4 Ways to Boost eCommerce Average Order Value

Thoughtful woman holding shopping bags and looking up

Want to improve the amount of traffic and the number of conversions of your eCommerce store? Who doesn’t? These are, after all, imperative to grow your revenue. But for that you need to utilize the most powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal, which, unfortunately, is often overlooked. Yes, we are talking about your Average Order Value (AOV).

Average Order Value or AOV is a criterion used to compare your marketing campaigns’ efficiency. In addition, this key metric helps you understand the type of eCommerce customers you currently have. Using this metric you can understand how each traffic segment of your website is converting and where you need to improve to enhance your revenue. In short, it is your tool to create personalized marketing strategies for a better conversion rate.

Why Increase Your AOV?

The benefits of increasing your Average Order Value are pretty obvious. To begin with, it helps you increase your cash flow really fast, which is obviously one of your basic goals. And that’s not all; there are several other benefits of working your way out to improve your AOV.

For instance, you can simply increase your AOV by installing a plugin for your eCommerce shopping cart. In comparison, acquiring traffic not only has a significant cost attached to it but is also more difficult to achieve, thanks to the frequent search engine algorithm updates we are being subjected to these days.

It may also happen that any of your traffic sources might disappear one fine day, leaving you clueless and dumbfound. If you have worked on your AOV and improved it, chances are you will be in a much better position, while reducing your marketing spend.

But before we sum up the tips to improve your Average Order Value, you need to know how it is calculated. The AOV formula is quite simple to comprehend:

AOV = Revenue / Number of orders

Using this formula and a web analytics software like Google Analytics you can easily start optimizing your conversion rate. All you need to do is get the exact average order value from Google Analytics for each traffic source. Consider the numbers mentioned in Transactions and Revenue sections (under Acquisition -> All Traffic) and use the above mentioned formula to calculate the AOV.

Now that you know how to calculate your AOV, it’s time to look at some of the tactics to increase your Average Order Value.

1. Product Recommendations

More often than not, customers are only focused on what they are looking for. As a result, they overlook to browse your eCommerce store to find more. This, in turn, results in smaller carts, a.k.a. smaller Average Order Values.

While you cannot change how customers will behave, there is a very simple solution to improve your average order values. Simply add product recommendations on your product and check out pages. If you don’t believe us, consider that Amazon has been using this trick for quite some time now. Its recommendations come in forms of “Frequently bought together,” “Customers who viewed/bought this item also viewed/bought,” “Frequently bought with the item you added” and so on.

Product Recommendations
All that this eCommerce giant does is collect data about its visitors’ past shopping and browsing habits and combines that information with its algorithm and voila, it provides personalized product recommendations that buyers are most likely to purchase.

Profiling popular products or products that your customers have previously browsed is perhaps one of the best ways to increase your Average Order Values. In addition, it helps in minimizing friction before checkout. Studies indicate that 2 to 5 percent of an eCommerce revenue is attributed to product recommendations. Better yet, this increased revenue can go up as high as 20 percent, depending on how effectively you pair up products.

Similarly, showing your customers cross-selling options also helps you to improve your AOV. You can use such product recommendation tactics by using phrasing like “Complete the look” or “Get the look” on your eCommerce store and it works particularly well for fashion and apparel stores. It’s convenient for the customer and you can move your products without sounding pushy.

In fact, you can use cross-selling for almost all type of eCommerce sites. All you need to do is recommend additional and/or complementary products. Got a customer purchasing a Windows 10 laptop! Why don’t you recommend a laptop bag to go with it?

2. Cashback Techniques

Another simple way to increase your Average Order Value is by utilizing cashback technique. In fact, cashback technique is quite a traditional tactic used by retailers to attract and retain customers. How many times have you seen eCommerce stores offering free vouchers on your next purchase? Quite some time; the Internet is filled with ads like “Spend $100 and get $20 cash-back on your next purchase.” All you need to do is spend a certain amount and you can redeem the voucher.

Cashback TechniquesThis is a great way to increase your repeat purchases and Average Order Values per customer. But to leverage this tactic you need to first set a spending threshold, ideally slightly above your present average order amount. This will help you identify shoppers who qualify for a cash-back reward on their next purchase.

Once this spending threshold is determined you need to format your offer and market it as aggressively as possible to increase its visibility. Display them front and center on your homepage as well as on other pages. The goal is to make your customers aware of the target number as clearly and vividly as possible while they shop so that they keep on adding products to their carts to make it to the cash-back minimum. Apart from displaying such offers on your webpage, you can even spread the words through SMS marketing.

You can also offer cashback in other ways. For example, you can build partnerships with other companies to allow your customers to redeem the gift vouchers at several purchase points. This will further inspire buyers to reach the cash-back minimum. Another way to increase your site conversion is through “refer a friend and get cashback programs.” All your users need to do is refer a friend and get cashback in form of a gift voucher to be redeemed on their next purchase.

Gift Vouchers

Cashback technique works like a charm and generally outperforms any other promotional techniques when it comes to increasing your Average Order Value. Better yet, it even encourages return visits and helps you turn your one-time visitors into loyal fans.

3. Free Delivery

Along with the cashback technique, free delivery option (when bought item(s) over a particular amount) is a great way to increase your Average Order Value. Free delivery is something almost all customers expect when making an online purchase but providing free delivery is a major financial challenge for most retailers, especially if it is smaller AOV. Setting free delivery threshold is a great solution to this problem.

Free Delivery

Just like the cashback technique, you need to determine a spending threshold. For this, consider the average site spend first and how much the delivery costs you. Once you have the numbers, set an amount slightly above your current average order amount. Also, display the amount required to get free delivery on your product as well as checkout page to use this tactic effectively.

In essence, this technique combines upselling and cross-selling with an incentive to increase your Average Order Value. For example, if a customer is purchasing an item worth $40, display a message like “spend another $10 to get free delivery” to improve your AOV. And if you are still not convinced about free shipping, consider the following findings:

So what are you waiting for? Just dive in.

4. Gamification

A more contemporary technique, gamification can not only help you engage users but also make them buy more. McDonalds, for instance, used this tactic though in form of Monopoly Campaign UK to increase its Average Order Value.

Gamification
This technique works because of its meaningful structure and reward systems. Let’s see how McDonalds used it. McDonalds allows users to peel off a prize (stickers) from their meal, giving them an instant prize in form of a monopoly piece. This way, users can collect monopoly sets to win big prizes.It is quite obvious that the larger meals at McDonalds had more stickers on them, enticing people to spend on them.

