We write a lot about how to grow eCommerce sales through conversion rate optimization on the LemonStand blog. Our posts about product page optimization, checkout page optimation, and homepage optimization are just a few of many popular posts in this category. We’ve even written the book on eCommerce A/B testing.
The problem is it’s not easy to figure out how to start optimizing your site. The best thing to do is see how other retailers are optimizing their sites, and then take inspiration from them to try out experiments on your site. That’s why many of our posts include case studies to show you real life examples of conversion rate optimization.
The second best thing, of course, is to get an expert to review your site and find what’s hurting your conversions. You may have noticed guest posts from some of these experts on our blog. So far, they’ve shared their experiences and knowledge with us.
But, going forward, we’re introducing a new series of posts every Friday where we, along with these experts, will select a handful of online stores and analyze their conversion funnels, from homepage to product page to cart page to checkout. We’ll look for potential roadblocks and conversion killers, explain why they may be negatively impacting sales, and suggest ways to fix them.
This way, you’ll get an understanding of how to analyze your own online store and start optimizing it for sales. What’s more, you can even submit your own site for analysis if you can’t think of ways to optimize it. Find out how to at the bottom of this post!
So, without further ado, welcome to the first edition of #FunnelFridays! In this edition, I’ll be reviewing three stores. In the next one, we’ll have Rich Page with us, author of the best selling book ‘Website Optimization: An Hour A Day’.
Poler Outdoor Stuff, as the name suggests, makes products for travellers and adventurers, from beanies to tents. They have a well designed site and some great looking products. When you first visit them, they ask you to select which country you’re from, so that they can display prices in your local currency.
At first glance, there’s not much wrong with the site. The site looks great and they follow some conversion rate optimization best practices. However, no store converts at 100%, so there are things Poler can do to improve conversion rates.
The Good Stuff:
It’s obvious that Poler has invested heavily in product photography. We’ve already written about how important it is to have amazing product images, because that’s the closest your customers will get to seeing the product. Poler clearly understands this, and their images look like they were taken by professionals.
They also have multiple images for each product, showing the various styles or colors they come in. They show off their products from numerous angles and in various environments. Take this napsack, for example. Poler shows people using it out in the forest, at the campsite, on a lake and in a trailer.
Videos are another way to show off your product. If you have complex products, a video explanation will go a long way to showing customers how to set them up. Poler’s products, of course, don’t need setting up, so they show people using them instead.
When you select a product and variant on Poler, you immediately see if that product is available or out of stock. Poler does this on a variant level because while the blue variant might be out of stock, there might still be a few green ones left. The best part is, Poler removes the ‘Add to Cart’ button if a variant is out of stock so customers don’t add them by mistake only to find out later that it’s not available.
Areas of Improvement:
After adding products to my Poler cart and checking out, I’m taken to a page with the URL iglobalstores.com. As an eCommerce expert, I’ve seen this happen many times, so it doesn’t confuse me. However, the people who actually buy Poler’s products probably don’t know what iglobalstores is. So when they get redirected from the familiar and beautiful looking Poler site to a different site, they might be wondering what’s going on.
A major reason why customers abandon carts is because they get hit with unexpected costs. They see one price on the product pages and in their carts, and psychologically they’re priming themselves to pay that price. Suddenly, when they get to the checkout page and see the price go up, it seems like a poor deal.
I tested the Poler checkout to see if this happened. I added two Napsacks to my cart for $130 each, giving me a total cart value of $260.
However, when I hit the checkout button to pay up, I saw this.
The price shot up by 20%! And that’s not even counting the shipping and taxes, which we’ll get to later. It’s a bit confusing and can turn shoppers away.
Now I assume this might be because the product and cart pages showed me prices in US dollars while the checkout shows it to me in Canadian, but not everyone is going to have the patience to work that out. Besides, recall that Poler asked me to choose my country when I first landed on their site, so technically the product and cart pages should have been displaying Canadian dollars in the first place.
As I mentioned earlier, shipping and taxes can add up and they tend to surprise customers in the checkout. A good policy is to give customers some warning in advance, or even an estimate of what they should expect, instead of surprising them with it right at the end.
When we look at the final price I need to pay for my two napsacks, we see the shipping and taxes for the first time. Together, with the price increase of the products, I’m looking at $546, twice of what the shopping cart told me to expect!
Fiik sells skateboards, their most popular products being their electric skateboards. As soon as you load their site, the homepage shows you a video of people riding their skateboards. It’s pretty neat and allows customers to see how well their products perform. But, while their skateboards may be perfect, their conversion rates probably aren’t, so let’s see how they can improve.
The good stuff:
URLs are often ignored but, as a marketing expert (yeah, I’m an expert in everything), they are actually pretty important. What you want to do is keep your URLs as short and simple as possible for two reasons. First you want your money keywords, the words that your customers are searching for, to show up as early in the URL as possible. Second, you want the URLs to be easy to understand and remember, so that customers can tell what the page will be about if they see it linked to from somewhere.
Fiik does a good job with their URLs. They have none of that excess ‘/collections/products/unnecessary_word/’ nonsense. It’s just /boards/electric/product-name’. Short and simple.
As mentioned earlier, you need to invest in good product photography. Fiik has some nice images of their skateboards on their product pages. They show multiple angles as well as close ups of the important parts, like the electric motor.
Areas of improvement:
Unnecessary Form Fields
People hate filling out forms but, unfortunately, there’s no way around it in eCommerce. Still, there are things you can do to make it less painful for customers. One of those things is to not make them fill out unnecessary fields.
In the Fiik checkout, there are fields like ‘Company Name’, ‘Title’, two phone fields, and a fax field. The name field is also broken up into three, including a field for middle name. Now, even if these aren’t required, they still make the form look longer and daunting.
Try to ask for as little information as possible. Yes, you need a name, email and physical address to ship the product. Maybe a telephone number just in case. But the rest is unnecessary and doesn’t warrant inclusion, especially if it’s more likely to deter customers from completing the purchase.
Confusing Checkout Flow
The rest of the checkout is confusing too. Each section of the checkout is numbered, but number 2 seems to be missing.
Also, after filling out my billing info, I’m asked to enter a shipping method except there’s nothing to choose from. This might not sound like a major problem, but in Fiik’s case it actually is because you can’t complete your purchase without choosing the shipping method.
Want Your Store Analyzed?
No store is perfect. Even Apple and Amazon are far from converting at 100% or even 50%. They know that, so they’re always testing out new hacks and optimizing their stores. There’s no reason you shouldn’t. Get a tool like Optimizely or Visual Web Optimizer and start running some tests.
If you’re unsure of what to start testing, send in your store to be analyzed. Just add your email and store below and we’ll try to get yours done in our next edition of Funnel Fridays with Rich Page. Stay tuned!