Are you looking to increase sales on your website this year? Of course you are!
Here at Strafe, we’ve got years of experience in creating e-commerce and service-based websites with this exact goal – bringing in more online sales, subscribers and conversions. With this in mind, we have collated a handy checklist of 20 proven ways to increase your sales, through small site optimisations.
You are welcome 😉
1. Ask yourself – Why should someone buy from you?
Have you ever asked yourself why someone should buy from your business over the competition? Seems like an obvious one, but so many companies fail to explain why potential customers should buy from them over anyone else.
Let’s take two e-commerce sites, selling shoes, as examples.
The first home page launches straight into trending products, without any information about the business and why they are different. As a result, we have no further details to base our purchase decision on and we’re much more likely to bounce and seek an alternative.
The second website has a ‘benefits banner’ at the top of the page which includes three key pieces of information:
- Free shipping on all shoes
- Free returns
- Pay over three monthly repayments
So many companies convince themselves that “our product is better than the rest” and they forget about the other soft reasons that go into online purchasing.
If both of these shoe shops are selling the exact same products we’re pretty certain the store with the benefits bar will sell more. This is because they’re helping to instantly answer a customer’s concerns in a simple-to-understand manner.
2. Redefine your website’s purpose and align your CTA
For most of us, it feels pretty obvious to say that if we have a website our main call to action (CTA) is to sell, right?
But how do you want someone to make that sale with you? Do you need them to
- Pick up a phone
- Fill in a form
- Send you an email
- Book a discovery call
- Pay or subscribe directly online
It has to be intentionally clear what is expected of the user.
You also need to establish your website’s sub-purpose. A sub-purpose is the reasoning you give your potential buyer to come back if they aren’t ready to convert at that moment. For example, signing up to the mailing list to keep in touch prior to a purchase or booking.
Here’s an article we wrote on website planning with a guide on how to come up with your website’s sub-purpose.
These puzzle pieces are crucial in the design and layout of your page’s main CTA and secondary CTAs.
3. Figure out your buyer’s personal objections
This ties in slightly with the first tip we gave you, so try to put yourself in their shoes (Ha no pun intended) – think about what’s stopping them from buying from you today. Shoes are a great example.
- What if they’re too big?
- What if they’re uncomfortable once I try them on?
- They’re too expensive – I can’t afford them
- Will they go with my outfit?
These are all concerns that we can answer with good design and some excellent copywriting. We are very familiar with a range of objections and have mastered how to tackle them – sometimes it is not about the product itself.
Companies like Glasses Direct are addressing this very issue by offering a home trial for their products to help increase sales on their website.
They realised that the reason people weren’t buying glasses from them wasn’t that the quality was low or the designs poor, but because users were worried about ordering the wrong ones and didn’t want the risk of getting stuck in a back-and-forth scenario.
To address this they introduced a free home trial system to allow a user to have five sets of frames sent to their house to try on. This easily overcomes the customers’ objections and allows them to order with confidence.
The approach doesn’t always have to be as complex as Glasses Direct, sometimes having a good design is enough. Let’s take bean bags as an example. A client of ours wanted to increase sales of their bean bags but they weren’t too sure where to start.
After setting up a questionnaire on-site, aimed at users who didn’t purchase, the common themes were that the users weren’t sure:
- Of the overall size of their room
- If the product would be too big or small for their child to sit on
- How easy it would be to clean
- Of the quality
- Where the items were being shipped from, they thought they were being sent from China and didn’t want to have to wait for ages for delivery.
So with these objections, we designed the new version of the site with:
- A diagram for each bean bag to show the size once someone is sitting on it.
- A photo of an adult and also a child sitting on each bean bag gives the user a better indication of size.
- A new section demonstrates the removal of the cover of the bean bag to allow the outer case to be easily cleaned.
- A new page to illustrate the process each bean bag goes through, showcasing the fact they are all made to order and by hand to highlight the expertise.
- The addition of the Union Jack and images of the factory indicate that the business is UK Based.
Other than the quality concern, most of these people’s objections aren’t really about the product itself but adding in these measures vastly improved the conversion rate, increasing sales on their website.
4. Use logos to build credibility with your audience
Logos are one of the easiest and best ways to build credibility and can ultimately help you to increase sales on your website. Here are a few ways you can use logos on your site:
- Showcase the clients you’re already working with – Having several well-known logos can instantly raise the profile of your business. Logos are easily recognisable, even if the company is not well known by its name alone.