McDonalds achieved two things with their persuasive gamification technique. First, it increased their AOV and second, it increased the chances of a returning visit. You too can achieve a similar result with gamification; all you need to do is create an appealing system that exceeds your buyers’ expectations.

That said, you really don’t need to create a game to entice your buyers to purchase more (although you can always do that if you have the resources). Setting an effective rewarding system based on purchasing points too can help you obtain a similar result. Announce a particular point for every order they make and offer a significant discount when they reach a pre-determined threshold. For example, “Get 5 points for each purchase and claim $30 off for 100 points.”

Gamification is a great idea for customer retention as it helps you create a relationship with your buyers, making them come back to you time and again.

Conclusion

While there are several ways to incorporate AOV strategies to improve your conversion rates, their effectiveness largely depends on your eCommerce solution. Most shopping cart systems include these basic AOV features and offer add-ons and plugins for them. However, if your eCommerce software fail to support them, you should better upgrade to a shopping cart solution that does. Using these simple, yet powerful tools is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to increase your AOV.

Image Source: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

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Abandoned cart emails. Helpful tips for start-ups and small business ecommerce

shopping cart abandonment emails

If you are selling online, chances are a constant bugbear will be the number of customers abandoning their items before completing the checkout process. If you are just starting out and panicking at so many people leaving your website with unpurchased items in their baskets, don’t despair you’re not alone.  Shopping cart abandonment is an ongoing issue for even the biggest of players.

Indeed according to research, the average documented online shopping cart abandonment rate stands at around 68.63%.  It’s inevitable that some customers will sail away and will never complete that particular purchase no matter what you do. However some customers can be enticed back to complete the sale.  One of the most effective ways of doing that is through abandoned cart / dropped basket emails.

What are abandoned cart emails?

In a nutshell an abandoned cart email is usually triggered emails that get sent out when a customer leaves a website having added stuff to their shopping basket but not having completed the checkout process. Its purpose is to remind people of what they have left in their basket and encourages them to go back and complete the purchase. Below is a recent example of one I received from Amazon:

Amazon abandoned shopping cart email

Why do people abandon their baskets mid-purchase

There are a myriad of reasons that customers abandon their shopping carts halfway through the checkout process. ClickZ identifies the following as the top six reasons:

  1. Unexpected shipping and delivery costs
  2. Had to create an account to complete a purchase
  3. Just conducting research
  4. Payment security concerns
  5. Confusing checkout
  6. Couldn’t find the discount / coupon code

Some of these will be within your control. For example if you have a long, convoluted checkout process then you can take steps to fix it. Other reasons are going to be completely out of you control such as a customer’s telephone rang mid-purchase and they simply forgot to go back and complete the process.

A positive aspect to all this is that 75% of all visitors who abandon their cart do actually intend to buy. This is where shopping cart abandonment emails come in to play.

Tips for creating successful dropped basket emails

Implementing shopping abandonment emails can be great way to pull back some sales you may have thought were lost. Outlined below are some inspiring statistics for cart abandonment emails from an Econsultancy article.

  • 11.6% (over a tenth) of shopping basket abandonment emails are clicked.
  • 29.9% of shopping abandonment email clicks lead to a purchase back on website
  • 44.1% of all shopping cart abandonment emails are opened.
  • The average order value of purchases from shopping cart abandonment emails is 14.2% higher than average purchases.
  • Every single dropped basket email sent delivers over $8 in revenue.

The trick is to make them as successful as possible. So we’ve outlined some helpful tips on how to create winning shopping cart abandonment emails for your business.

Timing

Probably the most important element to getting an uplift in conversions is the timing of your email – wait too long before sending a reminder and your customer may well have gone elsewhere. The consensus seems to be that the initial abandonment email should be sent within the first hour of a customer abandoning their basket. In an ideal scenario you would be aiming to catch a potential customer before they leave their device and forget all about their half-finished purchase.

Here is a sample one from Boden that I received within 20 mins from abandoning my basket:

Boden abandoned cart email

Create a schedule of abandoned cart emails

To get the most conversions, consider sending out more than one reminder. It’s great to try to grab them as soon as possible, but also implement further follow-up emails. According to HubSpot:

  • 95% of people who purchased after abandoning a cart took up-to two weeks to complete their purchase. 

Create a sequence of timely reminders to try to catch those who take longer to make a purchase or who need a little more encouragement.

Strong subject header

In any email the subject  header is important. To even get opened it needs to stand out from all the other emails in the inbox. Do make it clear in the subject header that your email is reminding them that they have left something in their shopping cart.

There are lots of different approaches from creating a sense of urgency or excitement, to reminding customers about the product they left or even using humour. Just find the right approach for your audience. For example:

Product: Amazon takes a no-nonsense approach and just lists the product left behind:

“Zap Arsenal Red Crest Fleece Blanket”

Abandoned cart: White stuff is straight to the point:

“Don’t forget to complete your order”

Humour: Boden’s is slightly more cheeky

“You left something… but where? Oh look…”

Think about your copy

As well as pointing out to your customer what exactly it is that they’ve left in their cart, also use your copy to try to remind customers about why they chose to put the product in their basket in the first place.

John Lewis includes a clear link back to the product details so the customer can easily remind themselves of the product benefits.

Email copy

Use your copy to create a sense of urgency and possible loss.  For example the product is selling fast and you may not be able to guarantee how long the product in will remain in stock. Try and convey to the customer what they may risk missing out on if they don’t act soon.

Use images

If you can, include a visual of the product your customer has left in their basket. It tells people in an instant exactly what it is you’re emailing them a reminder about and can help reinforce the reasons they chose the product or service in the first place .

Here is an example of a Boden dropped basket email with a strong visual of the product in question.

Include an image in shopping cart abandonment email

Clear call to action

Always include a very clear call to action that takes the customer back to their basket so they can easily complete their purchase. Don’t tuck it away in the corner of youR email but display it prominently so the customer won’t miss it. Also make it very clear to the customer what it is you are asking them to do.

In the White Stuff email below, they have put two clear call to action buttons on the email, with a very straightforward call to action: Complete Order.

strong call to action

Abandoned cart emails can be a great way to pick up those customers who, for whatever reason, have left the checkout mid purchase. A well-considered dropped basket series may help turn around a sale that could potentially have been lost for ever!

We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on shopping cart abandonment emails so please do leave a comment. 

9 Ways to Create Trustworthy Online Store

9 Ways to Create Trustworthy Online Store
Trades and businesses flourish on trustworthiness be it B2B or B2C. Customer confidence and credibility are not acquired overnight; it takes consistent perseverant years of service to appease your customers and flag out your name.

