Getting users to visit your site is all well and good, but if they're not converting then those sessions don't provide any benefit to your business. Ultimately, the only real metric an ecommerce site needs to be concerned with is sales, and if your website isn't convincing visitors to make a purchase, it might be time for a change.
One of the best ways to convert more of the traffic to your homepage is to focus more on merchandising. If you owned a retail store, you would place your merchandise in strategic positions in the windows and throughout the building in order to encourage visitors to buy something. The same principles apply online.
When someone visits your homepage, you should be enticing them with similar offers. Effective e-merchandising can help you convert visits into sales, making your online business more profitable. So how do you go about doing this? Here are a few tips that will help you:
Immediately show savings
Thomas Pinte, e-merchandising consultant at Altima, points out that the majority of e-commerce sites have two things on their homepages: a section for deals, and a seasonal section. These two options provide users with the same thing: a chance to save money. If they're visiting your site, they're almost certainly interested in your product, so this can be a powerful tool.
One of the most common barriers to making a purchase is the thought of spending too much money, so framing your products in terms of a deal or discount can help users get through this. The bigger the discount, the more enticing it is, irrelevant of the actual cost. For example, customers will rather buy a $120 item if it is 50 percent off than a $100 item at 40 percent off, even though in both cases the eventual cost is $60.
Seasonal deals add an element of urgency to this, as they are usually based either on an event that is approaching, such as Christmas, or one that will end soon, like an end-of-year sale or Cyber Monday. The fear of missing out on a good deal makes a purchase even more likely.
Personalize wherever possible
Every time you visit Amazon - or many other ecommerce sites - you're almost certainly going to come across adverts tailored to your tastes based on what you've previously bought. While this is sometimes mocked, the fact that it is so ubiquitous should give you some indication of how effective it is as a merchandising tactic.
If a brick-and-mortar store was able to rearrange its displays so that each customer saw something personalized to them, it would be a huge advantage, so don't neglect the ability to do this on your website. Personalized ads are ten times more likely to be clicked on than generic ones, so it can have a major effect.
It's a great tactic for optimizing for conversion, as it helps your customers find relevant products quickly and easily. Almost 60% of online shoppers think personalized online stores are better for finding interesting products, and 56% are more likely to return to a site if it recommends products tailored to their interests.
Show off your products
One major advantage brick-and-mortar stores have over online retailers is the ability to see exactly what you're buying before you commit to it. Being able to pick up, feel, look at and try on a product gives you a lot more information about it, removing potential barriers to making a purchase.
You can't provide this exact experience, of course, but you can do the next-best thing. The biggest online retailers make sure to show customers their products from plenty of different angles, and provide them with all the information they need. For example, a piece of clothing would be shown in all the different colors in which it's available, both on and off a model.
You can implement this on your product pages, of course, but even your homepage can be used for this. Preview images can be provided so that when a user moves their mouse pointer over an item, a larger picture of it appears. This helps entice users in, making them more likely to view items, stay on your site and eventually convert.