In our last blog post, we looked at what influences consumers to make an online purchase. In this piece, we outline more specific steps that you can integrate into an effective strategy to improve customer conversion rates.

#1 – Evaluating All Channels

Customers’ online behaviour differs between industries and you need to evaluate the various marketing channels to establish the ones that will be the most effective for you. Also, you need to be aware that the channels will have varying relevance at different points of the sales process.
As a starting point, ThinkWithGoogle has analysed a range of industries to find how different marketing channels affect online purchase decisions at different touchpoints. HubSpot’s Marketing Grader is also a useful tool for evaluating the performance of your marketing across your website, social media, mobile, blogging and email channels, and for identifying steps for improvement.

#2 – Social Media

Although social media is clearly influential, Kissmetrics warns that traditional style marketing does not work on this medium because shopping is not the purpose of social media sites – bombarding users with advertisements will not help your cause.

Instead, social media should be used to connect with customers by encouraging and engaging in conversation. Kissmetrics also recommends engaging with customers on social media through free samples, contests and offers.

#3 – Customer Reviews

Since online reviews have been shown to impact purchase decisions, it’s a good idea to allow customers to write reviews and include them on your site. There are also benefits in terms of SEO, because customer reviews are a source of new and unique content and because consumers frequently search for product reviews (Econsultancy).

Mike Essex, writing for Econsultancy, also advises that you establish a profile on sites where customers are likely to leave reviews, and display badges from these sites on your own online store. At Realex Payments, we incorporate reviews from our TrustPilot profile in our own website.

#4 – Site Performance

A good online user experience will encourage conversion and engender trust in your business; however, Akamai finds that after a poor experience, 45% are “less likely to visit a website again” and 35% will have a “more negative perception of the company”.

30% of consumers expect pages to load in one second or less, while 18% expect them to load instantly. When testing your site for page load times, be sure to test for mobile and tablet – Akamai found that mobile and tablet users are more likely than desktop users to abandon a site due to crashes or delays in page loading.

#5 – Remarketing

According to Formisimo, the average rate of shopping cart abandonment is 68%. Although this figure is high, it shouldn’t discourage you. All of these users showed an interest in your product and by retargeting these potential customers, you have a good chance of salvaging the sale. Experian found that the rate of increase in purchases resulting from abandoned cart reminder emails is 19 times higher than for promotional mailings.

#6 – The Checkout Process

If a customer reaches the checkout stage, it would appear that they have intent to purchase, yet Formisimo finds that of all the shoppers who reach the online checkout stage, only 12.2% complete the purchase.

User input is most intensive at this stage, so it is important to optimise the checkout process to ensure that it is as straightforward as possible. This includes minimising the amount of mandatory input, removing unnecessary distractions from the checkout pages and providing a guest checkout option.

It’s important to pay attention to the payment process as it is a crucial point of the checkout – it is at this stage that the customer will confirm the purchase and enter sensitive data. Providing alternative payment methods that don’t require card detail entry, e.g. PayPal, can help conversion, and a one-click payment process can make payment easier for repeat customers.

For more information on optimising your payment process, contact the experts at Realex Payments.