Success for Your E-Commerce Store – Turning Window Shoppers into Actual Customers

Window shopping has been a great past-time ever since the first brick and mortar stores devised display windows. People have always loved lingering in front of product they would like to purchase, whether they are physically in front of a display window or perusing products offered by e-commerce stores. Now that e-commerce is the preferred method of purchasing, site owners must consider methods they can use to convert a “window shopper” into an actual customer!

When a consumer decides to consider purchasing an item that is offered online (usually by many sites!), the first step is to “Google” the item and then begin to access sites that pop up. S/he then pulls up several sites, browses through the offerings, checks prices, and moves on to the next site. Your goal, as an e-commerce retailer, is to get the consumer to stop at your site and actually make the purchase. How do you do this? Well, there are many methodologies you need to consider using!

Let’s suppose that you have designed a great website and that you have all of the best shopping cart procedures in place. You have tested them, and you know they work well. Now the goal is to bring the traffic and to convert that traffic into actual sales!

Begin with Analysis Software

You need to know who your customers are and you need to know how and when they arrive on your site; you need to know the pages on which they spend most time; you need to know what percentages simply browse versus those that actually make a purchase. There are both free and pay-for software systems that can provide you with these analyses, including the free Google Analytics and relatively reasonably priced programs such as Adobe Marketing and Salesforce’s Marketing Clouds.

Good analyses of visitor use of your site will allow you to improve both your site and your marketing strategies, with the ultimate result of increased sales. Do you need to increase your SEO initiatives? Do you need to offer more flash sales? Do you need to change graphics and design for larger demographic appeal? Careful analysis will drive good decisions!

Traditional Analysis Approaches are Still Good!

The most common two approaches typically used by e-commerce professionals are “Funnel” and A/B Testing. Briefly, they can be described as follows:

The Funnel Approach: It makes sense to know how your potential customers get to your site, and software that tells you this is quite valuable. Do most come from Facebook? Do most come from a Google search? What percentages become actual purchasers from each of the “funnels?” What sub-populations do you need to “court” more, and how can you do this?

The funnel approach can also tell you at what point browsers cease to proceed to actual purchases. Do they put items in a cart and never check out? Do they get to the checkout page and then fail to follow through with payment? When you can isolate these issues, you can take steps to improve procedures. In addition, you can put procedures in place that will allow you to contact browsers via email, to remind them that there are items in their carts, to promote special offers and sales, and, in general to “woo” them back to your site.

Funnel analysis is invaluable, for it provides critical data regarding customer interaction with your site. If, however, you are still experiencing under-performance, you may want to do some A/B testing.

A/B Testing: Sometimes it makes sense to experiment with the site itself – its design, its graphics, its promotions, its appeal to differing demographic groups, etc. This approach involves setting up alternate websites, selling the same products, but changing language, colors, graphics, animation, etc., in order to test their appeal to browsers. If you think, for example, from your “funnel” information, that older browsers are not being converted into paying customers, how can you appeal to that demographic? Many e-commerce professionals, indeed, end up with a few separate sites to which are funneled very specific groups, and increase their sales accordingly! Google Content Experiments can go a long way toward your testing of various changes in your site.

Using both the data from funnel analysis and A/B testing together will provide excellent information and should drive continually evolving improvements in your ability to reach a larger “audience” and to convert window shoppers into purchasers.

The Newer Approach of Analyzing Customer Behavior

Developing a personal relationship with your window shoppers and your existing customers is certainly a challenge when you cannot speak to and see them face-to-face, as was the common method of sales for brick and mortar stores. You have to reach out to your potential customers in new and different ways, and this will involve far more than the funnel and testing approaches. These two activities, while important, will focus more on enhancing your site and the experience visitors have while on your site.

Sending emails to visitors who have abandoned their shopping carts is certainly an important facet of keeping “in touch,” and this should be a regular part of your marketing strategy. IN addition to reminding them about awaiting items, you can ask for responses to a question or two about their browsing experience and/or the types of products they are looking for. You will be surprised how many will actually respond. This information you obtain, along with the funnel analyses, will allow you to target specific customers on specific social media venues and to target your marketing to better suit the wants and needs of potential customers.

Converting Window Shoppers is a Multi-Faceted Effort

Online selling is significantly different from that of traditional retail stores. While you do not have the face-to-face interaction with shoppers and browsers, you do have a great deal of technology at your fingertips to analyze how you present your products, who visits and who buys, and how you can expand your customer base and motivate the visitor to actually buy. Use all of this technology wisely, and you will surely see results!