- Share awards or recognition your company has received – Are you more likely to trust Company A with no awards or Company B with 10 awards? It’s these simple extras that further build trust and can be the difference between a user making converting or not.
- Demonstrated accepted credit cards through their logos – This is an easy addition for e-commerce sites as most payment gateways take all the major card options. A simple addition to your website to encourage a purchase.
- A row of logos is an excellent way to space out your design – We often use logos to separate out large blocks of text so it doesn’t feel too overwhelming to the user.
5. Create videos and increase sales on your website
Video or video demonstrations of your product and/or service are an effective way to get across its benefits in a very short space of time.
Here are a few examples:
Explainer or advert video
These are the ones you’re probably most used to seeing on the homepages of websites. They normally have a voiceover explaining everything with a nice little tune in the background.
They’re a winner if done well and increase sales on your website. Focus on the key benefits and why your product or service is different. Too many people fall into the trap of creating something beautiful without it highlighting why the user should buy.
Typically on an internal page of your website. You’ve already got a user interested, so now it’s time to try to push the sale over the line by reiterating the final key reasons and benefits as to why someone should be using you over your competition.
Testimonials are an incredibly powerful way to build credibility and in turn, increase the likelihood of someone trusting and buying from you. Going the extra mile and having a video of someone saying amazing things about you is a great way to deliver this message.
A note of warning, we would recommend asking them key questions and getting them to answer those rather than just asking for some nice words. If you get them to answer your questions you can be selective about what parts you want the video to highlight.
For example, in the design industry we’re in, communication and projects finishing on time is a must but something that isn’t that commonplace. In this instance, we might decide to focus our questioning around that area to sell those benefits to potential customers.
If you’re selling a product, never underestimate the power of a simple video of it in use. We’ve done this in lots of different ways for clients. Here are some of our favourites:
- Showcasing someone walking around in a ball gown for a high-end clothing website so that the user gets an idea of how the materials flow and move.
- A hot tub company recorded one of their customers removing the lid with the turn of the key, turning on the hot tub with a few buttons and then getting in. This very easily showcased how straightforward it was to use and is sometimes a better option than the fancy explainer videos with animations and voiceovers.
Thoughts from the team behind it
People buy from people and if your team is passionate and really cares about their offering, why not get them front and centre on the camera? They can explain what they do and why they love working there.
This approach can make a real difference in people’s decisions to use you or not. The extra benefit is that most people don’t think to do this, so it’s a great way to appear different to the rest of the crowd.
Behind the scenes
We like to use short snippets of around 2 – 5 seconds in places across a website as substitutes for images. The user can quickly absorb the snippets and it can add to the experience, whilst increasing the credibility overall.
For example, rather than just a photo of someone working, how about a short video snippet of a busy office with your team all working? It’s a great way to showcase the team behind the product or service without having to invest in fancy storyboarding videos or lots of written content.
Video can very quickly become overused. We’d recommend that you pick one or two options and run with those. Having a website with all the options we’ve listed is going to be too busy and draining for the user to navigate. But if used in the correct way, video can quickly increase sales on your website.
6. Upsell on the cart page to increase sales on your website
We’ve all been to McDonald’s, right? We have? Good! Now they have the classic saying “Would you like fries with that?” That’s because they know that once a customer has decided to buy from them, it’s much easier to get that customer to buy more when compared to having to get lots and lots of new customers. They also do this incredibly well with the simple question “Would you like to make that a large?” This all comes down to the average sale value per transaction.
So, although this blog post is mainly about increasing sales and conversions in general, it makes sense to also reference that we really want to also increase the average sale value too. If we can make users spend more per transaction and also spend more often, we’re onto a winner!
An excellent example of the upsell can be seen on the GoDaddy website. For anyone unfamiliar with GoDaddy, they offer domain purchasing and hosting along with other website-related items. You can purchase a domain from them for 99p so this seems like a super cheap price but once you click on that purchase option, they do an excellent job of running through all the extra options.
If you watch the video, they offer the upsells in groups and split these groups over several pages so the user isn’t overwhelmed. Instead, each upsell feels like it could be truly useful to the end customer, and that’s how GoDaddy takes a 99p domain and charges you £200 a year and you’re totally fine with it! It’s genius!
