Note: Some features listed are only available in REC+ or to Marketing subscribers. Contact sales for assistance if you cannot see some of the features in your Admin Console.
Meeting Shoppers Expectations & Optimising Conversion
Shoppers expect a site that is easy to navigate and search on to find what they are looking for with a simple, fast checkout process that works on all device types, with transparent delivery charges and easy payment processing. Shoppers will also be expecting you to tempt them to buy via regular offers and communications about what's new as well as regular order updates / reminders and abandoned cart followups. The following features, hints and tips will help you to optimise conversion on the site.
|Area / Feature ||Information & Tips||Date|
|Have a mobile friendly website that works well on all major browsers and devices||REC's responsive template system allows you to have a fully mobile-friendly website and checkout system.|
Customise your design template to provide a tailored user experience across different device sizes.
Check the overall site design, individual pages and process flow
|Engage users with a good design that's been browser tested||Make sure your site design style is appropriate to your target audience(s) and their buying personas, emotionally engaging and motivating them to spend time on the site and a desire to buy from you.|
Consider their visual needs, for example if you sell to an older demographic then you may need to consider larger font sizes and line spacing and strong colour contrast.
Pages should be designed to be easily scanned to pick out key information quickly. Once you've created a design make sure it is thoroughly browser and device tested using Browserstack as mentioned above.
|Plan your user journey, create clear navigation and perform user testing||Make it easy to find important parts of your website with simple, understandable and consistent navigation on each page plus a breadcrumb so visitors know where they are.|
Make sure to test the entire user journey including reviewing all emails that get sent out and identifying points of blockage via a user group, willing volunteers or using an affordable external user testing service Usertesting.com or Try My UI.
You can monitor heat/scroll maps of how users interact with your page using services like Crazy Egg.
You can survey your users for feedback using services like SurveyMonkey.
|Advertise on your own site||Add and regularly update content sliders on pages and within categories which promote your offers, service, new products, Black Friday deal, pre-orders for upcoming products, useful add-on services such as warranties etc.|
Remember to make your copy appeal to each buyer persona you are targeting.
Tip: Include testimonials on your site whether inside content or via a dedicated Testimonials page.
|Prominently display site search||Ensure site search is clearly visible on every page, typically in the top right of the site where visitors are most accustomed to looking for it.||23/12/17|
|Display contact information on all pages ||Clearly display your telephone number and email address on all pages and links to your contact page if you have an online form rather than email address displayed.||23/12/17|
|Create product pages that sell for you, keep your data optimised and improve the 'dwell time' on your site.|
Explainer: 'Dwell time'
This is the time measured by Google between someone clicking on a Google search result to visit a website and then coming back to Google to find a different site. This is used as an indicator of the relevance of your site and experiments in 2018 show this influences ranking on Google.
Having the right product information and price will help keep someone engaged on your site and prolong the dwell time. Other areas that will help are listed below, such as live chat, reviews, expert answers and staff recommendations.
|Product pages must contain all of the information the visitor needs to make a buying decision including:||23/12/17|
|Enhance your product category pages||Often over-looked, category pages also need to contain strong, relevant content and good quality imagery. These pages make a significant contribution to your SEO and can help drive traffic and lift rankings. Remember to add in your own adverts too.||23/12/17|
|Get your suppliers to review their products which you offer on your website or catalogue||Gain feedback from your suppliers on what you're offering out to customers as they may be able to help you identify hot products to push, launch joint marketing and special offers, inform of new & superceded products plus better alternatives to list as well as upcoming products and promotions, and general industry news.||15/6/18|
|Make finding products easy with product filter and product tags||Use the product filter system to allow your products to be found more easily, including the use of product tags for extra ways to identify products.|
See below for the alternative filtering system for automotive parts.
|Or use Make Model Year filter for automotive sites||Use this filtering system for selling automotive parts and make sure it is displayed in a prominent position on each page, typically in the top left of the site under the header||23/12/17|
|Offer more product choices on the page||Use product options for product-specific add-ons or variations; cross-sell using associated products, up-sell using alternative products and tempt further with "People who bought this, also purchased these:" which you can turn on in Site Settings > Ecommerce||23/12/17|
|Improve "Customer Delight"||Do something over-and-above for your customers. It could be as simple as including a hand-written thank you note to first time buyers in their parcel, throwing in a low-cost add-on that helps install a product, providing a free information guide, including a product sample, including some printed coupons in the parcel or making them a VIP / ambassador who gets to hear about new things first and provide special feedback.||23/12/17|
|Clearly show delivery services, charges and returns policies and check for gaps in delivery services||Add a delivery and returns page to the site detailing your services, charges and how you handle returns, complaints and refunds.|
Tip: Set up the simplest delivery services you can for users, ensure your charges are competitive and ideally have free delivery available when buyers spend so much.
