You’ve invested in a beautiful, modern site. It has been populated with high quality content. Come launch date, you introduce your enterprise to the wild wild web. And then you wait.
Days turn into weeks, and weeks into months. Your analytics tell you that traffic’s picking up, but your inventory just isn’t flying off the shelf as you expected.
If this sounds like you, don’t worry. Lack of sales is an inevitable rite of passage every ecommerce site has to go through. And, sites in different industries have different average conversion rates.
The trouble is that the answer isn’t always the same. Sometimes a small design tweak is all it takes. On other occasions, you’ll need a complete overhaul.
But, there are some strategies that have proven their worth, and others that show real promise.
Below, you’ll find eight best practices that will help you turn those passive visitors into paying customers.
Make Sure Your Website is Mobile Friendly
More people are now surfing the web on their mobile devices than laptops and desktops. Mobile devices generated 50.81% of all web traffic in the third quarter of 2020.
Mobile browsing is just too different from regular desktop internet usage. The text becomes smaller, and there’s no mouse or keyboard for shortcuts or scrolling.
These attributes need a different form of coding and presentation style. So, if you still haven’t made your website mobile friendly, then you really must prioritize it in 2021.
Mobile website design falls into two categories.
Responsive and adaptive.
Adaptive websites have static layouts with fixed breakpoints of change. These sites are usually designed to fit the most common screen sizes.
Responsive sites, on the other hand, are fluid in nature. They use CSS media queries to dynamically adapt to whatever page they are loaded to.
Responsive sites have become a lot more popular as they need less work once they’re done. For example, Somnifix clearly uses a responsive design for its site.
Here’s how it looks on desktop:
And, here’s how it looks on a mobile screen —
You can use this free tool from Google to check how responsive your site is.
Gamify Your Web Experience
Gamification is usually talked about in HR and marketing circles to spice up otherwise boring activities. It actually works wonders.
The US Army used the computer game “America’s Army” to drive up recruitment. Starbucks’ reward program is a big hit, with people getting freebies after a number of purchases. Nike’s +Run club encourages people to run more by comparing their results to other runners.
But, gamification is useful for driving engagement on your website too. In fact, you’ve probably seen it in action.
Remember the jumping dinosaur game in Google Chrome that popped up when the net connection went out?
You are also only limited by your imagination.
A quick and easy way to gamify your site is to go for an addon widget. A widget is a small piece of code that you can add to your website. Some popular types of widgets are clocks, meters and badges.
For example, check out this site which offers sunglasses for runners —
The widget has a Wheel of Fortune-like design. A user will have to enter their email to spin the wheel to win one of the six prizes.
Use More Visual Content
The human brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text. This is because we’re far more accustomed to seeing the world as a picture than as a word.
This piece of trivia plays out in interesting ways in our lives. For example, did you know that it takes around 50 milliseconds for a visitor to form an opinion on your site?
First impressions depend entirely on how your site looks, not so much as how it reads.
It’s no surprise then that visual commerce, or commerce done through pictures and videos is really taking off.
For example, landing pages with videos yield an astonishing 800% more conversions. Likewise, infographics can increase user engagement by 40%.
You don’t have to overdo visuals either. Check out how the purchase order management solution InflowInventory has displayed visual content:
The site uses few words, large fonts, colorful icons and a central CTA, right at the middle of the screen. This is a great way to make the site more attractive, while keeping things low-key.
Include Gated Content in Your Marketing Mix
Brands are all used to publishing blogs and articles on authority sites to build their reputations. But, while regular free publishing is vital to your online presence, it lacks in some areas.
Gated content is any content that needs a user to share their email address before they can access it. This content has to be something not easily available. Usually, an in-depth ebook, white paper, or company sponsored research can be used as gated content.
Content gating is widely used in B2B marketing where 80% of marketing assets are behind a wall. This is understandable as B2B marketing is often technical, with the primary audience being industry experts.
For example, the company LFA Capsule Fillers offers a free ebook to encourage signups.
While content gating is popular in B2B marketing circles, there’s no reason this tactic won’t work for B2C marketers as well. As long as the content is valuable and unique, you can put it behind a subscription request.
Your first challenge in converting site visitors to buyers is to get them to sign up for your email list. Gating content, while effective, isn’t the only way to encourage site visitors to give you a try either.
You can, for example, give away gift cards that users can redeem for discounts. Coupons are great marketing tools that are extremely effective in getting customers to subscribe. Likewise, you can go for special offers during low seasons to get more people to join your list. You can even use virtual phone system to support this process.
For example, the investment firm EarlyBird offers a $15 sign up bonus for simply opening an account with them.
If you don’t want to offer financial incentives, then you can take a cue from this social media agency and offer part of your service for free.
Get Your Sales Process Together
Part of the reason generating online sales is so hard is because companies have a “go with the flow” way of doing things. One day it’s social media, the next it’s email. Then, the following week everything is all about SEO.
There is no singular strategy that works as a part of a collective whole. Since each method is rarely given enough time to bear fruit, they never produce any result.
A well thought out ecommerce sales process is best envisioned as a staircase, where each of your targeted digital medium is a step.
A good ecommerce sales process will look like this:
- You create a well-researched ebook that promotes your product, and put it behind a subscription offer.
- You write a top-level blog post with a clear CTA to your ebook’s landing page.
- You send out an email to all your subscribers asking them to check out your blog post.
- You publish an article related to the ebook in your industry’s leading publication, with a strong CTA.
While this process is simple to understand, it can be painfully hard to pull off given the many moving parts involved. You can use workflow automation software to make your life easier here.
Let Your Visitors Know That You Care About their Privacy
Most people don’t want to hit that subscribe button on your site because they’re afraid you’ll bombard them with sales messages.
Since your first hurdle is convincing them to give you a try, you need to take care of such apprehensions first. The best way to go about this is to emphasize your spam policies on every signup page.
For example, insurance companies are infamous for their pestering, salesy ways. Their websites need to make sure visitors understand that the company will respect their privacy.
Here’s how True Blue Life Insurance does it:
While digital mediums will continue to evolve, what really matters is how deeply you care for your visitors and clients. The more you try and help, the better response you will get.
The strategies above will help you get a louder bang for your buck. But, it’s critically important that they be given enough time.
Take careful note of the strategies outlined above, and you can see conversion rates soar in 2021 and beyond.