fbpx Skip to content

Tag Archives: website conversion

Tips for improving your e-commerce conversion rate

This is a marketing truth: you can have the best advertising in the world, driving all sorts of traffic to your website… but if your website doesn’t convert that traffic into sales, you’re wasting your money. 

Obvious, right?

It may be obvious, but I will say it again: it is absolutely imperative—especially if you’re an e-commerce company—that you focus on improving your website conversion rate.

First, let’s set the target. As a baseline, your e-commerce website is doing really well if it has a conversion rate of at least 3%*. This means that for every 100 people who visit your site, about three people will buy something (or, put another way, people make purchases about 3% of the time). 

Is your conversion rate at or above 3%? Yes? Congratulations! The information below might still be helpful for you to increase your conversion rate even more. If you’re not at 3%, however, you definitely need to take some time and work on your online store. Here’s where you should focus:

Pricing: one of the most important decisions you can make as an e-commerce company.

Set your prices too high, and you’ll lose sales. Too low, and you’re leaving money on the table and reducing your margin. Test different pricing strategies, particularly on your top sellers. Do NOT arbitrarily set a price based on how much margin you want to make.

Shipping: high shipping costs cause sticker shock.

A sign that this is happening is if you see a large percentage of people abandon their cart after they have started checkout. If you can’t offer free shipping (and many e-commerce companies can’t), then offer free shipping on orders over a certain dollar amount. 

Free returns: a generous return policy will go a long way if someone’s on the fence.

It’s a leap of faith to place an order for a product sight unseen. Customers are better able to make that leap of faith if they know they can return the item if it’s not what they expected. 

Product selection: people won’t buy if they don’t like what you sell.

Obvious, right? But it pays to make sure you’re offering products that people want to buy (and make sure you’re advertising to the right audience). Remember, you may love your product, but other people won’t. Some market research is always a good idea so that you both test your concept and your audience. Want to read more on building your audience? 

Product descriptions: provide all the information people need to buy. 

Remember, people are buying your product without being able to touch and feel it. Make sure you answer any question they may have in the product description—and focus on the benefits to the customer (what do they get from it?) not what you see as your favorite features. 

Photography: good product photography IS A MUST.

Don’t skimp. Show the product from multiple angles and (for clothing) on multiple models. Also, while the classic product-cut-out-against-a-white-background is a good idea, don’t forget to also show it styled; for instance, if you’re selling travel mugs, try a shot of the mug steaming against a vista in the wilderness. Aspiration is a good sales tool. 

Site navigation: people won’t buy if they can’t find what they want.

Make sure your categories are clear and easy to navigate, and if you have a big catalog, add filters, search, and sort features. Not sure if your site is easy to navigate? Have a few people test it for you.

Social proof/UGC: people like to buy what other people buy.

Again (we’re a broken record, here), people can’t see your product in person—but knowing that other people have purchased (and loved it) will help them feel comfortable taking that leap of faith. Add product reviews from a third-party review generator like Trustpilot (don’t just add reviews yourself, if you can help it—those tend to look less real). Also, add user-generated content (UGC is photos and videos created by people who use your product) whenever you can. For our clients, we scan social media for photos of products “in the wild” and then add them to our product pages. Just remember to get permission. There are also platforms that do this automatically if you want to spend the bucks.

Offer coupon codes to new customers: a little incentive will change a browser to a customer.

The biggest hurdle is getting a site visitor to make their first purchase. Once they’ve ordered something (and, we’re assuming, liked the product and the service), they’ll likely be a customer for life. Consider first-time-customer discount codes to help them get over that hurdle. 

Create a good conversion funnel: most people won’t buy the first time they visit.

Set up a system so you can keep reminding people about your product if they leave without buying. Get their email address by offering a coupon code (see above), then add them to your email list for weekly or monthly emails. Set up retargeting ads on social media and Google (retargeting ads are ads that are shown to people who have previously visited your website). Set up automatic email (and/or text, depending on your demographic) flows for cart and browse abandonment. If you don’t know how to do this, ask for help (we can help!), or read more on website conversion funnels

Reduce form fields and make paying easy: don’t make people work hard to buy.

