Savvy Online Consumers Are Comparison Shopping Online Retail Sites Before Buying
eCommerce sales for the past decade has been on the constant rise, but the actual conversion rates, which is the ratio of website visits turning into actual sales or an action, is on the steady decline.
This is obviously a statistic which the online retailers don’t want to see. This trend of lower conversion rates can be pinpointed to the majority of online shoppers deciding to just “comparison” shop rather than whipping out their credit card and making a purchase.
Since 2005, the conversion rate has been around 8.5% percent on average for most eCommerce sites. The conversion rate lately has been around 3.9% percent, which is approximately a 57% percent drop depending on the market segment.
However, it’s not all “doom and gloom” for these e-commerce retailers. Despite the lower conversion rates, the actual volume of online sales has continued to significantly increase. Consumer purchases online has almost doubled across the board in the past five years.
This increase makes a lot of sense because of the fact that there’s a lot more shoppers who are adopting and thus trusting the convenience of online shopping. One concern however is that there’s also an increasing number of consumers who are just website “window shopping” as well.
Some of the possible reasons why conversion rates are dropping is because they’re doing their due diligent research on product ratings in the goods that they’re interested in by reading reviews as well as comparison shopping prices online. They are now actually going to these sites without the intent of purchasing anything.
Another reason for lower conversion rates is because of the increased use of mobile devices such as web enabled smartphones and tablet PCs. They allow for easy comparison shopping of products while they’re actually in the store or at the mall. The various social media sites also gives consumers a platform for “peer-to-peer” discussion of products as well.
How Buying Patterns Are Shifting
This recent steady decline of online conversion rates is evidence that the consumers’ purchasing habits are changing. The online shoppers are now considering their options, often visiting a few competing websites selling the same product and reading reviews in order to compare products before they decide to purchase.
Although the majority of e-commerce retailers are experiencing more traffic to their sites, the actual purchases are on the decline. So listed are a few ways on how e-retailers can improve their online conversion rates.
How To Improve Conversion Rates
Providing Better Customer Service
E-retailers need to be as accessible as possible by offering services such as live chat, instant email or phone support to connect with their consumers once they access their site.
Not having the availability to be able to instantly ask a sales clerk questions regarding a product is one big disadvantage for those who are shopping online. So providing instant customer service for online shoppers, assisting customers to find the exactly product that they’re looking for is now a necessity. Keep in mind that fewer clicks results in more conversions.
Make Your Site As Searchable As Possible
Having an efficient and accurate search function on the actual eCommerce site is becoming extremely important. If an online visitor happens to be searching for a specific product and the search directs them somewhere else to a wrong page or product, that’s one example of a lost conversion.
Also, online retailers should be monitoring which items are being searched for the most. Armed with this type of information, retailers can then feature these sought after products on their site’s landing page. They can also promote these products using social media sources or by featuring them in their newsletters.
Better Product Image Views
If you can somehow incorporate different product views or angles into your site, tests have shown that doing so can increase conversion rates. It gives the visitor the opportunity to concisely view a product from various angles and lighting, or view the different colors which are available.
This can be extremely valuable for clothing sites, especially if you can provide the consumer with the styles of clothing on various body types. This way, the consumer can then instantly relate their own body type to the examples on the site.
There’s an additional step which the e-retailers can now take by using augmented reality, which is a relatively new virtual technology that they can use on their sites.
Augmented reality allows a site visitor to virtually try on a product, such as a piece of clothing, directly through the e-commerce site by using a web cam. This technology provides a virtual solution to the biggest disadvantage when consumers are shopping online, which is the lack of a fitting room.
Getting Customer Reviews And Testimonials
Since it’s been determined that online shoppers would just rather browse through sites as well as compare products and prices rather than actually purchase them, it’s then a good idea to provide them with actual consumer reviews, ratings and testimonials of the products directly on the sites.
This can prove to be extremely valuable since consumers won’t have to leave your site to look for unbiased product reviews. A good review can persuade a consumer who’s on the fence to make an immediate purchasing decision.
Getting Customer Feedback
It’s important that you implement some type of a live interactive feedback system on your e-commerce site. Consumers will always take into consideration how others view the products or the site itself.
Feedback provides the retailer with valid “real” opinions on how informative or reliable their sites are. Whether the site is easy to navigate or if the content along with its features are easy to find and understand. With this type of information, retailers can then continue to improve their site while also attending to all of the complaints or requests as well.