Ensure your business entails all those ingredients that engender trust in your brand. Drawn from my experience as a consumer and marketer I share 9 upshots that will help you construct a trustworthy online store.

1. Fathom audience needs

Let your audience propensity take the center stage position in web store design. Site’s interface and interaction should orbit around visitor behavior – the navigation styles they prefer, shopping cart features that delight them, designs that instill confidence, page clicks and duration of visits. Audiences must perpetually feel elated coming to your site. Their interaction with the site should generate trust that eventually translates into revenue. And to attain this even if you have to inject bespoke elements into the foyer of site development, don’t dither. As a rule consumers share a fascination for extensive product information. Serving extra details on your store can take you extra miles in spawning customer’s interest for your site.

Another unspoken expectation from your website is effortless accessibility. It should have clear navigation links and an in place search functionality. Carousel format to showcase products is an intelligible method. Besides drawing user attention to product this style enables visual perception to grasp other recommended products with equal concentration.

2. Carefully word your sale

Never in your marketing campaigns criticize a competitor. Your ethics and values are substantially important in carving your image amidst customers. People don’t via for brands that demonstrate a callous image. Condemning other brands can be perceived as your brands incompetence.

Another way is to support social causes to enjoin your establishment with society’s concern. You can integrate some cause marketing program with your campaign. Toms Marketplace is one such eCommerce site that has enjoined diverse humane causes to every product purchase. The site navigation is clean and versatile to the extent that shoppers can make purchases affiliating to a cause of their choice through ‘Shop by Cause’ option.

Carefully word your sale
Your brand projects a personality. You need to get it just right enough to strike a chord at the right place; neither a subdued design nor a flashy one can make a mark. Unless you merchandise children’s items don’t select comic sans font. A font that matches your genre compliments your motive. Not all customers are discrete about a site’s appeal, but readability matters to everyone.

Every copy that floats on web needs to be exhaustively proofread, because a single grammatical glitch or an overlooked spell error can mortify you in front of your customers. And mind you, such lapses are not expected of responsible firms.

Few sites even sport user testimonials, popular magazine reviews and followership counts to trumpet their renown. And this is by no way against the rules. In fact fusing your social presence with the site will unlock the gates for traffic coming from social media. This idea provides us cues on significance of user reviews in shaping consumer confidence. As the customers get a real life account of products from people who have already used your services, their decision making is facilitated.

3. Product quality makes a difference

In a retail business, nothing except a good quality product holds the power to gratify consumers. Delivering what you promise begets trust in return. Although seasonal sales witness intensified conversions due to price disruptions, but this revenue upsurge mostly confines to discount periods and does not sustain longer. Apart from price cut another reason being the inferior quality of products that do not deliver their value for money. If you sell low quality products to get rid of that old inventory however much you succeed in disburdening yourself, you will end up disappointing a loyal customer, who will never contemplate returning to your site again. State honest product grade information on your site; refrain from deceiving tactics of optimizing products appearance by visual effects. Even sharing user reviews alongside products will be useful in purchase decisions. Some sites also use rating algorithms instead of direct user feedbacks.

Just like the neighbors in your new neighborhood coming to your home, people coming to your site for the first time are unmindful of your strengths. Acquaint them to your flagship products, latest stock additions and discount schemes. Moreover tool tip and field level response messages in forms also boost the user experience on site.

Sometimes people explore online stores with a specific product image in mind, but are not always fortunate to find it. And this inability can greatly benefit your competitors who are just an opportunity away to grab your customers. To avert customers’ migration plans to another site, register their item requests, this would also demonstrate your responsiveness towards needs of a customer.

4. About Us Page

Apparently people who desire to trade with you would want to know about your existence so far and the need that drove you to launch this venture. How long have you been in this business makes a difference when it comes to making buying decisions. People comfortably relate to long-standing brands compared to newbies. Old brands boast of their experience by mentioning their age in their taglines. For example, a popular tomato ketchup brand projects its age of establishment in the logo.

About Us Page

Further, a map showing your company’s geographic location also adds to your credibility certifying your existence. Also include a small contact-us section in your site. Allowing the customers to communicate with you manifests your accountability.

5. Managing product returns

The only spot where online retail lags behind a physical sale is the absence of a physical handshake. Here the trading parties cannot see each other face-to-face, which is a primary aspect of any relationship. But this deficiency can be overcome by modestly serving your customers. While bargain and negotiation cannot be allowed here implementing an exchange and return functionality can do the needful.

A clean trade policy endorses product exchange as an instrument to channel customer trust. Retailers with a friendly retail policy find themselves in consumer’s good books. However difficult it might be to manage returns, this encourages customers to connect with you often. In fact consumer behavior surveys predict consumers select sites with smooth return policy over sites providing higher discount margins. Therefore employing a convenient return of goods policy will win you loyal customers.

6. Be neat with money

Money is a crucial trust determining factor in trade relations. Quote clear prices. Use legible font size and style in displaying numbers. Coming to financial transactions, adoption of a transparent policy as far as product pricing is concerned wins you customer adulations. All the payment steps should furnish appropriate messages to prevent checkout errors.

Sites that ascribe hidden charges into customer bills lose out on customers, eventually falling into oblivion within a span of years. Throwing surprise charges at customers on grounds of shipping costs leads to cart abandonment in future. In fact moving a step ahead in this direction¬ – sites should show an upfront cost bifurcation chart displaying product charges, delivery charges, warranty charges, etc. before urging the customer for payments.

Be neat with money

The best way to cater a large number of buyers is to include varied price range products in your stores. Selling only expensive products may not get you those thrifty shoppers which throng e-stores initially to window shop but encountering a modestly priced commodity, end up buying. Ensure a certified shopping cart transaction that maintains customers’ data privacy. Also provide multiple payment options.

7. Offer detailed product information

There is no exception to people wanting value for money from their purchases. This is the reason people surf more than one eCommerce site before making that purchase. Comparisons are an essential ingredient of purchase decision. Rather than customer opening multiple tabs to compare, it would be very cooperative of the eCommerce site to incorporate product comparisons on the same page.

Offer detailed product information

Comparisons can only transpire between similar objects who have furnished similar information. For instance a consumer looking for 15’ laptop screen will compare only those products who have furnished their screen width. Products that reveal incomplete information stand to lose in competition.

Let the images be shot in-house rather than an online purchased image of the same product. Include real life images into your site that speak of your work culture and people behind the scenes that they could see and believe.