The last thing you want is someone deciding to buy that shirt on a whim, but then finding out they have to fill out a bunch of fields on their phone and have to get up off the couch for their credit card. Make buying easy! Integrate PayPal and other popular payment systems (platforms like Shopify make this easy), and keep your information fields to a minimum. And make it easy for people to save their information for fast checkout the next time. Similarly, avoid lots of disclaimers and warnings, since they tend to reduce trust.

Site speed: if it loads too slowly, you’ve already lost.

In a world of instant gratification, you’ll lose people if they have to wait too long for a page to load. Optimize your photographs and work with your web designer to improve your site speed (this is good for SEO, too). 

Optimize for mobile: it’s 2024, people.

There’s an online plant nursery I buy from periodically that has a completely unresponsive website. Pull it up on your mobile, and it looks like the desktop site—just waaaay smaller. It’s a pain in the rear, and I hate them for it. Don’t do this to your customers, since only long-time, super-engaged customers (like me, in this case) will put up with it. Many of your customers will be browsing on mobile, so make sure the site isn’t just responsive, but actually functions and navigates well on mobile, including things like filters and payment fields. Test it thoroughly on multiple devices. 

Provide good service: A friendly interaction goes a long way in building customer loyalty.

The last thing you want to do is lose a sale because the potential customer couldn’t get a question answered. Ideally, include help chat on your website; at the very least, have someone who answers the phone and emails promptly. And avoid harsh policies that make customers hate you. Sure, those harsh policies may save you money, but they’ll also likely lose you a lifetime customer… and maybe other potential customers if they complain about you in a review.  

There you have it—website conversion 101 in a nutshell. Sure, it may look like a lot, but it’s mostly about one thing: giving people the confidence to buy a product they’ve never seen. Make it fast, make it easy, make it pleasant (and make sure your product and service are good) and the e-commerce world will be your oyster.

Happy marketing!

Katie & Theron

Urban Sherpa Marketing Company is a boutique marketing advisory firm specializing in helping small to medium-sized companies jumpstart their growth. Offering everything from outsourced marketing director services to marketing training and hiring advisory, they love helping marketing teams grow and thrive.

*For the purposes of this blog, we’re going to focus on e-commerce companies. B2B companies, SAAS companies, and D2C service companies will all have different conversion rate baselines.

How to build a website conversion funnel

A website conversion funnel is a way to capture the people who visit your website and convert them into paying customers—even if they didn’t become a customer the first time around— and it is arguably one of the most important pieces of your marketing strategy. The last thing you want to do is spend time and money driving people to your website and then just cross your fingers and hope that anyone who leaves without buying will remember you when they are ready to purchase sometime in the future (hint: they probably won’t).

So what does it look like? We’re going to show you two main types of website conversion funnels: one for a typical e-commerce website, and one for a B2B service-type company. They are pretty similar, just with a slightly different focus. So let’s get started!

How to build a website conversion funnel for an e-commerce website

1. Build a subscription pop-up with a discount

You’ve probably seen one of these on every e-commerce site you’ve visited in the last few years, for the simple reason that they work. Most people won’t just voluntarily sign up for you to spam them with email, but they will if you give them 15-20% off their first purchase. And you want people to sign up so can stay top of mind with them. Remember, email marketing is one of the most targeted and least expensive revenue generators available to small businesses.

2. Set up a cart-abandonment email automation

The average cart abandonment rate across all industries is 69.57%. Yes, it’s that high. There are lots of reasons for this (sticker shock from surprise shipping/tax costs, using the cart as a favorites page, just not sure they want to purchase, etc), but no matter the reason, it’s effective to remind people about what they’re missing, ideally with a nice product shot. We like to send a series of 2 or 3 or so emails over a period of a week that remind people of the product they added to their cart. This is easy to set up in e-commerce email platforms like Klaivyo

You can also set up similar emails for browse abandonment—emails that are automatically sent when someone looks at a product on your site but doesn’t add it to their cart. These are less effective in generating additional revenue than cart abandonment automations but still work pretty well.

The other automation (Klaviyo calls them “flows”) that we use a lot is the simple welcome/purchase thank you email. These don’t generate nearly as much revenue as cart and browse abandonment, but they do create additional sales often enough to be worthwhile—and also help people feel good about you and their purchase. This is a great place to show other top-selling products, tell people how to take care of their new purchases, or even let people know why your company is so great. 

