How to Increase Checkout Conversion Rates by Bringing in Qualified Buyers

ECommerce is booming and will only continue to be more popular with shoppers. Estimates say there are between 12-and 24 million eCommerce websites worldwide. But, the latest data on eCommerce also uncovers:

  • The average checkout conversion rate is 2.12%.
  • The average eCommerce add-to-cart conversion rate is 6.96%.

If you’re wondering where the remaining customers go, the term cart abandonment covers the percentage of shoppers who didn’t finish a purchase; they only added an item to a cart. Your customers are leaving without buying for multiple reasons, as the infographic below shows:

reasons abandonned cart

Image source

Notice from the infographic that 41% of abandoned carts belong to people who were not ready for the purchase; next to 44% were surprised by the high shipping costs they saw when they came to the checkout phase. Two essential conclusions, based on only these two numbers:

  • Always be transparent with the actual product price; and, 
  • Qualified buyers are the ones who go through all the stages of the customer journey and are ready to make a final purchase, unlike the 41% mentioned above.

#1 Keep Track of Your Checkout Conversion Rates with Google & Shopify Analytics

In the beginning, conversion rates have so much to do with the traffic. This one is a trick but essential. If you’re not bringing qualified buyers to the site, you can’t measure the conversion rate. So, to clear up this confusion, using analytics tools are a must.

Shopify Analytics

If your online store is hosted on the Shopify platform, then, depending on your subscription level, you have access to direct information about your store performance in Shopify Analytics. By default, you get information like Average order value, Online store conversion rate, Online store sessions by traffic source/ location or device, Repeat customer rate, and more. Look at the chart below to see all available data categories in Shopify Analytics:

Shopify analytics

(Image source)

Google Analytics

Here are some ways to get the data from Google Analytics:

1) Look at your top landing pages. Check out conversion rates and bounce rates.

2) Look at your top pages overall. Again, check out conversion rates and bounce rates.

3) Look at average time on site and how many pages people visit per session.

As a rule of thumb, high bounce rates and brief visits and page views per session indicate that the traffic you are bringing to your online store is not qualified to purchase.

Test Everything!

If you want more data, you could use Hotjar or Lucky Orange to track site sessions and see where people click most. Then, make changes to the site accordingly! A/B testing should be your ongoing topic in increasing the conversion rates.

Use SEO/SEM Tools To See What Your Competitors Are Doing

Many tools on the market, like Ahrefs, Spyfu, Moz, Semrush, Ubersuggest and many more, can help you uncover many things your direct competitors are doing. For example, you can find out what keywords they use to rank higher than you. You can then apply this information to your content plan and strive to do better than any competitors.

#2 Make your shopping experience smooth, quick and hassle-free

Analytics, testing and experiments to increase conversions give you concrete data on what works better on your eCommerce site. UX & UI design principles (user experience, user interface) inform you of the best practices you should include in your testing variations and your store’s overall look & feel. We could go deeper, but let’s focus on one change that can bring fast improvements.

Simplify Your Checkout Forms

Research shows that websites with streamlined forms and fields have a higher conversion rate during checkout:

Simplify checkout data

(Image source)

For example, Shopala is a shoppable ads software that enables a shopping experience within digital ads and offers express checkouts for things like email campaigns. Let’s look at how the single-page checkout process streamlines your product sales. First, your customer has to input the necessary information. There’s no surprise at the bottom (or a second page) about the total purchase price or shipping cost.

The results of using the one-page checkout for one of our clients: 

  • Customer checkout takes 30 seconds to complete
  • The first sale happened within 1 hour. 
  • 12% sales conversion 
  • 100% improvement on conversion 
  • Positive customer feedback on checkout experience

#3 Focus Your Content on Qualifying Buyers

Knowing your customer journey is key to engaging customers with the content tailored to the phase of the customer journey they are currently in. Most journeys begin with your potential customer typing a key phrase into a search engine. As Google uncovers:

  • Shoppers don’t always have a specific product in mind when they search. Instead, people often search for reviews or articles to help inform their decision. 
  • 61% of consumers worldwide say they visit multiple websites before deciding on where to shop. (Google)

Your goal is to provide content that will be the best answer when your potential customers search and browse.

