We work with a lot of online stores and ecommerce business owners on both SEO and Adwords, to help them rank higher and get more visitors, and conversion rate improvements to help them sell more stuff.
Here are three quick wins that are at the top of our best practices checklist, not rocket science but regularly overlooked and super simple action steps that in some cases can double the sales going through your site without any increase in traffic.
1. Go through your own checkout at least once every 3 months
You’d be surprised at how many ecommerce business owners aren’t familiar with their own checkout process. Particularly where the business has been established for some time, doing a test order and walking through your checkout process as if you were a customer can often uncover some really easy wins.
If you haven’t been through your own checkout in a while its definitely worth spending 5 or 10 minutes every few months to do this.
When we do this as part of consulting with clients we often discover a range of different problems, here’s some of the one common issues:
- really slow checkout process or really slow to move from one step to the next
- payment options that don’t work
- confusing shipping options or broken shipping calculations
- incorrect, very poorly formatted or broken order confirmation emails (which often lead to customer support issues further down the chain)
2. Make your checkout process as simple as possible
The default checkout on many ecommerce platforms is terrible! Your checkout process should be as simple as possible and ask for the minimum out of information you need to in order to process the order.
Magento, one of the more popular ecommerce platforms is a major offender here. The default checkout has 6 steps and feels really clunky. Just take a look at the screenshot of the default Magento checkout below, 6 steps long which immediately looks intimidating:
In almost every case when we take on a new client who is running a website on the Magento platform we’ll change the default checkout for a “one-page checkout” which generally sees a 50%+ conversion rate improvement (yes massive).
Its much cleaner, any fields we don’t need like different shipping and billing addresses and information required to create a user account are hidden unless we check or uncheck those option boxes:
Remember a lot of your buyers may be new to buying online. The simpler you make the buying experience the more likely they are to complete the checkout process.
3. Offer credit card as well as Paypal or if you only offer Paypal make sure its clear that Paypal accepts credit card too
For new online stores Paypal is a great way to get started. There’s no big merchant facility setup fee and it works with almost every ecommerce platform and can be setup in 5 or 10 minutes.
If your site has been established for some time or if you’re generating more than $20k of sales per year through Paypal, its worth looking at getting a fully fledged merchant facility. Not only will you save money as the fees will be lower, you’ll also sell more stuff.
While Paypal does accept credit cards without needing a Paypal account (in most cases this is on by default, sometimes you need to turn this option on), their interface is quite clunky and often its not clear than you can complete the checkout process without needing a Paypal account. This confusion often leads many novice internet users to abandoned the cart.
By having a merchant facility in place it will simplify the checkout process and increase your conversion rate (basically an extension of point 2).
Also, we see many stores that don’t explicitly state that Paypal accept credit card too. If you don’t currently have a merchant facility, then changing the wording of your Paypal payment option on your checkout to Paypal & Credit Card like the example screenshot above can often increase your conversion rate too particularly if your target market is beginner internet users.