With over 100,000 ecommerce stores based in the US alone and thousands more popping up every day worldwide, ecommerce business owners need every little bit of help they can get to achieve an edge over their competition and score the big paydays that we all dream of. One way to get closer to this dream is to tweak your site to increase the chance of your customers converting. “Converting” means buying, and is the primary goal for any business. If you can tweak your site to increase your number of conversions, you are well away on the path to success.
There is lots you can do on your site to improve the chances of your visitors becoming customers without having to fiddle with complicated HTML or style sheets. To make these adjustments easily you can use plugins. These are pre-written pieces of code that make adjustments to your site automatically once they have been installed into your content management system.
Plugins are usually written by independent developers in their spare time, so the majority of them are free. Be wary of premium plugins and ensure that there isn’t a free alternative that will do the job just as well before you part with any of your hard earned cash.
In this article we take a look at five of the best ecommerce plugins for improving conversion rates on your online store. From the genius viral coupon plugin to technology that immediately speeds up your site, get inspired and improve your bottom line.
WP Super Cache
Its 2014 and luckily for us, internet speeds are as fast as they have ever been. As internet users get more and more used to instant gratification during their web surfing, they are getting more and more impatient with sites that take a long time to load. Even Google have stated that site speed is now a part of their ranking algorithms.
Although there are lots of ways for you to increase the speed of your site, most methods require you to make cutbacks and compromises. Whether this means decreasing the quality of your on page images or removing elements from your side bar, nothing is worse than creating a site exactly how you want it, only to have to cannibalise it for the sake of load speed.
The solution to this problem is caching. A webpage that uses caching technology will serve users a static html version of your site rather than drawing the information live from the server each time they visit. This is the process most internet browsers use when users click on the “back button,” showing you a loacal version of the page you had just been on rather than a “live” one.
There are many plugins that will automatically set up caching for you, but the most popular by far is WP Super Cache. You can download it for free here, or search for it and install it straight from your CMS’s internal plugin portal.
WordPress Experiments Pro
Testing different layouts and elements on your website is vital for success. After all, how likely is it that your first design is going to be the perfect design for converting your visitors?
WordPress Experiments Pro allows you to show half of your sites visitors one version of a page, and the other half a different one. This is known as A/B testing, a process which can be invaluable in helping you get to know your customers better and tailor your site around their needs.
WordPress Experiments Pro isn’t a free piece of software, but quickly pays for itself by helping you generate extra conversions. It is also worth noting that their product pitch, “do science, get more clicks,” is absolutely fantastic. With a motto like that, how could you refuse?
Viral Coupon for WP
We mentioned this little slice of genius in the introduction to this article, and the wait for an explanation is finally over. This simple and effective plugin gives customers access to immediate discounts at your store if they share your store using social media. This share could be a +1, a Facebook like or a tweet, all of which will help you rank higher on Google, get more traffic to your site and increase your fan base.
On top of these obvious benefits, you also get to offer a satisfying discount to a new customer, improving their perception of the store and increasing the likelihood of them returning again.
This plugin does come at a cost, but as it is only $15 we hope that you will be able to see the potential income boost this small investment could net you. Check it out here.
Although ResponseTap isn’t, strictly speaking, a plugin for your content management system, it is a great tool for ecommerce businesses who are starting to shake their “small business” title in favour of one that reads “medium sized business.”
ResponseTap offers phone call analytics. This means that if your business is regularly receiving calls to a customer support or sales telephone number you will be able to see what page your customer was on when they decided to call, as well as what they were doing during and after the call.
This technology works by generating unique phone numbers from each part of your website, as well as for your off site promotional activity. All the numbers are forwarded to your main telephone, but ResponseTap keeps track of which number was used to make the call and uses this information to connect that conversation back to that individual customer’s digital visit.
This means that you will be able to exactly what parts of your promotional efforts are generating the most interest. Cool!
Check out their website here. It’s quite a complicated product, but they have some great resources to walk you through the technology on the ResponseTap site.
iPerceptions Customer Feedback Surveys
Once your customers have moved through the checkout process and handed over their cash, there isn’t much more you want from them, right?
A customer who has got that far has a fair amount of hands on experience using your site, and their opinions and suggestions can be invaluable. The iPerceptions plugin lets you ask for customer feedback at only the most appropriate times, after completing a purchase or after abandoning a shopping cart for example. This allows you to gather much needed feedback from customers without frustrating them with excessive pop ups and survey requests.
The information this plugin generates for your business could invaluable, and used in combination with the other plugins on this list, are certain to improve your conversion rates. Take a look at their site, here.
Sam Shelley is a technology and commerce blogger currently working with marketing agencies in London.