Where To Start Optimizing For E-Commerce Sales?

Bobby Hewitt
October 8, 2014 ·
Where To Start Optimizing For E-Commerce Sales?

It’s Monday morning and you’ve got a lot on your plate. The sales over the weekend were not that great. The last promotion did OK, but it should have done better. Will the new campaigns be ready to go on time? What else do you need to do to hit the numbers this week? You know the feeling…  

Where do you start?

The hardest part is often knowing where to begin.

This article will give you three ways to start optimizing your E-Commerce website for more sales. After you read this article, you’ll be ready and armed enough to take action.

If you haven’t run any split tests or even if you’ve run over 10,000, these three key areas are a great place to start with or revisit down the road to test over and over to get the biggest impact. The three areas are:

  1. The Call to Action (CTA)
  2. Proof Points
  3. Buying Objections

1. Testing Your Call To Action

The call to action (CTA)  is not only a necessary step in any conversion, but it’s also a major decision point for the visitor. Most people think that the CTA is less important than other elements on an E-Commerce page, because by that point, the visitor has already made up their mind and the call to action button is something that the visitor will click on regardless of its content.

This is why we usually see the same call to actions everywhere, such as ‘Buy Now’ and ‘Sign Up’ etc… It’s become convention and most marketers don’t give it any thought.

But the smart way to think about call to actions is like a silent “ask”.

Do you want to add this to your cart? Do you want to checkout?

Good marketers know this and put a lot of thought into testing call to actions.

The key principle about the sing CTAs is that the call to action should support the value you’re offering. Answering the question “Why should your prospect click that particular button/link?”

Not because they want to BUY NOW, but why do they want to buy? What benefit will they get from buying? A simple framework for call to action copy is to start with an action verb, like “Get” followed by the main benefit.

Something like this: “Get XZY”

To further intensify the CTA you might want to test adding clarity to the end. For example, if the call to action is something the buyer will be getting right away try testing “Instant Access” at the end of your action verb + benefit.

So the CTA to test would be something like this: “Get XYZ Instantly”

2. Testing Your Proof Points

People are more skeptical today than they ever were before. It’s no surprise since there is an abundance of claims being made online from an explosion of information. In such times of uncertainty, people look towards others for what to do, especially in a physical “real” world setting. But online, people need more proof in order to trust you and move forward.

A proof point online can include anything from a badge from Verisign, Symantec, TRUSTe to a review or rating and even testimonials. Each of which are great starting tests (also read the trust article about badges).

But, there are other opportunities to test the proof points on your site. Start by asking yourself, what could you say about your product to prove to some one that they should buy it? And since the strongest point of proof are provided or supported by someone other than yourself, it’s worth asking how can you support your point of proof that through a third party or a hard statistic?

Here are some common overlooked points of proof that you should test.

  • Tout your achievements – Do you have any awards or achievements you’ve earned? Those are proof that you or your product is qualified as the best. This is why doctors and dentists hang their diplomas on the wall.
  • Demonstrate your effectiveness – A good old fashioned demo of your product in action is probably the strongest point of proof that you can have. This does not necessarily have to be a video but some point of proof that demonstrates your products value.
  • Your guarantee – Let your buyers prove it to themselves with a money back guarantee. These work because they reduce the fear of making a poor decision by deferring that decision to a later date. Your customer can decide for themselves later, deferring the choice to believe your product works before buying.

When testing proof points, it’s important to remember to not only test adding them, but also the position and size of them on your web page. I’ve seen tests where simply adjusting the flow of the proof points to better align with the story on the page has turned a losing test into a winner.

Testing Your Proof Points

3. Testing Your Buying Objections

Your buyers objections, that is why they don’t buy, is often the most overlooked place to test, but it may have the biggest impact of all three of these starting points. It’s easily overlooked because you can’t point to the buying objections on a webpage. Unlike other elements, like the call to action button, images, proof points, etc, buying objections cannot be specified

Buying objections are in the mind of your visitor and extinguished on the page through elements, that can be as simple as a bit of text, but they are usually missing.

First you’ll need to know what some of the buying objections are that prospects have. The quickest way to find out about those objections is to talk with your customers. Either directly or indirectly through surveys, or talking to your sales reps or customer service reps, or anyone that has direct contact with your prospects. In essence, you need to understand why people don’t buy. It’s best to just make a long list of objections, that you either brainstorm, or gather overtime from qualitative sources.

Next, match each objection with a counter. This can be anything from text content to an image, such as a compatible image for the xyz seal. It really depends on your objections which will be specific to each individual product and market. Once you’ve matched the objections with the counters, you can begin creating how you are going to add them to the page to test, and systematically address or eliminate each individual objection.

Conclusion: Now it’s your turn

Can you get a test launched this week in one of these three areas?

  1. The Call to Action (CTA)
  2. Proof Points
  3. Buying Objections

It’s easier than you think but, some of these are harder to get started than others, so while you’re launching one test you can be gathering what you need for your next test. Remember, testing is an iterative and ongoing process. As long as you’re learning with each test, you’re making progress and moving in the right direction.

Originally published October 08, 2014 - Updated April 05, 2022
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Bobby Hewitt
Bobby Hewitt Bobby has over ten years experience in web design and Internet marketing and holds a bachelors degree in Marketing from Rutgers University.

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