It’s a continuing challenge for online retailers to increase their ecommerce site conversion rates, because there are so many different variables which can affect how many of your visitors turn into customers. If you’re proud of a 2% conversion rate, you should consider the downside: 98% of your visitors either don’t find the products they want, don’t feel safe enough, aren’t satisfied with your product information, or don’t feel encouraged to purchase from you.
Sure, there are things you can improve, add and test – simple things like adding trust logos, adding a phone number, rewriting product descriptions, and reducing purchase barriers with gimmicks like free delivery and returns. And they work. You’ll probably see conversions increase slightly, perhaps by half a percent. But there are also other metrics you can look at to deduce the cause of a lagging conversion rate, namely:
• average number of page views per unique visitor
• bounce rate
• average basket size
Over the next three months, I’ll be examining these metrics to help you establish the root of the problem and taking a look at how personalization can help you improve the metrics and increase conversions.
Your bounce rate is the biggest indicator of a poorly designed, uninteresting, irrelevant site. Sorry to sound nasty, but it’s true. It’s like a great big flashing red light accompanied by a klaxon alarm sounding – take notice of a high bounce rate, it’s very important.
If your visitors are bouncing (where they are arriving on site, and instantly leaving), you can examine the causes by asking some key questions:
• Does the landing page look good and trustworthy? (tip: If you’re sending PPC-purchased visitors to your homepage, stop it. Read this, urgently. )
• Is there enough information for visitors to create a good first impression of my brand and store?
• Can visitors find what they’re looking for?
If the answer to any of these are no, then you’re simply waving goodbye to sales – and if you’re generating traffic through PPC/media buys or paying an SEO agency, you’re not just pouring money down the drain – you’re tipping it into a bottomless pit.
How personalization can help
Firstly, personalization can help your store reduce bounce rates by putting the right products in front of the right people at the right time. If visitors are coming through search engines with specific keywords, ecommerce personalization technology can surface the most relevant products to the landing page. This reduces the need for visitors to search, and increases the likelihood of a conversion.
It’s not just product recommendations that can be personalized. Ecommerce personalisation technologies can adapt the site based on what is known about the visitor, putting the most relevant content in front of individual visitors. For example, a visitor arriving from Google having searched for the keyword “washing machines” would not only see the most popular washing machines (in the same brand as the dishwasher they purchased last month), but also:
• a banner highlighting a specific promotion
• a retailer-produced blog post what to look for when purchasing a washing machine,
• even perhaps a customer review of the most expensive washing machine.
Even an outsider to the ecommerce industry can understand how powerful this can be. Immediately putting the right product in front of a visitor massively improves the possibilities of the visitor making a purchase, and the accompanying content increases the persuasiveness of the site.
This technique, known as entrance analysis, will help reduce your bounce rate. Visitors can instantly find the product they are searching for without needing to search or browse on your site. It also helps to improve the other three metrics that will be discussed over the next three weeks.
I’ll be back next month with a post on how personalization can influence your average number of page views per unique visitor metric to increase your conversion rate!