Understanding Conversion Optimization in an eCommerce World
In the eCommerce world, conversion is a key element that can often be the difference between failure and success.
Each eCommerce business has different goals that are meant to be completed by different types of visitors, so the “best practices” for conversion optimization are limited in their effectiveness. However, if you follow these simple steps you too could understand the mind of your visitor, no matter the type, and help him reach the goal that you have set up for him.
Step 1 – Build a conversion funnel
You know the goal you want your visitor to complete; Now, all that’s left is to visualize the steps your visitor takes before converting.
There are usually 5 basic stages:
Exposure – through which mediums your visitor could be exposed to your brand and visit your site.
Attraction – occurs on the landing page. This is the first impression the visitors have of the site/page.
Building Trust – this is the phase in which the visitor collects information about your brand. Often times he will look for answers to certain questions before the trust is built.
Conversion – the critical stage that occurs after the customer has already decided to complete the goal, and he is trying to do so.
Retention – preservation of the visitors, while trying to create brand loyalty through a stable relationship.
When you have in mind a clear vision of your conversion funnel, move on to the next step.
Step 2 – Create a Prioritization Chart
Build a chart that contains all of the properties (pages) in the conversion funnel and rate them by three factors, on a scale of 1-10:
Importance – determined by the amount and cost of the traffic that reaches a certain page, compared against the proximity of the property to the conversion page.
Potential – which pages have the highest potential for improvement, determined by data collected in various tracking tools (Google Analytics) which indicate high exit and abandonment rate, or high rate of navigation to pages outside of the funnel.
Challenge – how challenging is it to change the desired page? Both politically and technically.
After you finish compiling the chart it will be clear to you in which properties you should make the first changes.
Step 3 – Analyze the page
Now, you should have selected your desired page and you are ready to start analyzing it.
There are five different elements that should be used to appraise a page:
Relevancy – when a visitor arrives at your site he is expecting something specific. Usually, this will be based on the interaction that drove him to visit the page.
So, the page needs to fit those expectations. Ask yourself, “Does the page continuethe funnel? Does it discuss the same subject that the ad discussed? Does it use the same terminology?”
Clarity – a page needs to present its purpose in the funnel in a clear, concise manner. The added value that the page provides should be obvious; whether it’s to describe the advantages of a certain product, to explain its usage or to lay out the company’s mission. It’s important to check for flaws in the design, the eye flow and the call to action. An indication for the clarity parameter can be the “time on page”.
Security – each web property and brand needs to bestow trust on their clientele. There are special elements that can create trust, starting from social proofs and ending with security banners and SSL certificates.
Also, any cooperation with a well-known brand can help here.
Distractions – look for any distracting elements in the page, which can draw the visitor’s attention from the desired action/navigation.
It can be too much text, long videos, large images, links that lead out of the funnel or even too much choice between products.
Urgency –Urgency can be very important for certain products, especially for luxury items.
Creating a sense of urgency can be done by having a sale that ends at a certain date, or by creating a limited edition or collection.
Note, that each of these elements can be damaging, in two possible scenarios: when the page is lacking in it and when the page has too much of it.
Step 4 – A/B Test and Repeat
After you’ve appraised the page, make a list of the elements in the page that might be damaging to the conversion funnel.
With this list, you can now perform a/b testing in an orderly manner.
Either, change all of the elements on a page and test it vs. the original or change one element at a time to see their different effect.
If you have time, I would use the second method.
It would help you understand your audience much better, and would be easier to apply the new insights you get on other parts of the funnel.
After you’ve done optimizing one page, move to the next page on the prioritization chart, and repeat steps three and four.
Continue to do so with all the other pages on the chart until you reach the desired effect – an optimized funnel with higher conversion rates!