The holiday season is approaching, and with it, the opportunity to boost your online sales. But before you can reap the benefits of the festive shopping frenzy, you need to make sure your website is ready to convert visitors into customers. And that means you need to optimize your website for conversion before your inevitable code freeze.
A code freeze is a period of time when no major changes are allowed to be made to the website’s code, usually to ensure stability and avoid errors during peak traffic. For many online retailers, the code freeze starts in early November and lasts until January. That means you have only a few weeks left to implement any changes that can improve your conversion rate.
But don’t worry, you don’t need to overhaul your entire website or spend a lot of time and money on complex features. There are some small and quick things you can do in the time left before the code freeze that can have an impact on your conversion rate. In this article, we will share with you some of the best practices and tips for quick conversion wins that you can apply to your website.
Free Shipping / Free Returns
One of the quick wins that you can implement is enabling free shipping and/or free returns for your customers. These are proven to be powerful incentives that can influence purchase decisions and increase customer satisfaction.
According to various studies (see below), free shipping can greatly increase conversion rates, profits, and the bottom line. Moreover, free shipping can also boost the average order value (AOV) and the customer lifetime value (CLV) by encouraging customers to buy more products or to shop more frequently.
Free returns, on the other hand, can reduce buyer’s remorse and build repeat purchases and customer loyalty. They can also enhance your brand reputation and trustworthiness, as customers perceive your business as more customer-centric and risk-free.
However, offering free shipping and free returns is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. You need to consider various factors, such as your industry, your product margins, your competitors, and your customer behavior, to determine the best way to offer these incentives.
For example, you can set a minimum order threshold to qualify for free shipping, or you can offer different shipping options with varying costs and delivery times. You can also use reciprocity, urgency, scarcity, and social proof principles to create effective free shipping messaging that can motivate your customers to take action.
By offering free shipping and free returns in a strategic way, you can create a win-win situation for both your business and your customers. You can increase your sales, reduce your cart abandonment rate, and improve your customer retention rate. Your customers, on the other hand, can enjoy a hassle-free and cost-effective shopping experience.
Countdown Timers and Urgency
Another positive effect is adding website countdown timers for certain promotions and using urgency tactics. Website countdown timers are animated graphics that show a countdown to a specific deadline, such as the end of a sale, the start of a new product launch, or the last chance to get free shipping. Urgency tactics are copywriting techniques that create a sense of pressure to spur customers to take action, such as using words like “now,” “hurry,” “limited time,” or “last chance.”
Website countdown timers and urgency tactics work by tapping into the psychological principles of scarcity and time sensitivity. They make customers perceive an offer as more valuable and more likely to run out, which triggers their fear of missing out (FOMO) and motivates them to act quickly. According to various studies, these tactics can increase click-through rates, conversion rates, average order value, and customer lifetime value.
However, these tactics should be used strategically and sparingly. If you use them too often or for irrelevant offers, you risk losing your customers’ trust and attention. You also need to make sure that your use of these techniques are consistent with your brand voice and tone, and that they match the expectations and needs of your target audience.
By implementing these methods on your website, you can create a sense of excitement and urgency for your customers that can lead to increased sales. You can use them for various occasions, such as seasonal sales, product launches, flash sales, or shipping deadlines. Just make sure that you use them wisely and ethically, and that you deliver on your promises.
Another potentially quick conversion win that you can implement before the holiday season is optimizing your website’s performance. This refers to how fast your website pages load and display key elements to your visitors. Performance has a large and measurable effect on your conversion rate, as studies have consistently shown that fast page speed will result in a better conversion rate. In fact, just 100 milliseconds of improved site speed can spike e-commerce sessions by 5.2%, conversion rates by 8.4%, and AOV by 9.2%.
Some of the common performance optimization methods include:
- Late-loading web resources: This means loading only the essential resources that are needed for the initial rendering of the page, and delaying the loading of non-essential resources until they are actually needed. This can reduce the page load time and improve the user experience. For example, you can use lazy loading for images, videos, or scripts that are below the fold or not visible to the user until they scroll down.
- Optimizing images: This means reducing the file size and dimensions of your images without compromising their quality. This can also reduce the page load time and bandwidth consumption. For example, you can use tools like TinyPNG or ImageOptim to compress your images, or use responsive images that adapt to different screen sizes and resolutions.
- Implement a Content Delivery Network (CDN): By utilizing a CDN, webmasters can significantly enhance their website’s performance. CDNs distribute website content across a network of strategically located servers worldwide, reducing latency and speeding up content delivery to end-users. This minimizes the distance data needs to travel, resulting in faster load times and a smoother user experience. Additionally, CDNs provide ring, compression, and enhanced security features, such as DDoS protection and SSL encryption, bolstering website resilience. In essence, CDNs act as a powerful performance-enhancing tool, enabling websites to load quickly, handle high traffic loads, and offer a consistently superior user experience, regardless of the user’s geographical location.
By performing these performance optimizations, you can improve your website’s conversion rate by providing a faster and smoother user experience. You can also improve your website’s SEO ranking, as Google considers speed and performance metrics as part of its search algorithm. You can use online testing tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights, WebPageTest, or Edgio Optimize to measure your website’s performance and get suggestions for improvement.
User Experience Enhancements
User experience, or UX, is the overall experience a person has when interacting with a website or product. It encompasses everything from the design and layout of a website to the ease of navigation and the speed of page loading. A good user experience can improve your conversion rate by providing a seamless, enjoyable, and convenient experience for your customers that keeps them engaged and coming back for more.
Here are some UX improvements that may provide conversion rate benefits this holiday season:
Simplify your checkout process: One of the most common reasons for cart abandonment is a complicated or lengthy checkout process that requires too many steps, fields, or pages. A simple and streamlined checkout process can reduce the friction and frustration that customers may feel when they are ready to buy, and increase the likelihood of completing their purchase. For example, you can use a single-page checkout, reduce the number of required fields, offer multiple payment options, and provide clear and reassuring messages throughout the process.
Use clear and compelling copy: The words you use on your website can have a huge impact on your customer’s user experience and conversion rate. Clear and compelling copy can communicate your value proposition, persuade your customers to take action, and address any objections or concerns they may have. For example, you can use headlines that capture attention, subheadings that summarize benefits, bullet points that highlight features, testimonials that provide social proof, and calls to action that create urgency.
Implement quick view: A quick view is a pop-up window that shows a larger image, a short description, and other details of a product when a customer hovers over or clicks on it. It can also include an add to cart button, a buy now button, or other actions that customers can take without leaving the PLP. A quick view can enhance your user experience by giving your customers more control and convenience over their shopping journey, as they can compare and contrast different products, see more details, and make faster decisions without interrupting their browsing flow.
By enhancing your customer’s user experience with these methods, you can create a more positive and smooth experience for your customers that can lead to higher conversion rates.
We have discussed some of the (hopefully!) quick conversion wins that you can implement before your code freeze to improve your online sales during the holiday season. We hope you found this article helpful and informative. If you’d like to get specific advice for your site’s performance, request a performance assessment or contact an expert from Edgio, a web applications platform that accelerates pages to sub-second speeds on a massive global edge network. The assessment is free of charge and will be sent to you within three business days.