This is going to be a 2 part blog based on ours years of experience on both eCommerce and service based websites. All with the aim of improving your conversion rate and average sales value, with the overall plan of increasing the number of sales or leads your website brings in each and every day.
1. Why should someone buy from you?
Seems like an obvious one, but so many companies fail to explain why we should buy from them over anyone else. Let’s take a shoe e-commerce site as an example. One website goes straight into pushing the style of shoes and either looking at male or female shoes. Other than the photography and style of shoe, we have nothing else to base our buying decision on. Shop 2 hits the user with a small banner right at the top of the page; in the banner it has three rectangles. In the rectangles it says:
- Free shipping on all shoes
- Free returns if you don’t like them
- Break up payments into 3 payments
So many companies almost talk themselves into the “Well our product is better than the rest” that they forget about the other soft reasons that go into online purchasing. If both of these shoe shops sold the exact same products I bet the one with the benefits bar would sell more. This is because they’re helping to instantly answer a customer’s concerns in a simple to understand manner.
2. Figure out their personal objections
This ties in slightly with the one above but try to put yourself in their shoes (Ha no pun intended!) and actually 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 all have these objections in our business somewhere and sometimes it is not about the product itself.
Companies like Glasses Direct (https://www.glassesdirect.co.uk/free-home-trial/) are doing this really well.
They realised that the reason people weren’t buying glasses from them wasn’t because the quality was low or not stylish enough, but because users were too worried about ordering the wrong ones and risk getting stuck in a back and forth approach. So 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.
The approach doesn’t always have to be as complex as Glasses Direct though. Sometimes having 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, some of the common themes were that the users:
- Weren’t sure of the overall size for their room
- Weren’t sure if the product would be too big or small for their child to sit on
- Weren’t sure how easy it would be to clean
- Weren’t sure of the quality
- Thought they were being sent from China and didn’t want to have to wait 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 sat on it.
- A photo of an adult and also a child sitting on each bean bag to give the user a better indication of size.
- A new section demonstrating 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 to 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, result in more online sales!
3. Use of logos to build credibility
Logos are one of the easiest and best ways to build credibility. They can be used in multiple formats for different purposes and they provide a visual way for you to quickly display key information.
The first potential use is to showcase the clients you’re already working with. Having a number of well known logos can instantly raise the profile of your business Logos work well as they are easily recognisable, even if the company is not well known by their name alone. We drive past so many companies each and every day that we don’t consciously take in the name of the company but we generally will remember its appearance.
Logos can also be used to emphasise 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 we can add that further builds trust and that can be the difference between a user making contact or not.
Accepted credit card logos is always an easy addition for e-commerce as most payment gateways take all the major card options. It’s a simple addition to a website to indicate this to a user too and encourage them to purchase.
Lastly having 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.
4. Video Demonstrations
Video or video demonstrations of your product and/or service is an effective way to really get across the benefits of why someone should use your product/service in a very short space of time. Videos currently break down into a few different standard approaches, but below we’re going to list out a few of the less obvious approaches too.
1. Explainer video
These are the ones you’re probably most used to seeing on the homepages of websites. These normally have a voiceover explaining everything with a nice little tune in the background. They’re a winner if done well, but focus on the key benefits and why your product or service is different. Too many people fall into the trap of creating something good looking without it highlighting why the user should buy.
2. Benefits video
This one is normally for 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.
3. Testimonial video
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 get them to answer those rather than just ask 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 common place. In this instance, we might decide to focus our questioning around that area to really sell those benefits to potential customers.
4. In use video
If you’re selling a product never underestimate the power of a simple video of your product in use. We’ve done this in lots of different ways. Here are some of our favourites:
Showcasing someone walking around in a ball gown for a high-end clothing clothing website so that the user gets an idea of how the materials flow and move. Or a hot tub company which recorded one of their customers removing the lid with the turn of the key, turning on the hot tub on 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 voice overs.
5. 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 can be a key difference maker between people’s decision 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.
6. Behind the scenes
We like to use short snippets of around 2 – 5 seconds in places across the website. The benefit of these is that the user can quickly absorb the snippets and it can really add to the experience, whilst increasing the credibility overall. This is normally a good substitute for an image. 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 video or lots of written content.
7. Advert style
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 conversions and leads from your site.
