Marketing with 404 error pages and showing shipping data before a shopper puts an item in the cart were among the many powerful and often overlooked sales conversions tips that ecommerce coach and entrepreneur, Shirley Tan, shared during a recent webinar.
Tan, who is the founder of AmericanBridal, has some 13 years of ecommerce marketing and operations experience. She presented several sales conversions tips during a recent Practical Ecommerce webinar that sought to give participants suggestions about new ways to market and provide measurement techniques to help fine tune those methods.
Three of Tan's conversion tips stood out because they were almost unique in ecommerce marketing.
No. 1: Market on 404 Error Pages
Like it or not, some small percentage of your site visitors may encounter a 404 or file not found error page from time to time. These pages are displayed when the file requested by the browser does not actually exist on the web server, and may be the result of a typo in some anchor text or any number of other missteps.
Marketers have long advocated making 404 error pages friendly and offering the unfortunate visitors that see them ways to continue navigating the site.
But Tan suggests taking this one step further and offering those customers that land on 404 error pages a special offer for their trouble. Since site performance errors can send shoppers packing, Tan's approach should help online retailers retain some customers that would have otherwise gone elsewhere.
Tan's approach also makes it easy to monitor how many of your customers that see 404 pages actually convert. Simply compare the number of 404 page visits captured in your web analytics tool to the number of 404 error coupons redeemed.
No. 2: Display Shipping Rates Early
Several studies, including one from PayPal, have shown that higher-than-expected shipping rates are the leading cause of shopping cart abandonment.
To help address this problem, Tan suggests showing shoppers shipping rates at the product detail page level even before they have added an item to the shopping cart.
As an example, Tan pointed to SkyGeek, a purveyor of aviation-related gear, that includes a shipping rate calculator on every product detail page.
Consider monitoring the number of times shipping rates are calculated on product detail pages to judge the effectiveness of this tip.
No. 3: Set Shipment Arrival Expectations
Tan also suggested marketing product arrival dates in order to communicate, first, how quickly your business will respond to an order and, second, to avoid customer service problems.
This solution could alleviate customer apprehension associated with purchasing birthday gifts, wedding favors, or other items for a specific event.
For an example, Tan pointed to My Wedding Favors, which tells customers when an item will leave the company's warehouse and allows them to calculate an arrival date based on their zip codes.
To decide it this tip works, monitor sales before and after implementing. Also, take the number of delivery-related complaints your business received in the three months before trying this tip and compare it to the number of complaints received three months after implementation. Be sure to look at real numbers and complaints as a percentage of sales.
With just these three simple techniques, you can encourage more sales conversions. Of course, this three unique tips are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg where customer conversion is concerned.