Far too often, online store owners such as yourself find themselves in a spot where they have a hard time converting visitors to their stores. My hope is this guide will help you correct a couple of the common issues that are often overlooked and improve your website optimization.
Now don’t go kicking yourself if you missed some of these steps while building out your store. There is a ton of work involved with launching a successful E-commerce store – something is bound to get overlooked.
We are going to focus on four important areas of an online store.
Here they are…
- Presentation- Have you heard the expression- “You only get one chance to make a first impression”? more than a few times, right?. But it is true nonetheless.
- Functionality/Ease of Use- This covers all the functions of your website. Your layout, how well the products are displayed, etc. What we endeavor to do here is lower any friction along the path you have set for your customer.
- Optimization- This step is very important to your store’s success. So often we get carried away when designing our sites and overload them with way too many HD pics, fancy add-ons, and too many products.
- TRUST- This is the most important step of all – period. If you visitors don’t trust you, they will never buy from you. Steps three and four are the biggest reasons you may be losing customers.
Let’s dig into them one by one…
Website Optimization: Presentation
Why is presentation so important in selling online? Well, look at it this way. People are scared to death to give personal and financial information to just anyone. If any part of your store looks suspect, the customer will just move on and never give it a second thought. That is no good for business.
This is all due to emotion. As store owners, we know that we’re not going to do anything bad with the client’s info and that we don’t usually even see the financial info they enter when buying from us. The customer, on the other hand, doesn’t know any of this and thinks we are trying to steal their identity or scam them.
If you own a storefront your customer can look you in the eye, see and touch what they are buying.
When buying online they just have to trust you and presentation is a great way to start building that trust.
How to close the Gap to Increase Conversion Rate:
Trust is such an important factor when considering your website optimization strategy.
We need the customer’s trust so they will buy from us. How do we do this, you ask? Easy, we give them what they are used too.
We design our sites to look like what they are used to seeing. A couple ways we can accomplish this is to take cues from competitors that are bigger than us and that sell. Take a look at what they are doing on their site and try to mimic it.
You might say, but isn’t that stealing? NO! That’s just doing your research.
Now, you obviously wouldn’t make an exact clone of their site. Simply take color and layout cues, and look at what products are selling the best by checking their reviews. More reviews mean more people have bought the product. What type of specials are they running? How are they structuring their product descriptions?
The lesson here is, don’t try to reinvent the wheel. If you can think it, most likely it’s already been done. One tip I like to implement with my stores is to use the colors of mega stores like Target and Walmart.
Why? Because these stores invest millions of dollars to hire firms that specialize in what colors and layouts are going to make people more likely to buy. Leverage this info to your advantage by designing in a way that looks familiar.
Website Optimization: Functionality
When we talk about functionality and ease of use, all we’re trying to accomplish is identifying any friction points that may slow the customer along the path of purchase.
Many people don’t even think about the path the customer takes on their website. This is a mistake that needs attention. Here is an example of friction that your customer might experience.
You pay for Facebook ads to drive your customer to your store. Ok, the hard part is done, right? NO! Getting traffic is easy once you learn proper targeting and Ad creation techniques.
Paving the road to a purchase is the hard part. Again, we go back to the TRUST factor and trying to win them over. The customer clicks on your ad because they are interested in what you are offering. The only thing left is trust. It’s our job to gain that trust.
So with that logic, we MUST treat every visitor as if they are ready to buy. We want to make buying as easy as possible to obtain the best conversions possible.
Here is an example scenario of a popular tactic…
A customer comes to your site and the first thing they are greeted with is a pop up asking them to join your newsletter. I feel like this tactic is an ill-advised shortcut to gather the customer’s email. Now, Why would they join if they haven’t even seen your site nor product yet? I think it is best to just give the customer exactly what they expect. This can help in trying to avoid losing that customer.
