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John Beckett
John Beckett 5 October 2014
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How Can Brands Plug the Leak in Online Revenue?

According to Forrester, an average of 54% of visitors to brand manufacturer websites have a buying intent. But typically less than 8% of this group actually converts.

If you wanted to catch a fish, you’d be unlikely to have much success if you cast your line off a motorway overpass. You’d be far more likely to be grilling a nice fillet that evening if you cast that same line off a bridge over a river. Yet every day brands continue to go fishing on the motorway by focusing on generating as much traffic as possible to their site, rather than on helping users who are actually on their site already to convert.

 

So, how can they improve their strategy?

 

According to Forrester, an average of 54% of visitors to brand manufacturer websites have a buying intent. But typically less than 8% of this group actually converts. The huge drop-off of people who visit the site wanting to make a purchase but ultimately do not is caused by a number of factors, but the Number One cause is that it is not clear how to buy, i.e. the user journey is not optimised. The lack of a clear path to purchase frustrates the user, costs the brand sales and reduces the return on investment from the spend to bring that user to the site in the first place.

 

So what’s the best approach to improving the buying journey for users?

 

Improving the path to purchase so that the user can quickly, easily find the information they need and then go on to purchase, either directly or via a channel partner, is often easier than it sounds. There are tools and services that can do most of the heavy lifting for you and drive massively increase conversion rates. A 5X increase is achievable, again supported by Forrester research.

 

One of the most effective methods to drive increased conversion rates is also the simplest: by providing a ‘Buy Now’ button on every product page, which links to and displays stock status in geographically relevant online and offline retailers, users can quickly move through the buying journey without distraction or frustration.  

 

Ensuring that these external links to deep-link product pages on retailer websites are always accurate is essential to avoid breaking the thought process of the user by making them manually search for their chosen product, rather than be taken to a page where they can buy it instantly.

 

It should be noted that it’s also vital for brands who sell directly to offer the user links to channel partners, because 83% of shoppers want to buy from  their preferred retailer rather than directly from the manufacturer.

 

When you boil it down, the solution to increasing conversions seems fairly obvious: give the customer what they want – the ability to buy your product.

 

So much effort and investment is directed towards driving new traffic onto the brand site in the first place, every opportunity to drive revenue from that traffic must be embraced.

 

The best way to catch a fish is to go fishing where they swim.  Implementing basic improvements to the customer journey like those outlined above can help brands to bring about an immediate and significant increase in conversions, while keeping customers and channel partners happy.  

 

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