shopper to edit their order.

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In the screenshot above, you can see that you can get a gist of your order. You can increase the quantity of the products or remove them from the cart.

Confusing CTAs: Another reason why visitors might drop-off from your cart page is caused by the confusion between multiple call to actions and other elements.

Solution: Ideally, you should keep only one choice (i.e. proceed to checkout) on the cart page when you want the shopper to make a concrete choice. If you have to keep multiple CTAs, the checkout button should get the most prominent color, and placement and the remaining buttons should get less prominent colors.

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In the screenshot above, you can see that the checkout button stands out on the page and the Continue Shopping button gets the second precedence.

Unclear Conversion Funnel: People shop online for convenience. Poor navigation and tedious checkout process leave the shopper frustrated. Around 30% of shoppers abandon carts because the checkout process is complex.

Solution: Your conversion funnel should only ask for the essential information from your buyers to complete the purchase (i.e., name, address, contact number and payment details). Also, keep your shipping and returns policy easy to find.

Optimizing Checkout Page

Your checkout page is arguably the most important page in your conversion funnel as this completion of this page brings a sale. You can optimize your rest of the website, but a few mistakes on this page and you’ll get heaps of cart abandonment. Here are three major checkout page mistakes that you should avoid:

Why Do People Drop-Off from Your Checkout Page?

Not Emphasizing Security During Checkout: With so many online frauds coming to light every day, shoppers are a bit hesitant to fill in their card details as they might feel their financial details are at the risk of getting hacked.

Solution: To assure that their data is safe, explain that you’ve taken the necessary measures to ensure data safety. Include the data trust seals on the webpage. Keep the language plain and simple. Avoid technical mumbo jumbo that would potentially distract the shopper from making the purchase. Here’s how Zappos does it:

zappos-security

Not keeping the proper information input flow: The checkout process should be a series of gentle nudges to make the shopper enter their information to complete the process. The ideal flow should be personal details, shipping details, and payment details. Flip it up a bit, and you may leave the shopper wondering if there’s anything sketchy with the website.

Solution: As mentioned, keep the ideal information collection flow as you’re preparing the shopper to take out their wallet. Display the number of steps remaining as following so that the shopper will stick a bit longer to complete the process.

amazon-flow

Not Allowing Guest Checkout: 37% of people leave the website when they have to log in at the checkout. One of the reasons for this is if the user has never bought from you, registering on your website looks like a hassle from their perspective.

Solution: Allow users to purchase without signing up on your website. When they buy from you for the first time, you can reach out to them via email to sign up. Once you’ve established trust, they’ll be more than willing to sign up on your website.

Optimizing Order Confirmation Page

Finally, you’ve successfully converted a visitor into a paying customer. Now what? A well-designed order confirmation page can enhance customer experience making sure your shopper will come back again. Here are three simple tips that can help you achieve that:

Say “Thank you!”: Such a simple phrase, but placed at the right stage will make your buyers feel valued. Expressing gratitude on your order confirmation page will show your appreciation for your shoppers. As a way of saying thanks, you can also offer them a coupon as an incentive to shop from you again.

Ask them to Sign-up: If you have allowed them to checkout without registering as we looked in the previous section, after completing the purchase, this is the time to ask them to sign-up on your website. Since they’ve already done business with you, there’s a high probability that they will sign-up with you.

Display relevant products: When the checkout process is complete, along with the order summary, you can include a list of complementary or relevant products. Showing products based on their purchase history will increase the chances that they may buy these products in the near future.

Wrap Up

We have barely scratched the surface in this article on how to go about optimizing your ecommerce conversion funnel. If you are not sure how to go about optimizing your conversion funnel, put yourself in your buyer’s shoes. What are the steps you can get rid of? How can you simplify the checkout? You will find answers to such questions.

Remember, you don’t have to implement all of these suggestions. Just pick one, test it, if it works, optimize it.