8. Allow a product search feature

Not finding what they want users leave the site and move ahead, but worse is when the product exists on the site, and the customer was unable to locate it. To bring the product to customers table equip your website with a notable search box (preferably at the top of the webpage). A search function brings the required product to users table. E-commerce websites enclose multiple commodities which are spread across numerous pages, scanning all those pages to find one particular product is impractical and time consuming.

There exist two types of search functions: 1. Simple Search and 2. Advanced Search.

Simple Search: Basic search functionality can serve your purpose if you are unable to provide an advanced level search. This type of search is ideally suited for sites that sell lesser items with less variety.

Advanced Search: E-commerce giants like Amazon, who sell almost everything from books to automotive parts, use this search type in their apps and websites. As the products range is diverse, for a customer to reach his desired item requires to cross multiple category filters.

A site that adapts itself to consumers and offers maximum convenience enjoys a privileged stature with consumers.

9. Ensure a speedy response

Monitor your website speed incessantly. If the site’s loading time crosses the accepted duration perimeter it makes your website appear flippant. This is almost like going to a shop where the shopkeeper is very slow to respond. What most people will do in such a scenario is move to another nearby store.

This is the first thing visitors notice on your site. Even the site’s look and feel follows next. And due to its high importance, page ranking algorithms take into account a site’s loading speed. Therefore it is advisable to parsimoniously deflate the size and weight of all those components that add to site load and inhibit response time:

1. Use compressed images as far as possible and optimize them before uploading.
2. Style your text using light weight fonts that are less cumbersome on server.
3. Store bulky scripts and stylesheet separately from the webpage. So that every time a page is refreshed, browser doesn’t have to refresh the css and scripts.
4. If you have a large number of visitors thronging your site everyday, using a Content Delivery Network may help you resolve your problem as it allocates the request to users nearest geographical sever location.

Even websites that include plenteous input parameters considerably ruin user experience. A clean and speedy cart checkout which is secure at the same time, leads the user to the end of the conversion funnel.

Finally

Remember, the faith that customers bestow in your store is your ultimate profit. Be true to your word. Speaking alone will not help you will have to deliver to build trust.

Image Source: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

10 Ways to Increase Conversion Rates with Product Photography

Product Photography

Who does not like looking at pretty pictures? Now what if I told you that those pretty pictures are responsible for convincing users to buy a product or a service many times more than lame taglines could ever hope for. Seriously, which gets you first – those gorgeous pictures of picturesque destinations or their standard cheesy marketing line about the country?

If there is any part of e-commerce that needs a shot in the arm from an aesthetic perspective it is the boring and done to death product photos. Typically these come from the manufacturers or brand owners themselves and e-commerce sites put them up with little or no changes. What results is the anti-thesis of a shopper’s dream destination.

If images hold scientifically proven sway over our minds, why not apply this logic to your own e-commerce site by turning every product image into a mini salesman for your site? This is how the best in the business do it.

1. Know your audience

Humans are very visual creatures. We process visual signals faster than sound and respond to them at a more visceral level. However, what type of visual signals gets each one of us going can vary from person to person. Before you decide on an image style for your site, understand whom you are addressing and design from there on.

Use the right image for the right audience. An image of an attractive woman may work with male as well as female audiences but in very different contexts. On the other hand, the image of a church may evoke very different responses from conservative audiences as compared to liberal ones. The bottom line? Understand your target audience – their likes and dislikes, and then proceed to pick the right imagery for your website.

2. Invest in image libraries

You must have heard it a million times before, but for good reason. Avoid stock shots that litter every other website. This is important to prevent user fatigue and instead guide the user’s eye towards new and interesting products on the basis of images alone. Spend some time over this and pick out unique imagery that complements your site and its personality.

Granted that unique images can be hard to come by and even when they are available, they are normally astronomically priced. Premium image libraries are a cost-effective compromise for unique images which do not cost an arm and a leg.

3. Photo shoots with a twist

Zulily – the billion dollar e-commerce phenomenon – shows the rest of us the way things ought to be done in the world of product photography. Zulily shoots 99% of all its product images in-house in its 35 studios that litter the entire office building. Their in-house photographers take artistic pictures for each item that goes up on the site. The site falls back on its regular employees to pose as models for their pictures. Baby models (it’s a mom and baby site after all!) are brought in by moms and dads who are aspiring actors themselves who get to build a portfolio for Junior via Zulily’s product shoots.

The result? A product catalogue that is as colorful as it is unique. Even if Zulily might sell a product that might be available on some other retailer’s site, it sure as hell will look completely different on Zulily. A smart, simple and highly effective workaround to expensive photoshoots, don’t you agree!

4. Build a story with your images

Your problem does not end with sourcing great pictures. What you do with them is more important.

Images are a great tool to build a story around your products. Use multiple images of a product to weave a use case scenario or present a solution to a problem that the user may have. Your creative presentation will show the user exactly how the item will fit into their lives. Another alternative is to showcase real users actually using the products in their everyday life settings. You could accessorize these images with quotes from these real users too. The contrast between the clinical austerity of most websites and the realism of slice of life type images will make your products stand out and help your conversions.

5. Use images to convey emotion

Just as images can convey stories and draw the user in, they can also tug at users’ heartstrings to loosen those purse strings on your site.

A tactic that is widely used by non-profits and welfare organizations, show me one such website that you can tear yourself away from without donating some cash or leaving with a guilt trip the size of Guatemala. If non-profits can use images to evoke emotions, so can you. Tap into the power of emotions with images that speak to the user. The right combination of photographer, model and setting contribute to emotional ammo over and over again.

6. Convey information with images

Emotional connections are great, but an image that tells a user exactly what she needs to know without even needing to read through the accompanying product description is what we are aiming at.

Wherever possible, use large images that offer users a high resolution and undistorted viewing experience. Never miss out on the zoom function on your product image. Users can only see images of your product and not the real deal before putting down large sums of cash on your website. It is your job to make this leap of faith that they repose in your site worthwhile by letting them get as close to the real item as possible.

Offer multiple product views with tiny product details visible clearly to make up for the lack of real touch and feel. Showcasing the product from different angles offers users a better idea of the real product. A 360 degree view option for your product image is a good idea, especially in terms of letting the users get up, close and personal with the item. Many top sites including Amazon and others have already started letting users savor each product with a 360 perspective.

A good way to convince a user about an item is by showing a picture of the item they are looking for being actually used by a model. Sell tractors? Put a model or a real farmer on a tractor and plow a field. Sunglasses is your thing? Get a few attractive models to lounge around the beach in your sunglasses and go clickety click on them.

