We all know, the user experience of your E-commerce site is what transforms a user into a customer. It’s not just all nice links and pretty pictures though; the goal is to sell your products. For this, customers need to go through the sales funnel, which is basically the route a customer takes from the first visit to your site to the purchase confirmation button.
Optimizing this flow is paramount for reaching your sales goals and it’s one of the top priorities in E-commerce. Optimizing pages and offering simple, diverse payment options, and keeping a simple site flow allows you to create an optimal sales funnel for conversion.
Optimize your pages for higher conversion
The first thing to do to optimize your sales funnel is to optimize your E-commerce site’s pages. Keep your pages more or less uniform, and at the very least, coherent to prevent your user from getting lost. Your pages should be clear with the necessary information for your customer. Providing information for your customers does two things: it offers your customers a better customer experience by allowing them to make an informed decision, and it provides you with better SEO. You can also offer better navigation for your customers.
Providing information for your customers does two things: it offers your customers a better customer experience by allowing them to make an informed decision, and it provides you with better SEO.
For example, you can use auto-complete forms in your internal search to help users find products easier. This not only helps your customer save time, but it offers an easy way to see if you have the product that they’re looking for. You should also put filters in place to help your users discard products that don’t correspond with what they’re looking to buy.
An optimized page is a clean, basic page that isn’t overloaded with text and images. Your visitor should easily be able to find your products without wasting too much time. Avoid integrating too many colors and animation into your site, as it could not only make it hard for your customer to navigate it, but it will likely slow down your site.
Optimize the Speed of your site to convert your visitor
I’ve offered plenty of reasons why having a slow, laggy site can kill your sales. Users today are far more demanding than they’ve ever been, so analyzing your site on Google’s PageSpeed Insights is a great way to see what’s dragging your site down. From there, fix the bugs that are causing your site’s speed to suffer.
It’s as simple as that.
Offer several secured payment options
Finding the balance between security and convenience is always a challenge for E-Commerce owners, especially when it comes to online payment. Unlike a few years ago, there are so many ways to pay online easily.
Obviously, credit cards are still the kings of online payment options– which offers plenty of security options, like sending a text message to users to validate the purchase. For those who trust your site for their purchases, offering the possibility to securely save their credit card information is especially helpful to customers looking to save time.
Paypal is particularly good for secured purchase, as the customers pass through an intermediary that they trust to complete the purchase. Paypal is great for mobile purchases, as it’s usually quicker than entering all the credit card information. I know I’ve personally been driven away from sites that don’t offer PayPal, as it means I have to dig out my card to make a purchase.
There is even the possibility to offer credit for pricier items, like paying in automatic bank account payments on a monthly basis (often with little or no charge to the customer). This can help drive conversions for those who sell more expensive items.
Offering several payment options is the best way to convert your visitors into buyers.
If reassuring your customers is an issue, there are a few different ways to get them to trust your payment methods. You can use the 3D secure (which I mentioned above) via Verified by Visa and SecureCode by MasterCard. Offering several payment options is the best way to convert your visitors into buyers, as they will be able to choose the payment method that is the most convenient.
Don’t force your customers to make an account
It’s frustrating when you need to purchase a small item online and the site makes you create an account, especially if this is an item that you won’t necessarily need often. When customers are in a rush (or if they’re connecting via mobile), they don’t want to give up their personal information, or they think you might send them a barrage of emails, they are less and less willing to create an account to complete their purchase. This shouldn’t be an obligation- to offer the choice to your customers to keep them from dropping off.
If it’s the first visit for a customer, the worst thing you can do is make them feel obligated to give up personal information if they don’t want to. Combine this with a potential waste of time, and it’s a conversion killer.
People choose E-commerce to save time and money, and if you can’t do either, there’s no reason for your customer to choose you over a competitor.
To get around this, offer the possibility of connecting via social media or Google. From there, the customer can simply create a social media account in one click and offer the information that they’ve already provided on their social media.
Offer a Live Chat to help the Client make decisions
I recently needed to order something from a different country that needed to arrive by a certain date. I’m pretty cautious when it comes to trying to order products from outside my country, especially with deadlines. However, there was a live chat option on the site, and I was able to talk through the shipping process and get an idea if the product would get there in time for my event. The live chat is what confirmed the purchase for me- without it, I would have been too worried that it wouldn’t arrive on time.
Live chat can make or break a purchase decision. As I’ve mentioned in my article on hacking your customer experience, you want to give your customers as much information as they need to make an informed purchase. Live chat is the best way to give customers interactive information during each step of the sales funnel.
Allowing a customer to ask questions in real time about your product gives you the opportunity to gain their trust and to improve customer loyalty. It’s basically the E-version of having a vendor approach you in a store and ask you if you need help with anything. Above all, it helps you create a human connection with your customers.
Put a KPI in place to improve the Sales Funnel
This last step is mandatory for improving your sales funnel: put in place a KPI, or a Key Performance Indicator, to measure how you’re reaching your sales goals. You can put several in place to see where you need to optimize the most and what’s causing your customers to drop off:
- Conversion rate: calculate the number of visitors to your E-commerce versus the number of purchases you have.
- Cart Abandonment: measure the number of visitors who abandoned their purchase at some point (this can be especially helpful in determining why your customers don’t follow through with the purchase).
- Refusal rate: this method allows you to see how many people browsed your site, but decided not to purchase.
- Bounce rate: measure the number of people who got to your home page (or another single page) and then left without going further.
- Average cart amount: this is a useful metric to show you how much your customers are willing to spend on average.
Depending on what each of these indicators tells you, you can optimize different facets of your site. A customer leaving your site at different points of your sales funnel will show you exactly what’s going wrong.
Your sales funnel should be optimal in order to have a positive conversion rate, which should be true not only for returning customers but for new ones as well. This is the best way to improve your customer experience from the home page to the confirmation button.