In electronic commerce, conversion marketing is the act of converting site visitors into paying customers. However, different sites may consider a "conversion" to be some sort of result other than a sale. One example of a conversion event other than a sale is if a customer were to abandon an online shopping cart, the company could market a special offer, e.g. free shipping, to convert the visitor into a paying customer. A company may also try to recover the abandoner through an online engagement method such as proactive chat in an attempt to assist the customer through the purchase process.
The efficacy of conversion marketing is measured by the conversion rate, i.e. the number of customers who have completed a transaction divided by the total number of website visitors. Since conversion rates for electronic storefronts are usually very low, conversion marketing can be a useful way to boost this number, online revenue, and overall website traffic.
Conversion marketing attempts to solve the issue of low online conversion through optimized customer service. To accomplish this it requires a complex combination of personalized customer experience management, web analytics, and the use of customer feedback to contribute to process flow improvement and overall site design.
Conversion marketing is commonly viewed as a long-term investment rather than a quick fix by focusing more on improving site flow, online customer service channels, and online experience. Increased site traffic over the past 10 years has done very little to increase overall conversion rates so conversion marketing focuses not on driving additional traffic but on converting existing traffic. It requires proactive engagement with consumers using real time analytics to determine if visitors are confused and show likely signs of abandoning the site. Then developing the tools and messages to inform them about available products, and ultimately persuading them to convert online. Ideally, the customer would maintain a relationship post-sale through support or re-engagement campaigns. Conversion marketing affects all phases of the customer life-cycle, and several conversion marketing solutions are utilized to help ease the transition from one phase to the next.
The conversion rate is the proportion of visitors to a website who take action to go beyond a casual content view or website visit, as a result of subtle or direct requests from marketers, advertisers, and content creators.
Successful conversions are defined differently by individual marketers, advertisers, and content creators. To online retailers, for example, a successful conversion may be defined as the sale of a product to a consumer whose interest in the item was initially sparked by clicking a banner advertisement. To content creators, a successful conversion may refer to a membership registration, newsletter subscription, software download, or other activity.
For websites that seek to generate offline responses, for example telephone calls or foot traffic to a store, measuring conversion rates can be difficult because a phone call or personal visit is not automatically traced to its source, such as the Yellow Pages, website, or referral. Possible solutions include asking each caller or shopper how they heard about the business and using a toll-free number on the website that forwards to the existing line.
For websites where the response occurs on the site itself, a conversion funnel can be set up in a site's analytics package to track user behavior.
Common Conversion Marketing Services
- Recommendations - Behavioral analysis that identifies products and content relevant to the customer’s perceived intent.
- Targeted Offers - Targeting attempts to fit the right promotion with the right customer based upon behavioral and demographic information.
- Ratings and Reviews - Using user-generated ratings and reviews to increase conversion rates, capture feedback, and engender visitor’s trust.
- Email Personalization - Email with embedded recommendations and chat that are tailored personally to the recipient.
- Chat - As consumers tend to abandon sites after only three clicks, attempts to use proactive chat, reactive chat, exit chat, and click-to-call to convert consumers quickly.
- Click-to-Call - Supports cross-channel conversion without losing the context of the conversation when visitors move from the website to the phone.
- Co-Browsing - Tool for support agent infrastructure (chat or call) to assist customers in transacting online.
- Voice of the Customer - Feedback about products, services, and online experiences that is captured through carefully analyzed structured and unstructured data.
- Automated Guides – predetermined steps that allow a customer to better understand product features, and options to assist with the selection process.
- Re-Targeting – Identification of visitors interested in particular products or services based on previous site browsing or search to offer relevant content through targeted ad placement.
Methods of increasing conversion rates in e-commerce
Among the many actions taken to attempt to increase the conversion rate, these are the most relevant:
- Generate user reviews of the product or service
- Creating a self-serving customer service format by letting the user reach informative answers quickly with an constantly learning database.
- Gather a baseline user experience by recording user actions and compiling key objections
- Clear tracking of standardized metrics using website analytics software for a predetermined conversion goal (e.g. "increase volume of newsletter subscriptions" or "decrease shopping cart abandonment percentage rate")
- Improve and focus the content of the website (which may include text, pictures and video) to target conversion
- Increase usability to reduce the barriers to conversion
- Improve site navigation structure so that users can find and browse without thinking too much about where to click
- Improve credibility and trust by showing third-party trust logos and by good site design
- Offer active live help (e.g. Live Chat, co-Browsing)
- Use AIDA (attention, interest, desire, action) to move the user through the conversion funnel
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