This is a Guest Post by Seth Waite of SmashMetrics.
The holiday shopping season is the best time of the year for most retailer online and offline. It’s a time of gift giving, personal wishlists and lots of promotions. National Retail Institute statistics put holiday sales at almost 15-30% of a retailers yearly revenue. If you’re a retailer, holidays matter. This year though you wont start on an equal playing field. The 2013 holiday shopping period is shorter than usual and 6 days fewer than last year. There were 32 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2012 but only 26 days this year.
A shorter holiday season can mean significantly fewer sales than for your business. Think about 6 fewer days to bring in visitors to your store/website and less time for repeat sales and extra business. If you want to make sure that at the end of the year you aren’t short the revenue your business needs to survive than these tips will help.
Conversion Rate Optimization
Tired of getting only a small percentage of visitors to actually buy your products? We know how frustrating it can be to get only 1-3% of all of your site visitors buying your products and services. Using conversion rate optimization techniques you can increase the ratio of visitors-to-buyers and save this retail season.
Why would this work? Retail math is your friend in this circumstance because we can see that if you increase your conversion rate by 1-2% you will make up the revenue for the 6 missing days. So finding a way to sell slightly more each day will boost your long-term bottom line and help you reach your year-end goals.
So how do you increase conversion rates?
The easiest way to increase conversion rates is buy testing your site for possible barriers between your customers and a complete checkout. Some barriers are contextual and focused on what you are or aren’t saying to them and other barriers are related to your visitor’s experience. The list below is a simple checklist for how what to test on your website to increase conversion rates.
- Get to know your customers better. Use analytics tools like Google Analytics, DataRank, MineWhat, CrazyEgg, or Qualaroo to gather useful data on your audience across channels and devices. The more you know about what they care about and what they dislike the better you will be at removing barriers between them and the purchase.
- Look at your user experience. The next thing to do is go to your site and look at it as if you are a first time visitor. What do you see? What’s hard to find or easy to use? If it helps ask someone who hasn’t been to the site to go through the site for the first time with you. The flow of your visitor is important and getting personal feedback is a great companion to the analytics you pulled in the first step.
- Develop a Series of Hypothesis. After you’ve spent some time actually finding out what people are doing on your site (or not doing) then you want to start formulating some ideas about what might help improve it. The key in this phase is to not limit yourself to a small set of ideas. Get a whiteboard or piece of paper and brainstorm opportunities to tear down barriers and create new paths to purchases. A hypothesis might be “I believe from evidence in analytics suggesting high bounce rates on our homepage and asking visitors in surveys that if I change the headline of the homepage it will be easier for visitors to use my holiday promotions.” This is a good hypothesis because it’s using evidence (whether qualitative or quantitative) to create a specific assumption. Do this for a number of things related to the site design, content, navigation, shopping cart, product pages, and traffic generation sources.
- Run A Test. Now Another One. You’ve established some hypotheses about what will lead to an easier purchasing process for your site visitors – now it’s time to test the hypotheses for validation. The most important part of this phase is to expect failure and be okay with it. Hypotheses aren’t always right (in fact you are usually wrong) but in each test you can learn something. Run your tests using software that makes it easy create site tests like Optimizely, Rekko, Visual Website Optimizer (my fav), and Google Content Experiments.
After completing all four steps take some time to see what you learned. Make a list and review it with your team. If your hypotheses are wrong than you learn what doesn’t work as good as your current site. If it’s right than you learn what does work and can infer new hypotheses for testing the idea further. The key is to learn from your tests and than test some more!
Working on your conversion rate will lead to more sales and a better holiday retail experience no matter the product or problem. So get started with optimizing your site and working towards continued #VegasTech growth. To help you we have a fun and free opportunity to get help.
SmashMetrics, a local digital strategy and conversion rate optimization agency, loves the purpose of the Downtown Project and #VegasTech. Building a thriving community of creatives and developers in Las Vegas is exactly what Vegas needs to continue to develop an economy suited for the 21st Century.
To show our enthusiasm and interest in contributing to the #VegasTech community, SmashMetrics is offering FREE strategy sessions for members of the Vegas Tech/Downtown Project community. We want this holiday season to be the best ever! Strategy sessions may include doing an audit of your current marketing campaigns, developing strategies and tactics to drive more traffic and sales, and starting conversion rate optimization. We want to help you get more holiday visitors to your website and turn those visitors into purchasing customers and clients.
If you are interested in winning an opportunity for FREE digital strategy – then go to http://smashmetrics.com/downtownproject to work with SmashMetrics for free. Just sign up and get in touch.
As a digital strategist for digital agency projects with Walmart, Sam’s Club, and Proctor & Gamble, Seth applied innovative conversion optimization techniques to improve the success of some of the biggest names in retail. Using his experience, Seth is now helping #VegasTech improve their digital strategies and eCommerce through SmashMetrics.com.