Customer Journey Phases & Recommended Types of Content to Qualify Buyers

  1. Promote

Promotional content shows how beneficial your products or services are “in action” and how customers can purchase them—your product in action. Aside from advertisements, product reviews and case studies for services work well in this area. 

  1. Educate

Educational content helps you build a personal connection with your customers by using your expertise to teach them something new, e.g. a little-known fact or statistic. Guides, reports or deep-dive articles follow the research phase on your customer’s journey.

  1. Inspire

Inspiring content helps you build deeper connections with your customers through motivational and inspirational content, e.g. quote on an image. Your goal is to align your values with those your customers expect, e.g., energy efficiency, products made from recyclable materials, low shipping costs, fast delivery and more.

  1. Connect

Connect posts build your community and help you gain a loyal following. The “Connect” content serves you to express gratefulness to customers who made the purchase and give out the atmosphere of a welcoming community.

You also need to think of multiple content formats and channels that will perform well in bringing more qualified buyers. For example, YouTube has evolved from an entertainment destination to a place where people come to watch reviews, stream, and inspire their next purchase. (Google)

#4 Re-Engage Customers with Abandoned Carts

Exit pop-ups

While the universal sentiment toward pop-ups might be unfavourable, the feeling changes when they carry a discount or a reward. As mentioned earlier, there are SaaS solutions to help you track the exact moment when your customer is about to leave items in their cart. Once triggered, a pop-up with an instant discount or a shipping waiver can change a customer’s actions.

Email follow-ups

Sending an email follow-up immediately after your customer engages with your store is the ideal moment to engage. Your confirmation email could contain many useful “hooks.” For example, your customers will feel more connected to your business if they immediately have feedback on how to enter a loyalty program and a promise of future discounts to tracking and support info.

Loyalty Programs

Having a loyalty program on your eCommerce store can help you solve several issues. First, when your customers invest in loyalty membership, they do not only collect the points but receive a loyalty status that makes them feel acknowledged and part of the brand.

Secondly, there is one ultimate benefit of loyalty programs to your eCommerce business. The program dramatically helps to satisfy, engage and retain new and existing clients to your business. It increases customer lifetime value. 

The more rewards your customers try to collect, the more sales you make.  

4 Steps To Increase Your Store Checkout Conversion Rates, In A Nutshell

For any serious eCommerce business, two priorities are fundamental to growing an e-com business—conversion rate optimisation, especially checkout conversion rate optimisation, and qualifying buyers through their shopping journey. Here are essential steps to help you tackle these priorities: 

  1. Track Analytics data continually, be it Google or Shopify Analytics or any SEO/SEM tools available. Next, test everything based on the data you collect.
  2. Create a frictionless checkout experience. Aside from having streamlined, auto-fill enabled forms that ideally fit on one page, ensure you clearly display costs, shipping and tax expenses.
  3. Qualify Buyers with content tailored to customers’ needs. These days, most of us first search online for the item we’re looking to purchase. Your content production needs to step up here and produce the content that promotes, educates, inspires and connects your potential customers.
  4. Re-engage customers who abandoned their carts. Even better, you can prevent abandoned cards by using rewards (coupons, discounts, other benefits like free shipping) by tracking your store visitors’ intention to leave your website.

With 20+ million eCommerce websites out there, it’s up to you to define your unique selling proposition and ensure your potential customers know about it. When a potential customer is searching for a product from your category, you need to serve them content that will educate them about your products. Then, once they make the first purchase and find it an enjoyable experience – you’ve got yourself a potentially returning customer. 

To find out what part of your customer journey is underperforming, you need to dive into analytics data and find space where you can improve. Here we outlined four essential steps to increase your checkout conversion rate by bringing in qualified shoppers to your online store. For more tips on how you can further optimise your checkout conversion, check out our previous article.