What’s A Good Strategy For Increasing Ecommerce Conversion Rates?

How do you make more people buy when they visit your site?

The buyer cycle

When we ask these sort of questions, what we’re really asking is:

“How do I make more people buy when they visit my ecommerce site?“

Which I mean, hell yeah.

When we talk about conversion rates, you’re bound to find a variety of tactics on the web that hit every aspect of ecommerce that you should probably follow.

  • YES, personalize your offer.
  • YES, beat your competition and show your products first.
  • YES, make your site trustworthy and easy to check your products out on. (Make clicking buy a no brainer).

But what ends up happening, especially when chasing those conversion numbers, is that we tend to follow these tactics without a real strategy in sight.

Plus, well, googling this sort of thing ends up giving you tips that a lot of times feel a tad… umm… obvious?

So in an effort to tie all the generic advice you’d find together, I’d like to give an alternative approach to thinking about the “How to get people to buy” question.

And it starts by reframing our conversion goals away from our site and back to the customers who are going to buy from the site.

And to do that, we need to look at the whole process at a higher level.

What do I mean?

Well, normally before somebody ends up buying, there’s usually a “process” that has to happen before clients are willing to put in their credit card information for anything.

A process that follows your clients from the moment they realized they had a need up to finally buying the thing that solves that need.

It can usually be analyzed in stages, which looks something like this:

  • Stage 1) “I have a problem, but I don’t know what solutions can fix it…“
  • Stage 2) “Ah look, I found a few solutions, but I don’t know which one is right for me…“
  • Stage 3) “OH, here’s a good solution. What can it do for me?”
  • Stage 4) “I’m thinking about getting this solution, but hmmm…”
  • Stage 5) “Bought the solution! Problem out of the way (hopefully)”

What I just described would be something akin to the well known “customer journey”, “customer awareness stages” or “buyer cycle”.

Coined by Eugene Schwartz, all it describes are the different stages of awareness your leads go through on their way to the final sale.

And, well, we can’t ignore it.

The 5 Stages

This exercise of taking into consideration customer awareness is incredibly helpful.

Because doing so forces you ask a lot of good questions about your customers.

And the answers to those questions will let you know what sort of tactics you’ll need to implement to improve sales.

Questions like:

  • When my lead lands on my page, how aware are they of the kind of products I’m selling? Are they in “I’m ready to buy mode” or “I’m just looking around” mode?
  • Is my product easy to explain or is it more of a commodity? What do I need to tell my leads right now to get them to the next stage (without trying to skip directly to the sale)
  • Shoot… The leads I have to target need time to understand my product, and they’re pretty busy people. What can I use to get them to come back later to learn more?

And then THAT’S where the tactics come in.

Why do you need to personalize your offer?

Because you’re in the business of solving problems. And there’s nothing more personal than a problem.

I mean, come on.

Are you really selling just a table and 2 chair combo on your site?

Or are you helping a 22-year-old find durable cheap furniture for a small apartment he moved into after getting a new job? Or maybe you’re helping a restaurant owner who has decided in getting new tables to expand his family business.

See what I mean?

Why do you need to beat your competition and show your product first?

Because option overload is a thing. We really are bombarded with offers every 2 seco-

oh look, there’s an offer in pillows for sale.

PLUS, our competition probably sucks and will treat our customers badly.

We don’t want that, so we need to try and offer the right solutions to the right people (and do so first if possible *wink wink*)

Why do you need to make your site trustworthy and easy to check your products out?

Because a lot of your leads will probably be in “checking stuff out” mode. They have their problems in mind but there’s a huge amount of objections in their heads when viewing your products.

Objections like:

  • What if this doesn’t fit me? Can I return it later?
  • Isn’t it too expensive?
  • How do I know this will get here on time?

Objections that, well, as marketers it’s our job to figure out which ones are a problem.

And that’s where things like discounts, guarantees, reviews and other tools come in handy — they help us disarm those objections.

But you know what objections we can’t explain away no matter how much we try?

  • “Is this site even online now?”
  • “Everything looks so cluttered… Are the products even good quality?”
  • “I’ve never even heard of this site… And the colors make it look so scammy… “

Yeah. Those are the kind of things you’ll want to avoid. You want the lead to purposely forget they’re using their computer or phones and only worry about the product (and not the site itself).

(That’s why UX is so important BTW)

Hopefully this has either been a good lesson or a good reminder for you all. Keep working at it. And always be testing.

Originally answered on Quora

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