Winners & Losers in the e-commerce Optimisation Race

Sports fashion Bjorn Borg’s revenue has increased 66% due to a set of well-timed, personalized emails sent to previous customers. Mothercare’s new responsive-design website has improved the number of non-guest checkouts, compared to its app. And even London Zoo has improved its e-commerce conversion through a better online presentation.

But things aren’t pretty everywhere. As to the losers, industry automation software specialist Parker Software estimates that conversion rates average just 2% across the board. The wealth of social media channels and breadth of competition has sent this conversion rate plummeting down from an average 10% once upon a time, as consumers spend less time across more media and look to shop around for the best deal. While local businesses might not feel the hit as much as industry giants like Amazon, which have fewer overall impressions and less competition, particularly offline – it is becoming increasingly more challenge to maintain a healthy site conversion.

The upshot is that, if you made an improvement of just 0.2% to your conversion rate, it could increase revenue by 10%. These larger gains are completely feasible with the proper e-commerce solutions. A combination of the best optimization techniques to suit your business is the best way. For example, if you’re selling a fashion product, a lack of high-quality or 360-degree product imagery can seriously hamper conversion rates,

Videos also play a huge part in generating conversion. 96% of consumers questioned in a recent survey indicated that they would be more likely to buy a product that is furnished online with a video demonstration. Although this can be quite taxing for small- and medium-sized businesses to provide, there’s no doubt that video is seen as giving the consumer a much better idea of the product before they buy.

Developing unique landing pages for various regions or needs can improve conversions through an increased relevancy, attracting customers more closely matched to the content of each page. It’s also worth keeping in mind that websites with a large amount of text tend to drive visits away. So conversions can be higher for retailers that spread less text across more pages. It also helps to design conservatively, using color schemes that you have tested to understand how your customers respond best.

In other words, then, functionally-designed and custom-tailored websites are the winners in the e-commerce optimization race. Industry giant Amazon, for example, uses its signature orange fairly sparingly, and most of the website is relevant, often bolded, black text on white.

Meanwhile, though outside of retail, GOV.uk beat out virtually every competitor on Google for the hugely-searched question, “when do the clocks go back?” This is because its presentation was functional, the key date that the search query asks about was presented in huge, visible font, and it had all of the other relevant information about time changes – with nothing else.

As the e-commerce world grows, it becomes clear that nearly any online business, retail or not, lives or dies by its website, and by other websites’ support. Videos on YouTube, information on landing pages, and careful design: all do as much or more work as the product being sold.

Tim Aldiss writes for Cloud-iQ the conversion optimization experts.

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