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Before even looking at why converting visitors to buyers is such an issue, you might want to look at some fairly revealing statistics on the explosive growth of eCommerce in recent years. Are you in a quandary as to whether or not you can build a successful website yourself, or if you need to hire a web development company to do it for you? Actually, there is no pat answer to that because it all depends on how much time you have to dedicate to your website as well as how well you know your way around the Internet.

Because of the ease at which you can find a WordPress eCommerce template which can be customized to your specifications, many of which are free, you won’t have a problem getting started. All you need is a step-by-step WordPress guide, some free time on your hands and a basic knowledge of what an eCommerce site should include. Armed with all the above, there is no reason why you can’t get a great site up and running, but conversions may be a huge issue. Let’s talk about that for a bit.

A Few Statistics Which May Interest You

When you draw a visitor to your website, you obviously want them to buy otherwise you wouldn’t be running an eCommerce site. There has been a literal explosion in the amount of sales which take place online and these numbers are set to go even higher. Research has found that:

More than half of American consumers prefer online shopping (51 percent!)
As of 2016, 96 percent of American consumers have made at least one purchase online at some point in their lives and of those, more than 80 percent have made a purchase in the last 30 days.
Online sales, eCommerce, is growing at a rate of 23 percent per year.
In Q3 of 2016, online sales rose by almost 9% over the previous quarter.

And, those are just a few of the amazing statistics you are looking to capitalize on. Whether you have a physical storefront and are looking to expand your customer base online or are solely focusing on an eCommerce website, the fact remains that Americans favor shopping online.

Conversions Can Be a Major Problem

One of the biggest problems online merchants have is in converting visitors to buyers. Whether you are selling goods, information or services, you don’t want them clicking off your site before either buying or signing up for an email list that will keep them informed of any sales and promotions you may have to offer in the future.

Have you ever wondered why it’s so hard to convert visitors to customers? Here are a few other statistics which might interest you.

21 percent of respondents to a survey stated that hard-to-navigate websites and shopping carts were the reason they didn’t make a purchase.
Almost 80 percent of online shoppers want more images of products they are interested in.
Almost 70 percent of online shoppers want to see more real customer reviews.
Two-thirds of those who didn’t convert cited shipping costs as the reason.

There are easy solutions to each of those issues, so the following tips should help you overcome all of the above and so much more.

Tip #1: Whenever Possible Offer Free Shipping
If you look at the amazing success of Amazon Prime, you will find that most subscribers say they joined because of the savings on shipping alone. Purchases eligible for Amazon Prime come with free two-day shipping and this has been so successful that even Walmart is trying to capitalize on it, without great success it appears. Why? Because they are not able to offer timely shipping and many customers are disenchanted with the service they receive. Products promised in two days may take weeks to arrive. Customer feedback is horrendous!

Tip #2: Provide Customer Reviews Visibly in a Sidebar
As cited in the top reasons why many customers fail to make a purchase, 70 percent say they would like more customer reviews. If you want to provide interested visitors with customer reviews, you will need a smart app to bring them up in the sidebar as they read about the product. Having them at the bottom like so many websites do, may prevent them from ever seeing them. Few customers actually make it that far down the page unless they see something they really like. A few real customer reviews and comments in the sidebar can quickly attract their attention. They want to know more about the features those customers liked.

Tip #3: Provide More Images and Thumbnails for Reference Throughout
You have heard that old cliché that a picture paints a thousand words, and so it is with eCommerce. Did you notice that startling statistic that 80 percent of all online shoppers who failed to convert were unhappy with the absence of sufficient images? It is suggested that you keep images on every page involving the product or service that visitor is viewing. If you’re unable to work images onto certain pages, you could implement popups and exit intent technology that uses visuals to recapture the reader, as opposed to more text. This can be done using ecommerce technology such as OptinMonster to ensure the popups you install aren’t just a bigger deterrent and instead lead to more conversions.

Even the shopping cart should contain a thumbnail of the product in question. Amazon has that feature and look at their success rate!

Tip #4: Understand the Importance of Responsive and Easy to Navigate Websites

Finally, we get down to the real nitty-gritty of why you lose so many visitors before they convert. Sometimes we build backlinks which are beyond wonderful, attracting hundreds of visitors each day. However, upon arriving at your storefront they are unable to easily find what they are looking for or aren’t able to see it to their advantage because your website is not responsive. Did you know that it’s been two years since more people are searching from mobile devices than from a desktop? If you want to capture that part of your audience, the biggest part that is, you need a website that will resize and only provide elements easily viewed on a small mobile screen.

Tip #5: Choose Your Shopping Cart Carefully

Not all shopping carts are created equal. When it comes to eCommerce, a shopper can easily be dissuaded by a shopping cart they can’t manage. The latest statistics show that WooCommerce is the best type of WordPress platform for eCommerce and they offer a remarkable shopping cart plugin that works seamlessly with the platform. Shopify is also great because they offer themes that have shipping rate calculators built into them or give you the option to add a shipping rate calculator of your choice. Remember, the cost of shipping is a big deterrent, so if you can offer free shipping, all the better!

No matter what you do, in the long run, you need to focus heavily on UX (User Experience). If your visitors can’t find what they are looking for easily or can’t navigate your site quickly enough, you are probably going to lose them. Some may stay long enough to add things to their shopping cart, but when they are unable to navigate that part of your site with ease, they may just leave to find what they are looking for elsewhere.

How sad is that? Take them all the way through your site, put things in their cart, and then leave before finalizing the sale? That happens more than you can imagine, so make the process easy – all the way through to the “Order Now” button. It only takes a little effort but by following these tips, you should notice an improvement in conversions almost immediately.

Visitors don’t pay the bills – buyers do, so get busy converting!


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