The conversion rate of an eCommerce website is a function of the following factors:
- Purchase intent of the customer when they enter the site.
- Clear understanding of their need by the customer, or clear existence of the need if the need is latent.
- Availability on the site of an appropriate product at an acceptable price within acceptable delivery timeframe, that meets the above need.
- A suitable navigation path that takes the customer from B to C above.
- Availability of sufficient information and persuasion to clinch the deal.
- Time availability for the transaction to take place.
- Adequate budget to buy the product of their choice and suitable payment method for the same.
- Any other site-specific requirements.
Lets us now examine each of the above factors, and see how to increase the chances of your Ecommerce website in each of them.
- To capture the customer at a high level of purchase intent and bring them to your site depends on the effectiveness of your internet marketing efforts. Say, you are selling fashion garments, and a lady out there wants to buy a gown for a ball she has to attend. You may catch her with an ad when she searches for ‘beautiful gown for ball’, or have your site show up in the search. For this to happen, the SEO / SEM of your company must be in extremely capable hands. And, how do you get recommendations for your site on influence sites like Quora, or Medium, or influencer blogs, or expert or review sites.
- When the customer enters your Ecommerce site, they may either have a clear idea of what they want- say, tennis shoes, size 10; or they want to buy a nice pair of beach footwear, or formal shoes for the office – for man, woman or child. So, your site must offer both options:
- Go quickly to tennis shoes size 10.
- Explore footwear for man, woman or child in different categories like office, party, beach, homeuse, and so on.
- Needless to say, the range of products that your Ecommerce site stocks, or makes available to the customer, is a vast topic in itself and will determine whether the customer fins something that is appropriate for them, as per quality, model, features, price, delivery time, etc.
- Moving the customer from B to C, assuming C does exist for that particular customer, in the shortest time, in fewest clicks, with minimum distraction, is the job of the Design team. They must develop navigation paths that will lead the customer smoothly from B to C. This, of course, is easier said than done, and requires a tremendous amount of expertise and insight on the part of the Ecommerce site design team. Let us try and learn here from the global No. 1- Amazon.com Most of us have become familiar with the website and now can figure out how to move from A to B to C. But, lets look at their homepage. A possible viewpoint could be that they are wasting their homepage by having content that few will click into. Mostly customers know all this, and these could be linked through smaller buttons. And why not bring the Search bar which is at the top, and which is the heart of site, to bang in the centre, large and clear? Of course, once you search for the item you want, Amazon does a great job. It quickly shows you various options available, along with price and brief product description. To the left, they have search refinement options. Then, you click on a shortlisted product and go into full product details, picture, price, reviews, ‘also-boughts’, cart-or-buy-now option, delivery, the works.
Should you, at this stage want to explore other product options, there are several recommendations on the same page, or you could go back to the previous page. The site continuously offers to help you choose the right product at the right price, by displaying several meaningful options in quick time.
- Many sites- Amazon, Tripadvisor, booking.com, Airbnb, Purple – do a great job of using reviews to convince the customer. While evaluating the product choices, the customer needs relevant information about the product, and confirmation to the extent the information is relable. While product detailing, 360 view, demo video, comparisons, list of installations, etc help, reviews provide the tipping point. Look here, how easy to read Purple makes its comparisons page and reviews.
- Sometimes, the customer may run out of time while in the process. In that case, the site must auto-save the situation, and let the customer begin from the same exact point where they left-off, with their cart intact.
- Needless to say, the customer must have the purchasing power for their choice of product. Ecommerce sites are helping with the budget cause by offering financing and deferred payment plans. Having a variety of payment methods also facilitates closure of a sale. Look at the following site offering a payment plan, starting at $13/mo.
- Finally, there are other factors specific to your site, or product category, that will determine other specifications of your site design. Say your product requires installation, like architectural windows, or facades, then the process of submitting a quote, sharing design, getting approval, aligning installation dates, etc will need to be built-in in the site design.
Or, things like returns, refunds, etc need to be spelled out clearly. More so in usable items like furniture, mattresses, and so on.
In summary, we must say that the customer passes through the following stages in the buying process. To increase the eCommerce website conversion rate, we need to study the entire process and make the corresponding portions of the site to the following stages effective:
- Need arousal
- Product search
- Evaluation behaiour
- Purchase decision
- Post-purchase feelings
In eCommerce website design stages 2 and 3, that is, product search and evaluation behavior are most critical. The website design team must focus highly on them.