An old mentor of mine also said that even if you don’t have lots of extras you can upsell, always make sure you have a premium option because 20% of people will always buy that premium option if you offer it to them. All of a sudden that extra question of “Would you like fries with that?” doesn’t seem so stupid!
7. User testimonials and/or reviews software to build credibility
Continuing on from the use of video testimonials, written testimonials are also useful. This goes back to a point we’ve made throughout this guide/blog which is “The more credibility we have, the more likely someone is to buy”. Therefore, we want to ensure our testimonials hit as hard as possible. The perfect format should be:
- Testimonial – No more than 3 or 4 sentences in length, as anything more probably won’t be read. The key thing is ensuring the content in that testimonial is talking about your expertise.
- Their name – People want to know if the testimonial is real and genuine and one easy way to verify this is by having their full name displayed. People might also recognise the name, especially if this is B2B, so always include the full name of the person. Some clients in the past have been worried about putting their full name on as they were concerned competition would try to poach them. But our argument is if they’re willing to provide you with a testimonial you must be pretty good and the additional leads that a good testimonial will bring will far outweigh losing just one client.
- Job title – If a user doesn’t know the person, having an understanding of their job role and if it’s similar to theirs is always good – this works for both B2B and B2C. If the testimonial is B2B, seeing a testimonial from someone with the same job title as you are always helpful. There’s a reason you see testimonials in a B2C place from “experts”, for example, a makeup artist testifying how good the make-up is.
- Company logo – Again this could be considered more important for B2B but a testimonial looks better with a logo. As mentioned earlier in this blog, people know logos better than they do company names, so it makes sense to reference this.
Testimonials can be tough to collect. Luckily, there are a number of options that can automate the process of collecting and displaying these. We use Reviews.io which allows us to collect reviews that automatically update in our email signatures and in the footer of our website.
8. Create a guest checkout option
A guest checkout option is much more common now but many companies are missing a trick by forcing users to create accounts to purchase from them. With sites like Amazon offering such a huge range of products, users will return there to avoid signing up over and over.
To avoid losing sales and customers, we must include the guest option to offer the lowest barrier to purchase. After this, to help build your database, you can then ask them to create an account. Now they’ve entered some information already, creating an account becomes much quicker and easier. And if not, with the agreement to marketing emails we can always encourage them to do it at a later date through an incentive.
Another option is to offer login through 3rd-party platforms for example Google, Facebook or Twitter. Allowing a user to sign up with minimal effort and this simple change in user flow can have a huge effect on the conversion rate of your e-commerce website and drastically increase sales on your website.
9. Optimise your site’s navigation to increase sales on your website
Too many e-commerce sites don’t consider the homepage journey in enough detail. Navigation should take into account the three main ways people navigate e-commerce websites:
- Use the main menu to click around and find what they need – More common on desktops, as the user has a mouse and it’s easy for them to find the items they want quickly through dropdowns.
- Navigate down the page they enter the site on – Based on the sections they come across, users make a decision on where to navigate from the available options. This is more common on mobile and tablets where people are more accustomed to scrolling and normally only use the menu as a last resort.
- Use search – For larger sites or users with a greater understanding of their requirements, they’ll use the search facility.
With this understanding of navigation theory, we then need to consider the following:
- Your main menu needs to be simple and clear to navigate – If you want to profile specific items, make those more prominent, and use a secondary menu with less important items. For example, use your main menu to showcase your products and move the about us page, blog and contact links to a smaller, sub-menu.
- A search function is essential – Even if the number of products is low, it’s surprising how many people go straight to a search feature. And make it obvious – there’s a reason Amazon’s search bar stands out so much, people will use it if they can see it!
- Offer all the content from your menu within your homepage design – With mobile users in mind, this ensures they can click through to the full site content via the homepage. Yes, this makes the page longer but allows the user to navigate the site in the way they choose. This is super important for that first interaction with the website. If we can get them to navigate the site we’re able to overcome their potential objections much easier by showcasing great things about your company.
10. Product filters
Once we have customers on site, we want to make sure that our product range is easily browsable. This is especially true if our e-commerce site has a large range of products to pick from. The best way to do this is through product filters.
Make sure the filter options are intuitive to how our customers like to search for products. Let’s go back to our shoe shop example. More than likely our customers will want to search by gender, size, colour and price – but is that enough?
Deichmann offers their customers much more choice in product filters, from style to brands and even seasonal shoe trends, such as winter boots. This works really well at getting customers to where they want to be fast and increase sales on your website.
