An ecommerce conversion optimization process consists of four (4) stages: Planning, Strategy, Sales, and Control. Each stage has distinct functions but can be combined to provide a comprehensive approach to ecommerce conversion optimization. These four stages are equally important for ecommerce websites. Each of these processes represents a major transition from the current sales environment to online sales and should be handled carefully and persistently to ensure success.
Planning is the first stage of an ecommerce conversion optimization process. This is the stage where strategic decisions are made regarding which type of ecommerce sales process to use, what kind of visitors to advertise to, and what kind of sales funnel to use. Strategic decisions regarding the type of traffic needed, the best kinds of visitors to advertise to, and the best kinds of products to promote should all be planned out before the actual ecommerce conversion optimization process begins. During this stage it is also important to come up with a budget for each objective. Money can be saved by not advertising during this time period and by not overspending on any one objective.
Planning for the sales process generally involves the establishment of a funnel or conversion path that will take visitors from browsing to filling out a form. Some businesses choose to make their own version of a funnel by using a spreadsheet, blog, or external resource such as a website or social media profile for visitor generation. Others opt for the more common social media approach which includes building a profile, providing relevant content, and building links within social media to create higher rankings in the search engine result pages. Regardless of which strategy is used, there are some general principles that must be followed to optimize conversion rates.
Creating a funnel starts with the initial visit to the website. Most businesses follow this procedure by capturing visitors' email addresses, following them around from website to website until they complete a purchase or enter the checkout process. However, if a website only allows visitors through one page, or if the funnel requires visitors to "dig in" at several different websites before completing the order, the conversion rate may be much lower than desired. In addition, by only allowing visitors through one page, it makes it very difficult to identify who is most likely to become a customer. For example, if you have a website that offers the option of free shipping but require the customer to provide their e-mail address, only 100 of every 1000 visitors will be able to complete the order.
After the sales process has been completed visitors will typically be required to provide their names and e-mail addresses so that the sales team can follow up with them. If there are too few sales to follow up with, there may not be a second visit. Conversely, if there is not enough follow up conversion to maintain the sales funnel, conversion rates could drop off significantly. This is why many ecommerce businesses utilize an auto responder service to keep the sales process flowing. A good ecommerce system should allow for the addition of follow up emails as required and have a mechanism to automatically send out subsequent messages as needed.
Another type of ecommerce conversion optimization hack is the use of an image via video conversion. Although this method may work well when it comes to converting visitors to buyers, the resulting product page may be largely invisible to search engines. This can result in low rankings for the product page and the product image itself. Because images via video are typically private on video sharing sites like YouTube, some users may have difficulties locating the video and using it to launch their online shopping experience.
Unfortunately, there is another type of ecommerce conversion rate optimization hack that could also hurt your site's ranking position with search engines, this hack is called chat bots. Chat bots are automated programs (sometimes called web bots) that are built to perform simple conversations on popular social networking sites such as Twitter or Facebook. Some web bot companies provide chat bots that are capable of real-time conversation, but they often also provide software modules that allow the user to set the parameters of the conversations in advance. Once the bot has been set up and downloaded to the user's website, the chat bot can start talking to visitors in real time and this could seriously damage your ranking position with search engines.
It is important to keep in mind that although these two methods can dramatically improve conversion rates, they should not be considered as long-term solutions. Your ecommerce conversion rate optimization needs to remain constantly updated and your sales process will need to remain automated and responsive to customer needs. As with any business, your marketing efforts will continue to drive traffic to your website, as well as the updating of your products/services and increasing customer awareness of your brand through promotional campaigns and press releases.