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Last Updated: 17th October 2019

At Agency51 we come across this a lot-we find marketing teams doing some great work generating valuable, relevant traffic but they don’t see that effort and marketing budget reflected in sales. This leaves a lot of people frustrated and confused as to what is going on. A big part of this is looking back at your website and answering the question: “Can I easily order from this?”

With this in mind, we thought we would share with you a small checklist of some of the usually obvious, but also small, amendments that can change your conversion rate for the better.

Now before you use our checklist, we need you to do something…

Change your mindset from website owner, to website customer. We know you know your website inside and out, but your new users won’t. Try to think about how they would be thinking, and what they would be doing as well at the same time that they’re looking at your website. For example, if your orders mainly come in at night and your target market is B2C customers, are they watching TV at the same time? Put yourself in that environment and see how well you can concentrate on finding and buying a product.

Our CRO Checklist:

1. “Don’t Make Me Think” theory
In the words of Steve Krug, does your website explain what you sell/do within five seconds on every entry page your marketing points to? You shouldn’t have to read a page in detail, or click five times to achieve your goal on the website, when one click will suffice.

2. Show what you sell
Promotional graphics on the home page can look great, and showing what you sell will tell users what you can offer them-and help them to click through to the right category, or product.

3. Contact details – telephone numbers and email address
In retail, knowing that a website has people behind it in the designated country is important. If a parcel gets lost or you want to discuss your order, knowing this is easy to do offers your customers reassurance, even more so if you expect questions about products. Simple things like adding your telephone number and opening hours (there’s nothing more frustrating than calling a business and no one answering!) can improve online and telephone orders.

4. Category structure
Simplify this as much as possible. I refer back to Steve Krug (intelligent guy in our eyes!). Name categories by their exact product type. Inspiring words may sound and look great, but the user doesn’t know your philosophy; they just know what they want.

5. Highlight your USPs
Free delivery? Next day delivery? Price Promise? Free returns? Shout about them; tell the user why they should buy the product from you. A competitor may have the same product at the same price, but knowing that you offer free delivery can make all the difference.

6. Product Pages – does the product look and feel appealing?
Provide useful information and quality product images. If it is a fashion product, show the front, back and what it looks like on a model. Fashion products are sold on what they look like and the quality of the material – make sure these are known.

For technology-based products, make the specification clear and easy to read. If your audience doesn’t know the industry terminology, change it in line with what they will know or provide a helpful guide for them to understand it.

7. Clear calls to action that relay instruction and expectation
The devil that is “click here” is a phrase that should be avoided at all costs. “Add to basket”, “view product”, “download product guide” and “register now” are actionable calls to action that describe the activity that will take place after the click is made. Use these in buttons, content with references to categories, and products. This not only helps with the user journey but aids SEO too.

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8. Short and simple checkout process
Using tricks of the trade in your checkout process to speed things up always helps. Using tools such as postcode lookup and pre-populating delivery address using a check box “same as your billing address” helps the user proceed quickly.

Also keeping everything on one page avoids users going backwards and forwards. Alternatively, consider showing how many steps they need to go through to manage their expectations.

Either way, clearly sign posting what you expect to be filled in and providing instructions helps reduce frustration and abandoned baskets.

You can also use additional tools such as Amazon Pay, PayPal and Facebook Connect, which make the checkout process even quicker.

9. Do you have abandoned basket emails?
An automated tool that can provide a huge return with users getting distracted or having to stop what they are doing, this tool not only reminds them to come back but also provides ease and simplicity for them, knowing they don’t have to fill their basket again. Many open source systems have this as plugin or you can integrate it into Mailchimp very easily.

10. Review and test
Now, once you think you have the perfect website, there are always way of improving it. Using systems like VWO and Optimizely are great ways of tracking visitor activity through heatmaps and then producing A/B tests. This however is another article in itself so look out for the simple guide to A/B testing soon.

We hope you have found this post useful; if you are a little lost on how to improve your sales or would just like some outside help, feel free to give our team a call on 01904 21 51 51, drop us an email at hello@agency51.com or have a chat to one of our guys using the live chat pop up on the right-hand side.


Jo Coates

Jo is the Client Services Director at Agency51 focusing on client delivery and strategy. With over 13 years' experience, Jo has worked across multiple global campaigns in a wide range of industries and has seen impressive results using a variety of marketing techniques.

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