Have you ever visited an eCommerce store to buy a product only to change your mind at the last minute? The answer is almost certainly yes. Most visitors to eCommerce stores don’t buy anything. The eCommerce industry’s average conversion rate is three percent at best. For every hundred people who visit an eCommerce store, ninety-seven buy nothing.
Conversion rate optimization focuses on improving that metric. Retailers work to discover why visitors don’t buy and then make changes that remove obstacles or give visitors an incentive to make a purchase.
The most effective conversion rate optimization tactics differ from store to store because each has a distinctive brand and caters to its market with a unique mix of products. CRO techniques that work on one store may not work on others, but there are proven conversion rate optimizations that are effective on the vast majority of stores.
Simplify The Checkout
Checkouts are a necessary evil. You can’t have an eCommerce store without a checkout, but it’s also the point at which many customers abandon their purchase. Checkouts ask a lot of the customer, and any doubt or hesitation they have about buying a product is amplified when they’re faced with an unwieldy multi-page form to complete.
A fast and straightforward checkout reduces friction and lowers the barrier to making a purchase. WooCommerce’s native checkout is well-optimized, but it is possible to reduce its complexity still further with a couple of plugins.
WooCommerce One-Page Checkout displays product selection and checkout features on a single page, allowing customers to check out without navigating a series of pages. The plugin can be used to embed a one-page checkout on any page in your WooCommerce store, giving users the option to check out quickly and easily.
The Checkout Field Editor gives retailers more control over what appears on their store’s checkout forms. It adds a menu to WooCommerce which can be used to rename, remove, or edit checkout fields for a minimalist checkout experience.
Use Social Media Logins
First-time customers have an onerous task ahead of them. In addition to completing the usual checkout, they have to register, completing a set of forms with authentication, delivery, and payment details, a task that is even less appealing on mobile.
Social logins allow users to bypass that process by authenticating via a platform that already knows who they are and where they live. Retailers benefit from accurate data taken from the authentication platform — a majority of web users put inaccurate details into web forms, causing authentication and fulfillment problems. Social media logins also provide richer information than most customers are willing to enter into a form on a WooCommerce store.
The WooCommerce Social Logins extension adds login options for a large number of authentication providers, including Facebook, Google, Twitter, Amazon, PayPal, and more.
Provide Social Proof
Human beings are social animals. We look to other people to confirm that we’re making the right decision in the absence of other evidence. Customers are less likely to look positively on an empty brick-and-mortar store than a busy store with a line of people waiting to get in.
It’s harder for an eCommerce store to demonstrate the social proof that can persuade customers that their purchase is a wise decision. Online retailers rely mainly on reviews to generate social proof.
WooCommerce includes review functionality which can be activated in the “General” section of the “Products” menu. The YITH WooCommerce Advanced Reviews extension enhances WooCommerce’s built-in reviews system, displaying star-rating histograms and giving reviewers the ability to upload attachments such as images.
Further social proof can be provided by showing how many users bought a product in the past and how many are looking at it right now. The Social Proof Notifications extension integrates WooCommerce with Proof Factor, a cloud social proof platform that also includes exit intent triggers
Let Customers Talk To A Real Person
Doubt is the biggest killer of eCommerce conversions. Customers wonder if a product is right for them, if it does what they want it to, if they will be able to return it if it isn’t suitable. Reviews and well-written on-page content go some way to satisfy customer doubts, but it’s impossible to predict every issue and customers won’t hunt through large FAQ pages to find answers.
The most effective way to allay doubts is to give customers someone to talk to. There is no substitute for asking a direct question and getting an answer from someone who knows what they are talking about.
Phone sales support is an option, but it may be too expensive for retailers that don’t sell high-value items. Aspect Software, a multinational call center technology provider, estimates that the average customer phone interaction costs $35 – $50.
Instant chat is more economical than phone support and faster than email support. Sales support staff can respond to multiple queries in parallel and chats can be routed to anyone in the company, including to remote workers. There are several solutions for adding instant chat into a WooCommerce store. The LiveChat for WooCommerce extension integrates stores with the LiveChat service, which is designed for customer support and online sales.
Reach Out To Customers Who Abandon Carts
As we discussed at the top of this article, most visitors to an eCommerce store don’t make a purchase, and that includes visitors who have added products to their cart. The industry-average cart-abandonment rate is about 70%. Customers often use carts for online window shopping, reminders, or wish lists — they may never have intended to make a purchase. But that’s not the case with all abandoned carts, some of which can be “recovered.”
We wrote about how to reduce abandoned carts on WooCommerce stores in a previous article. Check it out for several solutions, including remarketing and abandoned cart emails.
Conversion rate optimization is an intricate and continuous effort to optimize a WooCommerce store with three main goals:
- Remove obstacles that might prevent a customer from making a purchase.
- Transform aspects of the store to exert a positive influence on customer’s purchase intent.
- Reduce doubt by providing the reassurance and information that customers need to be confident in their decision to buy.
In this article, we’ve tackled some low-hanging fruit to help WooCommerce retailers meet their conversion rate optimization goals. In a future article, we’ll take a deeper dive into the details of conversion rate optimization, including A/B testing for WooCommerce and more subtle optimizations.