Assuming you’re willing to invest some time, learn, and get your hands dirty then these tips will help you get your store’s revenue trending upwards. Let’s dive right in.
Install an “Exit Intent” lightbox
For the uninitiated these are the annoying banners that pop up (and sometimes shake) at you when you move your mouse off the top of the screen presumably to close the tab.
The technology that drives these now nearly ubiquitous pop-ups was once limited to companies with huge marketing budgets or large development teams, but now you’ll find them nearly everywhere. There are several free & open source options but for my money the best option is Oui Bounce. Even if you’re not graphically inclined a simple text based popup will give you one last shot at converting a customer before they walk out the door.
Find The Holes In Your Conversion Funnel
When you’re getting lots of visits but not very many conversions then there is usually a major problem in one or more steps of the path to ordering.
Assuming you’re running Google Analytics (and if you aren’t you should be) then you can easily track where your users are “falling out of the funnel” with this excellent extension by Fooman. Once you determine where users are leaving you can make tweaks to improve the user experience on those pages.
If customers are never making it to your cart page then you need to consider altering product page buttons, prices, and your sales banners sitewide.
If you’re losing customers on your cart page consider making your proceed to checkout button bigger, bolder & more obvious. It’s also worth considering showing confidence increasing factors such as testimonials, or site safety badges.
If you’re losing lots of customers right after they enter the checkout then you should consider skipping the login step, and making sure that your SSL certificate isn’t giving users any issues.
If you’re losing them at the billing address step then you need to ask yourself if you are asking for too much information from your customers. Do you really need a fax number, business name, or even a telephone number for the customer? Remove unnecessary fields here to avoid turning off wary customers.
If, like in the example, you’re having problems with the shipping method step then you need to consider offering additional shipping options, or even…
Offer Free Shipping, And Sensibly Priced Shipping Upgrades
Is there anything worse than finding exactly what you’re looking for at a great price and then finding out that shipping costs almost as much (or more!) than the item? Everyone hates this and it’s just another reason for a customer to hop out of the conversion funnel. You should at the very least offer free shipping on orders above a certain dollar amount, but having an “always free” option is your best bet here.
It also makes sense to offer expedited shipping options for people who don’t mind paying for the luxury. Keep in mind that when users pay for expedited or express shipping they tend to expect expedited processing times as well unless you explicitly state otherwise.
Constantly Run Split Tests
While the rest of the advice in this post have been mostly “one shots” split tests, also known as AB tests, will keep you busy until the end of time. You basically create a variation of an existing page and then send half of your traffic to the original and half to the variate, measuring which one converts better. Luckily Google Analytics will do all of the heavy lifting for you.
Some tips for running split tests
- Always have a test running! Even if you haven’t gotten results 5 times in a row all it takes is one good result to make a big difference in your bottom line.
- Resist the urge to constantly check the results. Start your test and leave it running at least a week before you even look.
- Don’t end tests prematurely when at all possible. Unless the result is incredibly obvious or there is an ongoing stalemate you should let the software determine the winner.
- Avoid running multiple tests at once, it’s really difficult to measure winners with several tests running without high end split testing software.
Collect Emails & Send a Newsletter
If you aren’t collecting as many emails as possible and sending them a weekly newsletter then you’re missing out on one of the best revenue streams possible. Include a checkbox to subscribe to your newsletter on your order page, or show a newsletter popup on your homepage (careful, this one can interfere with the exit intent lightbox mentioned above so make sure to only run one at a time). Lure in subscribers by offering member’s only deals, first access to new products, or a coupon for signing up.
Tips for your newsletter mailings
- You can send via your own servers mail program for free, but if you want to improve deliverability you may want to use a 3rd party service like Amazon SES (currently 10 cents per thousand emails) to improve deliverability.
- Don’t be spammy! If enough users mark your email as spam your emails will start winding up in people’s spam folder and your revenue will plummet.
- Use the Google Url Builder so that you can accurately track users clicks in your Analytics account.
- Including images is a great idea, but make sure your email will read fine with the images blocked since several email applications block images by default
- Provide a link for readers to unsubscribe very prominently. It’s much better to lose a single member of your mailing list than to have them report you as spam.
- Have the FROM address of the newsletter come from an actual person instead of a generic email address (i.e. from email@example.com instead of firstname.lastname@example.org). This makes the email seem less like a marketing flyer and more personable, leading to higher click rates.
Make Your Store As Fast As Possible
Your site speed is costing you sales! Magento is without doubt the best eCommerce platform available but it can also be a bloated resource hungry beast.
The first place to begin optimizing is at the server level with your web host. In my completely unbiased opinion I think that the best shared host for Magento is Hawk Host! (wink wink, nudge nudge). Seriously though Hawk Host has several speed boosting freebies included with every plan such as LiteMage and Memcached caches.
Tips to improve speed
- Make sure all caches are enabled (System -> Cache Management)
- Enable and run the compilation process (System -> Tools -> Compilation)
- If you show a lot of products on the homepage and categories consider lowering the amount drastically (System -> Configuration –> Catalog). Instead use an infinite scroll plugin to achieve the same results.
There are TONS of other great ways to increase the speed of your store without opening your checkbook and that will be the subject of my next article.
Thanks for reading!
Do you know a tip that I missed? Comment below!