5. Upsell on cart page
We’ve all been to McDonalds I hope? We have? Good! Now they have the classic saying of “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 of “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 Go Daddy website. For anyone unfamiliar with Go Daddy, 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 a number of 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 Go Daddy 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 at least 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!
6. Testimonials and/or reviews software to build credibility
Continuing on from the reference above about the use of video testimonials, budgets and time won’t always allow for a video to be recorded. If this is the case, written testimonials still very much have their place.
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 include:
- Testimonial: An obvious one to start with but we need some written content, no more than 3 or 4 sentences in length, as anything more probably won’t be read by the potential client when on your website. The key thing is ensuring the content in that testimonial is talking about your expertise.
- Their name: People want to know the testimonial is real and genuine and one easy way to verify this is by having their full name on show. 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 the full name on as they were concerned competition would try to poach them. But our argument is, if they’re willing to provide you 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 them 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 is always helpful. There’s a reason you see testimonials in a B2C place from “experts”. For example, a makeup artist talking about how good make up is. Job titles are always very useful.
- Company logo: Again this could be considered more important for B2B but a testimonial always looks better when it’s more visual with a logo. As mentioned in point 3 of this blog, people know logos better than they do company names, so it makes sense to reference this.
Testimonials can be tough to collect though. Luckily, there are a number of options which can automate the process of collecting and displaying these. We use Reviews.io which allows us to collect reviews that automatically updates in our email signatures and in the footer of our website.
There are many other reviews softwares, with the most well known being Trust Pilot and Feefo. All work in a similar fashion.
7. Guest checkout – then ask to make account
This process in eCommerce is slowly becoming more common now, but many companies are still missing this trick, that some users don’t want to have to create accounts to purchase something. With companies such as Amazon owning so much of the market now people will choose to buy through Amazon just so they don’t have to create a new account and enter all their information again.
So we the SME have to create easier ways for users to purchase from us to ensure we get those sales, and one of the easiest and best ways is by allowing users to check out as a Guest on your website and that’s because having to first enter your name, email, passwords etc can be off putting, but allowing a user to instead purchase as a guest with the minimum amount of information needed is a great way to get the initial sale.
Ensuring we have a healthy database is always important and we don’t want to overlook this, so once the user has requested to move forward as a guest, once we have their basic info, we then request the user to create an account then. At this point they’re already entered their basic information so the process of creating an account becomes a much smaller and quicker task and even if they don’t say yes then, we can then follow them up with emails to request they create an account at a later date, maybe with a small incentive to purchase again too with their new account.
Something as simple as this change of userflow can have a huge effect on the conversion rate of your eCommerce website.
Another option is to look at alternative speedier options for users to sign up to use your website, the standard and most used options in the UK are Google, FB or twitter. Allowing a user to easily sign up with minimal effort needed from them will always increase conversions.
8. The 3 way main ways people navigate Ecommerce Stores
Too many eCommerce stores don’t consider their homepage journey’s in enough detail and this comes down to the 3 main ways people navigate eCommerce websites.
- They use the top menu to click around and find what they need, more common on desktops, as the user has a mouse and its easy for them to find the items they want quickly through drop downs.
- They navigate down the page they enter the site on and based on the sections they come across make a decision on where to navigate from the available options. This is more common on mobile and tablet where people are more accustomed to scrolling and normally only use the menu as a last resort.
- For larger sites or users with a greater understanding of their requirements, they’ll use the search facility built into the website.
Now this navigation theory could at some point become its own blog post but hopefully with this understanding, we then need to consider the following:
- Your main menu needs to be simple to navigate and be clear what’s on offer under each drop down. If you have clear items you want to push users to, make this more prominent, there is also no problem having a secondary menu with less important items in, for example you might feel the about us, blog and contact could be smaller and out of the way to have the main menu focused on show casing the products you really want users to purchase.
- If you don’t have a search facility, get one added, even if the number of products is low, we’ve don’t so many user tests now and it’s always surprising how many people will go straight to a search feature if one is obvious. (If you do have one but its hidden make it more obvious! There’s a reason Amazons search bar stands out so much.)
3. Lastly, and the one which is overlooked the most is; the homepage should really have a way for someone scrolling down the page can get to pretty much everything in the main menu, 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 navigating the site we’re able to overcome their potential objects easier by showcasing more and more great things about your company.
That’s the first half of this 2 part blog about increasing conversions of your website quickly, and when the 2nd part is launched we’ll update with a link here. Good luck with these items and do let us know how you get on.