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7 ways to improve website conversion for retailers

  • 7 mins read
Kerry Manley
by Kerry Manley
Marketing Consultant

Kerry has created several successful digital marketing and content campaigns for high profile brands in travel, tech, fashion and financial services. She has a natural aptitude for strategy, planning and analysis.

Published on Monday 17th June 2019

In this article, we’re looking at 7 methods you can use as a retailer to take a strategic approach to improve conversion. If you can get the right people to visit your website or download your mobile app, you’re already some way towards hitting your objectives. It can feel like time for a celebration, until you realise your conversion rate is not where you need it to be. There is no doubt that your team will have spent lots of time and money driving traffic to your site. So, how do you improve your website conversion?

It’s not always easy to know where to start and what will make the biggest impact when deciding where to improve. Here we cover off 7 methods to think about in your approach:

1. Expert Review - heuristic analysis

Getting a trained designer to identify users key tasks and walk through your user journeys and user interface can be an excellent way to help conversion. You can quickly identify issues and highlight areas to test further. It’s usually quicker and cheaper than a full usability study. The process involves using a small set of expert evaluators to assess your mobile app or website to see how it complies with ‘heuristics’ or recognised usability principles. A heuristic analysis can help to identify many user experience problems. They can be easy to conduct and cost less than other methods. Jakob Nielsen’s heuristics are the most-used heuristics for usability. It’s important to set a brief for your expert evaluators and it can be really useful to provide a set of user personas. The result is a quick report with recommendations on what can be changed and potentially new wireframe suggestions for testing. This can be a hugely useful step to improvement that can complement other methods you choose. Graphite offer heuristic analysis as part of their customer experience audit process.

Technical Audit

2. Usability testing

This may seem obvious, but trying to better understand your customer is the best option you have to try and improve conversion. Ensure you are taking the time to understand a cross section of customers including those that have already converted and what is working for them, and those that haven’t and what isn’t working for them. There are lots of methods you can use for this, but usability testing is a good way of finding out how easy it is for a customer to achieve their goals on your site. To get qualitative results you could run a usability study with as little as 5 users. (Recruiting 8-10 helps in case some don’t show up on the day.) Measuring the ability of users to complete tasks is a really useful study and you can quickly fix issues and test again. Other user research methods like Ethnography and field studies will also be useful. Talk to user research experts to work together to decide the best methods.

CX workshop

3. Behavioural Economics

The truth is customers don’t always buy based on cold hard data, and emotion can be at the heart of purchases. Social proof is one such bias that can encourage people to purchase. They will look at the behaviour of others and copy it. The assumption is that following others is the correct behaviour.

Applying theoretical insights and statistical methodologies from behavioural science to shape programs and products can make them more intuitive and enjoyable for customers.

Tricia Wang, is a technology ethnographer. She says you cannot put tears and smiles in a spreadsheet of data.  She talks about the ‘Quantification Bias’. She says this is the unconscious belief of valuing something that is measurable over something that isn’t measurable.

As she says, not everything that is valuable is measurable and she warns against throwing out learning’s that come from users and not big data. Where forces involve human beings things will always complex and dynamic. Relying on big data alone increases the chance of missing something. Stories, emotions and reactions that are gathered from humans helps us really see what we can improve. The two should be integrated. Our product designer Anthony shares more on his thoughts on behavioural psychology in the customer experience.

4. Get the right team in place

Get a team that can help you achieve the conversion rates you need.

To run a conversion programme effectively you’ll need to have team members that can help with user research, expert UX and UI designers, data analysts that can assist with understanding your analytics data and a good content writer to help you run tests. You could run this in-house or with help from external teams. Several teams start conversion rate projects that don’t work because they don’t have the right expertise on board.

Workshop Group Back Header

5. Use your data

It’s important to use data when making long-term changes to your website. Conversion rate optimisation is a long-term ongoing process. Map your customer journeys through your digital platforms and use your data to understand where there are problems and where visitors drop off the most. There are several analytics packages that can be worked with, whether that’s Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics. (N.B. Just make sure you have it set up properly.) The data may also help you identify some quick wins and some initial testing you could look at e.g. adjusting call to actions, ensuring forms are optimised, improving trust signals. You can make some huge gains by running these tests. In addition, the correct technology stack and information can help you to personalise journeys. Accenture reported that 75% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a company that knows their name and purchase history and recommends products based on their preferences.

Google analytics data

6. A/B testing & Multivariate testing

The information you have learned can help you build a strong hypothesis to test. State what you believe to be the case to create your hypothesis. For example, -

“I believe xx will result in xx because of xx.”

Choose a testing platform to help you run A/B split testing or multivariate testing  - there are several to choose from. Ensure that your results are statistically valid, most CRO platforms have inbuilt tools for this. Google Optimize enables you to make multiple versions of your landing pages or site and see which performs best, no coding required.

A/B testing

7. Technology Performance Review

Google report that more than 53% of customers will leave a mobile site that takes more than 3 seconds to load. A Google research study found that across retail and other sectors, 70% of mobile sites were taking longer than this to load content above and below the fold. Aside from page speed, there are many other performance indicators that can affect your conversion rate. A technical audit can provide outputs that have a huge uplift on conversion.

We hope these hints and tips have helped you to think about your strategy and how you might organise your team to improve conversion. All of these methods can yield great results that can quickly help you to meet and exceed targets. If you would like to know more about our services, get in touch for a chat. We’re happy to help, find out more about our Customer Experience Strategy services.

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