Improving sales: a common goal for all those who work in the commercial sector, and of course virtual shopping is no exception. Managing an eCommerce is a complex matter, the elements to be kept under control are so many and the competition is always fierce: so here are four tips and optimization techniques that can give you important results so to achieve the desired conversions.

Key areas to enhance conversions

The central point of marketing is to succeed in providing “the right message to the right audience at the right time”, says the article of Search Engine Watch that offers us the cues for this reflection. In digital shopping it is important to know how to optimize conversions, what tools to use and in which areas of the site, how to intercept the user at the key moment of his costumer journey: only with this kind of awareness you can put into practice the right tactics to increase sales.

There are four areas to focus our attention on:

  1. Design and User Experience
  2. Site errors
  3. Shopping Experience
  4. Checkout process

Studying the design and provide a good UX

Let’s start from the beginning, a.k.a the basic work on the overall design of the site and the guaranteed user experience.

The priority area to be taken care of is obviously the home page, knowing that the first thing that the target visitor expects to see is the product or the service that we propose: considering that – according to several studies – the eye of a person is almost always attracted to the center of the page, it is good to immediately capture his/her attention with an effective thematic image of the main product.

Optimize the home page

If the image worked, the user decides to stay and then we have to make him understand what kind of store he entered and if it is worth buying something: his vision moves on the bar at the top of the site, where we will place:

  • Company logo – always in the upper left corner.
  • The search bar.
  • Contact details (telephone, mail and other communication channels, addresses and opening hours and, if necessary, button to start a call). Giving detailed information about the store helps us to gain customer trust.
  • Cart (always to the right).
  • Eventually we can enter a horizontal menu with product categories or information pages (delivery and payment, reviews, frequently asked questions).

Now that he knows something about the shop, the potential customer will want to explore a variety of products: in the standard and more efficient pages, the category menu is located on the left side of the screen, and a sidebar can serve not only to allow navigation by categories, but also for news, promotions and the best products, that is to highlight the advantages of buying on this specific store.

Simplify product categories

The visitor accesses the category page in three ways: from the main page, from Research or from advertising. In any case, he wants to see exactly the products he is looking for and so this page must be extremely simple, clear and appropriate, especially the images of the products.

We can use a docket on the left side that allows to order products in custom searches and detailed views, and it is important to clearly and visibly indicate if a product is out of stock.

Taking care of product tabs

When he opens a product tab, the main elements that the user wants to see are a good photo, a price, a button to buy, and so that is what we have to work on to highlight them.

High quality professional photos can convince the customer to make a purchase, also offering him the possibility to enlarge the image or to view shots from different angles, and after having deepened the appearance the user will surely be interested in the textual description.

The tab must be concise but provide in a comprehensive manner the basic features, feedbacks and product ratings by customers, to leverage the psychological factor of social evidence and increase trust in the store.

The positioning order of all the elements in the product sheet must follow the logic of the customer: what is the product/ service? How much does it cost? How can I buy and get it? It is therefore important to provide such information consistently, following the AIDA marketing model which is:

Attenzione → Interesse → Demand → Action.

To understand and fix server site issues

Although it is now established that the usability of a site is a relevant and determining factor for success, there are still shortcomings in this area, and one of the main ones according to the American study is correlated to server errors.

404 error could be useful

We also talked about it in a previous insight: the 404 error page is frequent but often underestimated, because it can be used to bring the customer to other products functional to our strategy. Our main task is to ensure the longest interaction between a user and the site, and so we must also take advantage of page 404 to redirect him to other useful sections.

We could, for example, insert guided messages, with actions such as “back to home”, “make a call” or “choose similar item”, or act more strategically and thing at 404 as “a whole free page on our resource”. We can insert again the logo of the company, offer a discount coupon on the best-selling products, announce upcoming promotions or the opening of new sites.

Improving the shopping experience

The overall shopping process must also be properly studied and optimized, trying to ensure – with the structure, as well – that visitors can easily find the products.

This means having a good knowledge of our business so to identify the main product categories and divide them by their key attributes, or structure the catalogue drawing from our own experience of buying as users, to all the best practices to build a directory structure and, of course, to analyze ompetitors, both to observe their onsite tactics and to discover the best keywords on Google.

How to organize categories

To make a directory structure there are some rules to follow, starting with the comply of stability and balance: in each section of the catalogue there should be an approximately equal number of subsections and, in turn, an approximately equal number of goods.

As for the structuring, according to the studies of psychology in the perception of the information we can simultaneously see with a glance up to 7 elements, then 7 is the optimal number of sections to insert in the highest level in the directory.

In each subsection, then, there should not be more than 100 articles: if we have a category with hundreds of articles and others that do not reach even twenty, it is better to divide a large section into smaller subdivisions or create a practical filter for key features.

The maximum level of nesting sections should not be more than three and the buyer should switch from the catalogue to the product sheet in three clicks tops:

Section – First click> Subsection – Second click> Product – Third click.

Intervene on the checkout process

The last area on which we focus our attention in this guide to eCommerce optimizations so to improve sales is the checkout process: there is no standard model and the variables to consider are multiple, but in principle our goal should be to always meet the needs of customers and simplify operations.

For example, payment methods cannot be identical for all sites and in order to understand which are the most appropriate we must evaluate the average size of the shopping carts purchased, the geography of the business, the goods or services we offer, the habits of customers.

As for payment methods, less is more

The simple “the more the better” logic is just not enough and may not be effective: in most cases, only a couple payment tools are required and used. We can offer services such as coupons, discount vouchers or e-vouchers, but in the vast majority of cases the methods used will be at most two or three.

What we must not forget, however, is that there are still many customers who prefer to pay at delivery for large physical goods, so to verify their quality before the actual purchase.

In any case, if we decide to offer users a wide range of payment methods it is appropriate to create a specific section for bank cards, a separate section for electronic payments and another for payments through mobile operators, reporting payment methods with icons and logos. Moreover, all discounts and commissions must be immediately converted into the final amount of the order.

Simplicity is always a good strategy

Even in the checkout process we must prefer simplicity: for instance, it is better to avoid too technical terminologies that can cause misunderstandings or that can even frighten the customer and make him leave the cart, as well as it is not recommendable to overload the payment page with unnecessary information and links, which can distract the customer or even bring it on other pages, interrupting the conversion chain.

Allow purchase as unregistered guest

The last tip is very practical: to evaluate the chance of allowing purchases even to unregistered users and therefore simple guests, as we could have direct advantages.

First of all, the registration requirement can be an obstacle to the finalization of the customer’s payment, especially for novice buyers: once landed on the site from Google or an adv campaign, the user inserts products in the cart and then, at the time of checkout, must “go back” and enter all his personal details, wasting time and maybe interest.

Not surprisingly, the mandatory registration deserves the definition of “conversion killer“: a search on usability has shown that the main reason why users do not like the registration of accounts is the concern to receive spam mails. The study also noted that many customers do not understand why in order to buy something in an online store it is mandatory to register, while in offline stores no registration is required.

Our goal is to simplify the lives of customers and increase the chances of a favorable result, and thus minimize his time for ordering and only require the minimum necessary information is a strategy that can give positive results.

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