Why Your eCommerce Sales Page Design is Sinking Conversion Rates

Does your website have a conversion rate problem? You've invested serious time, money and energy into building the perfect site and driving website traffic.
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Does your website have a conversion rate problem? You've invested serious time, money and energy into building the perfect site and driving website traffic. You've fine-tuned your PPC campaigns. Site traffic is up 450% over last year! But your bounce rate is high and conversions are low. So what gives? While the specific problems underlying your low conversion rate can vary, these problems all come back to one central issue: bad website sales page design.

Whether you're selling artisan soaps, Hawaiian vacation packages, water filters, or office supplies, the final sale all comes back to one thing: transaction ease. Whether it's a confusing checkout process or slow inventory search, if your website design ends up complicating the sales process, your customers are just a few clicks away from the competition. Don't let that happen!

Watch out for these common design mistakes:

Mistake 1: Generic templates.

The primary benefits of generic templates - their simplicity and affordability - can also be their downfall, cautions Visual Scope Studios. "Many people jump on the chance to set up a WordPress blog, or some variation of a do-it-yourself Web Design template type of site. While templates are easy and affordable, they may be doing more harm than good." Why? You'll end up with a site that looks just like everyone else's. Not only is this an ineffective branding strategy, but most generic templates also lack the advanced customization capabilities you need to optimize the flow of traffic. Problems can include the inability to offer real-time inventory tracking, a lack of live chat customer support, and an inability to cross-sell relevant items.

Mistake 2: No live chat or easy contact options.

Online shopping is all about convenience. Customers need answers now, not in 12 hours or 24 hours. Live chat is an affordable and cost-effective solution for proactive assistance. Plus, since a single customer service rep can manage multiple live chat client needs at once, your customer service will be more efficient and responsive to customer needs. Given these benefits, it is no surprise that Kissmetrics considers live chat's "untapped potential" to be huge for eCommerce sites.

Additional to live chat, make it easy for customers to contact you in real life. For example, if you have a chain of brick and mortar locations, list phone numbers for each of these places. Customers who are searching on their smartphones may find it easier to tap a number and make a quick call for an immediate answer.

Mistake 3: Too much website copy.

Don't crowd your sales pages with an excess of text. No one has time to read 500 words about your latest product or service. List the most relevant and critical details first in a format that's easy to scan, like a bulleted list with bolded features. Use compelling and concise messaging to highlight key benefits, says Gabriel Shaoolian, the Founder and VP of Digital Services at Blue Fountain Media. Don't force customers into hunting through your site to find answers to their questions. Anticipate common problems, like shipping concerns, and include a link customers can click for more information.

Mistake 4: No real-time inventory.

Maintaining accurate inventory is an absolute necessity for eCommerce sites. Have you ever noticed that Amazon adds reveal product availability in its website search results? In these search results for the popular dog food Orijen, Amazon has pointed out that only a few bags currently remain in stock with an "order soon" call to action.

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Noting that there are only a few items left in stock can help drive conversions by creating scarcity concerns. If low inventory is a consistent problem, manage expectations up front by explicitly listing how much of an item remains.

Mistake 5: No Mobile Conversion-optimized Site.

Usage of mobile devices for shopping continues to increase, but the conversion rates are consistently lower at least partially because many sites are poorly designed for smartphone users. SmartInsights gathered many ecommerce conversion rates including stats showing online sales are currently 70% desktop and 30% mobile (20% smartphone and 10% tablet).

Users prefer a consistent experience across all devices. Use these tips and screenshots on how to generate more mobile conversions. And don't miss the video showing how mobile optimization differs from desktop or tablet.

Bottom line:

So you've tweaked the sales page layout, added live chat, and streamlined product search but are still having conversion problems. Diagnosing the specific concerns underlying your low conversion rate can be tricky. Is it a poorly placed call to action button? Too much copy without clearly defined sales benefits? Heat maps, like those offered by Crazy Egg, are a great option for honing in on the problem. If you're working with a professional website developer, ask if they offer heat map, A/B optimization, or even eye-tracking research to optimize website design better. Don't rush the process: if you don't know why site visitors aren't completing transactions, you'll never be able to solve your conversion rate problems.

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