Whether you are selling goods, a subscription service, or online tools, finding ways to maximize your conversions is an ongoing task that you can’t afford to ignore.
For a tech start-up or other online business, there are many smaller nuances to consider, including the wording of your pages, payment plan flexibility, and the navigation of your customers’ journey. Even your website speed has a huge impact on whether people are likely to stick around.
When you’re so ingrained in the finer details of your company, it’s difficult to take a step back and see where your website needs improving. Some current page layouts may be confusing, or perhaps your messaging doesn’t connect with your target audience.
Any of these aspects, if not optimized, can mean the difference between conversions and lost sales. Making it vital that you fix these issues quickly and if possible, long before you launch your eCommerce shop.
To help get your eCommerce platform in order, here are our top tips to help maximize conversions on your website.
1. Test price comparison tables
Customers have access to all your online competitors. Within a few clicks, they can look at other providers. If they do leave your site, how confident are you that they’ll return?
However, by including a price comparison table of your competitors on your own website, it can help boost conversions as much as 30%. This is especially the case if you’re the least expensive option on the market. If so you should be shouting that from the rooftops.
Even if you’re more expensive, you can control what the customer sees. After all, you may offer more services or have better reviews than your competitors. By controlling the customer’s comparison you get to showcase your better features. All of which helps to give you the edge over rival brands.
Ultimately, price comparison tables are about giving the information the customer wants without them having to go searching elsewhere for it. That’s important when the ‘elsewhere’ is your competitor who may just clinch the sale instead.
2. Reformat old school customer forms
No one likes having long-winded forms to fill in. To increase conversions for your start-up, you need to cut out what isn’t needed to make the process as seamless as possible.
Scrutinize every field on your customer forms and ask yourself: “Do I really need to capture that information?”
Remove any fields that aren’t necessary. The less time your customers have to spend inputting their data, the more likely they are to convert.
If your customer forms do need to collect a lot of information, consider breaking it down into stages. A long list of fields is very daunting, but bite-size chunks are far more palatable and will likely lead to more conversions.
You should also check the placement of the forms so they don’t disrupt the customer. There’s a fine line between prompts and distractions. Keep everything clean and simple to fill out and submit.
3. Customer price plans & being discount savvy
The financial preferences of your customers will vary widely. Some will prefer to pay in smaller increments. While others would be happy to pay a large fee upfront to get a discount.
Offering monthly and yearly pricing is a great idea to cater to different payment preferences and is all related to the psychology of pricing. In short, you have to squash any price related doubt the customer may have about buying your product.
While you’ll need to offer discounts on yearly payment plans, you’ll at least be getting the money upfront. As a start-up, upfront payments are extremely beneficial to the health of your business and your overall cash flow, compared to being drip-fed smaller monthly payments.
4. Utilize user testing
As the founder of a start-up, you’ve put your heart and soul into starting your company. You know every pixel and product inside out. You know the quickest ways to get through user forms, which buttons get you to the product page, and how to alter payment methods like the back of your hand. While many hours have been spent on what you’ve built so far, it’s still worth remembering that your customers are brand new to your idea.
With a fresh perspective comes vital points you may have missed. That’s why it’s crucial to refine your user experience before you launch. After all, you only have that one shot to make the right first impression on your customers.
Paying users to test your website is money well spent. Or you can even ask friends and family for their input too, though neutral parties are more likely to give an unbiased response. Ask people to run through your site, you’ll be surprised at where they get stuck or how they find various functions confusing.
While it can be frustrating listening to how your site needs to be improved, ironing out any issues before you launch will ultimately help boost conversion rates once you do.
5. Optimize wording to increase conversions
When you first create your tech start-up, it can be difficult to know what wording works best for your customers and ultimately your conversions.
Headings, slogans, and pitches on your site impact how your customers take in certain messaging. Changing one word in a sentence can flip the switch from positive to negative or even from purchase to an abandoned cart.
That’s why it’s a good idea to create multiple landing pages and see how they perform. Utilizing software such as Hotjar or Google Analytics can simplify this process for you while providing valuable insights.
