You should always be working to improve conversion rates and there are lots of techniques and tools you can use (some expensive, some cheap, some free) to continuously improve your online sales performance.
The first step should always be a review of your checkout process goal funnel. Most people have Google Analytics reporting, and it’s quite a useful way to visualise people dropping out of your cart.
I’m not going to go into detail about how to create a Google Goal Funnel, but if you’re keen to learn more (and you should be) then please visit this page for instructions.
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The obvious thing to look for is where people drop out of the funnel and try and prevent it from happening. So if they’re clicking on shipping detail links or product returns policy links then you might consider creating a popup window to show that info, or actually place that information on the “problem page”. Your job is to keep people in the checkout funnel at all costs. Plug the leaks!
There are lots of other free tools you can play, like Google’s useful “Website Optimiser”. It’s a bit of mucking around to set up but helpful for cheap A/B split tests and multivariate tests.
One really simple technique I’ve seen used to very “high converting effect” is emailing people if they abandon your checkout process.
Most people fill in their details during checkout, but baulk when it comes to pulling a credit card out of their wallets. Some people are so fickle. You’ll often see a higher percentage of exits from the payment page than most others.
Instruct your developer to collect and segment abandoned cart visitors and send those details to you.
Even better, ask your developer to create an auto responder – pretty easy, you just need to create some business rules and a customised email template.
Here’s an email I received when I got distracted while completing our delegate registration for SMX Sydney recently:
Thanks for taking the time to go through the registration process for SMX Sydney 2010, we noticed that you did not complete your registration.
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We hope to se you at SMX Sydney 2010.
SMX Sydney Event Team
It’s seriously great, but there are few things I’d try and improve if it was me.
1. First of all, check the spelling! “We hope to se you at SMX Sydney 2010”.
2. Try adding more incentive, such as “Complete the registration and we’ll throw in a free 4GB USB key!” (Slightly risky if word gets out).
3. Give me a link to the step in the process where I dropped out (and if I had a product in the cart, pre-populate that too so everything is just as I left it).
4. Personalise the message. I told you who I was just before I gave you my email address. It’s easy to change the email opening line from “Hi There,” to “Hi Chris,”.
5. The subject line of the email read, “Incomplete registration for SMX Sydney 2010”. When I read it I felt like I’d done something wrong. It had me secretly on the defensive from the get-go. Try changing it to something more friendly which might also improve the open rate such as, “Hi Chris, A free 4GB USB key is yours if you complete your registration for SMX Sydney 2010!” As always, test everything to find the best response rates.
The ultimate outcome isn’t a goal funnel, it’s a goal tube. You want everything that goes in the top coming out the bottom.
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Chris Thomas heads up Reseo, a search engine optimisation company which specialises in creating and maintaining Google AdWords campaigns and Search Engine Optimisation campaigns for a range of corporate clients.