What do we gain?
what do we hope to gain by bombarding the customer when they first land? more then likely the ones who entered their email were going to anyway by buying. I just don’t see a huge upside to risk scaring that customer off.
Use the KISS System (Keep it simple, stupid). Your path to purchase should be so easy to complete that a drunk person could checkout out with little effort.
Possible PopUp Consequences:
- Immediate Loss of Customer
- Increased ad spend by higher cost per purchase
- Decrease in sales 🙁
The customer you just tried so hard to get didn’t even view the product because you plastered them with a pop up right away. I am all for pop-ups and getting people to join your list. But, I would just do it after the visitor has viewed your product.
The longer the customer browse the better chance they will sign up anyway.
The point here is that pop-ups can cause friction if not used properly. You don’t want anything to get in the way of your customer making his purchase.
The path you lay out should look something like this.
- Customer visits the page
- Greeted with the product advertised.
- There is a clear call to action for purchase (Above the fold- this is the part of the screen that you initially see first)
- The call to action should take that customer directly to the cart to complete the purchase.
- Offer any upsells after the purchase, either on the thank you page or the email you sent out thanking them for the purchase.
That’s it. What we have done now is provided a clear path to purchase the item you were advertising and gained the customer’s email information during the checkout process…BONUS!
(As far as the argument for upsells at the checkout – I personally think it adds friction. I just rather get the sale first and get the customer on my list.)
Now we have a paying customer on our email list to sell to over and over. We achieved everything we wanted to from that ad spend. A sale and new customer on our list. Simple right?
Website Optimization –
Ok, let’s say that same customer from the last example tries to visit your site and it takes longer than 2.5 seconds for your landing page to open. Statistics say the customer will leave. This contributes to high bounce rates and lost sales.
Page speed matters more than you think when it comes to website optimization. We can lower this by compressing any images we are using. The popular thing lately has been to have a slider running images on the home page. This is great for personalization and product presentation. But if you don’t optimize that image, it will severely slow your site load speed down. Some images are 2MB or more just by themselves.
The target for you is to have the whole page less than 2MB. You can compress these bulky images easily by Googling free online image compressor.
You only need around 80% quality when using a .jpeg, as our eye can’t tell the difference and most monitors can’t display the difference. Don’t use any other format if you can help it. If the image is not transparent, use a .jpeg.
This simple step can drastically decrease your page size and speed up your load times. Take a look at the following images I set up on the next page. See if you can notice any major difference in quality. The first image is 3mb
As you can see, there is hardly any difference and what difference there is your customer won’t notice. But one pic’s file size is 3x bigger than the other.
Simple things like this can really turn the tide for your store. So take your time and make sure that your images are properly optimized and you will notice better bounce rates.
STAY UP TO DATE! ENTER EMAIL BELOW – DON’T MISS ANY GIVEAWAYS OR BONUSES
Website Optimization: Trust
This is the one area that so many people neglect. The good thing is, it is the easiest to correct. Building trust is as simple as connecting with your customer. You can do this by creating a great About Us page. Here is a chance to gain their confidence and win them over.
When you fill out that page, explain to them why you are selling what you sell. Give them a story that relates to the product they are buying. If you are selling something you don’t like or use, then just make something up. People trust through relating. If you can create emotion, then you have their trust.
Another easy method to implement is the use of trust icons. You can get these on google images for free. Use the ones that relate to your store. Examples are Paypal, Shopify, and Guarantee icons.
Also, these are recognizable icons, and they will portray trust. They should be next to any part of your site where there’s a call for payment. Just having that little PayPal buyer guarantee can drive that on-the-fence customer to click “buy it now”. Try these:
Well, that’s all folks and In closing, I would like to thank you again for reading this guide to website optimization. I hope it helped you.
Can I ask you for a favor? Share this article on your social sites so maybe it can help someone else? This allows me to keep giving this information for free…and it does not cost you a thing. Thanks either way!
If you have any questions or comments Please leave them in the comment section below.