Factors that determine eCommerce site conversion
The conversion rate optimization (CRO) 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 step 2 to step 3.
- 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.
How to improve eCommerce conversion rate
Before we tell you how you can boost conversion rate for your eCommerce store, it's important that you know what is considered a good conversion rate so you have a benchmark to compare your own rate with. Lets us now examine each of the above factors, and see how to increase the chances of your eCommerce website in each of them.
- Capturing the customer at a high level of purchase intent and bringing them to your site depends on the effectiveness of your internet marketing efforts.
Say, you are selling fashion garments, and a prospective customer out there wants to buy a gown for a ball she has to attend. You may catch her attention with an ad when she searches for ‘beautiful gown for ball’ or have your site show up on top search results.
For your site to rank high on search results, the SEO / SEM of your company must be in extremely capable hands. Also, recommendations to your site on socially influencing platforms like Quora or Medium, influencer blogs and product review sites can be highly effective.
- When a customer enters your eCommerce site, they would most likely have a clear idea of what they want. You could capitalize on this by offering exactly what they are looking for and droppping recommendations for additional products as an upselling exercise.
So, if they are looking for a size 10 sports shoes, you could draw their attention by recommending a nice pair of beach footwear or formal shoes for the office (for men, women and/or children). For that, your site must offer both these options:
- Quick navigation to sports shoes --> size --> 10
- Explore more footwear for men, women and/or children in different categories like formal, casual, beach, trekking and so on
What it also puts up are 'Shop Women' and 'Shop Men' buttons that will take visitors to more options and variations to choose from.
Your eCommerce website must also evoke the spirit of your business and products, whether it is simply displaying some fashionable shoes or promoting a clearance sale.
A very example of this is the online store of DesignerWarehouse. It makes its sale-oriented spirit very clear right on its homepage.
- 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 finds something that is appropriate for them as per quality, model, features, price, delivery time, etc.
- Guiding the customer from step 2 to step 3, assuming step 3 exists for that particular customer, in the shortest time with the fewest clicks and minimum distraction is the job of the design team. They must develop navigation paths that will lead the customer smoothly from step 2 to step 3.
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. The world's number one eCommerce platform Amazon is a good example to learn from.
It would be safe to assume that most online shoppers have by now become familiar with Amazon's eCommerce store and can comfortably figure out how to move from step 1 to 2 to 3. However, for the sake of improvement let's take a critical look at their homepage.
A possible viewpoint could be that they are wasting their homepage by keeping content that few visitors would click. Most of their customers probably already know all of these and it would make sense for them to be linked through smaller buttons.
And why not position the search bar, which is at the top, right to the centre of the website, large and clear since it is the most important element of the site?
Source: amazon.comOf course, once you search for the item you want, Amazon does a great job of guiding you through them. It quickly shows you various options available, along with prices and brief product descriptions.
Towards the left they have search refinement options. Then, you click on a shortlisted product and go into full product details, pictures, price (discount if any), reviews, 'customers also bought’ recommendations, 'add to cart' or 'buy now' option, delivery options and return policy.
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 like Amazon, Tripadvisor, booking.com, Airbnb and Purple do a great job out of using reviews to convince their customers for a purchase. While evaluating the product choices, the customer needs relevant information about the product and some sort of assurance that the information is reliable.
While product details, 360 degree view, demo video, comparisons and installation options help to a great extent, reviews really provide the tipping point. Purple's product pages are a great example of this method.
- There can be times when the customer may run out of time during the selection process. In that case, the site must autosave the situation and let the customer begin from the exact same point where they left off, with their cart intact as it was.
- Needless to say, the customer must have the purchasing power for their choice of product. Which is exactly what many eCommerce sites are doing by offering finance and deferred payment plans.
Availability of a variety of payment methods also facilitates quicker closure of a sale. Some of the most successful eCommerce stores offer payment plans starting at as low as $13 / month.
- Finally, there is this factor that's very important and specific to a particular business or product category that will determine other specifications of your site design. I'm talking about technical products that require installation, such as window frames and facades, or certain electrical appliances.
In such cases, it would help customers if there are built-in options like receiving quote, choosing their preferred design, getting approval and selection of installation dates on the website.
Also, policies like returns and refunds need to be spelled out very clearly to avoid unwanted problems later, which may just make a dent on the seller's reputation through negative reviews. This would make more sense for household items like furniture, mattresses and even small & big appliances.
Lessons to take home
At this point of the blog, I would like to point out that a customer passes through the following stages in their buying process. To increase the eCommerce website conversion rate, you need to study the entire process so your website is equipped to complement every step of the process:
- Need emergence
- Product search
- Evaluation behavior
- Purchase decision
- Post-purchase feelings
In eCommerce website design, stages 2 and 3 (product search & evaluation behavior) are extremely critical, and hence would require the complete focus of the website design team.
All the tactics aside, the simplest and the most basic rule to boosting conversion rate for your eCommerce website is knowing your customers better and more intimately. The clearer your understanding of their expectations from your store, the closer you are to achieving higher conversion rate.
As a seasoned consultant and eCommerce solutions provider, 0707 has been helping eCommerce companies gain valuable perspective and reach their targeted conversion rate across multiple categories. Speak with our consultants to benefit from our expertise and rich experience in the eCommerce industry.