The following is adapted from Faster, Smarter, Louder: Master Attention In A Noisy Digital Market.
Many optimization strategies apply equally to both service-oriented and eCommerce businesses. However, when it comes to digital marketing strategy and getting customers over the finish line, eCommerce requires its own distinct approach.
Here are six best practices that address eCommerce’s unique challenges and help businesses improve their conversion rates:
Bundling, Cross-Sells, and Upsells
One of the main goals of eCommerce is to increase a person’s average order. The chief ways to accomplish this are bundling, cross-sells, and upsells.
Making these suggestions is pretty straightforward. At the point of purchase, simply say something like, “Look, these products are often bought together,” “You could increase to the next size for X amount of dollars,” or “Customers have purchased this product combination ten times in the last hour.” Not only are you increasing average order volume and therefore revenue, but you’re also adding value to the purchaser. Everyone wins!
Bundling should be data-led. In other words, it should be based on what other people have bought. Don’t just create a bundle based on what you want to sell or where your biggest profit margins are. And don’t leave the bundling choices to the customer either. For the highest conversion rate, let the data choose the best bundles for you.
How many times have you bought something online and then found an email for a 10 percent discount on your next purchase? Psychologically speaking, rewards systems are a great way to encourage repeat purchases and brand loyalty. They work especially well with small repeat purchases.
There are plenty of ways to go about it too. Some brands offer free products with repeat business. Others enroll customers in a points program – the more they buy, the larger their discount becomes over time. And don’t forget the always-popular punch card strategy – make nine purchases and get your tenth one free!
We’re big fans of this one. With the partner program, a purchase on one site is good for a discount on another. This is great for companies with complementary products. Once someone buys from you, inform them that you’re also associated with companies X, Y, and Z. Then offer a discount code valid at any of these partner sites.
Finally, there’s the long-term subscription discount. If you offer a service for fifteen dollars a month, be sure that you also offer a twelve-month subscription option at a significantly reduced rate.
Everyone likes a little fun and games. So it’s no surprise that gamification, where you use a gamelike feature on your site to incentivize your visitors to consume and engage with your content (e.g., by completing a task or taking a quiz), has become tremendously popular over the years.
Gamification can be applied to many processes, tools, websites, or services. Whatever the activity, the idea is that you make it more game-like, encouraging people to meet certain challenges or compete against others. Once they reach whatever goals you’ve set for them, they get a reward – building loyalty and engagement in the process.
Jillian Michaels, the fitness coach from The Biggest Loser, is a great example of gamification in action. To encourage participation and repeat visits to her site, she offers goal-setting and tracking options to help users lose weight.
You can even make pop-ups fun with gamification. We especially like a plug-in from Shopify called Wheelio. Whenever a first-time visitor finds their way to your site, a little spinning wheel pops up, saying, “Spin the wheel to earn discounts on your first purchase!”
Psychologically, this resonates with visitors because it gives them a sense of control over what value they take away. But it’s also valuable to you – when they spin that wheel, they’re signaling that they’re gearing up to make a purchase. That’s what makes the pop-up wheel so valuable. It has the power to convert a browser or researcher into a customer.
eCommerce stores especially have a lot to gain from retargeting. The average number of touchpoints before a purchase is between six and eight. Retargeting is a great way to stay top of mind, especially when a visitor has come close to making a purchase but had a last-minute change of heart.
Reducing Abandoned Carts
There are other ways to reduce abandoned carts besides retargeting. Whatever path you take, your first goal is to understand why visitors are abandoning carts in the first place. Maybe the price was overwhelming. Maybe they were just browsing. Maybe they were just looking for good products so they could go find a discount code for the same thing somewhere else. Maybe your checkout system looked dodgy, and they didn’t trust you with their credit card information.
Once you have your answer, your goal is to counteract that objection – ideally before it happens – so you can meet the problem head-on and increase the likelihood of a sale.
Some options we’ve seen include:
- Real-time chat features. If someone has a question, they can ask a living, breathing human being right there in the moment.
- Credibility indicators. People need to feel secure giving out protected information. Whatever processing and security services you use for your transactions, feature their logos prominently, especially on the purchase page.
- Include high-quality images. Bad photos of your inventory don’t make you look professional.
- Reconnect with email. Tools like Infusionsoft help you reach out to prospects to entice visitors back. Depending on where they are in the funnel, or what their last action was, you can customize your message to meet them where they are.
- Retargeting. Facebook ads and Google ads are highly effective in making sure you’re putting the right offers in front of your visitors at the right time.
- Delivery discounts. Sometimes the cost to ship something can equal the cost of the product itself. Other times a product will take too long to ship. Wherever you can offer discounted, free, or expedited delivery options.
- Create a safety net for returns. Customers want to feel protected with their purchases. Add value by guaranteeing 100 percent satisfaction or their money back within thirty days. If you truly stand by your product and brand, this is a no-brainer.
With all of these strategies, it’s important to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. Follow up with a few attempts, and then leave it there if they’re not responding. If they’re still showing interest – for instance, perhaps they abandoned a cart, clicked on an ad later, but then still didn’t purchase – you can go ahead and make one more offer.
If you follow the tips listed above, keep your focus on providing value, and avoid being manipulative, you should see a significant increase in your conversions.
For more advice on eCommerce conversion strategies, you can find Faster, Smarter, Louder: Master Attention In A Noisy Digital Market on Amazon.
Aaron Agius is the CEO and co-founder of Louder.Online, a global agency that has worked with brands like Salesforce, IBM, and Coca-Cola. Named as a leading digital marketer in a Forbes article, Aaron leverages his thought leadership and speaking engagements to help businesses optimize their efforts and accelerate their growth.
Gian Clancey is the CMO and co-founder of Louder.Online, where her passion for science has fueled countless world-class data-led marketing campaigns for global brands. Growing up in a large family taught Gián the power of close, authentic relationships, which she uses to fuel passionate engagement with employees and stakeholder communities.