Ten ways to improve your conversion rates

There are many factors that can affect a website's conversion rate, from obvious, common sense problems to issues that require more detailed analysis. Sometimes little things can make a big difference - we present ten tips to up your conversion rates: Provide more payment options Most sites offer just credit or debit cards as methods of payment, but this excludes online shoppers who would like to pay in other ways. Some may not have credit cards, while others may be too afraid of fraud to want to use them online. So providing alternate methods, such as PayPal, which has more than 15m UK users, can be a good way to increase sales. A recent survey by ForeSee found that 49% of web users would be likely to use online payment services like Google Checkout and PayPal on e-commerce sites. Make your site usable A usable site means more conversions, so avoid things like excessive scrolling, complex navigation and pop-ups. Free delivery offers This is a surefire way of increasing conversion rates and means customers don't have to worry about charges. Most retailers will not be able to offer this on every item they sell, but free delivery could be used as a seasonal promotion, or else you could offer it for orders above a certain value. Improve calls to action Whatever step you want customers to take next, make this the most prominent on the page, whether this is 'buy it now' or 'compare items'. Also pay attention to the look of your 'buy it now' buttons - these should be unmissable. This is one example, where the addition of Amazon-style links reportedly increased conversions by up to 100%. Calls to action should also be placed prominently, above the fold. Add reviews User reviews are increasingly popular among consumers, providing valuable and hopefully independent information on which to base their purchase decisions. They can also have the effect of making your website more credible, especially if you are prepared to display both positive and negative reviews. Provide a free contact number Not only is a contact number an essential sign that customers can trust your site, but having a number on hand means that customers on the point of purchasing can quickly get answers to their queries, which can make all the difference. Ideally, an e-commerce site should have an 0800 number so customers aren't put off by having to pay for the call. Estimate delivery times People like to get their items as quickly as possible, so providing them with an estimated delivery time could just clinch a sale. Don't make customers register first Filling forms in online can be frustrating and time-consuming for customers, so keep this to a minimum and allow them to buy from your site without registration. According to FutureNow, over half of US online retailers require registration before purchase. No purchase should be more than two clicks away Customers should be able to find what they want quickly, and should be able to do this with a couple of clicks from the homepage. The more a customer has to click to find a product, the less likely they are to buy. Provide a comparison tool If a customer is not sure which item they want, a comparison tool is an excellent way of helping them make their mind up. This works especially well for things like laptops and mp3 players, allowing customers to easily compare technical specifications. This is by no means meant as a comprehensive list, so let us know if you have managed to increase your conversion rates and would like to share your tips...

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