7. Make your images fancy

Nothing kills a product image as effectively as putting a jarring background against a pleasant and soothing image.

Pick a background that goes well with the rest of your brand personality and issue orders to your designers stick to those colors and styles for the rest of the images as well. Marketplaces like Amazon that get product images from thousands of sellers listed on the site, on white backgrounds for nearly all their product shots. This not just makes life easier it also creates a clean feel look for your site – something that will go a long way in convincing the best sellers to list with you, and the most fanatical shoppers to buy from you.

Instead of offering flat two dimensional images, DueMaternity.com offered rotating images to its users. On hovering the mouse over the item image, the image would automatically rotate a complete 360 degrees, showcasing its complete potential without users having to click and open a page for the same experience in the past. The site actually saw a 27% lift in conversions since they implemented the snazzy new image format.

Use product videos wherever you showcase the item and allow users to arrive at their purchase decisions based on a more intimate view of the product than just two dimensional images. Offer at least one image for every product variant you’ll be listing online. This could be different color or a different use case or even a different size. Showcase these efficiently and there’s no reason for why anyone would fall back on boring manufacturer images ever again.

8. Virtual reality / augmented reality

If images let a user see how an item would look on someone else, virtual reality allows users to imagine how it would look on themselves.

Virtual reality devices are fast going mainstream and users can now get a VR headset for as low as $135. Virtual reality can be employed to let users model an item for themselves in the comfort of their own homes. Glasses retailer Warby Parker offers users a virtual tryout session by feeding a self-photo clicked by the user and allowing the user to experiment with different glasses that truly suit their face.

Chinese grocery and home goods retailer Yihaodian took virtual reality to the next level when they ‘built’ 100 virtual stores across the entire city in virtually no time at all. The company allowed users to scan items and add them to their virtual cart in these virtual stores. These items are then delivered to users’ doorsteps without them even having to leave their doorstep for a minute.

9. Accessorize the product

Never miss a chance to upsell or cross-sell a product with another item.

Add an interesting accessory or two to your models’ outfits does not just add drama to the images themselves, the overall look reminds users of the possibilities that lie in wait and help push the billing amount up ever so slightly.

Most apparel retail sites do a good job of using the right accessories to set off an outfit, thus tempting the user to splurge on the extras as well in the same transaction. I particularly love the way ModCloth and Net-a-Porter pull this off without it coming across as a crass attempt at upselling.

10. Allow sharing

We all know how social media is a huge contributor to site traffic both from a last touch perspective as well as higher in the lead funnel. One of the most shared elements on social media today are images, which is clear from the runaway popularity of entirely image driven social apps like Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat. This popularity of images has even forced the text only Twitter to embrace images and showcase them prominently on users’ Twitter feeds.

Feed into this cultural obsession with sharing aesthetically pleasing images by offering social sharing for your product images. Putting sharing buttons alongside your product image or allowing users to create self-avatars wearing your product is a great way of driving social conversations which eventually lead to conversions.

In conclusion

Your product images are pages in your album not standalone works of art that all speak a different language. They need to have a consistent flow and overall ‘look’ to work with your site’s aesthetics. Invest some much deserved time into a neglected area like your product images to see the difference that they make to your site and its conversions. Let me know in the comments below how these experiments work out for you!

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5 security tips to protect your credit card when shopping online

5 security tips to protect your credit card when shopping online

Shopping online can be a real breeze. Just choose what you want to buy, enter your credit card details and voila, you’ll have your chosen item at your doorstep in a matter of days (or hours, if Amazon and its drone delivery plans take wing). No long queues, no driving all over town hunting for that perfect pair of shoes.

While online shopping is fun, addictive and a lot of things besides that, what sometimes kills the joy of online shopping is the sheer terror of credit card fraud and identity theft. And no, you cannot cower under a pillow and pretend that this will go away. If you shop online, you need to read the following security tips. If you own an online retail store you need to read this even more.

1. Get the Basics Right

Being safe while shopping online is not rocket science. Millions of users successfully shop for their hearts’ desire and more online without ever getting into trouble. Here are a few basics that every online shopper MUST keep in mind.

  • Never make the mistake of assigning the same passwords for all your accounts and cards. Use different passwords for each account, make sure your passwords are not easily hackable. With one password, you run the risk of compromising all your accounts with just one crack in your armor. An easy to guess password like your name or date of birth make breaking into your accounts easy as pie. Make passwords a combination of alpha-numeric characters that have nothing to do with any of your personal details like your family members’ names, your wedding anniversary etc. Another key aspect to always remember is to never share your passwords with anyone.
  • Be aware of your surroundings when swiping your card. When you hand your card over to the cashier at a store, keep an eye on the cashier while they swipe your card. In case you see the cashier swiping your card on a machine that is not a POS machine, raise the alarms. Chances are the second machine is a dip card reader that steals user information from the magnetic strip of the card. Fraudsters use this data to make duplicates of your card and run up giant shopping bills at your expense.
  • Avoid using your credit card on public Wi-Fi networks. Public Wi-Fi networks are accessible with or without a password to anyone who is within range of the network. With people peeping over your shoulder figuratively and literally, it is not a smart idea to carry out credit card transactions in public Wi-Fi zones where your data can be easily intercepted by an unscrupulous stranger.
  • Choose only secure sites to carry out credit card transactions. Avoid shopping on sites that look shoddily made – poor selection of images, a very high text to image ratio, spelling errors all over the place etc. Chances are, these are dummy sites set up by credit card fraudsters to capture your payment details and misuse them.

When making any payment online, check if the address bar in the browser shows HTTPS and not HTTP. On the payments page look out for a Verisign logo or a McAfee Security logo that tell you that the site is safe to use. Just a tip, the green lock icon on your browser address bar is a sign that the site you’re browsing is protected by SSL security and your data is being transmitted on a secure connection. Sites powered by ShopIntegrator have this worry of keeping payment details safe taken off their shoulders. ShopIntegrator directly transfers the customer to the payment processor’s site, thus making PCI compliance easier for merchants.

