Months of planning and investment goes into creating a brand new web site so it’s easy to assume that products will start flying off the shelves when the launch button is pushed. With shoppers increasingly turning to online shopping in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, there is certainly more opportunity than ever to engage with shoppers but any and all additional measures you can take to increase those sales is well worth embracing.
Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is your passport to doing exactly that and while it’s something that is more commonly associated with sites which are well established, you can also use this tactic to eke out better performance and more conversions from day one of your launch.
If you’re ready to get focused on maximizing sales and conversions for your new website, here are five things you can do right away:
Carry out a form fields review
Nobody likes filling in lots of unnecessary information before being able to complete an action, such as check out when buying online. This is especially true for those who are shopping from mobile devices with too many fields and too much data input time-consuming and frustrating on the smaller screen of a smartphone. Keeping form design as concise as possible if you want visitors to take an action on your site from a mobile device is absolutely key.
When launching your new site, review the contact form, shopping bag checkout fields and any other forms on your site with a critical eye. Eliminate unnecessary fields and keep the required fields to a minimum. While your checkout page will need a name and postal address plus an email, other forms shouldn’t need such detailed information. If your aim is to get a visitor to subscribe to your email list for example, you only really need a first time (for email personalisation) and the email address itself.
Another way to streamline this process is to offer social media log in and turn on one click ordering, so users find it easy to register and use your site without being forced to input lots of information first.
The lesson here? Trim excess fields from each of your forms where possible to make it quick and easy for your visitor to complete the action you want them to take.
Test your call to action
Your call to action is one of the most critical parts of your page and, testing it is a CRO essential because even the smallest tweak could help push visitors over the line and buy the product or sign up for that newsletter.
If your new site hasn’t launched yet, you won’t be able to use standard landing page or A/B testing, where one version of your page is served to some users and a second version to another, to judge which performs better. You can however perform an internal A/B test. Approach it in the same way. Set up two identical pages and then change the call to action on one page. Send the links to your colleagues, friends, family – even a select group of customers and solicit their responses. This will at least get you started on the path to CRO and may bring some useful comments and feedback to light before your site launches.
If your site is actually live, even if it’s just gone up, begin testing your call to action immediately to ensure it is as strong and motivational as possible from the outset. If possible, it can also be helpful to testing different types of calls to action, such as text links and buttons.
Ensure your contact information is easily found
Even though many of us are entirely comfortable shopping online, and Millennials and Generation Z have grown up with online ordering, the importance of displaying physical contact information on your new site shouldn’t be underestimated. Even if you only trade online and don’t have a bricks and mortar location, you should display a customer service phone number and email address prominently somewhere very easily accessible.
The onset of the coronavirus pandemic has forced many who had previously avoided online shopping to dip their toe into ecommerce waters. According to research carried out by ChannelAdvisor, 70% of shoppers aged 56 or older said they shopped online ‘rarely’ before coronavirus. 41% say they now shop online more frequently and a third say they will continue to do so even as restrictions in bricks-and-mortar stores are eased. You can continue to encourage this behaviour by providing trust signals such as your contact details online prominently – this reminder that even online outlets can be contacted can dampen fears of spending money digitally.
Check that your phone number appears on the homepage in a large font, isn’t hidden away and is easy to locate no matter which page a visitor may initially land on your site. Likewise, check that it is also displayed on your contact page and that you provide an email address as well as a contact form.
Making contact information prominently available is a CRO basic but it’s amazing how many sites (especially online only businesses) omit this core detail. A phone number adds authenticity and gives peace of mind – after all, no-one wants to blindly hand over personal data and credit card information with no visible means of contacting the vendor other than an anonymous contact form with no direct contact info.
Display security seals, reviews and trust badges
Anything you can do to encourage your visitors to trust you can only serve to increase your conversion rates. Even if as a new business you don’t have a ton of reviews to share just yet, simply adding a relevant review badge, letting your customers know you are accountable and do welcome feedback, provides peace of mind. This is especially important in the modern retail and business environment, where peer-to-peer reviews predominantly take place online.
Research carried out by BrightLocal confirms this, with its latest Consumer Review Survey finding that 82% of consumers across all age groups read online reviews while 76% trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Showing that you are accountable can solicit the trust needed to progress your visitor through the conversion funnel.
If your business uses a particular method of data security to protect customer details, is part of a trade organization or nationwide service such as the Better Business Bureau adding those seals to your web site can build trust and credibility – all essential to increasing conversions.
Review your use of images
Images are part of the fabric of your site and should be used for more than mere design purposes or to break up chunks of text. If you want to help your new site get off the starting blocks and win over customers quickly, review your image selection.
Look in particular for images in headers and sidebars – do these pictures push your visitors towards a conversion? Do they make offers clear? Highlight benefits? And communicate limited time deals such as free shipping, storewide discounts or limited edition products? If not, landing page testing should be used to help select more appropriate images which are aligned with your conversion goals.
As with any type of testing, CRO for new websites also requires measurement, analysis and a trial and error approach. Accept that you aren’t going to get it right first time. Even when you do make a change that nudges your new site a little closer to your short term conversion goals, there’s always an additional tweak you can make to further improve on it.
CRO is a task that you can never tick off as you’ll always find that there are improvements you can make as you learn more about your site visitors and gather more data. Continue to review these five steps periodically but ensure you also feed in other things you have learned, trends you have observed and feedback received to place your website in the best possible space to generate conversions for your business.