Since it’s that time of the year, we thought we’d take a light-hearted look at some of the common traps that can scare customers away and kill your website’s conversion rates. But follow our tips, and you’ll avoid the horrifying mistakes and breathe new life into your website’s ROI as the holiday season approaches.
While traffic volume and conversions are important, the primary goal of any website should be ROI – that’s what’s going to have the biggest impact on your bottom line. To influence that, there are some key questions you need to ask. How many visitors are staying to purchase? Of those that leave, at what point do they exit and what are their motivations for leaving? And, most importantly of all, what can be done to maximize purchases, grow basket size and encourage repeat business?
Answering these questions involves a multitude of factors and a lot of time. In fact, it can be a real nightmare for any business. But technology can make all the difference. Advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) are helping e-commerce sites of all sizes steal a march on their competitors, by increasing the speed and efficiency of optimization efforts. Like everything in life, doing better is all about learning, and if you can get technology to do that for you, you can get on with concentrating on running your business.
Abandon all hope, ye who enter here
One thing that’s sure to scare visitors off is by making their journey difficult and confusing. A website that’s difficult to navigate can be like entering finding your way round a haunted mansion – you simply have no idea what terror awaits around the next corner. The more user-friendly you can make your website, the more people will want to stay and the further they’ll progress along the sales journey. Make sure pages load quickly across all devices and browsers and use funnel visualization reports with your Analytics reporting to see where visitors are abandoning the journey. Otherwise, you might as well put a ‘turn back now’ sign on your homepage.
Be afraid of the dark
We assume that you already have a good idea of what your conversion rates are. If you’re in the dark, you should be afraid… very afraid. Hopefully, you also have a general idea of the factors influencing the success of your site. However, stay alert to pitfalls. Make web analytics your guiding light here. After all, if you don’t pay attention to metrics, how can you get any better? Google Analytics, Woopra, Clicky, Piwick – all these can help keep the most common demons that haunt websites at bay. If you don’t understand what factors influence conversion rates, your business is as good as dead.
The magic spell for success? Know your business
Don’t forget, conversion rate isn’t the only key metric. Sell fewer items at a higher price and your conversion rates might drop, but your profit margins can go up. So always look at conversion as part of your wider business metrics and understand how your online sales fit into your overall strategy.
Simply focusing on CRO (conversion rate optimization) isn’t enough. Look at the wider picture and take a holistic view of the business. That way you should avoid the unexpected. Your website isn’t just there to convert; it’s there to enhance your entire business, from brand awareness to learning more about your customers. In a similar way to how vampires are obsessed with blood, we mere mortals tend to focus on the sale and neglect the finer details.
Fortunately, technology doesn’t use this emotive behavior and can secure insights we’d otherwise miss. That’s not to say you should become less human, or go over to the dark side. People buy based on an emotional response, and you’re needed to balance things out. It’s your job to ensure that cold technology doesn’t take over the planet, as human ability to interpret results and hypothesize conversion-boosting tactics is an essential ingredient, alongside the super-powered ability offered by analytics and split testing software to process huge swathes of data.
The torture never stops
Just like running a business, getting your website to perform is an ongoing process. Just because you’re getting great results today doesn’t mean you will tomorrow. Stop trying, and the ghosts of past mistakes could come back to haunt you. All the variables that make your website perform so well right now change daily: economic factors, shopping trends, seasonal fluctuations, the unknown and the supernatural (maybe not the last one) will come conspire to affect how well you do.
One of the advantages of Sentient Ascend’s AI-powered split testing engine compared to traditional A/B testing software, is that it uses evolutionary algorithms to try out almost unlimited numbers of combinations, delving into the unknown to find the elements that work well together to move towards optimal designs much faster. Time spent not testing is time wasted, but so long as you keep the ideas flowing through the top of the funnel, then Ascend can always be testing and always looking for those hidden gems to keep improving your conversion rates.
Keep analyzing, keep testing, keep refining, keep an eye on the analytics and never let the unknown sneak up on you. Who knows? Along the way, you might discover a way to defeat evil and improve your business model simultaneously.
Run away and hide!
If all this looks a bit daunting, you’re probably right. But running a business can be an incessant battle against evil. When things get too much, your first reaction can be to run away, but that’s exactly when you need to reach into the toolbox and bring out the big guns to meet the challenges head-on. The good news is you don’t need a silver bullet or a wooden stake to transform a terrifying scenario of falling website stats into a wicked opportunity.
An efficient and well-oiled CRO program can be your deadliest weapon in your effort to slaughter bounce rates and stop your site leaking money. Effectively testing different designs, layouts, journey flows, and content can help protect you from the unknown and really drill down into what works for your customers.
The more you test, the more you’ll learn and the quicker you’ll find improvements. Sentient Ascend’s ability to intelligently ‘learn’ with each test can propel your CRO efforts forward at a faster rate than ever before, helping the entire decision-making process. As a result, you can take the action you need, when you need, to get the results you want to see. And that can make a huge difference when it comes to conversions, sales and profits. So, who you gonna call?