How you can help increase conversion rates for your business.

Sep 19 2018 | Julie Warshaw, PayPal Editorial Staff

You’ve done the legwork to drum up new business. You invested in banner ads, launched a social media campaign, and achieved visibility on search engines like Google. And you have the analytics to prove it. So, with all of these new shoppers, why aren’t you closing more sales?
Conversion rates can fluctuate for a variety of reasons. A visitor to your site may not be ready to buy or they may be comparison shopping. Changes in your marketing strategy could be impacting the type of traffic your site is getting. One of the top reasons your conversions might be low, however, is your website.
 
A key indicator that you may need to optimize your site is an increase in qualified traffic, but little change in the number of shoppers who convert. Conversion can be affected by technical problems, like slow load times or old landing pages with no redirects.
 
So, if you’re seeing more browsers than buyers, the content and functionality of your website may be affecting conversion rates. There are three key areas that you should focus on when updating your site: experience, messaging, and imagery.

Create a user-friendly experience. 

  1. Make your website easy to navigate – especially on mobile.
Remember, a website that works well for mobile will probably work well for desktop, but that might not be true the other way around. Even if you’re sure most people access your online store from their desktop, you don’t want to miss potential sales from mobile traffic. Search engines like Google rank mobile-friendly sites higher in their results, so optimizing your site for small screens may increase your organic traffic, too.
 
  1. Include customer reviews on product pages.
Reviews or testimonials are helpful for converting first-time visitors, so encourage repeat customers to provide feedback on their purchases. And while you may be tempted to filter out negative comments, leaving them in will improve the credibility of your site. Try integrating a ratings platform if your site doesn’t already have that capability.
 
  1. Add product FAQs.
Visitors who can’t easily find answers to their questions are more likely to abandon their carts. This is especially true for products or services that require a certain level of understanding – like tech equipment, for example. If you’re not sure what kind of information to include in your FAQs, pay attention to the questions you hear most often and start with those. You may even want to generate a landing page where a visitor to your site can access both product-specific and general FAQs.
 
  1. Avoid too many product categories.
Too many categories can make a new visitor to your site feel overwhelmed, so stick with the basics. You may also want to include a revolving category that can be updated for seasonal sales or clearance items.
 
  1. Streamline your website’s navigation.
Would the navigation on your website make sense to someone who has never visited it before? Ideally, a new visitor should be able to get to the item they’re looking for in three clicks or less. If it takes too long for someone to find something, they’re less likely to convert. Since it may be hard for you to look at your site objectively, ask friends and family for their input. Or, you can get usability feedback from a testing platform.
 
  1. Optimize your checkout.
Shopping cart abandonment can be one of the most frustrating metrics for an ecommerce business owner. If your abandoned cart rates are increasing, you may want to take a closer look at your checkout process. An optimized checkout should require as few clicks as possible; be streamlined for mobile, and offer secure payment options that let visitors pay the way they want. For example, adding a PayPal Checkout button to a product page lets customers with a PayPal account check out in just two clicks. And the average checkout conversion rate for PayPal customers hovers around 88.7%,1 so just offering PayPal as a payment option can help you close more sales.
 
How to increase conversion rates
 
You want to choose the checkout payment options that are convenient for your customers and improve your conversion rates. With a single integration, PayPal Checkout lets your customers pay with PayPal, Venmo2, PayPal Credit3, and major credit and debit cards – all without leaving your site. And the technology behind PayPal Checkout automatically shows them the most relevant payment options.

Make your messaging informative and engaging. 

  1. Check your grammar.
The content on your website should be grammatically correct. Period. Poor grammar can affect the credibility of your business and make a customer think twice about giving you their personal information at checkout. Consider hiring a professional content writer or copyeditor to review the text on your site. If you have a limited budget, prioritize the content your most trafficked pages.
 
  1. Keep your copy clear, concise, and consistent.
Take a look at your website and ask yourself if your copy follows The Three C’s – Is it clear? Is it concise? And, is it consistent?
 