2. Protect Your PC

Playing it safe is sound advice in nearly all walks of life, if you know what I mean 😉

  • Secure Your Home WiFi. To begin with protect your home internet from outside users by setting up a strong password for it. Data like your credit card details can be easily hacked into while you transmit them over the internet. A secure home Wi-Fi connection avoids this mess. Another critical thing to do right away is to remove Autofill settings from your browser. The browser tends to store data that you use to fill in forms regularly like your name, address, telephone number, sometimes even credit card details in its memory. Removing this autofill data from your browser’s memory eliminates the possibility of someone else accessing your machine and misusing this data. It also thwarts hacking attempts by not offering identity thieves any rewards for their efforts. Different browsers have different procedures for doing this. Check out the settings section of your respective browser and reset this right away.
  • Updated Operating System. Software makers like Microsoft and Apple keep scouring their software for security holes on a continuous basis and release updates and patches to counter any gaps that they find. So the next time your computer asks to restart itself to install some new operating system updates don’t irritatedly postpone the update. Go ahead and keep your operating system updated to avoid falling prey to potential identity thieves on the World Wide Web.
  • Updated Browser. Most browsers these days release updates on a regular basis. Either set your browser to automatically update itself when there’s a new release or do it yourself manually without fail. Chrome’s ‘Safe Browsing API List’ is but one example of the many precautions that browsers employ to keep users safe online.
  • Strong Antivirus. Another smart, but essential investment for your financial and data security is a good antivirus software. It does not have to be an expensive one. As long it detects and removes spyware or keystroke logging malware from your personal computer and protects your computer from third party attacks, it will do just fine. As with all your other software, keep your virus definitions on your unit up to date to avoid online mishaps.

3. Don’t Fall for Phishing Scams

The Nigerian Prince story has been done to death on email by fraudsters around the world. It’s gotten so stale that even my Dad knows that it’s all just a scam. But not all scamsters are so naive. Phishing for bank account and credit card details has reached sophisticated levels with many fraudsters posing as your bank representatives asking you for your personal financial details as a matter of routine maintenance. There have been cases of people receiving links inside perfectly innocent looking emails which if clicked can download a malicious keystroke logging malware into your machine.

Large scale scammers even go to the extent of building replicas of bank websites that end up stealing your passwords and other personal details as you access the site. Some easy pointers to avoid being phished:

  • Do not open emails from unknown or suspicious looking email IDs
  • Avoid opening or downloading any suspicious looking attachments even from known contacts
  • Never click on links without verifying where the link leads to. You can easily do this by hovering your mouse over the link in the email for a few seconds. The browser will automatically reveal the destination URL in a separate box.
  • Double check logos of banks, spellings and other minor tell-tale signs in emails that deal with financial data.
  • No bank or credit card company will ask you for your passwords or other personally identifying information over email. Never pass this information on without double checking with the bank over the phone or in person.

4. Activate Two Factor Authentication for your card

With the number of financial frauds rising by the day, banks and card issuers are becoming wiser and thinking two steps ahead. Many banks now offer users the option of adding an extra level of security to their cards while they carry out online transactions.

Many banks make it a point to call users personally when their card is swiped for a larger than normal amount. This ‘average’ amount is presumably arrived at by taking a median of all the different amounts swiped on the card till date. Banks also tend to call users when transactions are made outside the country of issue of the card.

Two factor authentication takes these basic precautions a notch higher. Instead of relying on just a username and password for a transaction, two factor authentication requires card users to enter a second identifier which they typically carry on their person like a fingerprint scan or a password sent via SMS to a mobile phone, a personal PIN number not stored anywhere else and so on.

Besides banks many other online services too have realized the importance of two factor authentication and actively encourage users to set it up like; Twitter, Yahoo Mail, Facebook etc.

5. Use digital wallets for online transactions

Swiping a credit card can now be replaced by a slew of ingenious payment mechanisms that do not even reveal your card details to the online merchant, thus keeping your identity and financial data safe and sound.

PayPal was the trailblazer in digital wallets which allowed users to transfer money into a seller’s PayPal account from a prepaid PayPal account for any online transactions. It also helped reverse transactions in case of complaints regarding fraud.

The biggest benefit of digital wallets is that you have the option of transferring only as much money you need for your online purchase into your digital wallet. This avoids the scenario of miscreants breaking into your account and emptying it of all its cash.

Now the digital wallet has gone mobile with the introduction of the Google Wallet about four years ago and Apple Pay coming in last year. There are also a bunch of social media payment mechanisms like SnapCash that are gaining in popularity for their sheer convenience and novelty. However the security levels of these social payment mechanisms are yet to be tested and one would do well to tread cautiously in these choppy waters.

Conclusion

Online security during your e-commerce binges is not just the responsibility of the merchant site where you carry out your transactions. It is equally yours. Whether you choose to check users reviews about site’s security online before using a website or use a security app to protect your credit card or activate two factor authentication for your card or even switch to a digital wallet; the idea is to be proactive and work towards avoiding a situation where your financial data is at risk.

By following simple guidelines that typically don’t take much time or resources, one can ensure that one’s hard earned money remains safe and sound without any external threats. Stay safe and happy shopping!

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5 Tactics to Improve Checkout Conversions and Reduce Abandoned Carts

Imagine an athlete who trains round the clock every single day for four years and then right on the first day of the Olympics breaks her leg and is forced to sit out the greatest sporting competition on earth. Now multiply that by three and you realize how it feels when a user who has been identified, prepped and coaxed into visiting your site arrives on your site, browses for a few minutes and simply clicks away.

I know I’m being a tad dramatic. But it’s only a tad. Every e-commerce business spends nearly all their marketing budgets and resources on getting more users and getting them to buy more. An incomplete checkout or an abandoned cart is not too far from that athlete’s Olympic leg fracture. And the bad news is that trillions of dollars’ worth of goods just get left behind in ignored shopping carts – the ghosts of lost e-commerce potential.

The biggest fix for this chronic pain point is checkout optimization. Yes, we have talked about checkout optimization before. But the more time I spend online on different e-commerce sites; the more compelled I become to do something about the terrible, terrible checkout designs so many online retailers resort to.

Somebody has to stop them. I nominate me. So here goes.

1. KISS

Keep it simple, silly.

That’s the first and foremost rule of checkout design. The more bells and whistles you tag on to a checkout process, the more distracted your user gets and higher are your chances of a drop off midway through your checkout.

KISS

According to the data above from Smashing Magazine, the usability of a checkout process drops sharply with every increasing step that you tack on to it. Beyond eight steps, the user friendliness actually declines making these ripe candidates for abandoned shopping carts.

A good option to reduce drop offs is to create a one-page checkout process as against the standard multi-page processes. This one page checkout will ideally combine all the various stages of an e-commerce checkout like picking the items and their quantities, personal information, payment and shipping information etc.

One-page Checkout Process

Panic makes users complete their transactions in a single flourish by combining the three key sections of a checkout process into one seamless page.

2. Users are Impatient, Easily Distracted. Tackle these Hurdles.

Anyone who has shopped online will testify to how tempting it is to peek at a bunch of different sites at the same time. I won’t hold this against users, as it is in the very nature of the internet to keep things free and transparent. So how do you ensure that the fickleness that comes with the territory does not translate into dismal checkout conversions for your e-commerce site?