Once you understand what is working, build on that wording, and use similar phrasing on other pages. If you identify a strong CTA (call to action) that leads the customer to the next part of your sales funnel, adopt it elsewhere. Instead of persuading them with everything else on the page or an additional step, make it easy for them and stick with what works.
On that note, be sure to refine your wording regularly to identify anything that’s just not working. And be sure to keep up to speed with the latest SEO techniques too.
6. Improve your page speed
You may remember the days of accessing the internet via dial-up. This involved waiting 10+ seconds for images to load. These days waiting anything longer than 3 seconds will annoy customers who will quickly move onto another site.
How to improve your website speed
If your page load time is slow, expect your bounce rate, the number of visitors that view your page, and immediately leave, to soar. If that sounds familiar it’s time to speed things up. Here are the best ways to go about doing that.
Move servers to the country where most of your users are based. This means switching to a CDN (content delivery network). The less distance the data has to travel, the quicker it will load for your customer.
Your websites caching can dramatically speed up how fast a user can access your content. Think of it as storing a virtual roadmap of a city, so that the next time you visit you already know where you are going without having to start from scratch. Only, your computer is the one storing the files and what it’s memorizing is your website. That’s the essence of caching, and it’s worth brushing up on if you haven’t already.
Run diagnostics to see if anything obvious is causing the issues. While you’re there, ensure there isn’t anything that is slowing your page down. Large images or even videos can eat into your page load time, so try to limit these as much as possible.
7. Avoid using annoying pop-ups and ads
Everyone finds it annoying when you’re navigating through a site and a pop-up appears. Usually, you close it without batting an eyelid. But sometimes, pop-ups can be particularly irksome especially if they appear on multiple pages or are difficult to exit away from.
While there might be reasons your site includes pop-ups, it ultimately diminishes the customer experience. You want your customers to feel good about using your site, because the better they feel, the more likely they are to convert. And if a half-page ad continues to disrupt their session, you can bet they’ll be quickly looking for an exit.
Consider removing nonessential pop-ups. If you really must have pop-ups, ensure their appearance and wording enhances the user experience. Typically this means that any pop-ups or slide-ins relate to the content on the page, only appear at a certain time and are easy to dismiss if uninterested.
Similar to pop-ups, a site filled with an extensive amount of banner and rail ads can be equally unappealing. Sure, sometimes ads are essential for your website’s revenue but that doesn’t mean they should disrupt the user. If you utilize ads, at least consider the sizing and placement to ensure they are as unobtrusive as possible. You’ll likely want to utilize user testing for this to verify that nothing negatively impacts the user journey.
8. Payment options
These days, there are numerous payment portals available to websites, such as Paypal, Square, and Google Pay to name a few.
These portals make the lives of customers easier as it avoids the need for them to find their bank details and laboriously enter their 16 digit card number. Customers will have a wide variety of preferences for how to pay online and will expect eCommerce sites to fit their needs.
Adding multiple payment portals will require more integration, but, that will be offset by your ability to cater to a wider audience. Now, this doesn’t mean you should offer fifteen different payment options. Instead, do your research, see what your competitors offer and what your target market tends to utilize.
If your business is subscription-based, you also need to consider if you should be locking in your customers to recurring monthly or annual payments. By locking in payments over a certain period, you improve your chances of retaining customers and receiving a steady stream of income.
However, a proportion of your customers may be looking for flexibility in how long or often they have to pay. So you may want to consider monthly rolling options for your subscriptions alongside any annual or quarterly options. While you won’t have payments locked in, you are serving your customers’ needs and can offer slight price cuts for longer payment terms.
9. Answer questions on support pages
A portion of your customers will have questions they want to ask you about your products and services. This is why it’s vital to include comprehensive FAQ pages to help customers quickly find the answers they may be looking for. You’ll want to be sure it’s well-organized, searchable, and that you’re actively updating it as more common questions emerge.
Unfortunately, even a well-designed FAQ page won’t provide answers to every question. But having a team on hand to answer questions in live chat can be an excellent alternative for nuanced customer support.
For customers, opening a quick live chat is far more preferable than having to wait in call queues, send an email, or fill out a support form. That being said, it ultimately depends on the nature of your business to ensure the customer feels comfortable reaching out using the communication methods you do have.