3. Set up cart-abandonment and browse-abandonment display ads

What you can do in email, you can also do with ads. We like to put together cart/browse abandonment ads on Facebook/Instagram and retargeting display ads on the Google ads platform. If you set up a catalog with your products on Facebook/Instagram, you can show the exact product on the ad that the person was looking at, which works very well to increase conversions. Retargeting ads such as these usually have a much higher ROAS (Return On Ad Spend) than standard outbound advertising.

4. Set up lookalike audiences on social media

If you have enough website visitors, one of the best ways to target social media ads is to build a lookalike audience from them. Lookalike audiences are built by the social media platform to match the parameters that your website visitors have in common, and are usually (with rare exceptions) much better targeting than audiences targeted by interest or other demographic. We like to use audiences built from a combination of website visitors and lookalike visitors, and then serve them with ads featuring new products, promotions, and the like. 

5. Make sure you have your email marketing plan in place

Finally, make sure you’re emailing your email list on a regular basis. You absolutely do NOT need to email them daily, or even weekly (in fact, you probably shouldn’t), but try to get something unique and interesting to them at least once a month (interesting being a new product, a flash sale, a bit of information that can help them in their lives, etc).

… and here’s the funnel for a B2B service business

A B2B website conversion funnel isn’t all that different in the basics… but should have a slightly different approach in the details. For instance, content (blogs, vlogs, white papers, and case studies) are much more impactful than discounts and product photos. Here’s what we mean:

Put up a subscription pop-up

As with e-commerce, don’t be afraid of the pop-up! For some B2B businesses, however, a discount might not make sense—particularly if the sales cycle is long, or if your business doesn’t discount much (as with many consultancies). In this case, think of something that it does make sense to offer—such as a free consultation, white paper, article, blog, or webinar. You can even suggest they schedule a time to talk to one of your people to learn more—anything that will get them to hand over their email address.

Set up a subscription welcome email series

Instead of cart-abandonment emails (since that isn’t really a thing in this case), when people do give you their email address, set up a subscription welcome series over the course of the next few weeks so that people can learn more about your company and be reminded of what you do. We like to do about three emails spaced about a week apart. This is a good place to tell people what makes your business special and why it’s a good match for the customer, and to share some pertinent content like blogs, vlogs, or articles that would be of interest to them. It’s also an excellent time to share some customer testimonials!

Set up retargeting display ads and social media ads

Just as with e-commerce, you also want to follow B2B website visitors around the internet. Set up ads on social media and Google display that are targeted to your website visitors. This is the perfect time to share customer testimonials (video is ideal) and your best, slickest “who you are” video. If you offer more than one product or service on your site, tailor your ads and messaging to people that visited the pages associated with each product. This keeps you top of mind and helps cement your messaging.

Depending on your volume of web traffic, you may also be able to build lookalike audiences and test them as outbound ad targeting on social media as well. This isn’t as straightforward for B2B as it is for e-commerce, however, so make sure to test (here’s more on testing!)

Make sure you have your email marketing plan in place

Finally, make sure you’re optimizing any email addresses you gather from your site. Email marketing for B2B companies often doesn’t have the instant gratification of e-commerce email marketing, but it’s a very effective way to reach the elusive business decision-maker directly. In order to keep from being ignored, make sure your email marketing adds value to the reader’s professional life. Share industry information, how-tos, case studies, and webinar announcements rather than pestering people with the same sale pitch over and over. The idea is to send emails that people actually open and read so they can be reminded that you and your product exist when they finally are looking for the product or service you offer.

In conclusion

If you have built a website—even more importantly if you are paying to drive traffic to that website—it is just plain silly to let the majority of that traffic slip away without doing anything to capture it for the future. Even the simplest of website conversion funnels will help stem the flow a little and slowly turn those casual looky-loos into customers. Even if you’re not ready to implement a complicated funnel, throw up a pop-up, up your email game, and put up some retargeting ads… you will be glad you did.

Happy marketing and funnel-building!

Katie and Theron

 At Urban Sherpa Marketing Co. we offer fractional marketing director services, which include marketing advisory, strategic planning, program and staff management, and marketing implementation for small to medium businesses and startups. Our goal is to make high-quality marketing possible for every business, no matter the size. Think of us as your outsourced marketing department, strategic marketing adviser, or even your phone-a-friend marketing lifeline. We specialize in building efficient marketing programs to grow your business without blowing the bank.

Share this on: