Increasing Website Conversions: How Categorization, Personalization, and Choice Limitation Can Increase Sales

18 May 2010 | written by Roko Nastic for the web site marketing strategies section(s)

Increasing Website Conversions: How Categorization, Personalization, and Choice Limitation Can Increase Sales

This is a guest post by Roko Nastic. Take a moment and vote in his poll about the best web hosting companies.

The key to increasing conversions for any website is simplicity and personalization. Having a mass of generalized products all vying for attention will drive customers away in a state of confusion. By reducing the amount of possible options and making those options appear that they have been tailored just for that visitor, you will instantly increase your website’s chance of a sale.

A site should look inviting and relevant. The aim of a website should be to appear professional, keep decision-making to a minimum, and efficiently guide a visitor to the product they need with as few distractions as possible.

Organizing the website’s architecture, personalizing the design for a target market, and optimizing each page for specific products can dramatically improve sales and profits. Here are three considerations that can help to increase conversions for any website.

1. Personalize

A generic-looking website looks impersonal and gives the appearance that the site is simply there to sell and not to look after a customer’s needs.

A website should appear to have been designed and created just to serve every visitor landing on the site. Research customer demographics based on the website’s primary keywords and make the site relevant to the target audience.

A website that sells products targeted towards a male-orientated customer base would not have a pink template, flowery graphics, and advertisements for feminine hygiene products. If a website sells baby products, it really should stay clear of a black template, blood-red fonts, and images of skulls blazoned around the site.

Researching target audience demographics and understanding what that audience want and why they need it will help a website to create a welcoming and inviting environment that can increase customer satisfaction and boost conversions.

Keep a website’s design and content relevant to its products and the people the site is hoping to attract.

2. Categorize

A website needs to identify its main product categories, and then it has to break down those categories into smaller, more acutely focused sub-categories.

People do not like sifting through unrelated products or topics to find what they are really searching for. The best chance of making a sale comes from placing the perfect choice in front of a customer as quickly and in as few clicks as possible. Visitors are not interested in everything a website sells; they are interested in how the website can help them and what it sells to solve their individual problems.

For example, if a customer is searching for a food blender, they do not want to scroll through multiple options for other small electrical appliances. People have limited attention spans–if they cannot find what they are looking for as soon as they visit a website, they will leave and find a well-organized site where they can quickly find what they need. It is vitally important that a website organizes its internal navigation and structure.

The bottom line: Every page of a website should be optimized for a specific product or small, related group of products. The home page should not be an unorganized jumble of product listings. It must be clear, concise, and show visitors exactly where they need to click to find each specific product category.

3. Keep Choice to a Minimum

People are easily confused, and a confused customer is one that leaves without buying. Even if a website offers many different solutions for a specific query, it must not rush to display everything it has to offer all in one go. Overwhelming a potential buyer with a vast array of possible solutions is a sure-fire way to send them running away more confused than before they arrived.

The website that makes the most sales is the one that will take a customer’s query and guide them to what they need in the shortest time and with the least amount of fuss. A website may want to provide excellent service and offer every food blender in existence, but customers are most often looking for someone to help them and make their mind up for them.

A website is committing sales suicide by offering too many choices all at once. A visitor should be offered an immediate solution. The longer a visitor spends searching through dozens of options, the less likely they are to buy. People are often impulse buyers and will purchase the first product they see that suits their needs.

Confusing a customer with a multitude of potential solutions will have them thinking, “That blender has a 1000w blend-speed, but then again the 800w is $10 cheaper. Then there is that one that has the extra 3 blades and it is a similar price…oh, there are just too many to choose from…I can’t decide.” That will be the customer that gets themselves hot and bothered and leaves without purchasing anything.

A website should give a customer a solution and if they decide against that one, offer a link to another. Customers like to make one decision at a time and often want that decision to be made for them.

Keep it Relevant, Clean, and Simple

Websites with the best conversions are the ones that appear like they have been created for a specific intention. They have a clutter-free design, easy navigation, categorized products, and are visually appealing to the target audience.

Visitors can immediately see that the site relates to their search query and can locate the type of product they need–all within a few clicks of arriving.

Never confuse a customer. Show them only what they are looking for. The website that keeps it simple, direct, and categorized is the one that see the best conversions.

1 Comments

1 Comments

  • Dan Piche @dhpiche |   Apr 21st, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Great Post.

    I’d like to add that when personalization is done correctly, websites can also increase other high-value tasks such as newsletter signups, brand awareness through increased social media followers, reviews, recommendations, downloading white papers, etc.

    Targeting visitors at different stages allows you to put the right ‘conversion’ in front of them at the right time. First time visitor – explain who your brand/product is, visit number 2-4 – make them feel good about your brand, promote reviews, recommendations, testimonials, visit 5 – promote the offer, promote the most relevant product, get them to buy! Purchaser – promote loyalty through a newsletter signup or by incenting them to follow your social media presence.

    These methods are proven tactics that really do work. But as you suggest, keep it clean and simple, don’t clutter it with so much relevancy that it becomes irrelevant.

    Dan Piche

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