11 Ways to Improve Conversions on Your WooCommerce Store

Written by Wholegrain Team - January 30, 2015

WooCommerce has changed the face of eCommerce on WordPress sites, so it’s little surprise that the first WooConf in San Francisco was a resounding success. Held shortly after WooCommerce announced it has passed 5 million downloads, the conference was dedicated to store owners and WordPress developers, and aimed at improving their knowledge of WooCommerce and eCommerce in general.

One talk that particularly stood out was by David de Boer, an entrepreneur and speaker who specialises in online payments. He stated that while businesses are repeatedly advised to ‘test, test, test’ in order to improve conversions, most SMEs simply don’t have the time, money, skills or motivation to run extensive UX testing. As a result, the user experience of their online stores suffers.

However, the largest and most experienced retailers across the world have already thoroughly tested the user experience of eCommerce sites and have made a number of improvements based upon their results. In his talk, David highlighted the top ten changes that all WooCommerce users should implement on their sites immediately in order to boost sales and conversions. And they’re so useful, we thought they were worth sharing.

1. Speed

Speed is one of the most crucial aspects of a successful WooCommerce store. Think of your experiences with large online retailers such as Amazon – when was the last time you had to wait to process an order? Probably never. If anything, it’s too quick and easy to spend money there, which is one of the reasons for its success.

As a rule, if your site takes any longer than 4 seconds to load, then you’re probably losing orders. And lots of them. And if your load time goes to 10 seconds or over, you could be losing as much as 90% of your traffic. So rule number one is to optimise your store for speedy loading.

2. Call to Action

Don’t settle for dull, non-configurable grey call-to-action buttons on your store because they will do anything but. And whatever you do, don’t overcomplicate matters with a mish-mash of symbols comprising an ‘Add to Cart’ button and a display of the various cards your store accepts.

A good call-to-action button should be simple but effective. Stick to a single button with ‘Add to Cart’ on it, and perhaps an icon of a shopping trolley, and choose a colour that complements the item you are selling. It will look attractive and it won’t confuse your shoppers.

3. Bigger, Better Images

People rarely buy goods without seeing them first, so you need to work hard to make your products come to life via excellent photography. A sure-fire way to boost your sales is to include high-quality images on your website. And the more images you can show, the better. Show off your products from different angles, show them in context (people wearing your clothes, or sitting on your sofa), and make them zoomable so shoppers can click in and check the finer details.

4. Video Works

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then imagine the effect product videos have on your sales. Videos help people to learn more about your products, and to feel more confident in making a purchase.

One of the biggest drawbacks of eCommerce is that people can’t handle the product before making a purchase – which is why free returns are a great selling point for online retailers. But video will help to limit the number of free returns you have to process.

Video marketing has now come of age. Sluggish connections are a thing of the past, and many people prefer watching a video about a product than reading about it. It’s especially effective for two demographics that most online stores will be targeting: mobile users and millennials.

5. Remove Fields

Your customer has chosen the items they want to purchase, moved to the checkout page, then the sale has stalled – sound familiar?

One of the main reasons for this is when customers are suddenly faced with a long form to complete before they can finish the checkout process. Each field within that form leaves your customers facing a decision about whether or not they want to supply that information before making their purchase. Many fields within long forms create friction for your customers, which often leads to form abandonment.

When designing the forms for your checkout process, take care to ensure the difference between ‘required’ and ‘not required’ is obvious and, if possible, consider removing all ‘not required’ fields altogether. Your customers will thank you for it.

6. Guest Checkout

There’s nothing more frustrating when online shopping than reaching your checkout cart only to be faced with having to register with the store before making a purchase. This is another prime reason for customers abandoning their purchases and shopping elsewhere.

By forcing your customers to register with you before making a purchase, you are raising issues of privacy – some people might not want you to store their personal data if they regard their purchase as a one-off.

Providing a guest checkout feature is more convenient for your shoppers and helps with privacy concerns. You can then give them the option to create an account after shopping, or to sign up to your email list, should they wish to do so.

7. Free Shipping

The word ‘free’ can be a powerful emotional trigger and this is especially true when it comes to shopping online – there’s little worse than spending ages deciding on a purchase, only to reach the checkout cart and realise that the shipping costs make your bargain find somewhat less of a bargain.

Free shipping is a huge pulling factor, and can tempt people into online sales over catching a bus to the high street. Amazon have long realised the temptation of free shipping, and by adding a minimum limit for free shipping they entice people to spend more at their store – after all, who hasn’t been guilty of slipping a book into their cart just to reach the magic £10 limit.

8. Call Me Maybe

One of the biggest problems with many eCommerce sites, after poor site design and slow loading speeds, is a lack of contact details. Generally, most consumers won’t want to hear from your customer service department ­– unless they have a problem. Then they want to be able to reach you immediately.

It’s not uncommon for shoppers to abandon their shopping carts because they have a problem and need to speak to somebody to ask a question. Don’t make your customers hunt through your website or search a list of FAQs to find a telephone number. Instead, ensure your contact information is clearly available on every page.

9. Improve Trust

Building trust is of the utmost importance in an eCommerce site, whether you’re trying to entice new customers or retain loyal, repeat buyers. Fraud, identity theft and cybercrime are on the rise, so it’s more important than ever to convey your credibility and reliability to your shoppers.

Achieving trust online is even more difficult than gaining trust in person, so make sure your contact details are clearly displayed, and ensure you always personally respond to enquiries. Providing trusted security for your transactions is imperative, so use a trusted payment provider and obtain an SSL certificate for additional trust.

Other ways to build trust include displaying press mentions on your website, showing your army of followers from social media, and putting a face to your brand by including pictures of staff.

10. Reviews

A further way to build trust and demonstrate the excellent qualities of your products is to include real reviews, from real people, on your store. It doesn’t matter how persuasive your own copy is, testimonials from happy customers are much more reliable and valuable as people trust each other more than they trust your marketing department.

If you want to increase the testimonials on your website, send your existing customers a link to an online survey about the products they purchased and your customer service, and include the best responses on your site. Some retailers even offer incentives, like entry to a prize draw for a voucher towards their products, in exchange for leaving a review. To increase your credibility, you can link those reviews to people’s social media profiles.

11. A Bonus Tip

During David’s talk, another conference delegate advised that she had done extensive testing on buttons for her WooCommerce store, and found the single most consistent way to boost sales and conversions was to include an arrow on the button you want your customer to click. This simple little tip is a great way of gently nudging your shoppers into the action you want them to perform.

WooCommerce is the fastest growing eCommerce system, but if you want to run a successful store you need to provide an excellent user experience for your shoppers. By implementing these key tips, you will boost your sales and conversions without having to worry about UX testing.

What do you think of David’s tips for improving conversions on your WooCommerce store? Are there any tips you would add to the list? Tell us below.