Sometimes when online businesses begin to notice a decline in their online conversion rates, before thinking laterally about what the catalyst attributing to the decline may be they delve into a frenzy of panic-driven CRO testing, without actually considering that the reason for the decline in conversion rates might actually be attributed to the ergonomics of their buying/checkout process.

Before you drown yourself in testing and development changes, perhaps you should take a look at exploring the following steps:

1. Move your ‘Buy Now’ button to the top – Having a ‘Buy Now’ button at the top of your page can make all the difference in vectoring the consumer’s attention towards actually partaking in the transaction process. If you’ve got a long page, or for whatever reason you’re hiding the ‘Buy Now’ button at the very end of the feature text, you need to re-assess the current position and consider the thoughts of the average customer. Make their job easier by placing the ‘Buy Now’ button in a higher position that is more likely to entice a transaction.

2. Visibility of Call to Action – So you have your ‘Call to Action’ button in the right place, now make it eye-catching and alluring. Your ‘Call to Action’ button should run with your site dynamics but it should also stand out on its own. Constellation Hotels have executed a text-book example of creating a nice and visible call-to-action ‘book now’ button:

3. Trust goes a long way – Assess the trustworthiness of your site and transaction processes. You want to be able to win over the online shopping skeptics. Recent studies in the UK show that almost one third of internet users are participating in online transactions out of fear of the security of their personal details. