Last year, ecommerce accounted for 10 percent of retail sales in the U.S., according to Statista. By 2021, it’s expected to rise to nearly 14 percent.
More and more, U.S. shoppers are turning to the internet to make their purchases. An optimized ecommerce site is your opportunity to get as much of the market share as you can.
At this point, you’ve no doubt optimized your landing pages, product pages, and CTAs with clear, actionable copy. You’ve gotten rid of distractions and you’ve made your checkout process clear and easy.
What we’re going to talk about in this article are the other levers you can pull to maximize your ecommerce traffic. Incentives, coupons, live chat, and personalization are just a few of the tools that can help keep visitors on your site and turn them into customers (even repeat customers).
Let’s work our way through the buyer journey and talk about maximizing your web traffic at each stage.
The awareness stage is full of opportunities to nurture visitors and keep them interested in your site. There are actions you can take on your content pages and your product pages to turn visits into conversions.
Tactics for Content Pages
At the awareness stage, your visitors have most likely found you through your SEO-optimized content. They may have also found you through paid posts or Google Adwords.
Whatever path they took to find you, they’re now exploring your site for the first time. They may be reading an article on your blog that matches their search. If they searched for a particular product and you sell it, they’re now looking at your product page. They may even navigate to your about page.
1. Chat bot or live chat
Wherever they are, there should be a chat bot or live chat window ready for their questions. You should include the option to chat on any pages that attract organic or paid traffic.
SEMRush offers chat through Zendesk to answer questions on every page, from the homepage to the pricing page.
If you are a B2B ecommerce site, add an option for visitors to set up a call with a sales rep.
2. Include incentives and giveaways
This is also an opportunity to offer incentives and giveaways, and invite visitors to sign up for your newsletter.
Hubspot throws all of these things at you as you browse their blog. They want your business, so they give you a variety of options to further engage with them.
For example, halfway down a blog post, a little pop-up offers you a free 100-day plan for new marketers. All you have to do is give them your email address!
Keeps scrolling, and they include an interstitial that invites you to sign up for their newsletter. And notice how they leverage people’s desire to be part of the “in-crowd” to get you to sign up: Join 215,000 fellow marketers. (More on exclusivity later)
At the end of the post, they give you another opportunity to download their guide and get into their sales funnel.
Hubspot offers a bunch of these free tools, tailored to the topic of content you’re reading.
None of these tactics sell products directly, but they pull people further down the buyer’s journey. They will also build trust with your visitors and keep your brand top of mind.
Tactics for Product Pages
Your product pages should have chat and email options, just like your content pages. If a visitor is going to have questions, they’re most likely going to have them while they consider your products.
Product pages are also an opportunity to cross-sell products. At this stage of the buyer’s journey, you won’t know much about your visitors’ buying habits or preferences. They’ve probably only looked at a couple of pages.
But you can offer products that are similar to the one they’re viewing.
If you’ve ever been on Amazon, you know exactly what I’m talking about. But other ecommerce sites have taken a page from their book, too.
I took a look at sunscreens on CVS recently. You’ll see at the bottom of the page they gave me a list of other options in their “You Might Also Like” section. Underneath each product is a handy “Add to Cart” button.
At the interest stage, visitors are delving deeper into your site. They’re exploring your products further and looking at reviews.
This is a great time to entice them with special offers. Drop in some coupon offers as they browse to help them make that important conversion decision.
Most B2C ecommerce sites regularly offer coupons to reel visitors in. They usually appear on the homepage and throughout the buyer journey.
Yankee Candle, for example, is currently advertising a buy-two-get-two free offer.
These days, though, many B2C ecommerce sites have a new coupon or sale every week. If your visitors know that, they may just wait to see when they can get the best deal before they buy.
It’s worth testing your coupon frequency to strike a balance between drawing visitors in and creating coupon blindness.
The interest stage is also a great place to use a little psychology to convert your visitors.
First, draw them in with the opportunity to be part of an exclusive club. People love being part of the in-crowd, getting offers and information available only to an elite few.
And plenty of ecommerce sites are using that to their advantage. Take wholesale clubs, for example. Membership is required to even get through the door (or on the site).
BJ’s wholesale club takes it to another level by offering different kinds of memberships for different kinds of perks. They even call one “the inner circle” membership.
And, of course, there’s Amazon Prime. Being a member of this club is the ultimate in exclusivity. You get free two-day shipping, deals and coupons, and even online content that’s otherwise locked.
You could also consider offering products in small batches, or for a limited time. Consumers are often compelled by the fear of missing out (FOMO) to buy something.
FOMO is a powerful psychological phenomenon. And, according to Paste Magazine, the Internet has made it more widespread in the last 20 years.
Home shopping channels mastered this technique decades ago, displaying a countdown clock, emphasizing how few of a particular item is left, and interviewing satisfied customers. They wanted to create a sense of urgency with their products: buy it now or miss out being happy like everyone else.
Today, companies like Lululemon use limited supplies to urge people to buy. In fact, Lululemon almost never has a sale. They don’t need to.
Etsy does the same thing. Notice the little hourglass icon on the product page for this swaddle blanket. There’s only one left! Better hurry!
And have you noticed how popular the term small batch has become? It suggests quality and exclusivity in limited numbers.
At the evaluation stage, your visitors are comparing you to your competitors. They may have already put some products into their cart, but haven’t bought them yet.
If that’s the case, consider using a chat bot to ask your visitor if they need help or if they have questions. If they navigate away from their cart, include an interstitial with a gentle reminder that they still have products in their cart and ask if they are sure they want to leave the page.
They’re also looking at your reviews before they buy. After all, according to BrightLocal, visitors look at an average of 10 reviews before they feel good about purchasing something.
Including customer testimonials on your pricing and purchase pages could allay your visitor’s skepticism and gently nudge them toward a purchase.
On purchase pages, list out very clearly what a visitor will get if they buy. This is particularly important with memberships and subscriptions.
The New York Times very clearly lists out all the benefits of their basic subscription, which is highlighted at the top of their subscription page.
For the very low price of $2 a week, you get unlimited articles and subscriber exclusives. (Notice how they list the price. Two dollars a week doesn’t sound like very much money, does it?)
The Times also uses their subscription page to do some serious upselling, too. If you scroll down, you can see all of their subscription plans.
Here is their All Access Subscription plan, which gives you unlimited articles, NYT Cooking and the Crossword. And it’s only $1.13 more per week than the basic subscription.
Make sure visitors can compare your subscriptions or products to see all the benefits of spending just a little more money.
Even if they don’t go for the higher-priced subscription, that doesn’t mean The Times has failed. Putting a more expensive option next to a less expensive one can increase sales of the lower-price product.
This is also a good opportunity to include live chat. When visitors can ask questions before they make a purchase, they are 38 percent more likely to buy, according to Neil Patel.
At this stage, you know your visitor is going to pull the trigger on a purchase. Now is the time to try to upsell them.
Do you have a next-level model of the product they’re buying? Maybe a more extensive service plan? Take this opportunity to put it in front of your visitor.
Help them compare prices and benefits. Show them that upgrading is worth a little extra money.
You can also bundle products together.
Amazon is famous for that. They bundle products to add to your cart all at once, or customize.
Once someone has pressed that checkout button and made a purchase, that’s the end! There’s nothing left to do, right?
The purchase confirmation page is the perfect spot to show your users products that other customers bought, or provide recommendations based on what they just purchased.
In fact, you should be showing customers recommendations anywhere they may browse after making a purchase.
I made a purchase on Target yesterday. When I went in to track my order, this showed up at the bottom of my shipment information:
Any opportunity to put more products in front of your customers could turn them into repeat customers. After all, repeat customers are much easier to sell to, and they spend 300 percent more than new customers.
A Word About Personalization
At every stage, personalization can help you get your visitors to convert.
Deloitte found that people are looking for personalized recommendations, coupons, customer service, and products. And a Salesforce survey of 7,000 people, found that 57 percent were willing to give away personal data in exchange for personalized offers and coupons.
In the awareness stage, this may include using geolocation to offer products that have been historically popular in a visitor’s area.
Home Depot asks for a visitor’s zip code to show the closest brick-and-mortar store and its inventory.
At the interest and evaluation stages, emails with personalized offers and coupons or newsletters that contain articles of interest to a visitor are a good idea.
As you saw in the examples above, the commitment and purchase stages are a good opportunity to show other products based on search and purchase history.
Making the most out of every visitor to your ecommerce site means following them through the buyer’s journey and watching carefully what they do. Pull the right levers at the right time and you could increase your sales through your site.
Need help analyzing your visitors’ behavior? Check out Crazy Egg’s site assessment tools!
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