Conversions are the lifeblood of any ecommerce store.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of things that can go wrong that prevent conversions from happening. Most of the time, site owners are unaware of exactly why visitors are leaving without making a purchase.
The good news is that the most overlooked conversion mistakes are also some of the easiest ones to fix, if you know where to look.
Here are a few of the most common mistakes site owners make when it comes to conversions (and how to fix them).
1. Poorly Designed Pages
Great design is about more than just images and colors on a page, especially when it comes to conversions.
The trickiest part of designing pages for an ecommerce site is the fact that visitors are not always coming to your homepage like they would on a regular site. They may pop up for the first time on a product page, FAQs or About Us page, or somewhere else entirely.
Your entire site needs to be designed for conversions, not just your homepage. Every page should:
- Be optimized for mobile
- Have a clear call to action
- Include product listings and promotions
- Include high quality images from multiple angles
- Have an “add to cart” button” (or cart access on the homepage)
- Include shipping information (i.e. “Free shipping on all orders over $50”)
- Have a clearly labeled search bar
- Have categories and product tags
Even your “no results found” search pages should point people to alternative ways of finding products.
There are other common design-related conversion mistakes that will also need your attention, including things like using high quality photos for product images, adding product videos, and optimizing your website copy (like product descriptions).
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If you’re unsure about design best-practices when it comes to your product pages, Hubspot has some examples of highly converting and well designed ones here.
Remember, every page you have on your site is a chance to sell something to someone, and the way you design each page will either point people towards a purchase or steer them away from it.
2. Non-Persistent Shopping Carts
Shopping cart abandonment is a big issue for many online stores.
In fact, 58% of U.S. online shoppers say that “not being ready to buy” is a primary factor for abandoning a cart. According to eMarketer, 56% of shoppers use the shopping cart to save items for later purchase, and many will browse on a mobile device first before switching over to desktop to finalize a purchase.
This means that over half of your shoppers aren’t checking out as soon as you would like them to, leaving plenty of leeway for them to leave your store without making any purchases.
One of the ways to get around this is by using persistent shopping carts to enable users to save items when they navigate away from a page. It works by using persistent cookies to save product information, so even if a web session expires, those cookies will stay in a user’s browser once they leave.
You can then send out targeted shopping cart abandonment emails to users that have products still remaining in their carts. BI Intelligence estimates that 63% of all abandoned merchandise is potentially recoverable.
By using persistent shopping carts, you increase your odds of someone following through with a purchase they might not make otherwise.
3. Surprise Shipping Costs
Shipping is another area where conversions can quickly be lost or gained.
Studies show that 73% of online shoppers believe that free shipping is “critical” to making a purchase, and 44% of shoppers will abandon a cart if shipping costs are too high.
One of the reasons shipping impacts conversions is due to its “surprise” nature: you don’t really know how much shipping will be until you’re in the final stages of checkout.
One study conducted by Etsy showed a marked decrease in orders on the site when shipping prices were hidden versus when they were clearly indicated.
A few ways to prevent surprise shipping costs from turning customers away include:
- Being up front about shipping costs – You could display the shipping costs directly on product pages, display a pop-up when an item is added to the cart, or include a “calculate shipping” button on the product page before checkout (and during checkout as well).
- Using a flat rate for shipping – A flat fee regardless of order size will take the guesswork away from your customers and improve your conversion rates.
- Offering free shipping above a threshold – You may need to research what your acceptable threshold will be, but having the option of free shipping over a certain amount can help woo otherwise undecided customers into making a purchase.
If you’re not able to offer flat fees or free shipping, consider adding language to your product pages with shipping information so that customers know ahead of time that they will need to calculate shipping fees into the final product price.
You should also consider providing multiple shipping and payment methods and letting the user decide how quickly they want to receive their order.
4. Payment Processing Issues
Around 2% of all purchases are lost due to payment processing issues.
Some payments fail for legitimate reasons, like expired cards or delinquent accounts, fraud alerts or international transactions. This can’t always be helped, but there are some instances when the site itself is to blame.
Having too many steps to the payment process, using outdated or incomplete checkout forms, or even having slow loading speeds can all result in card declines and lost sales.
Another big payment processing concern is having limited payment choices, where alternative forms of payment aren’t available.
The reason this is a problem is that alternative payment methods (like PayPal, Google Wallet, Bitcoin, etc.) are expected to comprise nearly 55% of all ecommerce payments by 2019. Adding alternative payment methods can go a long way to improving conversions.
FreshGigs, for example, saw a 15% increase in their checkout process simply by enabling the option to pay with American Express, which wasn’t offered out of the box with their payment processor.
It’s important for merchants to at least provide the top three payment methods for the majority of users, but if you’re looking to maximize conversions, adding alternative payment methods will help.
While you won’t always be able to catch 100% of missed conversions, you can recapture sales by implementing a few strategies in your overall design as well as your checkout process.
Make sure that each and every page is designed with conversions in mind and includes things like calls to actions, high quality photos, and access to the shopping cart.
You should also enable persistent shopping carts so that customers who want to continue browsing or who click away from the site can still come back and complete a purchase later (for maximum effort, combine this with some targeted abandoned cart email marketing).
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Finally, make sure that your checkout process is seamless by including shipping information so customers aren’t surprised and by eliminating any obstacles to payment on your end, like improving site speed and offering additional payment options.
Author: Bogdan Chertes
Bogdan has helped dozens of ecommerce businesses grow sales and acquire more customers by using data driven PPC marketing strategies.
At Adfix, he leads a team of top class PPC and Social Media experts that help clients maximize ROI from their campaigns.