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How to Drive Ecommerce Revenues by Reducing Friction.
Firstly, I’ll begin with this - if you make the path to conversion easier and more seamless, you can increase your ecommerce revenues.
One of the biggest questions we get asked by brands is ‘how can I increase my website’s revenue?’ Most companies believe the way to achieve this is by driving more traffic through to your website in the hope that this will boost conversions.
In reality, the real problem here is that if there are 100 users visiting your website and only 1 of these is converting, the issue is not around traffic but instead the user experience itself and why are more of the people that you already have visiting the website not converting?. Increasing traffic is a short-term, quick win but what you really need to do is refine your marketing strategy to retarget visitors, add value, deliver better onsite experiences and get more of the people you already have in your sales funnel to convert.
This means your marketing funnel should look a little like this:
So what marketing channels can be used to achieve this?
Retargeting is a key element to any marketing strategy and is the perfect way to re-engage an audience that has the habit of abandoning items in their basket. You can use retargeting methods to get people back to your site and back into the purchasing funnel by displaying third party, social media adverts and ‘did you forget something’ emails. Brands also use this method to attract visitors using discount codes with 54% of buyers more likely to purchase when offered a discount.
On the other hand, ensuring that your website itself has a good, well-functioning search option should be a key feature of your site to reduce the friction for users who already know what they’re looking for. Products such as SOLR which offers basic search functionality such as ‘did you mean’ queries, predictive search, priority and weighted results and exclusion of certain pages. However, if you’re after a product that will take you to that will take you to the next level something such as Coveo which includes AI, ML and personalisation functionality is the product for you.
AI Powered Search
As mentioned above, AI-powered search, delivered by technologies such as Coveo deliver the most relevant search results to your website visitors, from a number of possible content sources across your business and marketing landscape from within your CMS and also referencing external sources. AI-powered search can automatically learn from each individual search query and then goes on to use that information gathered to deliver relevant to the search instead of just a list of results.
With advances in the last 12 months of AI and ML technologies in digital, it's now possible to smooth the path to purchase and even customer services with online chatbot functionality. Whether to help with product selection, discuss product return information or opening times of stores or depots, chatbots can be used to assist the buyer across your website and again, ultimately deliver a better digital experience.
The first step in reducing the online buying friction is creating an ‘easy checkout’ for visitors. Give them a choice between signing in/registering and guest checkout options, some users might not want to create an account and sign up to your brands marketing to make their purchase and this will stop the first level of visitors from dropping out.
Clear & Simple Navigation
When users reach their checkout screen they should be greeted by their items, checkout options and a simplified navigation to keep distractions to a minimum.
Purchase Process Indicators
Progress indicators are also a good way to give visitors an idea of how many steps are required to complete purchase. You should also make sure all costs are shown upfront ahead of checkout as 28% of online shoppers are more likely to abandon their basket if there’s hidden shipping costs.
In 2017 it was reported that brands that included PayPal checkout on their website had a 70% higher checkout rate than those that didn’t so it’s a good idea to include existing 3rd payment options where possible on your ecommerce website to add extra reassurance of payment gateway authenticity for your users.
Embrace Returning Customers
For returning visitors you should give them the option to remember login details as well as address and payment information to make this process as slick as possible, as after all, it's always easier to sell to existing customers than to go out and find new ones! ‘One-click’ payments such as Apple Pay or Google Pay are also great ways of de-complicating this process.
Personalisation & Contextual Marketing
You can improve the user experience of your website by incorporating personalisation features which will in turn, increase your conversion rates. This is because personalisation, although only part of the solution, helps you surface relevant contextual marketing messages, content and calls to action at each stage of the sales process so that you can refine the sales process, give the visitor a more personal experience and really try and sell them what they are interested in buying.
Being able to deliver relevant results through search engine results is essential. If someone is searching Google for a specific item i.e. ‘temporary site fencing’ or parquet flooring tiles your website needs to be showing in the first few results for those specific search terms and if you don’t have an exact match… the next best thing. You, therefore, need to ensure that the products that you are selling on your website have the right schema defined and are being indexed by the search world in the correct way. In 2017 ecommerce sites saw 43% of all their traffic came from organic Google searches.
As you can see from the above, there is not one silver bullet to success but ensuring you reduce the friction and make the path to purchase smoother will for sure increase ecommerce revenues from digital. Its a number of things that all need to be working harmoniously in sync to deliver great digital brand experiences and to also, to encourage repeat purchases.