You can convert more of your traffic into sales without having to spend a lot of money. There are hundreds of ways to improve your conversion rate and the persuasiveness/stickiness of your website, many of which can be done very quickly and most will cost you close to nothing to implement.
1. Use real customer testimonials with authentic customer photos…no stock photography. Shoppers can quickly tell the difference.
2. Make sure your marketing effort attracts qualified traffic. Example, if you sell Digital cameras, don’t advertise that you sell macro lens just to get more traffic to your site. This may drive more visitors, but they are visitors with no intent to purchase, thus decreasing your conversion rate.
3. Get a toll-free number and make sure the placement of that number on your site is prominent and consistent.
4. Include “points of reassurance” at every “point of action”. Example – if you are requesting that a viewer provide you with their e-mail address, clearly state that privacy is very important to you and that you will not share that information with any other party.
5. Use SSL (secure server certificates from a well known SSL authority) and make sure that the user knows you are using it. Display a prominent “Secure server” note at the top of the page.
6. Build trust, subscribe to a service like VeriSign, Thawte or ScanAlert and Prominently place these logos to reassure your customer that you care about the security of their information.
8. Include a physical address on your site.
9. Don’t always concentrate on just making the “buy now” buttons the most prominent on every page, but rather concentrate on styling the “primary action” buttons the most prominently on every page. Example – you sell books, and you provide the customers with the ability to select a few related books and compare them before they can buy now. Make that “compare button/link the same style as you would the “buy now” button/link on a page in which the “buy now” button exists. This will help herd customers through your sales funnel.
10. Clearly Define your return policy.
11. Make sure to include an “About Us” section on your site. The majority of my customers will visit or look for that section before making a purchase.
12. Make your site load fast, easy to navigate and user friendly. No need for horizontal scrolling, excessive vertical scrolling, large animation files or intrusive pop-up windows.
13. Keep your “buy now” button consistently and prominently placed on all product pages. The closer to the top of the page…the better. ”Above the fold if you want it sold” & 2. “Eye level is buy level”.
14. Provide clear good quality images of your products with an “enlarge image” option.
15. Make your checkout process as usable, intuitive, reassuring and simple as possible. Losing a shopper during your checkout process is a CRITICAL loss.
16. Don’t make people type their e-mail address twice. Get the site to remember and do it automatically.
18. Read your copy, make sure its compelling, yet not exaggerated and too loud.
19. Identify your unique selling proposition and exploit it. If you are the only seller of medium-sized green widgets in the UK, clearly state that and be proud of it.
20. Implement a “site search” box and make sure it is accurate. Not only it will allow users to find what they want quick, it will give you an insight as to what they are shopping for and what terminology(keywords/key phrases) they are using so you can tailor your copy (and ad campaigns) accordingly.
21. Don’t just focus on the many features of your product, but rather on the benefits those features will provide you customers with. Don’t just say “folding ladders”, say “Our folding ladders will save you valuable garage space”.
22. Display your prices, shipping charges and tax clearly BEFORE the checkout process is completed.
23. Don’t use a drop-down for the “country” or “state” list over your order form. Many people are using scrolling mice these days, many are sure to accidentally scroll off of their correct state.
24. Let customers copy their shipping info to their billing info if they are identical, with one click.
25. Remove distractions as much as possible from the final checkout process such as the main navigation that existed during the shopping portion of your site.
26. Clearly provide a checkout process indicator. If your checkout process has 3 steps, clearly indicate at the top of the page what step they are on and how many steps there are to complete the order.
27. Clearly identify what info you really require during your checkout process. Eliminate unnecessary text fields/questions.
28. Use easy to understand, friendly error messages. No “INCORRECT USER INPUT IN STATE FIELD!” messages.
29. If your checkout error messages occur on a page other than the page with the errors, preserve the information that the user has already input and get the site to input it automatically.
30. Double check the spelling on your site. And the spelling on your error messages. “Ers in input filed” would look very unprofessional.
31. Try and get good reviews from shopping authority sites (shopping.com, epinions.com, bizrate.com, etc) and from previous shoppers.
32. Don’t use complex formulas for shipping price calculations, Example – ‘if you buy 13.5 kilograms worth of x”, then multiply that weight by y shipping rate. Get the site to do the calculations and show the shopper the price.
33. Consider shipping the product free. This is often a very good selling point with online shoppers.
34. Display the stock status of the selected item and do so BEFORE the user puts the item in their cart.
35. If you don’t sell or run out/discontinued an item, remove it from the site.
36. If you are offering a lot of products, users should be able to sort them by important criteria…price, size, color, etc.
37. Provide an easy way for shoppers to compare details of similar products.
38. Use a custom 404 not found page to link people back to the important areas of your site
39. Give a clear estimate of the delivery time.
40. Accept a wide variety of payment options and clearly display those options.
41. Important information should not look like ad banners. There really is such a thing as “ad blindness” and people will automatically skip over this important information.
42. Make sure you have a “first-time visitor” page. This is where you are going to explain why and how you are different from your competitors.
43. Update your copyright statements on page footers. Make sure that the current year is displayed….fix that 2003 copyright statement.
44. Let customer make a purchase without having to register with your site.
46. Don’t use too clever names for your shopping cart like “widget basket” or “widget box”. Call it “My shopping cart” or “My shopping basket”.
47. Don’t make the shopper specify select an option when there is only 1 “option”. If the product only comes in red, don’t make the shopper select the “red” radio button or choose “red” from the drop down. Get the site to do it automatically.
48. Provide clear shopping instructions in an empty shopping cart. Don’t just say “your shopping cart is empty”.
49. Provide a “special sale” or “special clearance” section. This will attract the budget-conscious shoppers.
50. The most important golden rule…you must portray a lot of trust and credibility to instil shopper confidence and get them to make a purchase. Make sure you do.