Well, play into the foibles of your audience and feed their impatience. A progress bar located at the top of your checkout process tells your shoppers exactly how many steps they can expect ahead and how close they are to completing the transaction.

Crate and Barrel Checkout Process

Crate and Barrel has a clear numbered progress bar that staves off impatience in shoppers

The more clarity you offer your shopper, the lower are his chances of quitting and moving on from your site.

Another key feature of a checkout process that holds on to users like a magnet is a self-contained checkout design. With a checkout process that is clearly cordoned off from the rest of the site, the users have minimal distractions to pull them away from completing the transaction.

Self-contained Checkout

With an enclosed and minimal checkout process like the one above from Under Armor, the user has no other temptations to tear them away.

An oft-irritating hurdle that too many e-commerce sites build into their checkout process is the need to compulsorily register with the site in order to make a purchase. This is a little like saying you need to first plant a few bushes before you can stroll through a garden. While getting users to register with your site does have its merits from a long term relationship building perspective, enforcing it at the time of purchase is a risk you ought not to take. Leave absurd ideas like these behind with the option of a guest checkout like the one from Crate & Barrel below.

Crate & Barrel Guest Checkout

This checkout model meets a happy compromise of guest checkout and user registration by offering the user both options side by side. No prizes for guessing which the more frictionless choice is.

3. Money Matters. Flexibility Matters Even More With Money

How people spend on your site as well as how much they spend on it both have a lot to do with your attitude towards pricing and payment mechanisms.

A large majority of e-commerce sites show only the listed price of the item that a customer selects in the checkout section. It’s only when the user reaches the final payments section of the checkout process that a load of ancillary fees get tagged on to the original list price of the item. These ancillary prices include service charge, service tax, VAT, shipping charges and so on. The result? The final price the user ends up paying becomes almost 25-30% higher than what he originally saw. That’s an immediate trust breaker, right there.

Invest in transparency in your pricing across the site. As far as possible, show all inclusive pricing up front to avoid giving the user a nasty shock at the time of payment.

Men’s formal wear retailer Haggar Clothing does a great job of showing a clear break up of each and every cost associated with the purchase even before the checkout process starts.

Haggar Shopping Cart

Once inside the checkout section, the pricing does not vanish. It remains clearly visible with the amounts getting updated automatically to match any change in the cart items.

Haggar Check Out

The information that Haggar provides regarding shipping costs, is a smart touch. It is estimated that close to 30% of users will simply drop off the checkout process when faced with unexpected shipping costs. Good save there, Haggar!

Reasons for Card Abandonment

Take a look at some more ways to minimize drop-offs due to shipping concerns, while we’re on the subject.

Identifying the geographical location of a user is easier than pie these days. And yet, there are thousands of e-commerce sites out there that will only show prices in their home currency, irrespective of where a user logs in from.

Avoid this fundamental tactical error by offering prices in the local currency of your user. Most well-designed shopping carts, including ShopIntegrator can detect the user’s IP address and serve up prices as well as site content based on the user’s location. If your site is unable to automatically identify the country where the user logs in from, at least ask the user to choose their location from a drop down list of countries and set your site currency accordingly. Not only does this make for a frictionless user experience, with exchange rate calculations out of the picture, your users now have a higher chance of converting.

Payment flexibility is the final cog in the wheel of your monetary transactions with your users. The more payment options you allow your users, the easier it becomes for them to buy from you. Go beyond the regular debit and credit cards to offer users the chance of paying through unconventional methods like mobile wallets, PayPal or even Bitcoin; which safeguard the security of the user’s payment details much better than other methods.

4. Never Say ‘No Looking Back’

If there’s one advantage that the virtual world has over the real world, it is the ease with which one can ‘undo’ our actions compared to the real world. Imagine sending out a press release to your PR agency with the name of your product spelt wrongly. An email send-out can be rectified within minutes by correcting the name and emailing the respective people right away. On the other hand a press release that has been hand delivered or sent out via snail mail will take a minimum of 24 hours before any corrections can be made.

Allow your users this same luxury by allowing them to edit their cart at any time during the checkout process. The ability to modify quantities, colors or sizes at will without losing the data entered so far, makes the likelihood of the user getting frustrated and leaving your page extremely low.

Amazon Edit Cart

If editing shopping carts is good enough for Amazon, it’s definitely something you ought to consider!

A corollary to the ability to edit carts, it the ability to retrieve an abandoned shopping cart within a certain number of days. This feature is called a persistent shopping cart, where an e-commerce site saves users’ session details and cart contents for a pre-decided period of one week or one month. This saved data allows users who dropped off on an earlier transaction to pick up right where they left off, thus avoiding a complete loss of your marketing efforts.

While a persistent shopping cart may not be a contributing factor to conversions during a user’s first visit to your site, it definitely aids conversions on their subsequent visits to the site.

Sometimes even the savviest online shoppers get bamboozled about specific items that they have their eye on online. While some people have no worries simply dropping an email or calling the customer care department to clarify any shopping related query, users who are first-timers or are flight risks in general are relieved to have someone they can speak to immediately and fix the problems right away.

For such cases and more, offer your users checkout assistance in the form of a Live Chat plugin. Customer care representatives can walk through the entire process step by step, thus helping the cause of the website owner spectacularly well.

Users who leave your site due to a payment failure or some other frustrating quirk can also be recovered by an instant call back mechanism to the user in question. Remembering the users’ login credentials for their next visit makes the process even smoother and helps grow the conversions even on subsequent visits.

5. Abandoned Cart Emails

Despite the best efforts by my team and me, not a single day goes by when we don’t join the ranks of the rest of the e-commerce world and suffer from abandoned shopping carts. But unlike a large portion of the e-commerce sites in the country, we don’t take the abandonment lying down. We give chase and pursue the user like a spurned lover in an attempt to remind them of our services and the items they left beyond in their cart.

An abandoned cart email does not have to be very fancy. Even a simple standard template with placeholders for the items still inside the user’s abandoned cart will work wonders. Just remember to include the following key pointers in every abandoned cart email

  • A personalized greeting such as, “Hi Jack!”
  • A snapshot of the items in the original shopping cart
  • Pricing details
  • A sense of urgency by reminding users that the abandoned cart will remain active only for a pre-decided duration
  • A Clear Call to Action

Abandoned Cart Emails

What Do You Think?

