If there’s one thing I obsess about on nearly every ecommerce website, it must be the conversion rate. It’s hard enough to get visitors into the buying funnel and once they start down that path you’d be surprised at how many places they can slip through the cracks, never to be seen again. The sad fact for online retailers is buyers have all sorts of hang ups during the checkout process.
Let’s seal up those cracks, grease the rails, and send them on their merry way to a sale. Below you’ll find a couple strategies I find quite helpful in converting regular visitors into loyal customers.
The Abandoned Cart Email
This is so basic, and so effective, yet so few online shops implement it correctly. The basic idea is to send an email to anyone who leaves the checkout without completing their purchase. Since I use Woocommerce on all my sites, I like to use the Recover Abandoned Cart plugin from Codecanyon.
This plugin offers plenty of configuration options and works very well. You can find it here for $28. For that price you will almost certainly make your money back in a few days if you do any decent volume. Of course there are plenty of other choices in case you don’t use Woocommerce, and in the past I liked Cartstack, which was priced right and worked great. If you use Mailchimp they also offer automation emails, and you can easily set one up there as well.
Here’s how I structure the email:
Oops, was there a problem checking out?
This subject line hooks people right away. They see the “oops” and immediately think “what could that be?” and you’ll get a great open rate for sure.
We noticed you began checking out on our site but didn’t complete your order. If you ran into any problems or have any questions, please let us know. You can reach us by phone at xxx-xxx-xxxx or email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help you out.
In the meantime we’d like to offer you a small coupon to encourage you to return. Use coupon code “10OFF” to save $10 on your order.
Most tools allow you to trigger the email at a certain delay, for example one hour after abandoning. I like to trigger it 15 minutes after however, my thought being they are already that close, why risk letting them go to a competitor? Time is money and the quicker it hits their inbox, the better your chances of saving that sale.
Another smart thing to do is set up two or three emails. Maybe you don’t offer the coupon in the first one, and pitch that in the second one instead. You can stagger the second email to send a day later with another gentle reminder to nudge them back into the checkout.
Custom Display Messages
Customers always have questions going through their mind at checkout. Are they getting a good deal? Will shipping be free? How long will it take to receive? A great way to address this is to use custom display messages which can show a dynamic message based on the cart contents, the total price, or a variety of other conditions.
Let’s use the cart contents as an example. On the LaStella Winery website they offer a special 10% discount for purchases of 12 bottles or more, but you might not know that without a custom message alerting you to the fact.
Now the customer knows they will save an extra 10% if they bump their quantity up to a full case of wine.
It’s a simple way to encourage them to buy more and save. Woothemes offers a simple plugin you can use for $49. If you don’t want to use their plugin, you could use a header bar plugin and set it up to show a certain message that appears only on the checkout/cart pages. The only downside is you won’t get the same level of flexibility in terms of showing a dynamic message based on the cart contents.
The One Page Checkout
How many of us have stared at the screen with our finger on the trigger, about to click the checkout button, before deciding to back out? It happens all the time. Don’t make your customers think too hard.
Every time you force a user to make a decision, even one as simple as clicking the “proceed” or “complete order” button, reduces your chance of seeing the final sale. If you can reduce just one step in the process you take a huge burden of thought off their shoulders, and they are one step closer to the sale.
The Exit Offer
As a last resort you may want to try this method, which relies on an intrusive popup appearing as the user tries to leave your website. I don’t personally use it, but I am sure it would work. Considering that when someone is about to abandon the checkout you might never see them again, it’s a last ditch effort that could easily bring them back into the loop. Get this plugin here for
Live Sales Feed
I love this technique, and first saw it being used on Underground Cellar. It works by showing you other customers who purchased the product in real time. It can work especially well if you have a limited quantity of items for sale or you’re running a time sensitive promotion. There’s something about seeing others buying what you want that triggers that sense of wanting, a social currency of sorts. You can buy this plugin for just $15, a bargain for sure.
There you have it. Five simple to implement strategies you can use to boost your ecommerce conversion rate and gain more sales. Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments if you have any other suggestions.