Tip: Have rush periods where users are desperate to get your products quickly? Consider setting up a priority despatch service in Delivery Manager with an uplift % added based on the order value, or an extra amount based on a category (which can also be for products added into a 2nd category).
Tip: Use the Delivery Conflict Report to make sure there are no gaps or issues with the way you have set up complicated delivery services.
Tip: Use Checkout Buying Rules for further controls on which products can ship or not and via what methods for different regions e.g. for sending flammable products by road and not air which is prohibited.
|Surprise your customers with great packaging||Send your products out in branded, inspirational and more robust packaging to delight your customers from the moment they receive your parcel. Take a look at Li'l Packaging for inspiration.||23/12/17|
|Offer a gift wrapping service||Give buyers the option to have their products gift-wrapped as part of your delivery service.||23/12/17|
|Show a conscience with charitable giving||Set up charitable giving on your website whereby you donate an amount or percentage of the order value to one of the charities you support, where the buyer can pick from your chosen list on the thank you page. Read how to set it up.||23/12/17|
|Add currency converter buttons in the header||Add currency buttons in the header to convert prices on product pages to the buyers local currency. Requires a code change via a designer.||23/12/17|
|Enable the delivery estimator on the site||Allow visitors to get a delivery estimate in the shopping cart via Site settings > Delivery||23/12/17|
|Build custom pages to display your offers, what's new and upcoming products||Set up pages dedicated to products on offer, new products, pre-orders (i.e. upcoming products) using the product status and product types drop-downs in Page Manager > Store Content.||23/12/17|
|Add live chat to the site||Answer questions in real-time to help buyers make a decision or overcome any questions or difficulties they have. We use the free live chat service from tawk.to.||23/12/17|
|Offer guest checkout||Use guest checkout to allow for faster purchases.||23/12/17|
|Offer postcode lookup||Incorporate postcode lookup into your checkout process to speed up address entry and increase accuracy.||23/12/17|
|Offer at least 2 ways to pay & make one of them Paypal Express||Give the buyer a choice of ways to pay, with one typically being Paypal and the other a recognised payment service provider such as Sage Pay (UK) or Authorize.net (US).|
Tip: Paypal Express reduces time in the checkout process by using the address details help on the user's Paypal account. Read more on How to set up Paypal Express.
|Collect product reviews on your site or use an external service for increased social trust|
Include Expert Answers on your pages
|Collect and display product reviews on your own site using Email Tasks and on the product page. This engenders trust when reviews are positive. Full setup and administration details are here.|
Collect independent reviews for your company and products advertised via PLA's using online review service Reviews.co.uk. Contact us for more information and preferential pricing.
Implement an expert Q&A section on your pages, such as this one from Reviews.co.uk
|Add staff reviews and recommendations||Use the Product Reviews program to enter staff reviews to newly added products and optionally feature them on the site too. Read more about reviews entered on your site here (scroll to bottom re Staff Reviews)||23/12/17|
|Learn from reviews||Reviews are a valuable source of feedback. Read through your reviews on a regular basis and identify improvements you can make to your products, information, service or website. Also, read through competitor's reviews and learn what their customers like or dislike about them and use this to improve your offering.||23/12/17|
|Learn from the Thanks page feedback||After making a purchase, buyers are redirected to a thanks page (set up in Page Manager) with a standard feedback form which is sent to the site admin via email. Learn from this feedback provided by buyers.|
Tip: Consider offering a further incentive on the thanks page to encourage them to repeat order and share a coupon code with friends and family.
Tip: Change this form to catch other data useful to your business but keep the form short to avoid abandonment. You could replace it with a custom form made in Form Builder which also keeps each response in the Form Builder database for future referral.
