Why am I seeing no return? (Part 1 of 2)
In Q2 of 2017, a staggering 77.3% of all online retail carts were abandoned before the purchaser made it to checkout. As an e-commerce advertiser, you may well have experienced this depressing statistic first hand and, as a result, be left wondering why you’re seeing no return on your AdWords or Bing Ads PPC spend.
The silver lining here is that an estimated 63% of those abandoned carts are salvageable – if you know what to put right and what actions to take to win those shoppers back to site. The key is to start with your online store. If you aren’t converting enough clicks into confirmed sales, it’s time to look at your virtual shop window and ask yourself what you can do to drive up your conversion rate and achieve a better return on your spend.
Review your product offering
If your PPC campaign is failing to show a return, begin with a review of your product offering. Is it easy for visitors to browse your product catalogue and navigate between items?
Are product descriptions clear and compelling with short and long descriptions? Having a shorter, more concise description at the top followed by a longer, more detailed version below which includes any relevant technical information or important details such as sizing and measurements for apparel can alleviate shopper concerns and reassure them of the suitability of their purchase.
Videos and images are powerful assets – if you have too few images, or product pictures are too small, shoppers may well be inclined to go elsewhere. While shopping online is more convenient that heading to the store, it does mean consumers forgo the ability to touch a physical product. Use images and videos to counteract this and showcase your product range in a more compelling manner.
Are shipping and other additional costs clear from the outset?
There is little point having an attractively priced product and investing ad budget in luring a shopper to your site with the promise of a great deal, only to add on taxes and shipping costs at the last minute. Few things are as frustrating to online shoppers as hidden costs and, if you’re failing to show additional fees until the very last screen, you will likely find that your conversion rate is low.
You can avoid this and remove friction from the path to purchase by being upfront about additional costs from the outset. If like many clothing retailers for example you offer a flat fee for shipping based on number of delivery days, display this on each product page. Making the total cost of purchase clear from the outset is an excellent way to reduce your cart abandonment rate – and improve your rate of return.
Are you forcing shoppers to register with you and adding friction to the purchase process?
We’ve all been there. Trying to check out an item online and being required to input name, address, email and phone number, choose a security question, pick a password and then confirm an email address via a verification link before being able to complete the purchase. If you’re making your shoppers endure the forced account creation requirement, you’re probably losing a huge chunk of your potential sales at this point of the funnel.
The user experience plays a big role in a positive return and a smooth, effortless checkout process is central to this. There are of course benefits to having customers create an account (such as being able to remarket to them further down the line) but this shouldn’t come at the expense of your rate of return. Give shoppers the option to either check out as a guest or to create an account – you can offer an incentive to create an account such as 10% off a first order but be careful to keep the process itself as streamlined as possible.
Is it easy to switch between cart and store?
One often overlooked element of conversion rate optimisation and the user experience is enabling an easy switch between the shopping cart and product catalogue. Giving shoppers a seamless method of toggling between what’s in their bag and the store itself is user-friendly and helpful for the shopper. This flexibility and ease of use more closely mimics the bricks and mortar shopping experience. Online retailers such as ASOS and Amazon excel at this. The lesson? Never underestimate the power of convenience.
Look to competitors
Once you have fully assessed your own virtual storefront, streamlined the user experience and are satisfied that the path to purchase is as straightforward as possible, it’s worth conducting competitor research to identify other areas of potential improvement. Compare your own online store with a close rival – are their calls to action more compelling? Are your images as good? Is your site navigation as intuitive? Work through the checkout process too. Once you add a product to basket, how many steps are required to purchase? Does your rival make use of any compelling offers or clever design techniques at any stage of the journey that could be personalised for your own store?
Even as your ROI improves and your average cart abandonment rate falls, making time to conduct a regular audit is a useful exercise that could see your conversion rates increase and your ROI stronger still.