3 Things Killing Your Conversion Rate

How often do you experience your ecommerce business the way your customers do? Do you follow a consumer’s journey and see where there are friction points causing you to lose sales? All too often, online retailers lose sight of how their potential and current customers experience their service. The result is a high volume of potential sales wind up as missed opportunities. But on a positive note, three of the most common conversion rate killers are not terribly hard to fix.

Hard-to-Find or Hard-to-Use Coupon Code Fields

A potential customer should be able to find the field to enter their coupon code easily. Somehow, many retailers fail to do this. Imagine the frustration of a potential customer when they can’t figure out where to put the coupon code!

If you want to make coupon entry friction-free:

  • DO put your coupon code field on the shopping cart page. It is where consumers expect it.
  • DON’T bury your coupon code field after a log-in page, payments page, or shipping information page. Consumers want to see that the code is working before they go through that process.
  • DO add an additional coupon code field later in the purchase process if you feel it is valuable. Just make sure it isn’t the only one.
  • DON’T have a text link that the consumer has to click in order to expose the field. People are looking for a box, so show them a box.

Even if you have your coupon code field set up right where customers can find it, you might be losing sales because your coupon code field is not easy to use. The most common issues are actually easy to fix.

Update your coupon code field:

  • DON’T make your coupon code field case sensitive. It shouldn’t be necessary, and it just makes things more challenging for customers, especially as they move from one channel to another channel.
  • DO code your coupon field to ignore extra spaces before or after the coupon code are ignored. Copying and pasting is very common with coupon codes, and it is very easy for a customer to grab an extra space before or after the code when they are doing that.

Poorly written coupon codes

Can the way a coupon code is written kill conversions? Absolutely!  If a coupon code is hard to read, it is hard to enter. Especially in a multi-channel environment, the goal should be a code that a consumer can read on one device and remember long enough to type it into another.

Consider these two options: 50OFF and 25SAVE. These combinations of letters and numbers are visually confusing and should be avoided. Also be aware of abbreviating and combining words, which could result in something being misread in a way you hadn’t intended.

Nearly as bad are coupon codes that are just a string of letters and/or numbers. Those are hard to read and hard to copy. The exception here would be single-use codes, which don’t have any other option. The very best coupon codes are easy to read and easy to remember. Check out how Moosejaw handles coupon codes for some inspiration. They have standard codes, like “ACTIVE10” or “EXTRA20”, but they also have fun with codes like “HOTDOG”, “FLIPFLOP”, or “PIZZAROLLS”. Those creative codes are totally on brand for them, so they are great both for conversion and for brand identity.

Antiquated Shipping Policies

That free shipping increases conversions shouldn’t surprise anyone. However, that doesn’t mean that if free shipping isn’t a possibility for your company, you should have shipping policies based on catalog shopping from the last century.

If your shipping rates get higher based on the sales amount purchased, your shipping policy is out of date. Oversized shipping based on weight and package size is understandable. But there should always be a free shipping carrot dangled in the form of a minimum spend threshold. Consumers have been trained to expect these, and if you don’t offer them, you are losing sales. Even a $150 minimum spend would be better than a rate that increases just based on the amount spent. Figure out a minimum that works for you and then test and refine. Don’t punish the people who want to spend more money with you.

Retailers should also experiment with free shipping at reduced thresholds or with no minimum on select days. Free shipping can be a great loss leader, and you may be surprised to see a big spike in conversions. Free shipping can get customers in the door, and allow them to see what else they want to purchase.

By simply addressing these three conversion rate issues, merchants will make the consumer experience more appealing…thus increasing sales volume and building a database of return, raving fans.

Casey Runyan is managing editor of Brad’s Deals

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