May 12, 2009

New Chart: New Ecommerce Research – Website Tactics that Boost Conversion

SUMMARY: This just in from our recent Ecommerce Benchmark Report. Many of the ways of positively affecting conversion, customer return and shopping cart size fall into two camps; information and technology. The good news is that many of the tactics revolving around the former aren’t expensive to implement at least in raw dollars. In general, we find that some of the most basic elements of marketing are still the most important – product copy, brand trust and creating an environment where logically associated products are offered.
New Ecommerce Research: Website Tactics that Boost Conversion

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Let’s take a look at the top two performers:

Perpetual shopping carts: these come in a variety of ‘flavors’ and not all are created equal. The data is limited, but it appears that carts which ‘ride along’ with the shopper as they move through the site have a significant impact on conversion. This varies by the type of perpetual cart. Some simply show a dollar total that changes dynamically with purchases, while others may show some or all of the following; product details, thumbnail images, estimated shipping costs and recommended accessories/related products. While 38% of our sample employ some version of the perpetual cart, the vast majority fall into the simpler category, which has a positive but lesser effect than the enhanced versions.

Optimizing internal search results: this tactic is better suited for some sites and niches than others. Site design and navigation have an effect on the degree to which internal search is used. Any ecommerce marketer can quickly discover whether this should be an area of focus. If it is, the way in which results are optimized should be tested.
Some options to test:

• Last in-first out is a strategy to move older inventory for those who maintain stock.
• Top sellers are those products which historically sell best in a given category.
• Hot products are those which are currently moving at the best clip. These can change quickly based on unpredictable factors like articles in the press or social media waves, so this choice is best applied by companies with the technical capacity to automate the process.
• Best margin products have an obvious appeal, but the total conversion and sales should be considered. Often the best margins belong to products that don’t sell as quickly as those at the other end of the spectrum.
• Top rated products have been endorsed by site visitors through a review or rating function. The implied quality and trust of the ‘cloud’ can ease the selling process and minimize abandonment.
• Most likely to generate associated sales – certain products are better than others in generated associated sales because the nature of the product or the other offerings from the manufacturer encourage them. An electronics site may find that one MP3 player generates more purchases of headphones, sleeves, chargers and the like than another.

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