Streamline Your Online Store for Better Conversions

by WorkFromHome on January 26, 2012

Home businesses that sell online should take a streamlined approach to marketing. Competitive deals and bargains are everywhere, and online shoppers have no patience for slow-moving websites or content that is difficult to navigate. With a bit of intelligent foresight and reasoned planning, your online business can get more of those browsers to convert to buyers.

You can find your rightful place in ecommerce if you are willing to look at the whole picture. Just like any bricks-and-mortar business, an online store needs an attractive entrance point, easy-to find products, logical progression toward checkout, and visible and dependable customer service. All of these elements will add up to a higher percentage of visitors who will be persuaded to make a purchase or take the desired action. This is known as your conversion rate, and there are quite a few ways you can raise it up a point or two.

Consider this: The longer it takes shoppers to check out, the more chances they have to click away. The goal is to direct shoppers toward the finish line (buy button) with as few clicks as possible. If your website is sleek and streamlined, with an eye toward efficiency and reliability, you can lead customers through the sales funnel faster and experience a higher conversion rate.

Whether you are a work from home novice or a seasoned ecommerce entrepreneur, here are some ways to streamline your online store for better conversions.

Put Your Main Message Upfront
The home page of your website should be attractive and informative, but it must also be uncluttered and easy for visitors to scan. Position your main message at the top with a descriptive graphic that lets visitors know exactly what your site has to offer, but don’t try to say everything at once on your home page. Instead, make it a leaping off point for secondary messages about discount promos, special offers or social media invitations.

A few additional sections on the home page may be appropriate, but divide lesser content into “bite-size” chunks. If further information is necessary or available, link to another page with a bit of keyword-rich anchor text. Put a box around each of your lesser segments to make the home page easier to scan.

Give Shoppers Room to Browse
Leave plenty of white space around photos and content in your web design. It helps visitors browse the page quickly and find what they are looking for faster.

Cut the Flash
Although moving images can be useful and inviting for ecommerce websites, many Internet users have difficulty uploading Flash content. Flash visuals can take too long to load, and impatient users can click away before the message has time to register. To speed up your online business, eliminate or minimize the use of Flash graphics.

Install an On-site Search Box
Potential customers don’t want to wander aimlessly through your online store searching for products and promos. Make it easy for shoppers to find exactly what they want by implementing an on-site search box. If possible, opt for smart search. It makes the search process even more efficient by interpreting misspelled search phrases and making helpful suggestions.

Customer Service Should Be Outstanding
Online shoppers want to know that someone is minding the store, especially during the checkout process. Make customer service a priority by putting contact information right at the top of the home page. Provide easy methods for customers to email or speak to a representative in case of a problem or question. Offer a toll-free number and live chat services, if possible. Highly-visible and consistently reliable customer service helps to foster trust and loyalty, two essential elements that must be present for online sales to transpire.

Display Trust Marks
Persuade shoppers to continue along the sales path by displaying trust marks from recognized Internet partners. Prominently display trust seals from your payment processors, Internet security services and other secured partners. It shows the world that your business is serious about data security. Trust marks can help inspire confidence, lessen fears of fraud, and assure customers that your online business is a safe place to shop.

Clear the Path to Checkout
Detailed descriptions and customer reviews are helpful sales boosters, but keep the sales path clear of distractions that could block buyers from completing their purchases. Don’t clutter product pages with unnecessary pop-up quizzes or long data forms for customers to fill out.

Recapture Abandoned Sales
No matter how efficient and trustworthy the shopping environment may be, some buyers are destined to abandon their purchases before paying. It is possible to recapture a percentage of abandoned sales, however, by sending an auto-responder email message. Let the customer know that the cart’s contents have been saved. Extend an invitation to return soon, and offer a special promo code to sweeten the deal. That is the ultimate way to streamline your online store for better conversions.

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