Put simply, your ultimate goal in online retail is having your customers convert. The more customers of yours convert, the higher your conversion rates are and the higher your profits are.
Your conversion rates may be satisfactory, but it should always be an objective to improve conversion rates even further. This following list will present you with things that may be missing from your site, that you can implement right now to improve your conversion rates.
1. Present Your Products with More Detail
Unlike in physical retail, in online retail customers’ senses are limited. Since they are unable to touch and see the product in real-life they experience a perceived risk regarding the color, material, size and quality of the product. Create a more detailed and accurate representation of the product to reduce this risk:
Informational techniques (descriptions of):
- Product features
- Product fabric/material content
- Product color
- Measurements of the product size/measurements and of the model/space it is presented with in the visual
Visual techniques (features):
- Good clarity and quality of pictures
- Picture enlargement
- Multiple angles of the product shown
- Item shown in real context (i.e. a shirt worn on a model, a table in a room)
- Item shown in alternative contexts (i.e. on different models, in different rooms)
- 3-D presentation
- Catwalk video
ASOS is a wonderful example for providing a great amount of product detail:
2. Help Customers with Choosing the Right Item
Since customers cannot physically experiment with the product they incur a perceived risk of choosing the right item form for them personally (i.e. the size of the garment, shade of the foundation). Help them choose the right item by:
- Categorize forms:
Women’s Fashion: Men’s Fashion:
Boohoo Moss Bros.
- Skin tones: fair, medium, deep
- Skin undertones: yellow, pink or neutral
- Size guides
- Interactive guides (i.e. a quiz to find preferences and measurements)
- ‘How to measure yourself’ guide
The extensive Figleaves’s guide is a wonderful example:
- Virtual try-ons (using virtual reality and avatars), for example:
- Me Model for fashion e-tailers
- L’Oreal Paris Makeup Genius app
- IKEA’s virtual reality feature
3. Improve Your Customer Service
To further reduce the aforementioned perceived risks you must provide customer service to answer inquiries regarding technicalities and shopping decisions. While you may provide email and social media replies, these means are inadequate as they provide slow and often incomplete answers. Waiting and obtaining insufficient answers prevents customers from finalizing purchases and thus reduces conversions.
Solution? Provide your shoppers with a live chat. This allows immediate replies, a flowing conversation that answers all of the shopper’s follow-up questions and ensures that all doubts have been removed. Offering live chat to help has been proven to effectively improve conversion rates.
Follow SimplyBe’s example for a simple access and quick-reply live chat:
4. Allow and Encourage Customer Input
Since customers have nothing to gain from advocating for a product/company, unlike the company, they are deemed as a more reliable and objective source to other customers. Therefore it is no surprise that customer reviews and testimonials are important to 55% of shoppers for making a purchase. To improve your conversion rates include and encourage customer input: reviews, testimonials, ratings, customers’ photos with the product.
Follow French Connection’s example for a great written customer input:
Follow Boohoo’s example for offering and encouraging visual customer input:
5. Provide Free Shipping
The frustrating surprise of shipping cost is the number one reason for cart abandonment. But, take away the surprise element and customers are still irritated simply by the idea of having to pay for shipping. Indeed, free shipping is deemed critical to 73% of customers and cases show it is a higher motivator to making a purchase than a discount on products.
Experiment with the following free shipping options to find which stimulates the most conversions:
- Nationwide/worldwide (may need to raise products’ prices)
- For selected products/categories
- At a minimum order value
- For a limited time frame
- For first time/returning customers
- For cart abandoners in remarketing emails
6. Have a Reliable Shipping Service
Although the delivery process is mainly in the hands of the delivery company, your company is the entity the customers have interacted and made business with. Therefore, the responsibility of timely and correct shipping is yours in the eyes of the customers and so, you will be the one to suffer the consequences if the delivery is inadequate.
So what can you do?
- Choose a shipping company that is known for its reliability and timeliness
- Provide comprehensive shipping information on your website (see a part of Tarte’s extensive shipping information)
- Provide a tracking feature for the package and customer service for inquiries (see Tarte’s tracker)
7. Optimize Your Return Policy
Another manner to reduce the inherent risk of online shopping is by offering customer-friendly return policy.
What is it comprised of?
- A comprehensive return policy information on your website
- Set the number of days allowed to return the product to be as many as possible
- Allow free returns of products
- In cases of late or wrong delivery, offer compensation (financial or product-wise)
For example, Zappos offers extensive return information in the FAQ page:
And provides a highly customer-friendly policy:
This way, the shopper knows that in case they regret their purchase, they can return it at no cost and in no rush. The purchase is not irreversible or unalterable.
Some companies go even a step further, reducing the risk by postponing the payment. For example, ThirdLove offers a Podcast’s listeners to pay only for shipping and if the product isn’t returned in 30 days, the customer is charged for the product’s price.
8. Personalize Your Product Recommendations
Personalized product recommendations (complementary and substitute items) are proven to induce more conversions.
Barilliance found that personalized “top seller” recommendations were twice as effective as the non-personalized “top seller” recommendations, and conversion rates of those who clicked were 5.5 times higher than the non-clicking ones.
9. Implement Social Proof
Customers’ being presented with real-time, personalized notifications, such as “the last purchase of this item was from NYC 12 minutes ago”, enhance their sense of urgency, build trust and increase conversions. These notifications, which Barilliance offers, are based on real data and their frequency, location and appearance can be customized by yourself.
10. Use Personalized Remarketing Emails
Sending out personalized remarketing emails to your customers allows you to re-engage and interact with them, entice them to return to your site and ultimately reduce your shopping cart abandonment rate by 10%-30%.