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Published: 06 December 2013

We guide brands to identify a clear digital path to reach more customers but what about the ones you already have? ‘Conversion Optimisation’ is a new science but often easily achieved and can be far more commercially rewarding then trying to find new audiences.

Here’s our top 10 digital ways to reduce the friction in converting customers.

Think mobile first and desktop second. Our findings show businesses now get approximately a third of their website traffic through mobile devices compared to around only 8% two years ago. Sagittarius estimates that many more sites will be receiving over half of their traffic from a mobile device in the next 12 months.[1] A key driver for this uplift is website design. Brands are becoming more aware of the need for responsive websites – these cleverly detect the type of screen or device being used and change accordingly. If your customers buy online, they will expect a seamless, user friendly mobile experience. In fact, 68% people use their smartphone for email, 26% for shopping.[2] Some brands report a 40% uplift in conversion on emailers that are mobile optimised.

£7.5 billion was spent through mobile devices in 2012.[3] Easy payment methods can make a big difference to purchasing online. Amazon’s one-click payment method has played a significant role in their online success and they have recently introduced the ability to embed this feature in your own website. Both Amazon and PayPal are designed to make online purchases incredibly simple. Their methods save customers’ card details and delivery addresses so they only have to enter it once. This method is even more valuable on mobile as consumers don’t want to waste time re-entering personal details. Globally there are also a lot of new market entries. V.me (https://uk.v.me) and Klarna (http://www.klarna.com) both offer exciting new possibilites.

Whilst there are infinite ways to improve the navigation on your site, the usability and interactivity of your search tools could be more important. How can your search tools be more interactive? What sort of filters will help a user get to what they are looking for as quickly as possible? Consider how you might help improve overall site engagement with ‘how to’ articles or video to help them be reassured in their buying decision. A highly usable website with good landing pages is very likely to help optimise it for search engines too.

Personal Experience

If you were a shopkeeper in a high street store you would begin to recognise regular customers and treat them differently and remember what they bought last time they came in. Great brands use ‘data’ to understand what makes a customer ‘click’ and buy their product online. There is no point trying to sell them something they don’t want. What information do you know about the user on your site that you could harness to improve their experience? Do you know what they searched for on Google before they came to your site? Have they been to your site before and if so what do you know about them from last time? Have they registered and offered more info that you can use? Knowing this type of detail and then changing what the customer sees and the offers you present will improve your conversion rates and increase sales.

They say it’s far easier to sell to an existing customer than find a new one. So do you apply that to the online experience you offer your customers? Remarketing lets you show ads to users who've previously visited your website as they browse the Internet. So, how can you use Google re-marketing to entice them back to your site? You could tag pages that correspond to certain categories/products you want to promote. For example, you could add a “Shirt” tag on all of the pages where you sell clothing. You could consider emailing them an incentive to come back to an abandoned basket. Can you sell them something else the day after they receive the current purchase? These personalised triggers provide opportunities to attract more customers.

Email marketing is often used in a 'one-size-fits all' approach and then these marketing emails become background noise. Whereas when you receive something that is relevant to you you are far more interested and likely to read it. Try to use ‘big data’ and knowledge about your customers’ website activity and track their previous purchase history. Then segment your database and make sure all your communications are relevant to them. Consider how you might cross-sell or up-sell to a previous customer. e.g. Offer a free trial of a new service similar to a previous purchase.

Social media is arguably not a direct-response channel. It’s a way to build a community and learn about your clients and potential clients. By interacting with your audience you’ll understand them better and build brand loyalty. 83% of consumers exposed to social media would trial a brand’s product.[4] Before the internet we would often ask friends to recommends a good supplier, product or service. So when a someone ‘Likes’ something on Facebook on average approx 160 of their friends see this too - this is far better than advertising and at the moment costs nothing. Do it right and you'll turn 'like' in to 'love' and then you will sell more.

Added Value
Once you and your competitors have cut the entire margin and reduced the sale price as far as it will go, you now have to add 'service' back in. So what 'added value' can you offer that will make a user want to keep coming back for more? The site might be easier to use in the first place but can it be coupled with related information or made easier to re-purchase? Provide free content, offer a free download of an eBook or tips and advice on how to use your products. Send them a thank you after the even. Better still offer them some sort of reward if they use you again.

Do you know if the content on your website or email ‘connects’ with your target audience? For example, test the design of your product page by using bigger buy buttons or larger pictures and see if it improves click through rates and purchases. If it’s risky, you needn't do it for all users or even half of them. You could just do it for 10% of users. All this is possible with free tools from Google for example. Make that content count by testing; it could boost your bottom line.

Understand and React
Put the effort in to analyse your ideal customer. Interpret what your users are doing and how they are reacting to your site; too few brands do this. If you were a shopkeeper and you could see that people kept coming up to your front window but never walking in, wouldn’t you think about changing what was on display in the window? Equally if customers kept asking you where to find something in your store, you might improve the signage. A little effort will reap financial rewards and reduce the friction on that path to profitable success.


1. The 3rd and 8% come from data collected about sites that we run for scores of National and International clients.
2. http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/62252-10-interesting-digital-marketing-stats-we-ve-seen-this-week-37
3. http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/62252-10-interesting-digital-marketing-stats-we-ve-seen-this-week-37
4. http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/63016-10-interesting-digital-marketing-stats-we-ve-seen-this-week-55

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