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Many online retailers remain obsessed with growing overall site traffic, at the expense of increasing conversion rates from existing customers.

Research shows that for every £100 retailers spend getting customers to a website, only £1 goes into converting them.

This can be counter productive: the cost of acquiring new traffic is increasing exponentially. Actually it makes much more sense to convert the 97% of customers that visit your site and abandon before making a purchase.

What often prevents retailers from concentrating on conversions is the perception that creating a conversion strategy is complex and time consuming.

However, by making a few, simple changes to your site or digital marketing strategy you can greatly increase conversions. 

Everyone loves a success story, so I’ve put together my top ten tweaks smart retailers have made to successfully boost conversion.

These are just a few steps that every retailer can make to their site to see their conversion rates rise:

  • Many large retailers, including B&Q, Laura Ashley and The Hut Group run multivariate testing on their sites, making slight changes to components like text, colour, layout etc., to see which combination best boosted conversion.

    This increased B&Q’s sales by £3m and Laura Ashley’s conversions by 11%.

  • House of Fraser implemented technology that highlights critical product information and gives detailed product zooms to achieve a shopping experience that is a close as it could be to shoppers in its brick-and-mortar stores. 

  • Comet launched online product demo videos: the videos act as a knowledgeable sales assistant and allow customers to see both the true size of the product and how it works.
  • Many retailers including ASOS, The Book Depository and Farfetch implemented an email remarketing strategy to increase conversions, with varying degrees of success. 
  • Both Zavvi and Figleaves introduced customer support that enables customers to chat to an agent 24/7 at any point during their shopping experience. Frequently asked questions include anything from stock enquiries and finding the right product, to difficulties inputting a discount code. Both retailers saw their conversions boosted by 50%.

  • Wilkinson upped its conversion rate by 23% and average order values by 16% by adding an intelligent recommendation tool to the site. The tool recommends products to each site visitor based on their internet preferences, what they add to their basket and what they’ve purchased before.
  • MandMDirect.com launched mobile marketing campaigns that offered its active customer base various discounts and deals. 6% of customers that received text messages then went on to make a purchase.
  • In response to a customer feedback survey on the functionality of its site, Selfridges allowed customers to click through to products more quickly by reducing the number of clicks before checkout.
  • By adding product ratings and review functions to sites, retailers can build up trust and in turn conversion rates. These functions allow retailers to open communication with customers, while allowing them to make ‘more informed’ purchases.

  • Ramping up email marketing frequency in the run up to Christmas and Valentines can pay dividends. As shopping is top of the customer’s minds this doesn’t have the negative impact it might have done out of season.

Encouragingly, there are many things retailers can do which don’t cost the earth and are quick to implement. One thing to take away though is: don’t stop testing.

Any new strategy to improve conversions should be continuously tested and evolved to ensure you’re getting the best results. If the success of these retailers is anything to go by, these tweaks are clearly working.

Do you have a favourite tweak that you’ve made to your site or digital marketing strategy that has boosted your conversion rate?

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Published 7 July, 2014 by James Critchley

James Critchley is CEO and founder of cloud.IQ. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

4 more posts from this author

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Mandy Martinez

This is well and good, but not particularly relevant to SMEs. Thanks though, keep them coming.

about 2 years ago

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Daniel Hagos

Great article- though the stats and names (B&Q increased sales by £3m etc) the theory is the same. Follow these practises and your results will increase. For a small business there will be still be an increase in results. In fact, it's more important for a smaller business to do this as it ensures they have loyal customers through having created such a positive shopping experience.

about 2 years ago

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Bikersbean

I guess testing is the most important thing to find out what works and what does not.

about 2 years ago

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Lori Ezell

Glad to start this conversation. General rules of thumb are a good starting point. But every ecommerce site is different. Unique factors, such as images that may not be downloading properly, poorly-performing pages, checkout problems, an inability to support large volumes of shoppers - along with a whole host of other factors that impact individual shopping sessions can lead to authentic shopper abandonment.

Every shopping site is different, and given that inventory is constantly changing - along with pricing, images, product descriptions and so on - at any given moment something can go terribly wrong to create the perfect storm for an exodus of shoppers to occur.

Merchants are wise to get into the practice of not only frequently examining the behavior of concurrent shoppers, specifically looking carefully at any variety of problems that are impacting those shoppers, but also determining the value of their individual shopping carts.

Therein lies the real truth - in not only understanding the lost shopper impact, but also the value of their carts when they abandon.

Lori Ezell, CMO
Blue Triangle Technologies - eRevenueView

about 2 years ago

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Rachel Carter, Digital Marketing Manager at CLT

Great article - would be interested in a b2b ecommerce conversion rate article.

about 2 years ago

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Sarah Jones

Great article and I agree that a lot of these can be applied to small businesses.
Another easy thing to test is your checkout forms - reducing the length of forms and time it takes to get through checkout can make a big difference and things like address lookups can have a really positive impact on conversion rates.

about 2 years ago

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hitasoft

Your post is very interesting and Informative.Thanks for the good post.Keep up this good work.

almost 2 years ago

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hitasoft

Hi ,

Great article you writing is very helpful so thank you for posting ....

Keep it up work ...

almost 2 years ago

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