How Online Catalogs Drive Ecommerce Conversion Rates

 

Illustration showing a room with interior design and numbers indicating purchasable products.

Close to half of all online shoppers are just browsing around. These early-stage shoppers are often difficult to convert using a typical eCommerce store. In this post, we'll look at why that is and how online catalogs can help engage these shoppers to improve your eCommerce conversion rates.

Do all of your shoppers know what they want?

The conversion rate of your eCommerce store is probably one of the most important KPIs you use to measure performance. Broadly speaking, it tells you how many of your visitors, on average, convert into a sale.

In essence, that means it tells you how many of your visitors are adding a product to their shopping cart, filling out their details, and pressing the buy button.

For shoppers who know what they want, they will have searched for the product, picked it out from your inventory, and added it to their cart.

A fashion retailer might have a grid for men's shirts. And at the top of that grid — or in a widget in the sidebar — there might be filters to find shirts by size, brand, color, and price.

And if a particular shopper knew that they wanted to buy a blue shirt, they could use those filters and (hopefully) find what they were looking for. Or, they could type "blue shirt" into the search box and see what's returned to them.

The above situation might work well for shoppers who know what they already want because they're further along in the customer journey, and all of the time you've spent optimizing your store is paying dividends in increased sales.

But one of the biggest problems of focussing on such a narrow section of that part of the customer journey is that you're ignoring customers who don't know what they want.

For these shoppers, who are higher up in your funnel, playing around with the filters can be a big barrier for them to be able to discover your brand and its products in the most user-friendly way.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), 46% of shoppers are just browsing when shopping online — that's almost half — and an ecommerce store that only has a menu, a search box, and filters is unlikely to be user friendly enough to cater for shoppers' latent needs, or those at the earlier stages of the customer journey.

So, how can you inspire those visitors and make discovering your brand and its products effortless?

How to help your visitors discover your brand

The medium by which a browser lands on one of your pages will determine how you can best utilize and optimize that medium for product discovery.

For example, if somebody searches "smartphones with best camera 2021", you might have a blog post about smartphones with the best cameras for that year or a review article with checklist tables and links to your product pages.

Other ways you might help your online store visitors to discover more of your brand and its products might be:

  • Inspirational brand and product stories
  • Social media engagement
  • High-quality visuals and product images
  • How-to YouTube videos
  • Online catalogs
  • Personalized product suggestions
  • Cross-sells and upsells
  • Email marketing campaigns or newsletters

Depending on which industry you operate in and how your potential customers find out about your niche will determine which ones of the above methods you might want to focus on.

How an online catalog drives conversion rates

To capture top-of-the-funnel shopper behavior and convert more visitors, your brand needs to inspire them and lead them to want to discover more.

At the heart of the online catalog experience is the ease with which your visitors can discover your brand and its products — similar to how they would discover your products with a paper catalog.

And once they're looking through your online catalog, all the browser has to do to discover your products is click, swipe, or tap.

It's at this opportunity that you can show them all the things that make your brand what it really is.

Online catalogs can also show your shoppers:

  • Stunning product images and visuals
  • Customizable product grids and displays
  • Product videos
  • Personalized product recommendations
  • Beautifully presented and relatable brand stories

It's important to remember that the main aim here isn't to convert them in that same session.

The above features of an online catalog are all ways of inspiring, warming, and priming those shoppers who are much higher up in your shopping funnel for converting later on in their customer journey.

Once you have these kinds of browsers looking at your catalog, you're in the perfect position to serve them your brand's content and allow them to discover your product inventory in a meaningful way.

Fast load times and fewer steps to purchase helps drive conversions

One of the most limiting factors of eCommerce store conversion rates is slow page load speeds and unfriendly user experiences. When 76% of shoppers abandon their shopping cart and never complete a transaction, don't expect them to hang around when the page loads too slowly or there are too many unnecessary steps to complete their transaction.

To explore what this might mean in practice, picture a scenario where one of your loyal social media fans clicks on a post about your latest product range.

Imagine that you did such a great job of inspiring that user with your product and its story that they want to buy it. Where do you take them? To another website, with a loading time and more steps? That could frustrate them, and you risk losing the chance to convert them.

Now, let's look at the scenario where you link to an online catalog instead of a post. The user can stay in the catalog without going to another website or opening up a new window in their browser.

If they're ready to buy right there and then, they can do it all from within the catalog. There are fewer extra steps and no other websites that need to load.

What's more, with Publitas online catalogs, you get:

  • Superfast load times;
  • Responsive design so that the catalog displays nicely on any device;
  • Page flip effect;
  • Search engine optimized.

Inspire top-of-the-funnel visitors with an online catalog to increase conversion rates

To summarize, eCommerce stores are often transactional in nature, mainly catering to visitors who know what they want. Almost half of online visitors to your store will be looking for inspiration, so you need to make it easy for them to discover your brand and its products.

An online catalog is a revolutionary eCommerce tool and timeless publication for your eCommerce store that can tell your brand's story and present your products to content-hungry shoppers who are looking for inspiration.

If you inspire shoppers with optimized content within a digital catalog, you build up brand loyalty and trust while making it more likely that they'll convert when they're ready to buy.

Interested? Contact us, or sign up for our free 14-day trial here.

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