Before the Internet even existed, retailers relied on an assortment of strategies and market intelligence tactics to boost sales, including promotions, direct mail, catalogs, window displays, focus groups, surveys and ads. With ecommerce now critical to retail success, companies must execute a new set of digital strategies and tactics to increase their conversion rates.
There are a number of methods retailers can employ to optimize ecommerce sales and gain competitive advantages, including gathering intelligence, testing layouts, optimizing images, personalizing offerings, and retargeting consumers who abandon sites and shopping carts.
Understand Your Visitors
The first step to boosting conversions is to establish your current conversion rates and uncover insights that will help you make the best moves to increase sales. There are some excellent tools that can help you understand how users are interacting with your site.
These tools enable you to record, tag, and otherwise track visitors’ moves, including heat maps that show where visitors are clicking and scrolling the most. The insights you gain will point you in the direction of your biggest growth opportunities and help you understand which products and information are most valuable to customers.
Stay on Top of Trends
Knowing what’s hot and what’s not is key to optimizing conversion rates, which is why top retailers keep a steady eye on their market and competition. There are a number of solutions that do a fine job of tracking competitors and trending content.
Once you see which type of content is creating the greatest buzz and generating the most traffic, you can perform deeper analyses to gain insights to help you formulate strategies, identify target audiences, and more. Your messaging can be crafted and selection of offerings managed based on these insights.
Nothing beats engaging directly with customers to understand their preferences, motivations, and frustrations. Establishing a branded community is one of the best ways to obtain actionable insights from customers feedback including the real-time intelligence required for decision-making in today’s fast-moving market.
Feature-rich community platforms enable brands to interact with customers, gain their loyalty, and obtain valuable feedback through surveys, discussions, product samplings, live chats, geolocation events, and more. Major brands often use online communities to inform product decisions, optimize advertising spend, craft messaging, and more.
Find Winning Designs
Differences in phrasing, color selection, element arrangement, and images in ads, emails, and product displays have been found to increase or decrease conversion rates. Testing these elements is the best way to tell how your audience will respond to your product presentations and marketing. Using these tools can help you create the most resonant designs, layouts, and messaging, and you may often be surprised to see what works and what doesn’t.
Polish Your Images
Providing high-quality, enticing images is vital to attracting and converting customers. Online shoppers say that the quality of a product’s images impacts their purchasing decision more than product-specific information, long descriptions, and product ratings and reviews.
Giving shoppers the ability to view products from different perspectives makes them more inclined to purchase, increasing your conversion rate. There’s a plethora of best-in-class tools that enable shoppers to zoom in to product images and view products from different angles. Start with the most flattering product images and enhance the viewing experience by using these tools.
Save the Sale
Surveys show that an average 69% of shopping carts are abandoned, making shopping cart abandonment the leading cause of lost sales on ecommerce sites. One of the best ways for retailers to increase conversions is to bring back shoppers who have left and entice them to complete the sale.
Fortunately, there are a number of tools that can be deployed to minimize shopping cart losses. These tools send reminders to shoppers that they left products in their carts, and this type of nudging can succeed in drawing back a significant percentage of shoppers to complete their purchase.
Another way to minimize abandonment is to employ the new breed of personalization, recommendation, and negotiating engines. Retailers can incorporate these solutions into their ecommerce sites to add intelligent negotiating and deal-making, as well as automated personalized emails.
Win a Bigger Share of the Ecommerce Pie
This year’s record-setting e-commerce sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday underscores how important it has become for retailers to execute an ecommerce program that can engage consumers and convert them to customers. As the volume of ecommerce continues to increase and competition grows fiercer, using the above strategies and tools can help retailers enhance their e-commerce capabilities to reap a larger share of shoppers’ online business than they would otherwise be able to win.
Note: This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated.
Bart Mroz is the co-founder and CEO of SUMO Heavy