Common Reasons Why Your Website’s Conversion Rate Is Poor

The ultimate goal of an ecommerce website is to convert site visitors into paying customers. However, sometimes no matter how much effort you seem to have put into the design and marketing of your website, your conversion rate can remain stubbornly low. This problem can be easier to fix than you might think.

Here’s a look at how to identify some of the most common problems that lead to a poor conversion rate, and what you can do to address them. 

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Confusing user experience 

User experience (UX) refers to the way in which the user interacts with the website, including the layout, navigation, content, page loading speed and the interface (the size of the font, colour scheme, menu bars, and so on). In today’s competitive online marketplace, if any of these elements are out of kilter, then visitors will soon click away and look elsewhere.

One of the biggest UX stumbling blocks is the journey from shopping basket to checkout. This should be achieved in as few clicks as possible and clear instructions should be given at every step of the way. If you want to test out the journey on your own website, don’t rely on your own opinion or that of someone already familiar with it.

Ask the opinion of someone who is within your target audience, or use a digital tool to identify any potential barriers to a painless checkout process. For example, users may feel they are being asked for too much information, being presented with too many options, or are frustrated by not being able to edit quantities or remove items from the shopping cart.


Unfocussed digital marketing

In order to attract the most relevant visitors to your site, it’s important to be highly focussed in your marketing strategy. Generic messages that simply boast about the key features of your product or service are no longer enough, because it will become almost impossible to stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Successful marketing starts with understanding your target customer. Create buyer personas that will give you an insight into their needs, wants, and pain points, and tailor your marketing messages to address those needs. How can your product solve their problems or make their lives easier? Be clear and direct with real world benefits, not jargon or stats.


A website with poor responsive design

Websites now have to be optimised for customers who use mobile devices such as tablets, smartphones, and laptops. This is known as responsive design, and it involves a lot more than simply shrinking the size of the website to fit the screen. 

The website should have a fluid layout, so that all the pages are easy to read and interact with no matter which device your customer is using.


Lack of call to action

Throughout the journey, create a series of calls to action (CTAs) to prompt the user to take the next step. This could simply be a ‘Get Started’ button. You could also use the messaging to create a sense of urgency, such as ‘time limited offer only’ or ‘only X amount left in stock.’ Use active words that act as a push, such as don’t miss out, last chance, and so on.

These tactics are known as emotional marketing, and are a way of building on reason and logic to tap into the power of persuasion. It’s an ancient but effective technique that not only pushes the customer into taking that crucial last step, but also makes your brand more memorable.

Fear of missing out (FOMO) is particularly effective at checkout points, hence phrases such as ‘limited edition’ or ‘while stocks last’ are useful to encourage a purchase. Everyone loves a bargain, which is maybe a polite way of describing another powerful human emotion, greed. 

Acquisitiveness is hardwired into our nature, which is why offers such as ‘buy one get one free’ or discounts and deals can be so alluring. You may want to include perks such as free delivery or same day shipping, or give your customers the option to pay in instalments. 


Investigate abandoned carts

Use analytics tools to find out how many customers abandon their shopping cart half way through the checkout process. There may be a common reason why this is happening that you can address. Set up automated emails so that you can send out email reminders to prompt customers to return to finish their purchase.


Prove your credibility

Entering credit card information into a website takes a certain amount of trust. Visitors want to know that your website is safe and secure and your business is legitimate. Therefore your website should have clear and prominent trust signals, such as memberships of trade associations, trust seals from well known tech companies, and customer testimonials.

Include some third-party sources for customer reviews, so that the customer can see that the opinions are objective and are not a selection that has been highly curated in-house. Evidence of satisfied customers who have safely received their goods and made repeat purchases help to convince new customers that your site is trustworthy.

Make sure that your return and guarantee policy are transparent and fair, as an unsatisfactory policy is a common reason that customers abandon a shopping cart. Consider making your policy more generous if you feel that it may be a stumbling block for potential customers.

For example, you may want to include a full money back guarantee after a trial period beyond the statutory amount, or even a free or discounted trial period. The returns process should be simple and low-cost or free. The product should have a warranty to prove that you have faith in its reliability and that it is a worthwhile investment.

Make sure that all your trust signals are displayed prominently near the top of the web page and on all pages where users are required to fill in a form or give credit card information. They can also be displayed in footers and within the privacy policy.


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