With much of the world still housebound in the midst of the global lockdown, now is the time for ecommerce businesses across numerous sectors to drive online growth and thrive in these unprecedented circumstances.
Naturally, when it comes to online retail, top-line conversions like product sales will typically be the main focus - after all, these conversions directly contribute to a business’s bottom line. However, there are numerous micro conversions that happen along the way to a completed purchase that can also add substantial value to your business in the long run.
In this post, we’ll be taking a closer look at some key micro conversions that online retailers can drive and track to gain a better understanding of their users’ online journey and buying intent - using online content as a means of perfecting the user experience and making these micro conversions happen.
1. Adding products to cart
Shopping cart abandonment still proves to be a major issue for ecommerce sites, with the average cart abandonment rate cited at just under 70% - and a whopping 85% for those shopping via mobile phones. This does indicate that users have an interest in your brand as well as some level of buying intent, but how can you drive these users to buy before cart abandonment occurs? Well, carefully crafted content could be your best tool here.
From the moment a user lands on your site, you need to do everything in your power to give them the key information they need to make a purchase, starting with category and product descriptions.
Considering the fact that you’re asking people to purchase something they can’t physically see and feel, your product descriptions need to help them visualise them virtually. This means steering clear of bland, lifeless text and images that provide only basic details like dimensions, colours and materials.
Instead, write highly descriptive, bespoke and characterful content that gives your products context and brings them to life - allowing users to imagine exactly what the product is and how it will benefit them. From real-life imagery and demo videos that show products in use to detailed and insightful product descriptions, let these pages tell a story and do the selling for you.
Of course, this shouldn't be your only tactic when it comes to addressing cart abandonment. If your rate is particularly high, there may well be obvious pain points in your checkout process that negatively impact the user experience. In these cases, look to refine and streamline the entire checkout process - this should include ensuring you have fast-loading checkout pages, payment progress indicators, upfront information about shipping fees and a selection of convenient payment options.
2. Joining your mailing list
If your consumers are willing to part with their personal details and sign up to your mailing list, this demonstrates they’re already curious to know more about your brand and products and gives you a foot in the door. This is an even greater achievement given the latest GDPR guidelines put in place in 2018, which mean individuals have to willingly opt in to share their details.
However, this very rarely happens of its own accord - you need to hone your approach to entice semi-interested visitors into signing up, so you can then start engaging with them directly to convert them into paying customers.
Firstly, you need a signup form that’s visible across your entire site - not just on your homepage or key landing pages - to maximise your chances of gaining subscribers. This could take the form of a timely pop-up or a sidebar form present on every page of your website.
Secondly, make them an offer they can’t refuse with a compelling call-to-action on your signup form. This content could offer an exclusive discount on new product lines or insider industry news and tips - try a few different options to identify exactly what your users want, so you can create impactful content that meets their needs.
Finally, make the signup process as quick and simple as possible. Only ask for key information like their email address and first name and make sure they can complete the process in as few clicks as possible. Within reason, you could also allow subscribers to personalise the types of content they want to receive from you, ensuring they’re getting emails that are genuinely valuable to them - all while helping you to satisfy their needs as a potential customer.
3. Downloading content
Populating your site with downloadable content could be an ideal tactic for tapping into this potent micro conversion. Whether it’s ebooks, whitepapers or case studies, attracting users to your site to download highly informative content is a sure-fire way to generate brand awareness and establish authority in your industry.
It also boosts your brand’s authenticity, which is a powerful asset to have given that reports show that 90% of consumers state authenticity as an important factor when choosing which brands they interact with. With an obvious desire to learn more about your brand, using downloadable content as a gateway to lead generation makes perfect sense.
To optimise the effectiveness of your downloadable content, you first need to identify the types of content your users want to guarantee what you’re offering piques their interest. This may require some trial and error, but the rewards will be worth it when you’ve pinpointed which types of content perform well with your target demographic.
To drive these micro conversions even more successfully, you can use gated content that requires users to share their email address or other contact information when they download from your site. This gives you all the information you need to add to your customer database and begin nurturing these leads to drive more sales using email marketing.
4. Completing contact forms
If we’re honest with ourselves, no one really likes filling in contact forms - particularly when they’re overly complicated and laborious. They often result in visitors beginning to fill in their details only to abandon the process halfway through, just as they might their shopping cart.
If you’re serious about growing your online retail enterprise, you can look to use these half-completed details as a micro conversion tool using software to track their progress. While you can’t use the data to reach out to them directly, pinpointing specific obstacles within your contact form page will inform you as to the right tweaks to make to streamline the overall customer journey.
Simple changes like reducing the number of required fields or only asking for essential information like their email address or phone number, as well as giving them the option to choose how they’d like to be contacted, can all contribute to optimising the user's experience. The end result could mean visitors are less likely to give up halfway through filling out the form, allowing you to service their enquiry and potentially convert them into a paying consumer.
Another tactic is to add an FAQs page or improve the content that’s already there, ensuring it’s packed with content that addresses common users queries. While, in some instances, this may mean users don’t fill out the form at all as they’ve found what they need, the important thing to remember is that this all goes towards improving the overall user experience on your site.
5. Commenting on blog and social media posts
Gaining comments on blog posts or your social media posts, as well as social media mentions, provides an indication that people are engaging with your brand and care about what you have to say (whether they agree with you or not).
When it comes to blog posts, people don’t tend to comment on every article they read. We each have our own internal filters and triggers, so it usually takes a high-quality, informative piece to inspire readers to actually express their opinion about it.
The same goes with social media posts and mentions - if someone takes the time to comment on one of your updates or even goes so far as to tag you in their own personal post, this demonstrates clear user engagement.
In terms of using these engagements to your advantage, taking a strategic approach to your content creation is key. Research which types of content your target audience can’t get enough of and write pieces on thought-provoking topics that are sure to get people commenting. You can also look to ask direct questions in your blogs and social media posts that prompt a debate - a sure-fire way to entice your readers to get involved.
While these small interactions may not seem monumental in isolation, when you look at the bigger picture, they all have their part to play in validating your content and your brand - as well as giving them greater authenticity, which is a powerful commodity in itself.
While micro conversions may not deliver instant results for your business’s bottom line, when tracked and nurtured correctly, they can and should form a key part of your performance measurement plan. The key is recognising the core micro conversions that occur during the customer journey and using them to enhance the user experience to convert potential buyers into loyal paying customers.
Tori Atkinson is the lead content creator for Paragraft, providing bespoke content writing services for ambitious brands looking to find and nurture their brand voice.