You work so hard to get visitors to your site, whether through pay per click, search engine optimization, publicity or advertising. But when the visitors are on your site, are they doing what you want them to do? How is your conversion rates?
Conversion rates is the ratio of visitors who take a desired action, whether newsletter subscription, membership registration, software downloads, purchase of products or services, or just about any activity beyond simple page browsing.
Why is a high conversion rate important? First, by putting together the right environment to improve conversions, you can increase your sales without increasing your marketing expenses. You can also lower your cost of customer acquisition, increase your customer retention rate and increase your customer lifetime value.
But how are online businesses improving their conversion rates? What are they doing to turn their visitors to buyers? We looked at case studies, write-ups, testimonials and reports to see the actual steps that online companies are taking (and you can emulate) to improve their conversion rates.
How Online Retailers are Improving Conversion Rates
1. Xtremez Paintball Online: Understanding how customers are moving through the website.
Web analytics can provide website owners with a clearer picture of what is going on with the visitor when they come to the site. The metrics can tell at what point visitors are leaving the website, where the conversion process breaks, and where potential to improve conversion opportunities lie.
According to InternetRetailer.com, Xtremez Paintball http://www.paintball-online.com/ had “difficulty in getting people on a product page to add items to their shopping cart.” To solve the problem, the company decided to track how visitors clicked and moved through the site. By using a web analytics tool, they found areas that they need to address to plug in conversion leakage, and to fortify sections where potential conversions could occur.
They found that about 93% of visitors dropped out when moving from the product page to the shopping cart. They also found that 22% of product page visitors missed the add-to-cart button located below the fold. But they also found that many visitors clicked on product-enlargement windows. Given this learning, Xtremez.com decided to include more product information on the product enlargement windows, as well as add-to-cart buttons. This change led to an increase in the number of orders by 21%, despite traffic remaining steady. The web site visitor-to-sales conversion rate also rose by 24%.
Source: Internet Retailer Magazine
2. Woolrich: Building trust among visitors
One of the most effective ways to build trust among your visitors is to provide an effective way to address visitors’ fears about the security of shopping online
The leading outdoor lifestyle company Woolrich, according to a June 30 press release issued, tested this premise and used ScanAlert’s Hacker Safe certification on the site. ScanAlert is a company that “conducts comprehensive daily security audits of ecommerce infrastructure and then certifies the security of it in real-time by allowing the HACKER SAFE certification mark to appear only when a site`s current status meets the highest published government industry standards.”
The company used two control groups of shoppers to test the impact of the Hacker Safe certification. During the three-week test displaying the certification, Woolrich shoppers who saw ScanAlert’s HACKER SAFE certification mark while visiting woolrich.com produced significantly more orders compared to the control group. Woolrich attributes the certification to improving their website’s already high conversion rate by 3 percent.
Source: Internet Retailer Magazine
3. Direct Marketing Association: Tracking click-throughs to determine web site’s ease of use
Knowing the roadblocks that prevent a visitor from becoming a buyer, member, subscriber or product user is critical in improving conversion rates. Moreso if you have a multi-process system that a user has to go through before reaching the goal you have set out for them.
The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) website provides valuable content and resources to its members engaged in the field of direct marketing. Non-members are given limited access to their site, but only after site registration. Nonetheless, DMA recognizes the importance of non-members given that they are a significant source of new prospects. They therefore wanted to make sure that visitors are not dropping off from their multi-process registration, and those who are interested can register with their website.
DMA looked at the click through rate for every part of their multi-step registration process. They found that the very first page for the new member sign up is the page with the lowest conversion rate, or about 51%. In looking at the reasons for the low conversion rate, customer feedback told them that they could improve their conversion rates if they clarify the benefits users will get when they sign up for a web account.
4. BassPro: Using Email to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment
Shopping cart abandonment is one of the challenges facing etailers on the Web. Their sales and product pages are enticing enough to convince the customer to put the item in their shopping cart, but for some reason, the customer fails complete the transaction and abandons the shopping cart.
Bass Pro Shops (http://www.basspro.com) sought to minimize shopping cart abandonment and improve conversion rates by sending emails to online shoppers reminding them of the items or similar items they may be interested in. They reasoned that customers are interested enough in the products for them to put these items in the cart, but changed their minds at the last minute. By sending emails three days after the shopping card abandonment to these customers, they’re hoping that customers will be interested enough to complete the sale.
Source: Internet Retailer Magazine http://www.internetretailer.com/2005/06/01/bass-pro-shops-e-mail-test-gives-shoppers-a-second-chance-to-bu
6. HealthLifePharmacy.com: Changing Overall Site Layout to Improve Conversion
HealthyLifePharmacy.com is the pharmaceutical company that sells discount prescriptions. When the site was launched, it was only converting 0.01% of its site visitors to a sale, or a mere $31 return on a $1,500 ad spend. While the site looked professionally designed, there were a number of problems: navigation was problematic, graphics that did not really do anything, poor search facility, poor logo design, and no call to action.
With the goal of improving conversions in mind, they redesigned their website and remedied the problems identified. In the first month alone, conversion rate increased from 0.01% to .8%, or a difference of 1 sale and 40. They improved their conversion rate to 1.3%, and improving further.
Source: ConversionChronicles.com case study (requires subscription to newsletter).