Conversion rate optimization in digital marketing is a process to increase the percentage of site visitors that turn into customers. Conversion rate is calculated as the number of total transactions divided by the number of site visits, multiplied by a hundred to get the percentage.
While the terminology is fairly recent, the concept itself isn’t anything new. In traditional retail, it is obvious that not everyone who walks into the store intends to buy, so the business utilizes techniques to entice the customer into making a purchase, from persistent sales agents to a store layout designed to increase time spent inside the store. Similarly, not every click to the website results in a sale, and to improve sales figures, conversion rate optimization comes into play.
The biggest major benefit of conversion rate optimization is that it gives a business more customers for the same amount of traffic. Most businesses erroneously focus on getting as many visitors into the site as possible, but what really gets the revenue is whether or not those visitors will actually become paying customers.
Improving your website
Your website is your store in the digital sphere. Like how traditional businesses invest in everything from interior design to research in optimum store layout, online businesses should invest in a website that gives users the best shopping experience possible. The biggest determining factor on whether a visitor will convert into a customer is the website. No one is going to stick around when your website loads slowly or is poorly designed. Here are a couple of areas you can improve your website:
- Homepage. The homepage is arguably the most vital space on your website. On top of making a first impression, it is also an opportunity to retain site visitors and guide them further into your website. You can do this by emphasizing links to your bestselling products or ongoing promos. Do market research to identify what aesthetic appeals to your target market and incorporate that into your site design.
- Product classifications and search results. Product classifications and search bars make it easier for users to navigate your store and narrow down your products to focus on the category they are interested in. Make sure your product classifications and search algorithms are accurate and relevant. Bringing up blouses when the user specifically typed “skirts” in the search may annoy potential buyers and even drive them away.
- Product page. The product page can be the make-or-break point for many website visitors. Ensure you use high-quality images to showcase your product and use relevant images to promote the product further. For example, cosmetic products should include a photo of the product applied to the models’ faces. The product page should also include a clear and complete product description. It should include accurate size measurements for fashion items, while for cosmetics, a full ingredient list, and the weight or volume of the product.
- Checkout. More than half of online shoppers abandon their carts due to long and confusing checkouts. Make sure the checkout process is as smooth as possible for your consumer. You wouldn’t want them to abandon the purchase at the literal last step simply because the checkout process is inconvenient. There are many other reasons for cart abandonment at checkout, such as forced account creation, unexpected shipping costs, or unavailability of their preferred payment method. Address as many of these concerns as you can to minimize cart abandonment.
- Reviews and feedback. The feedback and reviews of the products should be easily visible to the consumer. This is beneficial to both the consumer and the business because it may ease their doubts about purchasing while it puts the business in a positive light for being transparent. Make sure to keep stock of products with many positive reviews and get rid of any products gathering too many negative reviews.
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). An online store doesn’t have the benefit of sales agents being able to answer a customer’s questions in real-time. What you can do to address this is to have a comprehensive and organized FAQs page. First-time visitors to the business may have a lot of questions regarding how to purchase: what the payment options are, if international shipping is available, etc. It will be inevitable that a customer has a question that isn’t covered by the FAQ, and it is best if you also provide them the option to contact a live agent through an on-site chat feature.
Other conversion rate optimization strategies
- Lead flow marketing. Lead flows are unobtrusive pop-ups designed to attract attention and offer a reward (which could be a product discount or a free shipping voucher) to the site visitor in exchange for creating an account or subscribing to the email list. This is effective because it converts the visitor into a lead, which brings them a step closer to becoming a customer.
- A/B testing. You can show two or more versions of your site to different visitors to determine which changes are more effective in increasing conversion rates. When running this test, keep the changes to one or two variables to easily isolate which changes to maintain and discard.
- User recordings. This records users as they move through the site and gives on where users get stuck and what they frequently click. It’s a great source of insight for site improvements.
- Retargeting. Retargeting works by tracking visitors to your website and serving them ads as they visit other sites. Be careful because if this technique is used too aggressively, it may drive off consumers instead of drawing them back in.
Do not be discouraged when your online business starts with a low conversion rate and if your first attempt at conversion rate optimization doesn’t yield results. Different businesses use different strategies and experience varying degrees of success. It is not an exact science and takes a lot of trial and error before finding what resonates with your consumers. Take the time to gather user feedback, analyze the data, and make decisions from there.