There are two perspectives to consider while designing an eCommerce site focused on conversion. On one hand, your interface needs to be completely devoid of distraction – a visitor to the product page should only see what you want them to see, and any content that does not contribute towards a sale needs to be stripped out. At the same time, studies have shown time and again that longer content does help in ranking your page better on Google. More content on your page can lead to information overload, and if not done right, could be bringing your conversion rate down.
The Pair-Up Strategy
One popular way to work around this challenge is the pair-up strategy. The idea here is to create two specific content assets that are focused on traffic and conversions respectively. This is how it is generally done in the case of an eCommerce site:
• Build a content page that is completely traffic-oriented. You may look at publishing lengthy blog articles focused on your targeted keyword. For instance, if you sell leather boots, you could publish a lengthy blog post on the ‘Top Leather Boots For 2018’. Because of how elaborate this content it, such long-form blog posts are more likely to rank for relevant keywords on Google. Visitors coming to your website through these blog posts may then be directed to your respective product pages for conversion. Learn more about creating content that converts here.
• Publish a product page that is completely conversion-focused. Identify web elements that contribute towards a sale and only retain these elements on your page. If this means making your page more visual (with less text content), so be it. Measure the effectiveness of this page solely by your conversion rate.
In this article, we will focus on the second component of the pair-up strategy: designing a product page that is focused on conversions.
The kind of elements that contribute to a sale can depend on the industry you are in. Consider the example of a site selling women’s apparel. This is an industry that is largely driven by visually engaging content. A website in this industry must invest in lots of high-res images and videos showcasing your products. On the other hand, if you sell consumer electronics products like ear phones or flash drives, then your consumers are going to be looking for technical specifications and reviews. High resolution images are far less significant for this kind of eCommerce site.
The best way to go about building a list of web elements to deploy is by benchmarking. The most popular benchmarking strategy is to take a look at your competitor websites and note the various components. This may, however, not be a good strategy in some cases. For one, you do not know how well your competitor sites are performing in terms of conversion.
A better strategy would be to analyze websites whose metrics are known and see how you can exploit these metrics in terms of your own website.
Marketplaces: There are a lot of online marketplaces like Flippa and EmpireFlippers where websites can be bought or sold. It is possible to get detailed analytics reports of websites that are listed on such services. Look at websites from your industry and compare their product page elements with their traffic and conversion rate.
Market Leaders: While it may not be a good strategy to benchmark against a close competitor whose conversion rate you do not know, it is good practice to look at large online stores to see what they have been experimenting with. Along with the massive eCommerce site Amazon, you also have websites like Zappos, ShutterStock and BestBuy that are leaders in their respective industries. There is a lot of literature available online on the specific elements that these large websites have got right.
What To Look For
Once you have a list of websites to benchmark, the next step is to identify web elements that are contributing towards conversion. Pick out every component on the various product pages and build a master list of all elements and their presence/absence on these various sites you are benchmarking. It could look something like this:
In the example above, you may notice that Zappos does not list products from the same manufacturer whereas you, and other competitors do. Could listing products that are not directly relevant to the product at hand be a distraction? Removing this category from your page may potentially aid in improving conversion rates. At the same time, a search window that a site like Zappos has could be helping the user navigate to products that they are specifically looking for. Including one in your page could again aid in improving conversion.
At this point, you have a comprehensive list of elements that you should either be adding or removing from your eCommerce site. It is important to note that this list is subjective and may not guarantee a conversion improvement. Keeping this in mind, the next step is to perform a sequential conversion testing experiment using the following metrics:
• Sort the various elements that you want to add/remove based on how they are related to one another. For instance, in the table above, ‘products from same manufacturer’ and ‘similar products’ both pertain to product listings and therefore may be listed next to one another. On the other hand, ‘Image zoom’ and ‘Share on Social Media’ are not related and do not have to be next to each other. The reason we do this is because there are instances where one element will only be effective if the other element exists. Because of this, it is important to test these changes together.
• Measure the base conversion rate – that is the average conversion against which the new implementations shall be measured.
• There are two common ways to test conversions:
- Base comparison: In this method, you implement the changes one at a time and exhaustively measure the conversion change and its performance against the base rate. Once the change has been measured, the implementation is undone before the next change is implemented.
- Sequential testing: In this method, the changes are implemented one after the other in the sorted order. Implementations that improve conversions from the previous measurement are retained while those that bring conversions down are undone.
Picking The Right Conversion Testing Method
There is no ideal conversion testing method. If you only have a handful of elements to test, you could opt for base comparison testing and implement a sequential test on those elements that showed an increase in conversion. But this is not always ideal since there are some elements that could have only performed well in the presence of other elements (that were not implemented in a base comparison). Similarly, there are instances where a sequential test may fail to deliver the ideal results since the implementation of one element could impact the conversion of an element change that was subsequently implemented.
An alternative method to do this is by putting each of the elements to be modified into separate buckets. For instance, elements related to product listings may be put into one bucket while those related to navigation (like search window or tags) can be put into another. Once done, you may execute base comparison for each of these buckets separately and sequentially test the implementation of those that show an improvement in conversion. The problem with this method is that it is extremely subjective and there is no scientific way to categorize the various implementations into buckets.
Regardless of which option you choose from those listed above, you can be assured that the steps outlined here in this article will help your eCommerce site identify web elements that you should have and those that you must remove in order to enjoy the highest conversion rate on your store. That being said, it also needs to be acknowledged that user preferences evolve all the time and what works today might fail to work tomorrow. As a store owner, it is a good idea to constantly evaluate the various elements on your website and on those that are leaders in your industry to find new ways to increase and improve the conversion on your eCommerce site.
Hungry for more? Check out our guide to choosing between a marketplace and an eCommerce platform, and these branding tips from world-renowned entrepreneurs. You can read more from Anand on the Hubbion blog.