Every digital entrepreneur knows that their website is the heart of their ecommerce business. Even the smallest details can have an outsized impact on your results.
For ecommerce owners, the small stuff matters: the number of days it takes you to ship, whether your customer service agents are friendly and — among the most important factors — how well your website works for shoppers.
Here are seven tips for small but powerful tweaks you can make that are proven to make a sizeable difference to your site (and your revenue.)
1. Welcome overlays for first-time visitors
Everyone wants to feel wanted. That includes your website’s visitors.
One straightforward way to do this is to lay out the welcome mat — in the form of a welcome overlay for first-time visitors.
These help your visitors feel seen, give them an extra option when browsing around your site and help you get your foot in the door early in capturing lead information, when they’re most intrigued by your offerings.
The Economist, which is one of the few journalism outlets that has cracked profitability in the digital age, shows one example of a welcome banner.
This subscription offer slides up from the lower edge of the screen when you browse The Economist homepage for the first time.
Note the multiple elements working together:
- It showcases the publication’s popularity (you’d be joining over one million other people)
- Immediately adds benefit to you, the reader (making your opinion matter)
- It gives readers the opportunity to read 5 free articles in exchange for an email address.
This is an important lesson: a welcome overlay shouldn’t just be there to be there: it should promote your brand or offer you or the user some direct value. (Or, as The Economist shows, both of you a lot of value, in different ways!)
2. Strategic popups
Popups have a reputation for being annoying, but they are actually powerful conversion tools: when designed and implemented right.
There are five types of popups:
- Click: Appears when a user clicks
- Scroll: Appears after a user has traveled some distance down a page
- Timed: Appears after a user has spent a predefined amount of time on a page
- Exit: Appears when a user tries to leave a page
- Entry: Appears when a user loads a page
The importance isn’t so much what kind of popup you choose, as much as that it offers value for your visitors and makes sense for their place on their customer journey.
This, for example, appears early on in browsing Moleskine’s site:
Users are then browsing knowing they have a 10% reduction if they want it in their back pocket.
It’s a win-win for Moleskine and the user: for a simple 10% off a transaction, they can capture a lead and possibly nurture a loyal customer.
Another clever popup is how Medium encourages repeat visitors to create an account.
Notice how Medium makes signing-up easy with social account options. It also makes you think, if you see it more than once, that you may be spending a lot of time on their site and it might be a good idea to have an account.
Good places an ecommerce site might consider placing popups are:
- When users have been reading your blog (offering a newsletter subscription or content upgrade)
- A discount or coupon offer upon exit (encourages users to browse longer)
- A popup upon entry announcing contests or promotions, keeping it fresh for regular visitors and not taking up valuable space on the page.
3. Cart abandonment strategies
The abandoned cart. So close, yet so far away.
Luckily, abandoned cart emails are there to help take the sting out of the 55 to 81% of carts reportedly abandoned before checkout.
Shopify’s list of cart abandonment follow-up emails shows how you can be fun and helpful, while at the same time encouraging customers to return to your store.
It also shows that you don’t need to have a resource-consuming workflow figured out. A simple plain-text email reminding your customers of the value of their items might be all they need!
Another way to fight the curse of the abandoned cart is to minimize friction on checkout.
The main reasons people leave a shopping cart in the cold are mandatory account creation (we’ve all done this), additional delivery fees, or an overly complex checkout process.
The good news is, these all have straightforward fixes.
- Allow users to sign up or check out as guests. Your repeat users will most likely create an account, and you won’t lose revenue from potential one-time shoppers.
- State delivery fees on the product page, or offer free shipping!
- Map your buyer’s journey through the checkout process and see where most people are abandoning their carts. Is it because of a frustrating navigational process? If you’re seeing a pattern of confused clicks, can you minimize the number of steps customers have to take? Check out other ecommerce stores and analyze your own favorite online buying experience. What have they done differently?
4. Compelling copywriting
An easily overlooked detail, good or bad copywriting can make or break your business goals. In today’s competitive landscape, your copy can’t just inform: it should sing.
While there’s no one trick to great copy, there are two things you can keep an eye out for that separate the stale copy from the stellar: personalization and emotion.
Personalization doesn’t have to mean code wizardry, somehow including your user’s name, location, and favorite color while they browse.
Subtle touches, like the use of ‘you’ and ‘your’, help the user feel more seen. Questions help them feel more engaged. Information about how your product or service solves their problem makes it much more appealing and tangible.
Think of when you meet someone new: the more they keep the conversation focused on you, and less on them, the more charming they are. It’s the same for your website and your copy.
6. Adding emotion
With all the workflows, algorithms and stats we spend time learning and analyzing, it’s easy to forget that at the other end of the screen are humans.
Ultimately, with our meticulously crafted webpages and campaigns, we’re appealing to people’s emotions.
Copy is the most direct and effective way to do this. In this infographic, Cox BLUE listed ten words to spike your conversion rates — words like “new,” “guarantee,” “love,” “safety,” “you,” “discover.”
These all speak to our need to belong, our need to feel valued, our need to feel stimulated, our need to feel seen.
7. Optimizing product pages
As an ecommerce store, your product pages are stand-ins for your customers being able to walk in stores and being able to try on products.
In other words, they’re super important.
There are some ways to make sure your product pages are a good stand-in for your store.
- Ensure you have high-quality product images, from different angles. (Tip: A/B test whether your audience responds better to your products alone or with models.)
- Trust is key. Certifications and guarantee symbols are great, and reviews from other real-life customers are sure to boost conversions from cautious shoppers.
- Allow star ratings and reviews from other customers: there’s nothing consumers trust more.
There’s no one way to build a great ecommerce website, and no one design that consumers flock to that will guarantee conversions.
However, by keeping your website focused on how your consumers think, behave and feel, minimizing friction and adding elements that help your product’s message be seen, you can help your consumers to help you.
As a summary, here are the elements you can consider for your ecommerce website to lift conversions:
- Welcome overlays
- Strategic popups
- Cart abandonment strategies
- Compelling copywriting
- Optimizing product pages
This may seem overwhelming, but taken step-by-step, you should start seeing a real difference in your revenue, quickly.
Feature image provided by SpaceX