Are you not happy with your conversion rate (= the percentage of users who actually buy on your web site)? If you want a higher conversion rate you need to get into CRO – Conversion Rate Optimization.
In order to do systematic CRO you should use A/B-testing and gain insights to build up your own best practice. A/B-testing means trying out two or more different versions of each element on your page to find out which version will work best. Ideally you should A/B-test to determine for instance whether a red or a green buy button will work better, whether 3 or 5 colour variants will work better and so on.
Real A/B-testing yields extremely valuable results, but it takes a lot of time and efforts. What’s more, it requires a significant amount of traffic for your results to be valid. So here’s a little cheat’s guide to ecommerce CRO based on some fairly normal findings of what usually works best:
1. Does the headline on the landing page match the value proposition on the ad? – It should. If you have an ad showcasing a single product, the landing page should be that individual product page and the headline should be the exact same product name used in the ad. If the ad showcases a category of products, the landing page should show a category page with a good selection of items. The headline of the category page should be the exact same category name used in the ad. Any discrepancy here tends to cause bounce rates to skyrocket.
2. Do you have several different product pictures? – You should. It’s usually best to have a mix of products-in-use pictures and white background product shots. If it’s a lifestyle product, product-in-use pictures should clearly reflect this. Here’s a good example, from Asos.com. Notice the range and selection of pictures, including a sharp high resolution close-up image, 360 rotation product shot and customer images (they also include videos on some items):
3. Do you clearly state product name, price and colour/size/variant selections above the buy-button? – You should. State the currency and price as clearly as possible. If you can include free shipping info right next to the price, like Asos does, it’s a plus. Also remember to have a link to a sizing guide somewhere near the buy button if there can be any ambiguity at all about your sizes.
4. Does your buy-button color stand out? – It should. In fact, the best answer to the age-old question “what color should my buy button be” is in fact not “red” or “blue” or “green”. It is “a completely different colour that stands out from the rest of the elements on the page”. So the green Asos buy-button in the above example is in fact very good, as is the red button on the Sephora shop:
5. Does your buy-button say the right thing? – It should. “Buy now” can work, as well as “Add to cart” or even something a little more specialized like the “Add to bag” that Asos uses, or “add to basket” which works well in a fashion shop but wouldn’t for say IT-gadgets. Legends to avoid on call-to-action buttons include “order”, “send” and “submit”.
6. Do you offer free shipping? – You should. There’s no doubt that free shipping increases conversion rates significantly. You can optimize this effect further by placing a free shipping statement clearly placed near the “add to cart”-button, because it means the potential customer will see this message at exactly the right moment for it to influence his decision. You can see an example of this tactic in the Asos screenshot above.
7. Do you include all relevant product facts on the product page? – You should. You don’t really know what will sway the individual customer, so it’s good to offer every possible fact that may influence somebody’s decision to buy. This is especially true for complex products like electronics. Some people may choose a laptop on it’s processor, some on it’s weight and others on the number of USB ports. Don’t be stingy with facts! Just make sure they are all placed below the buy button. They should be available to people looking for something specific, but should not stand in the way of a quick buy. Look at how Amazon offers two whole layers of facts:
In layer 1 you get a few fact headlines, presented as a bulleted list. You can also click “See more product details” and get even more facts:
8. Do you offer customer reviews? – You should. Being able to see star ratings for the product is instant social proof. It also gives the customer a very good idea of how popular and how good the product is.
9. Do you offer alternative products? – You should. But make sure they are placed low on the page so as not to interfere with the original buying intention. The point is that if the customer has reached the bottom of the page without adding to cart, he may be interested in a similar version of the product he just saw. Rejoiner has published a brilliant article deconstructing Amazon alternative products and upsells.
10. Do you optimize your check-out process? – You should. Having a SCAR (Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate) of over 70% is quite common, so anything you can do to reduce that figure is going to significantly impact your profits. Kissmetrics has published a list of 40 effective tacticts to optimize the checkout process.