No digital startup can succeed without conversions through its website, especially if it’s their only channel to reach consumers. It’s no wonder then, that so many businesses increasingly realise the importance of optimising their website for conversions.

Since Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) for online commerce is Unfold’s bread and butter, for Startup Month at TechSPARK, founder Harry Cobbold has summarised some easily implementable tips, that they use themselves, to make huge improvements to your business’ rate of online sales. 

1. Social proof your product/service

TrustPilot and other testimonials are incredibly important for boosting your business credibility and in turn, conversions. Lack of trust can be a huge barrier to conversion for new customers, but if you can show that others know and trust your brand enough to write you good reviews, this can quickly negate this problem.

Another great method of social proofing is to encourage user-generated content, like featuring a stream of customer product images on your website. This increases engagement of existing customers as it allows them to show off their new products and be a part of your community, as well as adding a further layer of authenticity for new customers.

2. Provide fantastic content

Making sure everything your business puts out is of outstanding quality can be absolutely key to increasing conversions. AirBnB is a great example of this. In the business’ early days, they were struggling to get traction. They decided to take the initiative to send a professional photographer around to all the apartments on their books, to take some professional-quality images of the spaces for rent. This made a huge impact on the booking rates for the rooms, and pulled them out of the rut they had been in.

The number of times we see businesses investing in a high-converting website, but skimping on the quality of their product images, is worrying. Whilst it can be tempting to save some money and take images yourselves, it’s generally worth investing in a trained professional to get your site imagery to a conversion-driving quality. 

The same can be said for all the content you put out – including on your social media and anywhere else you can be found online. The more professional you look, the more credible you’ll appear to your customers and the more conversions you’ll get.

3. Simplify the complex

More often than not, the reason businesses struggle to get conversions is because of overwhelming complexity. Consumers have to suffer through too many choices, paralysing amounts of information, confusing navigation and hidden costs.  

It rarely starts out like this – but over a period of time, more and more complexity is added to their website. Each addition was likely well-intentioned and designed to give customers flexibility or new features but the constant additions have meant that, without a holistic view, the customer can become overwhelmed.

The trick is to try to capture the complexity and present it to customers in a simple, easily understandable format.

This can be really tricky, but it’s so important when trying to get your website to convert more users. If you’re curious to understand more, we wrote an in-depth article about simplicity for TechSPARK, here.

4. Have a re-engagement strategy

One key strategy to increase conversions is to reduce cart abandonment. Think about the journeys you can create for customers who don’t purchase from you in the first instance and how they can be retargeted.

For example, you could email customers who leave an item in their basket with a time-sensitive discount code, after 24hrs. Tactics like this can go a long way to pushing conversions over the line. 

We often recommend Automate Woo as a WooCommerce automation plugin, which helps us to re-engage customers in this way. Remember, it’s significantly cheaper for you to re-engage existing customers than it is for you to reach new ones. Making sure you keep your customers engaged and that their experience with you is always top-notch, will keep repeat-purchases high and over time probably save you a pretty penny.

5. Don’t neglect your tech

Bugs in the booking funnel, interface or a slow-running website can kill conversions dead in the water. These are what we call “invisible killers” because you don’t always see them happening. This is why it’s important to first build your website on a solid, optimised foundation, as well as always keeping your tech updated.

If your website is a huge part of your sales, it’s important that you have a tech partner or team member there to monitor your site and resolve any issues promptly. They will make sure your sales/booking funnel remains optimised and catch any problems early, before they have a chance to meaningfully impact your sales. 

6. Complete a UX/CRO audit for your website conversions

Commissioning a user experience (UX) or CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) audit can be a great way to identify where opportunities lie, and to improve how you serve customers and how you can increase conversion rates.

This process will often use a combination of qualitative data (e.g. interviews, focus groups, and session recordings) alongside quantitative data (e.g. Google Analytics) to identify and understand where you are falling short.

You can then use this information to streamline and optimise the funnel for conversions.

Ok, we admit, this last one isn’t really an “easy” tip per se. Whilst it’s possible to do a UX/CRO audit yourself, it can be a complex task if you’re not familiar with the discipline.

If you’re looking to take your sales to another level, you could consider having a professional audit completed by an independent expert. Based on our experience, we can pretty much guarantee you’ll quickly see a return on your investment.

Those are our top 6 essential tips for maximising online conversions. As a web design and development agency, with a heavy focus on ecommerce and funnel optimisation, we’ve tried and tested these methods repeatedly, with fantastic results. If you have any questions about this article or your project in general, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Shona Wright

Shona covers all things editorial at TechSPARK. She publishes news articles, interviews and features about our fantastic tech and digital ecosystem, working with startups and scaleups to spread the word about the cool things they're up to. She also oversees TechSPARK's social media, sharing the latest updates on everything from investment news to green tech meetups and inspirational stories.