  • Clear. Unlike shopping in a physical store where customers can see the actual item they’re buying, online shoppers rely on descriptions of products to make a purchase. This makes it extra important to be clear when writing content for your website. Include the dimensions of an item, what materials it’s made of, and any additional details that give the customer a clear understanding of what they’re buying.
 
  • Concise. Web copy and literary text are two very different things. A long, beautiful sentence filled with descriptors and SAT-worthy vocabulary words is hard to fit on a banner. Structure the copy in a way that’s easy for someone to scan, with the most important points near the top. Try using bullets or numbered lists. Think about how your content will look on a mobile phone or tablet. If someone has to scroll to get to the end of a sentence, it’s probably too long.
 
  • Consistent. Of course, consistency applies to things like pricing, but it’s also part of your brand. If you decide to use title case for headlines on one page, make sure you use title case for headlines on every page. If a product is described as “navy” one place, don’t call it simply “blue” in another. Try keeping the way you describe items consistent also. Your customers will be able to find information more quickly if they know where to look.

Provide quality imagery.

  1. Use high-resolution, well-lit product photos.
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words and that’s particularly true for an ecommerce site. Online shoppers rely heavily on product photography, so low-resolution photos aren’t going to cut it. Avoid using pictures with a busy background; instead, consider shooting the product in front of a simple, white background. And don’t scrimp on the lighting. One of the easiest tools for taking great product photos is a light box. Using one will eliminate background noise and maximize your lighting.
 
  1. Choose engaging decorative images.
Sprinkle non-product images that contribute to the look and feel of your brand throughout the content your website. While many stock photo sites require a license to use their pictures, there are many others that don’t. You don’t want to run into any copyright problems, so double check the licensing on any photo you decide to use. Look for sites that offer a selection of photos with no licensing restrictions - you'll be surprised how many quality photos are freely available for use.

The bottom line.

A great product and effective marketing strategy aren’t always enough to close sales online. If your business’s website is getting the traffic, but not completing the sales, updating your site might be the key to increased conversions. Follow the steps above and you may find that a few small changes can result in big profits.
 
 
The contents of this site are provided for informational purposes only. You should always obtain independent, professional accounting, financial, and legal advice before making any business decision.
 
1Source: comScore online panel, Q4 2017. Analyzed shopping behavior of 1 million US consumers on 20 large merchant sites. Checkout conversion is measured from the point where consumer selects a payment type to completion of purchase.
 
2The ability to accept Venmo as a payment option is currently available with mobile-web checkout only in the US, and only wit eligible businesses.
 
3PayPal Credit is subject to consumer credit approval.
 

Frequently asked questions.

It can take up to 30 days from the date you made the payment for the money to be returned to you. If you paid with a credit or debit card, the money will go back to your card. If you paid with your bank account (eCheck or Instant Transfer) or PayPal balance, the money will go back to your PayPal balance.

If you used a redemption code or gift certificate, the code or certificate will be returned to your PayPal account. You can use the code or certificate for another purchase.

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You can request a refund of a completed payment by sending the seller an email. Ask the seller to go to the Transaction Details page for your transaction and click Issue a refund. You can request a refund up to 180 days after you pay for your item. If you sent a  payment but it's still pending, you can cancel it on your Activity page if you see the cancel button, or it will automatically be refunded to you if it isn’t claimed within 30 days.

Here’s how to find the seller’s contact information to request a refund.
  1. On the Summary page select the transaction you want to cancel.
  2. Use the contact information to send the seller an email.
If your seller doesn’t agree to refund your money, you may be able to open a dispute in the Resolution Center if you didn’t receive your item, you received something that doesn’t match the seller’s description or your payment was not authorized.

If you sent the payment using a Debit or Credit card, the refund will credit to the card used. It may take up to 30 days for the card to be credited. If you sent your payment using a bank account and the payment is canceled, it will be refunded to your bank account.


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If PayPal performed currency conversion for your transaction and a refund is issued:

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