“No matter what you’ve read in some blog, e-commerce isn’t as easy as you think.”

You may have access to dozens of self-service tools that make it easy to build an online store. Some of them are even free and incredibly easy to learn and use.

However, getting a virtual storefront up and running is only a small piece of the puzzle. As an aspiring e-commerce entrepreneur, you also need to invest in your knowledge of the marketing and sales sides of the industry.

Conversion Rate Optimization or CRO is where both aspects converge.

In this post, we’ll show you four simple strategies that will help you convert more visitors on your e-commerce website.

Let’s get started.

1. Improve Your Website’s Performance

What if I told you that nearly half of your visitors could be leaving your site within three seconds?

According to statistics, 40 percent of desktop users abandon a website that requires more than three seconds to finish loading. This number increases to 53 percent if we look at mobile users who can be slightly more finicky when it comes to their browsing experience.

In short, you could be missing out on nearly half of your potential customers due to poor website performance — regardless if you’re targeting desktop or mobile users primarily.

To check if your website’s loading speed is up to par, you can start with a performance optimization tool like GTmetrix. Just enter your website’s URL and click “Analyze” to unveil all issues that affect performance.

Within a few seconds, GTmetrix should present you with your website’s performance rating along with a complete list of performance-related issues. The best part is, it will also show you how to fix each of these issues and improve your website’s loading speed.

In addition to common optimization strategies like image compression and code minification, e-commerce websites will also benefit greatly from using a Content Delivery Network or CDN.

In simple terms, a CDN optimizes the delivery of website data by distributing the load across globally-distributed proxy servers. This is perfect if you’re taking orders from overseas customers who may experience higher latency due to distance.

2. Provide Value Through Content

Let’s face it, regurgitating product descriptions from your suppliers to your customers isn’t going to convince them to buy.

A lot of new online store owners make this mistake — publishing product pages one after another without any thought on what the customer really wants. As a result, they fail to give their prospects a compelling reason to stay and trust their brand, let alone make a purchase.

This can be solved by developing a content strategy designed to captivate your target audience’s attention.

For example, rather than kicking off the user journey with product offers through ads, you can position a blog as a customer acquisition point where customers are met with valuable and useful information.

Blogs may contain anything from pieces that tell your brand’s story to full-length guides that answer their questions. For this, you can use Q&A websites like Quora to mine for in-demand content ideas in your niche.

Suppose you sell organic pet supplies on your website. By typing in “organic pet food,” Quora will show you useful content topic ideas right off the bat.

Of course, you can also use Quora posts as distribution channels for your content. As long as you don’t blatantly promote your site, you’re pretty much guaranteed to reach users who are interested in what you have to offer.

Another way to put content marketing to work is to attract customers with commercial intent by targeting the right keywords, which leads us to the next point.

3. Refine Your Keyword Strategy

Apart from siphoning content ideas from Q&A sites, you can also use keyword research tools like Ubersuggest to fuel your content strategy.

Ubersuggest works by generating hundreds of long-tail keyword variations from broad, generic search terms.

For example, using “organic pet food” as your seed keyword, below are some of the keyword suggestions you can obtain from Ubersuggest.

Aside from long-tail keyword suggestions, Ubersuggest will also supply you with crucial metrics that will help your keyword research, such as:

 

  • Volume
    First off, the volume metric is the direct measure of a keyword’s organic traffic potential. The higher this is, the more competitive keywords tend to be.
  • SEO Difficulty
    SEO Difficulty or SD measures the viability of keywords for smaller competitors. If you have little to no online presence, try to aim for keywords with an SD of 30 or less.
  • Cost Per Click
    Lastly, the Cost Per Click or CPC metric will help you determine the profitability of keywords in paid advertising. This value reflects the average amount advertisers are willing to pay for specific keyword targets.

 

In addition to these useful metrics, Ubersuggest also provides you with an indispensable filter tool to help you scoop up “buyer keywords.” These are basically long-tail keywords that contain commercial terms like “buy,” “order,” or “for sale,” which is why they are often used by potential customers who are ready to buy.

4. Leverage Social Proof

At this point, you now have the essential components of a robust e-commerce content marketing strategy.

You should be able to provide your target audience a steady stream of valuable content and build your brand’s authority in your niche. The only problem is, this approach may take a lot of time before users trust you enough to actually commit to a purchase decision.

If you need sales now but just haven’t earned that authoritative brand yet, you can “borrow” the authority of others — be it an influencer or a regular customer — by harnessing social proof. This could be anything from the engagement metrics you have on your Facebook page to the overall sentiment of your customer reviews.

According to the Local Consumer Review Survey by BrightLocal, 91 percent of customers between ages 18 and 34 trust product reviews as if they are personal product recommendations from people they know. That’s why prioritizing customer reviews is often a more cost-effective route than seeking a popular influencer’s vote of confidence.

If you’ve been in business for a while, a tool like Keyhole may enable you to detect customer testimonials and reviews casually posted online.

Similar to keyword research tools, all you need to do is specify a certain hashtag, brand name, or company Twitter handle to look for mentions. You can also use Keyhole to track brand mentions across industry news sites, blogs, and online communities.

With Keyhole, you can also reach out to people who expressed genuine interest in your brand — giving you the opportunity to offer assistance and promote your products yourself. You can set real-time email alerts for this so you can respond to customers and capitalize on their intent as soon as possible.

Finally, you can use an email marketing tool like MailChimp to automate review request emails after verified purchases. This will allow you to steadily bolster your pool of customer reviews over time as sales increase.

Conclusion

Conversion rate optimization for e-commerce websites may not be easy, but it’s not rocket science, either.

Fully understanding the strategies above will enable you to formulate repeatable tactics that match your e-commerce website’s unique needs, including content marketing, website performance optimization, keyword research, and social media listening.

Of course, none of these are designed to give you overnight success. But once you do get some results, we’d like to hear about it in the comments below. Cheers!