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The most important ecommerce conversion factors for 2018​​​​​​​

Leads are one thing, but every marketer knows that it’s conversions that really count at the end of the day. So how do you attain a healthy ecommerce conversion rate? And more importantly, how do you maintain that success from year to year, as trends change, and the face of marketing continuously evolves?

Your best bet is to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing and stay agile so that you’re always prepared to embrace the next big thing as it happens. What may seem new to you is already becoming old hat to your followers, so jump on that bandwagon now, and get everything you can from it before it’s time to change direction again.

There’s no perfect conversion strategy, and your approach will depend significantly on the nature of your business, and the sort of people you hope to convert. Nevertheless, the following are all reliable factors in influencing conversions that are sure to give your business a boost in 2018.

Creative Storytelling

As online audiences become more and more aware of marketing tactics, it has become more important than ever to offer something of genuine value if you want to keep people’s attention. The fact is, most people don’t mind being marketed to, as long as they’re getting something out of it themselves. So a great place to start is with the use of creative storytelling.

This can apply to everything from your marketing (e.g. Facebook collection ads) to your on-site content. Ultimately, creative storytelling is about delivering an insightful and interesting message in a unique format, which emphasizes the human element of your brand’s persona.

Video content plays a big part here, as it can feel a lot more personal than a static image or written content, and engagement with this type of content remains significantly higher than any other format. This is largely due to the ease with which your audience can consume this content, regardless of where they are or what they’re doing. Retailers are picking up on this too. Today you’ll not only see them showcase their products in videos on Facebook but also on their own product landing page.

Conversions, whether they are subscriptions to your newsletter, followers on social channels, or purchases on your ecommerce website, all rely on you winning people over with your content. It’s not just about how great your product is, but about how well your brand can connect on a personal level with its audience.

The Rise of AI and AR

When it comes to securing conversions, ease of use goes hand-in-hand with immersion, and the increasing popularity of AI and AR emphasizes this trend. There are countless ways you can integrate these technologies into your ecommerce strategy, and it won’t be long before it becomes the expectation rather than the exception.

  • Provide your customers with round the clock support by instating chatbots to handle basic queries, process orders, and direct customers to more advanced support as required.
  • Use AR to boost sales and help customers find your products even when they are out and about. This could be anything from alerting users that your outlet is nearby, to enable them to photograph a product and find its equivalent on your online store.
  • Some of your conversions will happen offline, and you can influence this too. Capitalize on growing ROPO trends by helping customers find the closest physical outlet where they can buy the item they’ve been researching on your website.

Your customers want their experience to be streamlined, consistent, and intuitive, and the use of AI and machine learning can help to accomplish this. The more you can learn about the habits and interests of your audience, the more effectively you can target them with your marketing, build more meaningful relationships, and make conversions far more likely.

Storefront Apps

Having a business app is a brilliant way to stay better connected to your customers. Unlike emails and similar alerts, push notifications are far more likely to be read and acknowledged by the recipient. As such, an app is also a great option for re-engagement, alerting customers to new lines, and even driving referrals.

Creating a storefront app has the added bonus of enabling customers to buy from you, without needing to visit your store or even your website. It also gives you the opportunity to showcase items to customers according to their particular tastes, as you gradually develop a profile of their interests, based on their interactions with your content.

An Omni-Channel Approach

Too many conversions are lost when customers attempt to move from one platform to another, only to find that it doesn’t function the way they had expected. This is where an omnichannel, omni-platform approach is essential for any up-and-coming ecommerce business. In fact, Google estimates that around “85% of online shoppers start a purchase on one device and finish on another.”

Creating a consistent aesthetic and a seamless user experience between your social channels, desktop, and mobile sites, and even your physical stores can significantly increase your chances of retaining customers, and closing sales.

This consistency reassures users that they are still dealing with your business, and over time will increase the familiarity and trust associated with your brand. This, in turn, makes followers more likely to share your content, seek out your products, click on your ads, or even recommend you to friends and family.

Accessibility and Improved Logistics

Perhaps more important than anything for an ecommerce store is its ease of use. Customers want a straightforward and intuitive sales process that gives them exactly what they want in as few steps as possible.

  • A range of fulfillment options. Can customers choose between a physical and digital option? Are there multiple delivery classes available, to meet a range of needs?
  • How fast can you reliably ship your products? Ensure that this is clear to the reader, as it is one of the first questions many buyers will have.
  • Implement a mobile checkout. If customers are browsing while on the move, they may want to make a purchase via a mobile device. Ensure that your checkout process is mobile-friendly and secure. If you’re using out-of-the-box ecommerce software, much of this mobile-ready functionality will be in-built automatically for you.
  • Optimize web pages for mobile devices. This means using responsive design or AMPs, to ensure that pages load correctly and quickly for all users.

Ensure that your site navigation is clear and concise, and put links to information such as your FAQ and About pages. The easier it is for visitors to find their way around, the more likely they are to trust your business and ultimately make a purchase.

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The world of ecommerce is changing all the time, so even when you feel like you’re on top of things, be sure not to get complacent. To keep your conversion rate high, and your customers engaged, you need to be on top of trends as they happen, and ready to update your marketing strategy at a moment’s notice.

A full content schedule and regular interaction with your audience will take you a long way towards achieving this, but it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest practices, so you know your competitors aren’t stealing ahead by embracing new strategies before you do.

The factors above are some of the key things to watch in 2018, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only ones to look out for. New ideas are always being developed, so embrace the changes, try out your ideas, and don’t be afraid to break the mold in order to deliver something new and interesting.

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victoria green author

Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, Victoria Ecommerce, she shares tips on ecommerce and how companies can improve the way they represent their brand. She is passionate about using her experience to help brands improve their reach.

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