When looking at your current website or considering a plan for a new website, there are many site behaviors, features, or potential visitor actions that effect conversion rates. The following checklist is a summary of features or additions that you should consider. Note that this is beyond the basic list of must-have’s for any shopping system.
- Shopping Cart Life Span: How soon does your shopping cart expire for anonymous users? More than a few shopping systems use Session variables for tracking cart items, and expire within hours, especially for users behind prozies that change IP addresses often, thus rendering the current Session invalid (think AOL). Several studies point to the fact that customers will wait as long as 4 days before deciding to buy, and if the item they were looking at is still in their shopping cart, you just saved them several steps and increased the possibility of conversion substantially.
- Solid and Flexible Product Navigation: this is a subject that could go on for ever. Our recommendation is that you look at new ways to extend product and site navigation based on current user actions and possibly experiments you run with users. If you don’t currently have a search feature, ask some users whether it would be a substantial gain to have one. Look at different ways to categorize product and build new filters. Then look at how they get used, and make further changes based on those results. You may end of up with something that not only makes it easier for your customers to find the products they are looking for, but a significant differentiation over your competition.
- Product Shots: Starting out with great product shots is always nice, but it doesn’t always happen for a variety of reasons. Think about getting or taking better pictures, as well as optimizing old and new pictures for the best display and fastest download. Batch converters get better over time, and you may find that you can keep high quality while reducing file sizes by 50% or more.
- Clear & Concise: Make sure your policies regarding Shipping, Returns, Conditions, and Terms are readily available and clear to customers. Make it easy for potential customers to do business with you by providing steps and contact point (phone, email, or online forms) for dealing with different situations (ordering offline, exchanging a products, et al).
- Clear & Concise Part 2: Product descriptions can be a wealth of information for your customers about your product. It also has the added benefit of helping you with Search Engine Optimization. New products should not necessarily get all of the copy-writing time. Consider re-working existing product descriptions that are top sellers too. Never skimp here. Hire someone if that is how it will get done.
- Advanced Product Configurations: If your products are amenable to add-ons or modifications, consider building specialized forms for those products in the product detail page. This could be a new source of revenue, and will likely increase your per-order averages.
- Product matching: in apparel, jewelry, and other specific types of product sales websites, offering a generalized “recommended products” in the lower part of the product detail page is often not enough. Consider setting up specific matches, for example, this pair of earrings goes well with that necklace. Think of it as the editorial content of the site that customers will appreciate, because you have taken the time to not only know your product, but give them direct guidance on what goes with what. If you don’t think this applies to you, think about it and see if there is something similar you can offer for your products, as it yet another way to increase per-order averages.