|Set up a splash page in the checkout process ||A splash page is a modal window that can appear in the checkout process, just before the one-page checkout. It can be used to display extra, generic information including hints such as how much they need to spend to get free delivery, a coupon code in play or even to say that you are on holiday and orders will not be despatched quickly. Read how to set up a splash page.||23/12/17|
|Send out abandoned cart follow up emails||Automatically email visitors who abandon their purchase with a well-drafted abandoned cart email which you can set up in Email tasks.||23/12/17|
|Call buyers who abandoned the checkout process but have registered||Look at all the incomplete orders via Order Manager and call back people who registered their contact details but didn't complete the process, especially those who abandoned at the Payment Processing stage.||23/12/17|
|Identify large transactions placed historically and encourage repeat ordering||Check historically for large orders that have not been repeated, or a buyer has stopped buying from you altogether, and contact the buyer to re-engage them. Use Prospect Manager to record your sales prospecting, send quotes, track when emails are opened and more. Run the Users Making Purchases report to identify your top customers.||23/12/17|
|Identify product movers and shakers ||Check which products are selling better or worse than in previous periods and identify what the reasons are behind this so you can take corrective action for example, going out of stock or over/under-pricing. Run the Top Products Report and Brand Category Report.||23/12/17|
|Prompt buyers to re-order replenishable products||If you sell products that run out quickly and need to be re-ordered again, such as dog food or ink cartridges, you can email buyers after a set number of days to re-order their products with the provided links using Email Tasks.||23/12/17|
|Send post-purchase emails tailored to different products||Send automated emails to buyers specific to the products they have purchased, for example cross-selling related products, sending information on warranty / technical / care & handling / support information / pre-ordered items. Set this up using Purchase Events.|
Remember: Repeat purchases and abandoned carts can be re-initiated when a registered user logs in to the site, something worth pointing out on the site or in emails.
|Hold onto shopping cart details for longer once the buyer has abandoned their cart and left the site||Cookies are now stored for 30 days so that when someone returns to the site within that time their shopping cart will still have their items in it making it easier for them to proceed with their order.||23/12/17|
|Implement a pricing and promotion strategy that rewards and encourages shoppers||Most purchases made online are price-sensitive, so you need to adopt a pricing and promotion strategy to help conversion:||23/12/17|
|Run 2-step Sale Price Reductions||When running sales promotions, split the savings on offer into two separate reductions with a time gap between them. This gives you two genuine campaigns to tempt shoppers to buy. For example:||5/1/18|
|Send out coupons and mini-catalogues with your parcels||Shipping product is a great time to include some marketing material relevant to the seasonal trend, top sellers, other products that go well with what you're shipping or generic accessories. Produce a flyer or mini-catalogue to list these. Set up a coupon code and include several printed copies to tempt the buyer back or for them to share with their family and friends, local hobby clubs or at the school gate.|
Tip: You can auto-apply coupons in the checkout process without the user having to enter the code.
|Sell gift vouchers||Sell gift vouchers which can then be used on the site.||23/12/17|
|Send marketing emails ||Use Email Manager to send out regular campaigns, sending via Mailgun for better deliverability rates and IP reputation protection.||23/12/17|
|Sell via affiliates and referrers||Set up an affiliate and/or referral scheme and reach out to bloggers / influencers and referrers (such as clubs, schools, retailers stocking your products) to get them to recommend your products and receive a commission.||23/12/17|
|Post out to social media and monitor mentions||Automatically post new products and blogs out to your social media accounts set up via Connect. Use Social Media Console to schedule posts, such as Friday Deals, and to monitor and reply to mentions plus Marketing Console to analyse revenues.||23/12/17|
|Blog regularly and invite guest bloggers to write for you||Add a blog to your site and stay engaged with your customers and target audience by blogging regularly (but make sure to keep it up! It can be about your business, new and popular product lines, product development, a cool / unusual use of your product by someone, or a new case study or important testimonial you've received. You can also write search-optimised posts commenting on wider industry issues and events, How-to and 7-ways-to style articles which solve common issues out there etc.|
Use the guest blogging feature to invite influencers to write for you too. Set up is explained in the second part of this article.
|Add Google Translate to your site||If you're receiving a substantial number of visits from other countries, add Google Translate to your site using the code they provide here.||5/1/18|
|Display the green padlock to show your site is secure||Make sure your site is running on HTTPS to give buyers the confidence that you handle their data securely. Ensure all your pages are free of mixed content issues using our industry leading tools on HTTPSChecker.net.||23/12/17|
|Reassure visitors with a strong About Us page and logos / accreditations||Create or improve your About Us page to reflect the quality of your organisation, show the people who work there, display your accreditations and what your passion or vision is for your business.|
Tip: Consider adding a Why Us page and list out why people buy from you with supporting case studies or quotes from happy customers.
|Add a store locator to your site||If you have physical location(s) where customers can buy goods, set up a store locator page on your site to help them find the nearest one and get directions.||23/12/17|
|Set up a tripwire on your site||This is a clever way to get visitors to make a purchase by giving them a low-cost, but desirable item for free, they just pay the shipping. Example free items could be a product sample, t-shirts (which then advertise your business when worn) or a cool gadget. You can of course offer highly desirable but higher value items at prices people will know is a bargain as well.|
This gets the money flowing and builds trust and allows you to market higher priced products to them via email using Purchase Events which can send them a specific email once this product is ordered and could offer a further coupon / preferential pricing or some type of special treatment that a regular customer doesn't get. They will also be on your email list if they have opted-in.
