The conversion process on every website, especially online stores, must be as easy as possible. Moving a prospective customer from the awareness stage, to the consideration stage, to the final decision stage should be simple, straightforward, and completely obvious.
Friction happens when something on your website slows down or stops the progression of a prospective buyer from moving through your sales funnel. Identifying points of friction in your sales process and addressing them can help increase sales from your existing traffic dramatically.
There are 7 fundamental ways to reduce friction on your website and increase conversions:
01. Improve The Website Design
Almost a quarter of all online shoppers will leave a website if the layout is too confusing or the design make it difficult to use. Good design should go unnoticed, allowing the content and the products to stand out, and it should facilitate the movement of a buyer from one step to the next seamlessly.
If the format of your page is confusing and cluttered, if there are too many options, if the buy button is hidden or hard to find, you’re going to lose sales. Likewise, if the buying process is too long, there are too many fields, or the fields are difficult to fill out—think of making a purchase on a smartphone—you’re also going to lose sales.
Website design, especially for eCommerce stores, must leverage white space and be simple, clean, and easy to navigate. The design of critical elements like buy buttons, product images, product descriptions, and reviews need to clear not clever. They need to stand out and be in the places that consumers expect them to be.
TAKE ACTION: Review the design of your website and the structure of your pages. Are the elements critical to a prospect progressing through the sales funnel and reaching a conversion obvious and easy to find?
02. Increase Site Speed
Site speed is a critical factor in removing friction from your website and helping visitors take action as easily and quickly as possible.
According to Kissmetrics, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less and 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. This is especially true for sales and landing pages—large, high-resolution images may look amazing, but if they cause the page to load slowly, they can alienate prospects and do more harm than good.
TAKE ACTION: Monitor your site speed constantly, especially on sales pages and product, cart, and checkout pages. Lowering page load speeds should be an ongoing effort for the life of your website.
03. Simplify Options
When faced with too many choices, most consumers experience decision paralysis and actually avoid making a decision or taking action. If your website is confusing, offers too many options, or fails to communicate the differences between options, visitors will leave without taking action and you’ll lose out on new subscribers, members, students, clients, and customers.
This phenomenon is called decision fatigue. It explains that the brain has a specific amount of energy for self-control and decision-making and the more decisions a person has to make, the more they use that energy, and when it is gone, the brain struggles to make decisions.
To increase conversions from your existing traffic, simplify your sales process as much as possible and reduce the amount of work a prospective customer has to do to complete a purchase. Make it easy to access the information they need, make the search bar easy to find and the search results easy to understand, and make progressing to the next step crystal clear.
TAKE ACTION: Evaluate how many options you are giving prospective customers. Can you reduce the options to make the differences between the offers more obvious? Also evaluate how much work someone needs to do to make a purchase. Are there opportunities to simplify the process?
04. Multiple Ways To Pay
Believe it or not, not everyone wants to use Paypal or pay with a Visa card. The more options you can provide for payment, the more likely it is that a prospective customer will complete their purchase. By offering a variety of payment methods, you allow customers to use their preferred payment method, helping them feel more comfortable making the purchase.
In addition to offering a variety of payment methods, offering alternative payment terms like payment plans can compel someone who is on the fence to make a purchase.
TAKE ACTION: How many options for payment do you currently accept? Are there forms of payment you don’t yet accept that you could? Would a payment plan be appropriate for your offer?
05. Reduce Requirements
The more work you make people do, the less likely they are to complete their purchase. To increase website conversions, reduce the amount of tasks required to the absolute minimum number. Don’t require a prospect to register, login, signup, or become a member just to make a purchase — that is asking them to make a commitment before even making a purchase!
If you do want consumers to register or create an account, make the requirement optional and offer a second “guest checkout” option to move forward and complete the purchase. Then you can prompt them again after the purchase to create the account. In this case, you already have their information, so most fields can be auto-populated, making the action for the client easy and fast.
TAKE ACTION: Are you creating friction and losing out on sales because you’re asking too much of buyers too soon? Decide how important this action is and if you could move the call to action to after the purchase.
06. Critical Fields Only
Whether it’s a contact form, project inquiry form, request for quote form, opt-in form, or checkout form, If you want more conversions, the fewer form fields you use the better. For the very first ask, include only the most critical fields. Then later, gather additional information to segment your data.
- For an email opt-in, consider only asking for the email address up front, then later gather more data on your subscriber with additional offers, surveys, and calls to action
- For a project inquiry form, only ask for the information you need to be able to assess whether or not the project might be a good fit
Remember, once a conversion has happened, you can use the thank you page for a secondary call to action or a second form to gather additional data.
TAKE ACTION: Are you asking for too much information up front? Could you ask for less? Not sure? Consider A/B testing your form and see if asking for less information increases conversions.
07. Use A Robust Search
One of the easiest ways to help a visitor find the information or the product they are looking for quickly is to use a robust search on your website and place in an obvious position at the top of the page. While many websites use a magnifying glass icon to show they have a search options, the most successful online retailers in the world (think Amazon) use big full search bars at the top of the page.
More important than displaying a search bar however, is the quality of the search results—a search bar is useless if it doesn’t return valuable information for the site visitor or it is too slow. Depending on your site, look at options like Search WP, Elastic Search, and Algolia that allow you to weight search results based on specific parameters, organize search results, and manage search terms.
If implementing a search option on a site with a lot of products or options, consider using an option like Facet WP to provide visitors a way to filter the search results based on parameters they select.
TAKE ACTION: Evaluate the need for search on your website? First, do you have enough content, products, or options to warrant making a search bar a prominent part of the site design? Second, what search tool is right for your website? Third, what filtering options can you offer to make it as easy as possible for visitors to find exactly what they need right away?