I realize that I have rambled on about my own checkout conversion optimization methods. Are there any different methods that you employ to prevent users from moving on to your competition? Let’s hear it from you in the comments below right here!

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5 indispensable marketing metrics to help small online businesses and start-ups measure performance

marketing metrics for small businessesAs a small online business owner or e-commerce start-up not only do you have a million and one things whirring around in your head, you also have to contend with small budgets, limited resources and constant time pressures. Having to then dedicate even more head space to performance measurements like web analytics can feel somewhat overwhelming. You can be left wondering where to focus your time and effort in a sea of numbers. To help you get the ball rolling we’ve outlined a few key measurements that are quick and easy to understand and can tell you all sorts of helpful things about your performance.

Start small and focus on a few key metrics

Of course there are all sorts of different ways for you to measure your marketing performance, from number of ‘likes’ on social media, customer satisfaction surveys or in-depth analysis of web analytics. Your chosen measurement depends on your goals and objectives and how much time and resources you have available.

Getting started with metrics can feel a bit daunting but the trick is to start small and focus on some key measurements. Don’t be tempted to rely on a scatter-gun approach to marketing where you do lots and hope that some of it will pay off. With small budgets it is essential that you can account for every penny and feel secure that the money and resources you’ve invested are working hard for you. Sign up to Google Analytics and learn to analyse what it is your metrics are telling you. You can then implement whatever changes are necessary to optimise your performance. The last thing you want is to throw good money after bad.

5 essential marketing metrics

We’ve outlined below some simple to understand measurements that can quickly help you identify areas that are paying off or conversely need improving. Of course, there are all sorts metrics you’ll want to analyse as your business develops but these five are a great starting point.

web analytics bounce rate1. Bounce Rate

“If you could only choose one metric to look at Bounce Rate might be your best choice” Google

What is it? Bounce rate is almost self-explanatory, it identifies the percentage of visitors to your site who view just one single page before leaving almost immediately. You are looking for a low bounce rate, the higher the percentage the higher the likelihood of there being a problem. For example visitors came, looked, didn’t like what they found and so left. The general consensus amongst web analytics experts seems to be that about 30-40% bounce is a good target to aim for anything above 50% needs investigating.

What does it tell me? The key things your bounce rate could be telling you is whether there is a problem with the quality of the traffic coming into your site, your page may be loading to slowly or your landing page is putting people off.

What should I do next?

  • Firstly check that you’ve added your tracking code to your page and that the keywords and search terms you are using echo the content of your site. If there is a mis-match you are going to be enticing in the wrong traffic. No matter how great your website looks they just aren’t interested in its offerings.
  • Make sure your website is loading quickly. People don’t have the patience for a website that loads slowly  – they’ll simply give up and move on elsewhere.
  • Check out your landing page. Don’t underestimate the importance of a good landing page. It should be well-designed, easy to navigate, contain quality content, reflect the promise you made in whatever promotion enticed them in the first place (so try to always have a separate landing page pertinent to each channel or campaign) and have a strong call to action.

web traffic source2. Traffic sources

What is it? On your Google Analytics dashboard the Traffic Source metric tells you where your website traffic is coming from – what platform are your visitors using to find you?

What does it tell me? It will tell you the percentage of visitors coming in through each channel. So traffic coming in via search engines using particular keywords is your Organic Search traffic. Direct traffic is those visitors who entered your website’s URL  into the browser. Social traffic are those who arrived through your social media platforms and  Referral traffic will tell you those visitors who clicked on your link from another website.  It is  good way of identifying which areas you need to focus on to drive traffic to your site.

What should I do next? Spend sometime looking at each traffic source. Are you doing as well as you expected or do some channels need some work. For example the percentage of visitors finding you via organic search will give you a good indication of how successful your search engine optimisation is. If it is not as good as you’d hope spend some time looking at how you can improve your content. Your content is absolutely essential in improving your search engine ranking.  Equally if you find that you are putting lots of time and effort into Facebook but actually you’re getting a better percentage of visitors from Pinterest then it may indicate that it’s more worthwhile for you to put some of the time you spend on Facebook into Pinterest.

 

cash flow management3. Cost-per-acquisition

What is it? Cost-per-acquisition (CPA) is the average amount of money it costs you to acquire a new customer. Divide the total costs of  acquisition (for example sales and marketing spend) by the total number of new customers over a specific period –  for example 6 months.

What does it tell me?  Cost-per-acquisition will tell you if you’re spending too much on acquiring a new customer. For example, does what you spend on the acquisition of a new customer exceed the profit your new customer is generating for you?

What should I do next? Are you spending more than you can afford?  Investigate where you are spending your marketing budget. Examine the performance of the marketing channels you are using to acquire your new customers in more detail. Which leads us nicely onto…

 

4. ROMI Return on marketing investment

What it is? ROMI is your Return on Marketing Investment. A simplistic calculation for ROMI could be: Total revenue generated from a campaign / Total campaign cost. Remember to multiply the result by 100 as ROMI is usually expressed as a percentage.

What does it tell me? The higher the percentage then the better the campaign is working. What you don’t really want are percentages that are in the negative. Work out the ROI for each campaign you undertake.

What should I do next? Think about what campaigns are giving you the best return on investment. You can then allocate your budget in the most profitable areas and get rid of the campaigns that are losing you money.

shopping cart abandonment rate5. Shopping cart abandonment rate

What is it? Your shopping cart abandonment rate is the percentage of customers leaving you during the conversion process. To find out where people are abandoning you, in Google Analytics go to conversions and look at goal flow.

What does it tell me? These people had already decided to part with their money but somewhere during the conversion process they’ve quit. It will give you an indication whether there is a potential problem during the checkout process that needs addressing.

How you can improve it? Identify the steps on your flow that have the highest abandonment percentages and think about what it could be that is making people leave. For example do you present them with an overly long registration form, are their some hidden shipping costs that suddenly appear or is confusing wording making it difficult for people to know what to do next? Try to make your checkout process as simple and straightforward as possible. Don’t ask for too much information and don’t have any hidden costs appearing out nowhere. 

 Next steps…

As your business grows and develops you’ll want to start delving a bit deeper into measuring and understanding performance.  Moving forward you will need to have clear goals and set yourself specific objectives that you can measure using the most appropriate metric. Of course numbers on their own mean little, it is about understanding what it is your metrics are telling you. Only then can you make the right improvements.

Try to get yourself into the routine of regularly checking your metrics on Google Analytics (or whatever web analytics programme you are using). Before you know it you’ll become  proficient in reading metrics, identifying trends or spotting any hiccups!

 

We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this post, so do please leave a comment.