Online shopping for goods and services has steadily grown in popularity over the past several years. In 2011, e-commerce sales totaled $256 billion in the US, as compared to $72 billion in 2005. But although more people find it more convenient to shop online, brick and mortar stores still have one advantage. A brick and mortar store is not so easily left as an e-commerce site – having traveled to a brick and mortar store, a consumer is much more likely to make a purchase before leaving.
When working on conversion rate optimization, first assess your site. If possible, have someone unfamiliar with your site visit it. Find out what catches their eye and what is confusing or clumsy to them. Then consider the factors that go into lowering your bounce rate and improving your conversion rate and see how your site measures up.
If your bounce rate is high, then your landing page is not capturing the consumer’s attention. There are several reasons that this might happen.
- Slow loading time. Online and mobile shoppers may quickly navigate away to a competitor’s site if they become impatient.
- Important information below the fold. Some consumers may leave quickly if they don’t see what they are looking for in the first few seconds.
- Confusing site navigation. Is your site user-friendly? Different products and services require different options for the consumer. They need to be able to quickly find what they are looking for. Can consumers sort results by price and relevancy to their searches? How visible are buttons for searching, sorting and purchasing?
What works for one site may not work for another. Different types of businesses attract different customers, so consider what will excite and motivate your potential customers. Examine your mobile ads, specials and promotions and keep them new and exciting, but don’t make them your entire strategy. A customer who visits because of a promotion may not become a repeat customer when that promotion ends.
Remember that optimization is not a one-time effort. Continuously assess your site and conversion rate in order to find out what works and what doesn’t. There is no one-size-fits-all solution and your site must keep up with the changing tastes and buying habits of consumers.