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Lead them into temptation

Attracting visitors to your website is all very well, but it’s turning those visits into sales that really matters

Gimmicks are increasingly defining the appeal of sites and driving traffic, but the key is to convert these visits into sales.

The first vital step towards calculating conversion rates is to understand the audience. Paul Rouke, usability specialist at ecommerce firm PRWD, believes the best way to do this is by segmenting the traffic to a site. Whether this is done by new visitors versus returning visitors or a more advanced approach covering traffic sources (such as whether they have come via Google or direct to the site URL, an understanding of who is visiting the site and where they are coming from will give a greater insight into which customers are converting their visits into sales and why.

Zia Zareem-Slade, customer experience strategy director at marketing company SapientNitro, agrees. “Are there different journeys and conversions for people coming in through keywords versus people who type in the URL? What about those who use on-site search versus those that don’t? Through identifying these nuances, retailers will become more empowered to drive and influence desired behaviour,” she says.

Once the source of the visitor has been found, analysis needs to be done on where visitors are going while on the site and, more importantly, where they drop off. Looking at the complete customer journey will allow sites to determine where improvements need to be made to increase conversion.

As Rouke says: “From a usability perspective, retailers should focus on providing visitors with all the necessary information they need at each stage of the buying process.” This includes making the customer journey a simple process and encouraging customers to move on to the next stage of the buying process.

Zareem-Slade adds: “I have seen significant incremental uplift achieved through optimisation of site furniture such as form fields, button positions and security information.”

So while an increase in traffic numbers is fundamental to the building of a successful site, it is the analysis of these visitors and the insight into their behaviour that will ensure these visits turn into sales.

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