Tip: Set your trip wire up for a limited period or as a limited offer which is stock controlled. This way you can run it for a short period to see whether it pulls in other sales and pays for itself. After all, the objective is to use this loss-leader to make money overall.
|Catch visitors about to exit your site without buying||Display a pop-up message when visitors are about to navigate away or close the browser tab using 3rd party services like OptiMonk and OptinMonster. You could offer them a coupon for free shipping for example. Note: We know pop-ups can be annoying, so this is a personal choice you need to make considering the overall user experience you want on the site. Check your script installation hasn't caused any site issues (see Check for website errors later).||23/12/17|
|Analyse why visitors don't complete your contact forms||Experiment with longer forms such as applications to become trade customers, to register as an invoice-only account, asking for business information for downloads etc. Analyse what's happening during form-filling using Google Analytics event tracking or dedicated tools like Formisimo.|
Tip: If using a paid service, just use it for a month to get your form optimised then cancel. Check your script installation hasn't caused any site issues (see Check for website errors later).
|Check for website errors||Regularly check in Search Console for reported issues, changes in indexed pages and take the necessary corrective actions.|
Tip: 404 errors relate to pages in the Google index that no longer exist on your website. This might be because you deleted a page which is fine, or that you moved a page or changed it's title/URL in which case you need to set up a redirect to the new page.
Tip: Adding external scripts to your site for 3rd party services? Make sure you inspect your site afterwards using the browser console to ensure no errors have been introduced and test the checkout process still works properly.
Note: Adding scripts and fixing issues that requires our help is charged at normal hourly rates.
|Run targeted marketing campaigns and measure the cost and returns||Put your effort into marketing that is well-managed by skilled and experienced staff and makes a good return. In digital marketing this usually means Adwords campaigns including: text ads, display ads, PLA's, remarketing and dynamic remarketing. Each of these different types addresses a different part of the sales funnel process and can be tuned to optimise performance.|
Subscribe to the marketing service to activate the Google Product Feed to send data to Google Merchant Centre for PLA's and access to the Marketing Console to analyse traffic sources. Contact us for a quote.
Use Marketing Console to analyse traffic sources generating revenue and run the Revenue Sources Report.
|Keep a close eye on on your competitors, their pricing and marketing strategies||Check their pricing against yours for under- and as well as over-pricing issues. Apply to use our app|
Subscribe to their email bulletins so you get to see all their offers
Check their websites regularly for deals and promotions
Check any deals they are putting out on voucher sites like Voucher Codes.
Subscribe to print magazines and check promotions, especially how they have been written.
Copy the techniques that marketers, who have been testing for decades, have developed
Tip: Copy direct-response advertisers. The internet may be new, but your visitors aren’t. For about 100 years, direct-response advertisers have been running A/B tests to find out what works. It’s easy to spot their ads in magazines, newspapers, and direct mail—they have tracking codes and coupons in the bottom corner.
|Monitor brand popularity, ads and promos||Keep a close eye on the brands you sell because their activities and popularity directly affect your sales:||5/1/18|
|Run monthly reports, review progress and adapt your campaigns and strategies||Compile reports each month that show essential Key Performance Indicators such as visitor volumes, geographic interest (for international retailers), sales by channel, order profitability, conversion rate by channel and device, funnel analysis and drop off rates, Revenue Sources, Top Product pages, Users Awaiting Stock, Most Wished For Products amongst others in the Reports section and Google Analytics, plus external factors that can affect performance such as search demand, industry or retail downturns or growth, foreign currency fluctuations (for international traders) and competitor activities and pricing.|
Essential reading: 7-step Guide To Measuring & Improving Your Marketing, Sales & Conversions
|Check Merchant Centre Daily||If you are advertising using Product Listing Ads (PLA's) make sure you check and record the status of your feed in Google Merchant Centre (or it's equivalent on other search engines or advertising platforms). This will ensure you identify any issues preventing you from getting your products listed.||5/1/18|
Want to add something else to this list? Let us know!
Note: Some features listed are only available in REC+ or to Marketing subscribers. Contact sales for assistance if you cannot see some of the features in your Admin Console.