#1 Rule for Website eCommerce Conversions Explained
Website eCommerce Conversions Explained
There's a lot that goes into running a successful online business
As veteran entrepreneur and technical author David Mercer of Business Insider explains in today's guest blog:
I generally don't like to speak in absolutes - especially when it
comes down to starting and operating a successful online business. There's a lot that goes into a successful business and many different
aspects of the site, the marketing, operations, logistics etc can play
crucial roles at different stages in the life cycle of a business.
With that said, there are certain aspects of running an online business that hold universally. Most of these "rules"
are fairly easy to comprehend, but not all are as easy to implement.
This article is going to look at what I consider the number one most
important rule for successful eCommerce (although arguably I would consider it a tie with quality content, targeted and focused marketing and great customer service).
#1 eCommerce rule: Make it easy for visitors to convert
In a nutshell, arguably the most important thing you can do as an
online store or eCommerce site owner is make it easy for customers to
convert. A conversion can be anything from signing up to a newsletter,
generating a lead, or making a purchase. For the sake of argument, let's
go with making a purchase.
You might be feeling a bit let down. After all, this is not a new rule. Also, it seems a bit redundant to say "make it easy to convert"
when it should be obvious that this needs to be the case. The problem
is, understanding this rule and implementing it are very different
When I started my first online business (a long, long time ago), RankTracer
- a service for performing market research and sales analytics on any
products sold anywhere in the world on Amazon, I had a terrible time
with new customers. I had all sorts of frustrating problems that really
hampered the site's early growth.
All of the problems related to this number 1 eCommerce rule. Let's run through some of the sub-sections of this rule.
Make the value offering simple
Often products and services are not simple. There are a multitude of
options, intricacies and all sorts of add-ons and other odds and ends.
Don't overload the visitor on their first glance. What appears to be
simple to you (as someone with intricate knowledge of your value
offering), will not appear simple to a visitor.
There is both science and art involved in creating the perfect
landing page that is a mixture of important information combined with
engaging and appealing visual and written content. You need to
understand which aspects of the product or service need to be
prominently displayed and which should be linked to in order to avoid
By the same token, you don't want to hide to much information either.
Visitors won't waste their time hunting around for the information they
need - they'll simply look elsewhere.
Ranktracer, at the start, did nothing simply. I put everything the
service involved on the front page. There was reams and reams of
information, lists and all sorts of complex stuff. Stuff that could all
be replaced with a simple primary marketing message like:
"Amazon sales analytics and online market research"
The fact that users could create custom graphs in a variety of
different formats, 3D, variance, sales estimates and so on, is not
immediately relevant. What is relevant is getting the idea of the service across.
Make the value offering clear
Initially, I had spent so much to programming and building the back
end, that the front end of the site, facing potential customers, read
like a technical specification. Unless my potential customers were also
mathematicians, it was unlikely they would have understood what I was
saying - let alone been interested in using it.
While what I was saying was accurate and correctly described the site and service, it focused on what the site did, not what it could do for customers.
There's a big difference - do you need to understand how an internal
combustion engine works before buying a car? Of course, not. The science
and engineering that goes into a car is not where the value lies.
Safety, reliability, comfort... these are the things that consumers need
A big part of making it easy for customers to make a purchase, is explaining clearly what benefits they will enjoy.
Make the UI (User Interface) simple
This is a big one! You might be able to explain what you are offering
succinctly, but this advantage is neatly squandered if it is difficult
to make a purchase. Once a visitor has made up their mind to buy
something from your site, you want them to be able to give you money as
quickly and easily as possible - preferably in no more than a few clicks.
Initially, Ranktracer had a series of forms that users needed to
complete before they could make a purchase. They had to decide on
locale, then duration, then ASIN/ISBN and so on. It took about four or
five pages of setup before they could even complete the financial part
of the transaction - which was already a four page checkout process. A
complete disaster by today's standards.
All of this has been replaced by a single form and a much quicker
checkout process - making it about 5 times quicker to transact. This in
itself has led to a far greater capture rate on the site.
I learned a lot from Ranktracer and the site has recovered from its
earlier setbacks to cater for several thousands publishers, authors,
professionals, marketers and celebs. Each time I worked on a new project
there was more and more knowledge and skill available to me.
How has your experience led to changes in the way you present your
eCommerce site? If this isn't something you have yet looked at then
consider performing a full business website report or looking at performing a conversions analysis.
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Guest post courtesy of David Mercer
, Business Insider