Often, Verizon Small Business Essentials merchants come to me and ask me to help them bring in more
traffic because their sales are down. I frequently find that what they really
need is not traffic but better conversion rate. Although traffic, sales, and
conversion are related, they are different issues and require somewhat different
So before you hire someone to bring you more traffic or to do a redesign if
sales are down, determine this: do you get enough visits and do your visitors
actually buy something. To see the visits, go to the Store Manager and click on
"Graphs", then view the "Customers" graph (that's yahoo's way of saying "unique
visitors".) What you'll see there, of course, is relative. 1,000 visits per day
for one store could be plenty, for another it could be absolutely nothing. What
you should see, though, is that the number of unique visitors should show an
upward trend. If you don't see this, then it may be time for some SEO work on
your store, or you may want to start (or optimize) a Google AdWords and/or
Now if you look at the "Orders/Customer" graph, that tells you how well your
store "converts". This graph is the number of people who buy versus the number
of people who just browse. If the average you see there is between 1 and 2%
(0.01 and 0.02) then that is, well, average. For all online retailers the
average is between 1 and 2%. A site redesign ties in with the conversion issue,
so to increase your conversion, you might want to consider either a redesign or
just some tweaks. Here are a few things you should consider:
- Moving the order block (price, options, add to cart button) closer to
the top of the page
- Adding a "You save..." feature
- Possibly changing your order button to "Add to Cart". Usability studies
show that "Add to Cart" is the best phrase for an order button.
- Make the add to cart button larger, and include the wording "You can
always remove it later" or something similar.
- Getting an 800 number seems to help with conversion.
- Displaying the phone number more prominently also helps, especially on
the shopping cart page.
- If you have a money back guarantee, display that prominently as well
(linking it to the guarantee page.)
- If you offer free shipping (whether free shipping period, or over a
certain amount spent), display it prominently throughout the site.
- The new single-page checkout which yahoo is scheduled to roll out in
November of 2005 is a biggie. The legacy checkout has, what, 3 or 4 pages?
With the new checkout, you can turn your shopping cart page into a checkout
page. So they put something in the cart, then fill out the shipping and
billing info, click "Send Order" and be done, all on one page.