For those businesses that don’t have the budget to man live chat options, there are cheaper alternatives. Automated response setups are available that can be embedded within your site, and social channels like Facebook messenger offer a similar experience. Such ‘bots’ are based on keyword lookups to provide answers based on a detailed FAQ database and can be fine-tuned to serve your needs, to a certain extent.
10. The wrong images on your site
Images play a vital role on any website. They aren’t just there to make your site look pretty, but to help your traffic engage with your content. This means having the right imagery that reflects your audience is a necessity.
If you’re a software company offering communication services for businesses, you’ll likely want pictures of business owners, remote strategy meetings, and product screenshots. But if your site only features images of landscapes, buildings, and teenagers, your users simply won’t connect.
On that note, you’ll want to avoid stock images whenever possible. These often look staged, cheap, and aren’t representative of your company. Pay a bit upfront for a professional photo shoot that features your office space, employees, current customers, branding, and anything else that represents your company. It’ll be worth it in the long-run as you work to optimize images on your site.
Keep in mind, images can slow your page load speed down so you’ll need to find a balance between file sizes and overall image quality.
11. Showcase customer review ratings
There are an abundance of customer review sites that customers refer to when researching products and services. You have Google, Facebook, Trustpilot, Yelp, and Feefo, just to name a few. And on top of that, you even have industry and platform-specific reviews to keep in mind.
To leverage review sites, make sure to request reviews from your happy customers. If you have some already, then visually display these ratings from trusted sites on your sales pages. A high volume of strong ratings creates credibility for your brand and provides greater exposure online for your business.
If you’re struggling with negative or middling reviews, be sure you’re actively reaching out and responding. And if a review seems fishy or unwarranted, reach out to the site itself about having it removed. While this won’t always be successful, it’s worth the effort when it does work.
12. Highlight the size of your social media
Social media can be incredibly powerful. If you have thousands of followers and likes, that indicates credibility for your business. The more credibility you have, the greater the chances of successful conversions.
If you or your customers are active on social and regularly mention your products, it may even be worth featuring a live feed on your website. At the same time, having a clear and easy way for customers to go from Instagram, Facebook and Twitter directly to your eCommerce site is a must. Add pricing tags, direct links to pricing pages, and actively update your company website to relevant pages whenever possible.
13. Create product packages to suit your customers
Some of your customers may only be looking for a certain part of your product or services. But if you have bundled all your products and services in one package, you’re isolating a portion of your potential customer base.
This is why many sites offer basic, standard, and premium packages. The premium packages cater to customers that are willing to pay more for a wider variety of features, while, the basic packages appeal to those looking for a lower cost.
Similar to offering multiple pricing models, being flexible with how your customers buy from you, expands the potential to attract and retain customers. You’re servicing their specific needs, providing premium options they can always upgrade to later on, and actively testing which packages connect with your target customer.
14. Offer free trial periods
Suitable for online services and subscription businesses, free trials are a great way to attract new customers. You simply set a period that allows the user to experience the benefits of your services without having to pay.
A critical component of free trials is setting customer accounts to auto-enroll. This means once the free trial ends, the customer will begin to be charged automatically. Of course, you need to be upfront and clear with customers that this will happen, and prepare your customer service team for an influx of customers that forgot to cancel.
You will likely see a large percentage of individuals simply cancel after the free trial, but that doesn’t mean they won’t come back. Follow-up with a sales recovery email drip campaign or targeted messaging that reminds them of what they’re missing, possibly even offering a discount on their first month after a few attempts.
If a free trial doesn’t make sense for your business, you can always implement a money-back guarantee instead. Same concept, but the customer is paying up-front with the knowledge that if they aren’t satisfied, they aren’t at risk of losing money.
15. Keep iterating and testing
Lastly, as you develop and implement these changes the best thing you can do is continue to iterate and test. Don’t stop with just one change or one attempt at optimizing that happens to be effective. Instead, look to continue improving your efforts by A/B testing messaging, image selection, pricing options, and anything else you feature on your site.
Basically, continue to make improvements that make your customer experience as joyful and efficient as possible. After all, with high levels of online competition, it’s imperative that your website doesn’t hamper your business growth, but elevates your operations.