11. Parkinson’s law
For people who know what Parkinson’s law is you might be wondering why we’re starting a blog post about “The best ways to increase sales on your website” but have faith, as Parkinson’s law is one of our favourite “methods” to use in the studio.
“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”
For example, if you gave yourself two weeks to write a report, you would take two weeks on it, but if you gave yourself two days to write the same report you would still get it done in that period of time. Yes, it might not be quite to the same level of detail, but you would find a way to ensure the quality was still good even in the shorter time allocated.
We use this theory internally in our own processes. Before we start any part of the design process we book in a review meeting with the client. This gives the designers a ‘do or die’ feeling and they really don’t have the option to miss the deadline. For the theory to work, we must use immovable deadlines otherwise the task will never get done.
So what about increasing sales?
A great application of the same theory is Black Friday promotions. A user has typically just a few days to take advantage of special offers and make a decision about a purchase. The Black Friday / Cyber Monday promotion period is the highest period of sales for most e-commerce businesses and this is a prime example of Parkinson’s Law in action!
We can also apply the same concept with a time-sensitive offer. Amazon Prime’s ‘countdown’ pushes users to make decisions quickly with the promise of a guaranteed delivery date. This deadline encourages us to take action much quicker than we do otherwise!
12. Offer a range of payment options to increase sales on your website
Ensuring your e-commerce website is as easy to buy from is critical to ensuring a high-converting website. So let’s set the scene, we’ve done the hard steps of showcasing your products, getting them to hit “buy” and they get to the cart. We now need to do everything in our power to ensure we don’t lose them. At Strafe Creative one of our “go-to” solutions is ensuring we have two different payment gateways.
- Card-based: The user enters their card information and payment is taken, this means a user has to have their card with them to purchase from you.
- Account-based: With options such as Paypal or Amazon Pay, this then means a user doesn’t need to have their card with them to buy. The user just needs to know their username and password.
Like many of the options we’ve explained, providing different ways to pay comes down to user behaviour, and each demographic has its preference. Some people prefer to:
- Enter their card details, so they know all the information is correct and there should be no issues with payment
- Enter their card each time as they feel this is more secure rather than allowing a system or website to hold their information
- Use certain credit cards which provide them with a bonus or air miles which certain account-based payment gateways don’t allow
- Use an account-based system because they don’t carry their card with them or they don’t wish to re-enter details with every purchase
- Use payment gateways that offer security on payment (like Paypal)
As you can see the best option for your website is to cater for both of these behaviour types, by allowing the user to select the payment route that suits them best.
13. SSL certificate
Security is critical to any e-commerce store, but it still surprises us when we find clients who don’t invest in an SSL.
Google tells us that, a “Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a server and a client—typically a web server (website).”
So for anyone entering their personal or credit card information onto a website with SSL, they know that the data is going to be securely moved between the website and the server.
Google Chrome shows if a website has an SSL or not by the use of a padlock icon, with the padlock being locked to showcase that a website is safe. Now certain users won’t know what a broken padlock means, but they can work out that they shouldn’t use the website.
You can see that it’s all about trust and if your website signalling enough trust to increase sales on your website.
14. Showcase the payment cards you accept
A simple tip next, but an important one, this works on two fronts:
- People build trust with a company when they see things associated with them that they know and already trust
- Certain types of users want to shop with credit cards that provide them with bonuses
So having the card logos of the companies you’ll take payment from is a simple way to build credibility and it’s a great way to reduce churn and increase sales on your website.
15. Introduce Live Chat to increase sales on your website
When we first start working with a new client they always want quick wins and one of the best ways to do this is by installing a ‘Live Chat’ software. It’s super simple to do and can make a huge difference to a business.
So what is Live Chat? Essentially, it’s a bit of software that sits in the corner of your website and if someone wants to ask a question, they can click and speak to someone in your business straight away.
It’s perfect for users who are sitting on the fence, particularly as people don’t like picking up the phone. Live chat is seen as less personal and there is less danger for the user to get trapped into a sales funnel they feel they can’t get out of.
On your Live Chat form, you can ask for someone’s email. Personally, we prefer not to do that so we don’t put any purchasing barriers in our way. Our theory is that letting someone ask you a question shows that you care and that you can provide lots of value to them. In turn, this is likely to make them want to work with you.
