9 Steps Your Ecommerce Site Must Include for Higher Conversions
It should go without saying that conversions are the fuel that keeps the ecommerce engine running. If you can’t get enough people to buy your product, your business won’t be profitable, and it won’t last long.
So how do you know if your ecommerce business is seeing enough conversions? There are a few indicators that you might consider.
One is your conversion rate. Is it less than 4%? Another is your average order value. Is it not high enough to sustain the average cost per acquisition for your customers? What about your paid marketing? Are you generating traffic but not seeing that traffic turn into conversions?
What you might not know is that there are nine critical steps your ecommerce site must take your customers through in order to close a sale. If you’re missing even one of those, your site’s performance will be limited!
In this post, we will walk through the nine steps your ecommerce site must include for higher conversions, along with tips for improving (or fixing) your ecommerce channel for better sales.
The Importance of an Optimized Ecommerce Website
Your website houses your brand’s ecommerce experience. It’s where the sale happens. Yet so many websites are designed and built without any real strategy in mind.
The homepage can easily become a collection of elements the marketing or leadership team wants displayed, not necessarily what the customers need to see. Category and product pages are organized based on what the team thinks looks good, not what has been proven to be the most useful to the customer. And overall, no one really thinks about how to cater to different customer types and how to maximize the sale, rather than just simply selling.
9 Steps to Include On Your Website for Increased Conversions
Here at Metacake, we’ve been helping ecommerce businesses small and large grow through site design, marketing, and business strategy for over 10 years. We’ve learned what works, and we’ll will share with you nine elements that are critical to get right if you want to see more purchases.
And by the way, these steps work for any ecommerce platform— Shopify Plus, Magento, Woocommerce, etc. These elements are about the user’s experience, so they can be implemented anywhere. However, it will likely be easier to execute these things on certain platforms over others.
Here are the 9 steps:
1. Orient and Excite the Customer
When a customer arrives at your website, you have about five seconds to engage with them before they’ll potentially lose interest and bounce. That is why the first thing they should see on a homepage or landing page is a compelling hero image. Use an image that shows them why they are here, correlates with any marketing messaging that may have brought them here, and communicates why they should stay.
2. Create an Emotional Connection and Build Your Brand
When it comes to making a purchase decision, emotions are often the primary driver of action— not information. Think about expensive impulse buys such as a car or a laptop. If you bought one of those quickly, you likely felt an emotional pull to the idea of having this item, and then backed up your purchase with logic.
There are actually three “sells” required for any sale: the emotional sell, the logical sell, and urgency.
To create that emotional pull for your customers, put your brand’s story front and center. This is not necessarily about who founded the company in what year (that’s usually boring). Your story is about why you do what you do, and what’s in it for your customer. What kind of life does your product help them live? This is all a part of building your brand in the customer’s mind.
Once you’ve made that emotional, brand connection, follow it up with logic by stacking features and benefits of your product.
If you don’t establish that emotional connection and educate the customer on your brand, you could still get some sales. But it’s unlikely that you’ll have a customer that will come back to buy again and again. And doing everything you can to maximize that lifetime value is critical to building a healthy brand that lasts.
3. Get Them On Their Journey— Fast
The next step is to direct customers to the category or product page as quickly as possible before they get distracted and exit.
There are two types of shoppers that your site must accommodate for: browsers and lasers. Your site design must accommodate both. You can check out this post for all the details on that, but at a high level, make sure your homepage is carefully crafted with all your category options appropriately laid out. You’ll also need a well-organized navigation that sells your product, directs traffic where it needs to go, and tells your story.
4. Build Trust
Another important step is building trust throughout the customer journey. This can be done through elements such as customer reviews and testimonials, and a great warranty or guarantee. Be sure to incorporate these throughout the customer’s path. For example, include customer quotes on the homepage, review stars on the category page’s product listings, and customer reviews on the product pages. Your warranty or guarantee should also be front and center on the homepage and product pages.
Keep in mind that your brand story can also help build trust, as well as standard site elements such as a secure checkout.
5. Remove All Perceived Risk
When the customer gets to the product page, it’s showtime for making an offer they can’t refuse. Part of that is removing any perceived risks they see with making the purchase. Illustrate the quality of your product, clearly state your shipping and returns policy, and be sure to emphasize your warranty or guarantee. Offering great customer service and an easy way to talk to a human also helps to eliminate risk.
Note: Having appropriate margin is key to providing all of this for your customer. Having a quality product with great shipping options, free returns, a comforting guarantee, and helpful customer service is expensive for you, the business owner. That’s why we emphasize the importance of building these costs into your product pricing, so you can afford to offer all of this as part of your brand experience.
6. Communicate Value
Another important step to selling is to communicate value on the product page. Many ecommerce stores just stick a product image, title, and its price on the product page and hope people will hit add to cart. The fact is, no matter what you sell, they can probably find a version of your product cheaper on Amazon. That’s why you’ll need to carefully craft what we call your irresistible offer on your product page. This involves illustrating a value stack, showing your customer what they get, how valuable the product is and how much value it adds to their life. You can read more about that here.
7. Maximize the Sale
Once the customer has purchased, it’s time to maximize the sale. There are a few ways you can do this:
- Offer a post-purchase up-sell: After the customer clicks “purchase” at checkout, direct them to an interstitial page with a limited time offer for a product that is complementary to what they just bought. If they add it, they will be charged and directed to the “thank you” page. If you’re on Shopify, you can use an app such as Zipify One-Click Upsell or Bold Cashier for this.
- Push cross-sells: There are a few places you could attempt a cross-sell on your site, but you’ll run the risk of distracting the customer from getting straight to checkout. For that reason, we typically set up automated email flows based on certain purchase behaviors to follow up with complementary products.
8. Winback Customers Who Did Not Purchase
Even if your website has a great conversion rate (say, 4%), you’re still losing 96% of customers who visit your site. Don’t let them get away!
This is especially important for customers who add products to their cart and don’t complete checkout. Be sure to have an automated abandoned cart flow to recover those customers who did not make it through checkout.
Additionally, be sure to capture email addresses as soon as they arrive on the site in case they don’t make it to the cart. Use a pop-up to display an offer or welcome discount in exchange for an email address. Once you capture their email address there, have an automated pre-purchase email sequence ready to follow up with them that educates them about your brand, reminds them of their welcome discount, and markets your products.
9. Get Out of the Way
Last but not least is a reminder to not distract your customers. The art of designing a website that converts is accomplishing all of the things we’ve outlined above, but without getting in your customers’ way. Your homepage can’t be too cluttered. Pop-ups should not be too annoying. The product pages needs to display only the most important info above the fold. And your upsells and cross-sells need to not distract from the purchase. It’s all a balancing act.
Ready to Build an Ecommerce Site that Converts?
Designing an ecommerce store is not about making something that looks pretty. It’s about building a website that is strategically designed to make visitors convert. Of course we want it to look great, but the priority is to make sure it handles nine of these things in order to win the sale.
This is what we do at Metacake. We’ve designed and built hundreds of high-converting websites for the best businesses out there, because we understand how to grow a brand from the ground up. We’ve accomplished this for brands like Groove Life, Gibson Guitars, Old Spice, and more.
If your brand is making 6-8 figures per year but your site is not producing the results you want, we would love to help you figure that out. Contact us by clicking below.
And if you’re not quite there yet, we’ve actually have a resource for you called The Perfect Ecommerce Website. This 70+ page guide outlines the most important pages of your website, what the crucial elements of each page are, and what order they should be in, in order to accomplish the nine steps above. We’ve even included wireframes for each page to make it easy to dive right into an optimized page design. Get that now for a crazy price here!