What is considered a good conversion rate?
A good conversion rate to strive for is better than the one you have right now. There are just too many variables that affect conversions, so its very difficult to have like for like comparisons between different sites. Quality of the traffic is a major contributor. Rates around 1% and 2% are fairly common.
Quality Product Images
If there is one particular thing that sells products on-line, it's images. A site with images only might still work; a site with no images would never work. The better the quality and overall artistic content of your images is the best place to start as people want to see what they are buying.
Great Product Copy
Product descriptions matter. The role of product copy is to give buyers enough information, so they could convince themselves this is the right product for them. Clarity trumps persuasion. The best sales copy is full, complete information. No hype needed. Ideally you should offer both long and short versions.
Trends for online marketing indicate that video is the future. Images are good, but photos have their limitations, so video is the next step before actual touching and feeling. If you're not doing product videos yet, do them for at least part of the inventory and see if it makes a difference.
Customization creates ownership
People like to customize stuff. It's fun, has a game-like element to it and creates a feeling of ownership.
Don't charge for shipping
An E-tailing Group study revealed that unconditional free shipping is #1 criteria for making a purchase (73% listed it as 'critical'). In another study 93% of respondents indicated that free shipping on orders would encourage them to purchase more products.
Have a section for sales and specials
The above mentioned E-tailing Group study conducted at the end of 2011 found that 47% of online buyers would only buy discounted products, except under exceptional circumstances. 62% said they are looking for a section that identifies sales and specials.
Tackle shopping cart abandonment
Shopping cart abandonment means the loss of a customer who is going through the check-out process of an online store. It's widespread. In 2011, the shopping cart abandonment rate reached all-time high of 72%. It's believed to continue climbing due to comparison shopping online as people become more experienced with shopping online.
Persistent shopping cart
People comparison shop. A common behavior is that they add products to cart on a site, so they could return later. If upon their return they discover that the contents of the shopping cart have expired, they will not start from scratch as it's too much trouble. Offer a persistent shopping cart, done with persistent cookie, this shopping cart will be right there even a day or a week later.
Show contact info, offer live chat
It's a small thing, but known to boost conversions - especially important for small, less known stores. It's a trust thing - making your email and phone number clearly visible shows you're a real business.
Clear progress indicators
People like to be in control and to be in the know. Are we there yet? We want to know how much longer something is going to take. This is why numbered lists are better than unordered lists and why you should have clear progress indicators on your site.
Is this safe? Can I do returns? When will I get my stuff? If the visitor has never ordered from you, he will have several uncertainties you have to deal with. Make a list of the most common objections and doubts, and address them on product pages and in the shopping cart.
Offer multiple payment options
A 2009 survey of 2000 online British adults found that 50% of those who regularly shop online said that if their preferred payment method is not available, they will cancel the purchase.
These people are not the majority, but adding payment options like PayPal or Amazon Payments to credit card payments will help you win over some customers you would lose otherwise.
Communicate your value proposition
Too many ecommerce sites forget about value propositions. When new people arrive on your site, they have to figure out what your site is about in a matter of seconds. If you don't communicate your value proposition, you will lose a lot of potential buyers. People won't invest time to figure it out.
Search is crucial to e-commerce. People need to find products, and quick. Around half of the visitors navigate ecommerce sites using search. For search-centric sites like Amazon, the number is probably way higher. Use auto-suggest search that shows products as you type.
More choice requires better filters
The more choice you give people, the harder it is to choose something. The way to combat paradox of choice is by filters. The more choice you offer, the better filters you need to provide. The role of the filter is to make finding most suitable products easy.
Eventually, people will add some stuff to the cart and they're ready to check out. Your success in leading them through this depends a lot on the forms. The more fields they have to fill in, the more friction there is. This is the very reason people prefer to buy from Amazon. Their shipping and credit card information is already there, so they will save themselves from the hassle of filling in forms.
Decode the credit card data
People from all walks of life shop online, and some are not very savvy. Some people don't know what the CVV code is, some are even having a hard time figuring out their credit card number, so your job is to make it as clear as possible what data you're asking for.
Promote shopping cart contents
Many marketers assume that once the customers click 'add to cart', they will make it through the entire checkout process, but not necessarily. Even when they add a product to the shopping cart, it doesn't mean they're going to buy it. You have to keep selling it to them.
Account registration in the background
Surely you know the $300 million dollar button story. Don't force people to register. Instead, offer the option to register if they want, but create an account anyway for those who opt for guest checkout. They will enter their email and name anyway. You just have to generate a password and email it to them once they complete their order.
People use reviews, a lot. Even while they're shopping in brick and mortar stores they read online reviews. Nearly 60 percent of online shoppers consult reviews prior to purchasing consumer electronics and 40 percent of online shoppers claimed that they would not even buy electronics without seeking reviews about the product online first.
Upsell, but watch where
Upselling and cross-selling will boost your average order size. Apple knows this and immediately after adding an iPad to your cart, it tries to upsell you, but only offer related products (Apple offers smart cover for iPad, and doesn't try to sell you an iPod), and the offer must be at least 60% cheaper than the product they just added to their shopping cart.
Clear, big calls to action
The user experience in your store needs to be smooth. Smooth in the sense that they should never have to look for something. It should always be obvious how things work. If people need to look for "add to cart" or "checkout" buttons, you're failing miserably. Those two are the most important buttons in your store. You want them big, bold and prominent. Avoid text links.
Item out of stock? If you plan to re-stock the item within a predictable time or can have it custom made/ordered, offer a backorder option.
Do user testing
Usability is really important, so always conduct user testing on your ecommerce site to find problems with your interface you might not be aware of. Give people some tasks (e.g. find X, and buy it), and have them comment out loud while they're browsing your site. You either watch over their shoulder or watch the screen recording of it.