If you force them to give you an email first, yes you may build your marketing database, but if they didn’t buy from you after speaking to you on Live Chat, they probably weren’t the right person for your company anyway.
When we first started using this with e-commerce companies and we saw a huge spike in conversions, so we tried it with service companies too. From our experience, we’ve found that Live Chat can work even more effectively for service companies, simply because your offering is more complex.
Most Live Chat software will plug directly into your website, so you may not even need a developer if you’re using one of the common CMS options, such as WordPress.
We love Jivo as it integrates across multiple channels and platforms. Check it out here*.
16. Optimise mobile user experience to increase sales on your website
We’ve all known for a while that shoppers use multiple devices to make their purchases (desktop, tablet and mobile), but how many of us B2B businesses consider optimising our websites for multi-device use?
With more and more businesses offering hybrid working opportunities it’s more than likely that staff will be looking for suppliers using something other than a desktop computer.
The other consideration for mobile optimisation is SEO. Search engines like Google rank sites with mobile views higher than those without them.
17. Optimising page speed can increase sales on your website
Your website’s page speed is also a ranking factor, but more than that it is a critical bounce point. Simply put, if your website takes a long time to load your user is likely to go elsewhere.
We’ve written a guide for you on how to compress your images to increase page speed. This is a great place to start your optimisation process and increase sales on your website.
18. Simplify the UX on the checkout pages to increase sales on your website
If you look at the biggest and best e-commerce websites in the world you’ll start to notice some standard approaches to UX design. These might have never stood out to you before, but once you’re aware of them you’ll start to notice how all of these changes are making it easy for a user to purchase from them.
Surprisingly standard e-commerce websites still haven’t picked up on all of these yet, but I’ll let you look over the screenshot below and then break down the important lessons of each one.
Removal of the main menu
On the best e-commerce websites, once a user gets to the checkout stage, they strip out the main menu completely, leaving just the logo. This stops the user from becoming distracted and going back to the main website. It’s something that people don’t seem to notice but is proven to dramatically increase sales on your website.
Websites like Amazon have replaced their page menus with a progress metre instead, this helps to fill out the space left but also gives the user a visual representation of how many steps are needed to complete the purchase. This is especially useful on short sale cycles as the short number of steps needed is a huge advantage to the user and makes them more likely to continue.
Simplifying colour palettes to highlight CTAs
Have you noticed that most e-commerce websites seem to go very white and grey on the checkout pages? With only the main buttons to progress being bright? This is to make it as obvious as possible what the user should do next. This ensures there are no distractions and allows the user to focus on progressing to completion.
Removal of complex footer
Where checkout pages have become shorter you will notice that the footers have also been stripped away. Just as we didn’t want users to be distracted by a main menu, we also don’t want them to be distracted by a footer menu.
Remember UX design plays a big part in reducing a website’s churn rate, so make sure you understand the foundations of how to put your website together. Here’s a guide we wrote targeted at the SaaS industry, but you can also use the same ideas to increase sales on your website.
19. The Hello bar helps increase sales on your website
A “Hello bar” is a plugin which creates a thin bar at the top of your website. Here you can add text, buttons and coupon codes, which is great if you have a special announcement or product offer for your users.
At Strafe, we prefer to build this out, but if you want to try the idea, then do try a plug-in.
When you add one, make sure you consider contrast colour. You want the bar to stand out, but not clash. Using a website such as Colour by Adobe will allow you to enter your website colours and then it will provide some options for contrast colours that will stand out without looking harsh.
20. Use 301s and 404s wisely
From time to time, you will have web pages or product pages that are no longer relevant. In this instance, it’s important to think about how you handle the traffic that would have landed on that page.
If you have a similar or updated product or service, something which still answers the SERP query that brought a user to your site, then use a 301 permanent redirect.
If the page is being deleted because it truly has no further value to your site, because you have changed direction, or are no longer offering products and services in that area, then a 404-page would be useful.
Diverting your users to the right next step helps them get back on track quicker.
Final notes on increasing sales on your website
Increasing your website sales and conversions can feel like hard work, but it’s made much simpler if you take a look at how the user interacts with your site and how intuitive you have made that process.
Our best advice is to pick one of our tips today, make the change and track or tweak it for a while. Once you are confident you have done what you can with that idea, introduce one more from our list.
Bookmark our list to have it on hand when you are ready!
Need some expert help designing your website for better conversions and increased sales? Drop your project details into our planner below and we’ll be in touch for a consultation.
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