A Comprehensive Guide to E-Commerce Conversion Strategy

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Is e-commerce big? Consider this: eMarketer.com reveals that worldwide B2C E-commerce sales will increase by 20.1% this year to reach a whopping $1,500 trillion. Mobile and online user bases in emerging markets, m-commerce, advanced international trading, and the rise of many international markets all contribute to this growth. And, for the first time, users in Asia-Pacific are expected to spend more than those in North America, tipping the scales for good.

B2B E-commerce Sales Worldwide, 2012-2017

[Image credits: www.emarketer.com]

Statista states 40% of worldwide Internet users have bought products and services on their desktop, mobile device, or tablets. That’s more than 1 billion online buyers (and growing). If you are reading this, you are invested in E-commerce. These numbers mean a lot, but you won’t benefit if you let conversions pass you by.

The online marketing field is constantly shifting — Google updates change the scope of SEO, social media is getting crowded, and email subscribers are a rarity — making it harder for businesses to compete for consumers and grow revenue.

It all boils down to this: it’s not about traffic. It’s not about vanity metrics on social media networks. It is only about conversions. The percentage of users that convert to customers is key to boost your revenue, sales, and ultimately profits. Here’s what you should do to get there:

Design and User Experience

Design usually begins with a project brief, a few emails, and ends with a website. That’s fine, except most websites don’t have the right process in place in between. OliGarder talks about using feedback for landing page optimization, but it applies to overall design as well.

Think like your customers first, figure out why your design might not work, put up a prototype, do research, ask for feedback, and that’s when you should go back to the labs (it’s not over yet, but it’s a good start).

Site Speed and Going Customer First

How does the speed of your site affect e-commerce revenue? It takes more than you think. Here are some stats of revenue impacts from slow loading pages:

  • 47% percent of consumers expect to wait no more than two seconds for a web page to render.
  • 42% of online shoppers said quick page loading is important to their site loyalty.
  • 23% of dissatisfied online shoppers attributed their dissatisfaction to the website being too slow or taking too long to render.
  • Another 17% reported dissatisfaction due to site crashes or error messages they received.

(Source: Research done by Forrester Consulting)

The point is, online users are impatient.

Here’s a an Infographic from Kissmetrics.com that tells you how impatient online users are:

 How Loading Time Affects Your Bottom Line

[Image credits: KISSmetrics.com]

On KISSmetrics, AlisiaKrush wrote a handy list of 15 hazards that can crush your e-commerce store load time. Realene Wilson of WPMU Dev – in line with Google’s Recommendations – suggests using Caching tools, compressing images, minifying HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, cutting down on HTTP requests, and optimizing database performance.

The lesson? Speed it up, or get crushed.

Importance of Design for E-commerce

Design isn’t just about HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. It’s a visual rendition of your brand appeal. Talk “appeal” and you’d have to make every design element work for your conversion. You absolutely can’t afford to have anything vague. Look at these two examples from BidSketch and Unbounce.com below. Do you see anything fancy? Are they “beautiful” when compared to how “effective” they are?

BidSketch

BidSketch

Screenshot of BidSketch taken on July 29, 2014

Unbounce

Unbounce

Screenshot of Unbounce taken on July 29, 2014

What’s your take on it?

Weeding Out Design-Specific Conversion Killers

Talking about how design affects conversions, you can’t help but think of about conversion killers. Dr. Karl Banks has this list of gruesome conversion killers, thanks to Conversion Rate Experts, presented at ThinkVisibility.

Hiren Ponkia

Hiren Ponkia

Founder & Strategist at Effectual Media
Hiren Ponkia is founder and strategist of Effectual Media, a leading local SEO and full services internet marketing agency. Hiren has built a diverse team of experts who help companies to improve online visibility in the major search engines through post panda/penguin advance SEO tactics, content marketing, and creative link building strategies. You can contact him on by emailing at hiren@effectualmedia.com.
Hiren Ponkia

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8 thoughts on “A Comprehensive Guide to E-Commerce Conversion Strategy

  1. Thank you for sharing Hiren. This article is going straight to my instapaper list of hall of famers :)

    Good analysis and derived insights.

  2. Thank you for such a detailed insights for eCommerce website. It seems you covered all most all the angles, Special what’s your story part i like the most “Turn your “About us” page into “Our story” and get personal” I never give it a thought, but since you have mentioned (with source of 21% increase) i think i have to use the same method.

    Great guide i must say.

    cheeers :)

  3. This is a great write up of many things to consider for us who makes websites and webshops for others (and in deed our selves). The main essence is to catch the attention of the prospect – and then from there make the design, wording and Call to actions help the customers to buy.

    TheMarketingExperiments talkes a lot about “usability”, but they say that usually when we are working with that issue – we are actually more into working with “buyability”.

    And that is the core. We want to make and design webshops that have a high grade of buyability.

    I had a wonderful experiece by simplify a sign up form on one website I worked with. Pretty basic stuff to remove every obstacle, add clear call to actions. The sign up rate increased by 533%. By just 1-2 hours of simple editing. I found that as a thrilling fun experience. We can all do that.

    Thank you Hiren for sharing the knowhow.

    1. Thank you for this interesting comment Preben Sangvik. You have shared a very valid point over here that, do more emphasis on “high grade of buyability”.

      I completely agree on your experience part, as i also feel that the more “to-the-point” steps are there the more response we can get.

      I hope this guide will help you and all others as well.

      Thanks again.
      Cheers.. :)

  4. Awesome Post here, Hiren.

    1. A few things I had to sit up and take notice: “Speed up your website”. I’ve realized that although there’s a lot of advice ( including recommendations from Google), the tactics available for speeding up websites seems to be technical. Minify JS, Minify CSS, use CDN, etc. I wish there was a tool, plugin, software that could do this ( an idea for idea hunters, by the way).

    2. It’s surprising that although email marketing is powerful, has a huge ROI, and certainly has the potential to take any business several steps forward, not many people use it. It’s, I think, the most underrated digital marketing strategy.

    3. Of course, Always keep testing.

    Loved it. Keep them coming.

    Ash