Guess how many visitors to e-commerce sites actually make a purchase? Less than three percent. This means that retailers have to maximize every opportunity to increase revenue from current buyers and bring in new customers. 

    One way to do this is by offering sales or steep discounts to a broad selection of customers in hopes that they will keep coming back. But most business people know that this is not a sustainable model. In order to increase sales without sacrificing profitability, businesses need to look to technical solutions. 

    Thankfully, there are clear, practical ways to boost e-commerce growth.

    Here are five: 

    1. Reduce tag bloat 

    Tags, sometimes called tracking pixels or beacons, are snippets of code that collect and send information about your site’s visitors. They are an essential part of e-commerce marketing because the information that a company receives about a user informs how they create personalized experiences. And personalization can lead to a higher conversion rate. In addition, tags are also used for targeting and finding new customers 

    However, having too many tags on your site can be a problem for a few reasons: 

    • Slow site speed - Online shoppers are impatient. According to a Google study on mobile browser use, as page load time increases from 1 to 5 seconds, the probability of bounce increases 90%. High bounce rates mean lost sales. 
    • SEO ranking drop - Slow page load times and high bounce rates because of tag bloat signal to search engine algorithms that your site does not provide value to users. This will push your site lower in search results making it harder for new customers to find you.
    • Security risk - The more third party trackers you use, the more you risk exposing company and customer data to hackers and nefarious individuals. 

    2. Collect data server-side 

    There are two ways to track and collect user data: on the server or on the client. Client-side tracking means receiving data from a user’s device via tags, and then sending it on to an analytics service. Data usually collected client-side includes information like device type, operating system, and page views. Server-side tracking does not use individual devices, but instead uses information from the servers that communicate with the client to send to analytics services. 

    Many e-commerce companies that have started with client-side data integration are moving to server-side because of security reasons. One rule of thumb is that sensitive data should never be sent client-side. In the case of e-commerce, customer payment and buying information should be kept as secure as possible. 

    3. Improve data accuracy

    Marketing and targeting strategies driven by data is foundational to e-commerce. That data must be accurate. Inaccurate data can lead to missed opportunities to serve offers that could lead to higher conversions. Reducing tag bloat and integrating data server-side both directly improve data accuracy. Here’s how: 

    • Less room for error - Server-side integration prevents the need for data transfers across millions of devices. In addition, individual browsers could have ad blockers, rendering the information you collect useless.
    • Less redundancy - There is often overlap in the data collected, so you should audit and streamline data to prevent you from having unnecessary user information.
    • Better data control - Many major browsers will be soon ending support for third-party cookies, so it is best to rely on data sources that you have complete control over. 

    4. Audit your website’s design and architecture

    Sometimes an e-commerce site’s competitive advantage is its user experience. Consumers are looking for the easiest way to buy a product. Your website’s design and architecture should facilitate this. 

    Here are some factors to consider:

    • Product information - Every product should have a well-written description along with photos (if relevant).  
    • Calls to action - Make sure your pages don’t lead to dead ends. Each should have some kind of call to action that eventually leads to a purchasing decision or contacting customer service. 
    • Mobile optimization - More than ever, people are doing significant amounts of shopping on their phones. Make sure the mobile version is just as user friendly as the desktop version. 
    • Live chat - Consider incorporating live chat into the site. Customers who can have their questions answered quickly may be more inclined to buy.
    • Poor coding - Poor coding is the cause of many issues including poor site speed. If your site was not designed by a team that specializes in e-commerce, you may want to consider a redesign. 
    • Search - Can customers actually find the product that they are looking for with your internal search engine? Make sure it can come up with accurate results in order to prevent missed opportunities. 
    • Navigation - Your e-commerce site should have the proper headers and links so that someone can find what they are looking for eventually by clicking through logical navigation. 

    5. Address abandoned carts

    Cart abandonment is a huge issue for retailers. According to the e-commerce research group Baymard, the shopping cart abandonment rate is almost 70 percent. So why are so many would-be buyers leaving at the last minute? According to Baymard, common abandonment reasons include: 

    • Unexpected additional costs
    • Website errors
    • Distrust with keeping payment information safe
    • Excessively long checkout process

    All of these issues can be addressed with changes to your website. Here are some suggestions: 

    • Running total - Have a running total that includes shipping and tax visible to the user at all times, preventing the surprise total at checkout. 
    • Simplify checkout process - New customers don’t always want to set up entire accounts from sites that they’re unsure that they will purchase from again. Give them the option of buying as a guest. You will still have contact information that you could use in the future to encourage them to make a full account. 
    • Encourage checkout often - As a user is navigating a site, periodically put reminders on the page that they have items in a cart. If this is a user that already has an account, you can also send emails reminding them to return to the cart.  
    • Stay aware of 3rd-party issues - Be sure that you are up-to-date on any issues that may be affecting transaction speed with your payment processors. 

    Will these steps take time? Absolutely. But the effort is truly worth the impact. In fact, the first four have to do with website speed, which is arguably the most worthy website optimization to make. Just imagine the opportunity you have with other 97% of your website visitors. 

    *Photo by Igor Miske on Unsplash

    Yetunde Abass

    Written by Yetunde Abass