Ecommerce marketers have four basic objectives. To start, they must bring new visitors to their store. Next is to convert more of these visitors into customers. Then they must look at ways to increase the average revenue earned per customer session. Finally, they must create incentives for these customers to return for future purchases.
Apart from bringing new visitors to your store, the rest of the marketing objectives are all directly influenced by a store’s conversion optimization strategy. Conversion Rate Optimization, or CRO for short, has been a key component of ecommerce marketing for over a decade now. Yet, a lot of businesses continue to make serious mistakes that could impact their store’s conversion rate.
Not showing the number of items in a guest’s cart.
Customers today land on an ecommerce store from a range of devices like their desktop, smartphone or tablet. But, each time they return to your website on a different device, they get tagged by your analytics tool as a “new visitor” although they clearly are not.
User behavior analyses have shown that such visitors tend to click on the cart immediately upon landing and expect to complete their checkout process. In such circumstances, it is important to communicate to the visitor that you do not have the necessary information. People who land on an empty cart are unlikely to go back and add the products all over again.
An easy workaround to this from a CRO perspective is to clearly show the number of items in the cart from the header menu. Visitors are more likely to continue shopping when it is communicated this way.
Not linking directly to product pages from homepage.
It is good practice to showcase your most popular products on the store homepage. But an ecommerce store that sells thousands of products may find it difficult to narrow down their inventory to a select few products that can take up premium space on the homepage.
A lot of stores get around this challenge by linking to the various category pages instead. What these stores do is to display the images of the most popular products and upon clicking, the visitors are taken to the respective category pages instead.
This may however not be ideal from a CRO perspective. A visitor clicking on the image of a product expects to be taken to the specific product page and not to the general category page. This conversion optimization fail is quite widespread and according to a study conducted by Inflow, as many as half of the top twenty ‘best in class’ sites failed to link directly to merchandise pages from their homepage.
No way to filter features while sorting on price.
Most ecommerce stores let visitors sort their listings by price. This helps them narrow down the listings to only those products that fit their budget range. One mistake that many stores commit however is in combining the price sorting feature with other filters like customer reviews or product attributes.
In doing so, the store restricts the ability for customers to make meaningful purchase decisions. These customers may either view the cheapest products on offer, or view products filtered by certain attributes that may not fit their budget. Since the cheapest products may not always come with the best of features, this could potentially hurt conversion.
This may be fixed by allowing customers to filter listings based on specific product attributes like size, color, etc. and then letting these filtered listings be sorted by price. This way, the customer can get the product of their choice within their desired budget range.
Using the wrong page type for listings.
Should you adopt infinite scrolling (like Facebook and Twitter) on your product listing pages? Or, is pagination better suited for ecommerce stores? The answer to this depends on the kind of products you sell and the audience you sell it to. As a rule of thumb, if a majority of your site visitors exactly know what they want, then infinite scrolling only confuses them and makes your site less usable.
On the other hand, if you are in an industry like fashion or apparel, then your visitors are more likely to explore and discover new products. In such cases, it makes more sense for a store to use infinite scrolling over pagination. But having said this, it needs to be pointed out that while infinite scrolling can increase user engagement, it can also make the customer feel lost.
An ideal workaround is to replace infinite scrolling with lazy loading or ‘load more’ buttons. Make sure to let customers seamlessly add products to their wish list while they explore. This helps them come back to the products they loved and thus helps with higher conversions.
Not displaying customer service related trust seals.
Back when ecommerce was still new, businesses found it important to showcase security-related trust seals like those from Verisign. That is still largely the case with smaller ecommerce stores. From a CRO perspective however, what matters more is customer trust. While you may or may not showcase your security trust seals, it is becoming increasingly important to showcase alternate trust seals that demonstrate customer experience. This includes seals from the likes of BBB, BizRate and Google Trusted Stores.
Not listing availability of stock on a product’s page.
Unless you sell made-to-order products, it is always a good idea to include information about the quantity of stock available. Doing this is important for two reasons. First of all, showing stock availability can potentially save your customers from heart-break when the product is revealed to be out of stock when they hit the checkout page. In addition to this, stock information also creates a sense of urgency that can drive conversion rates up.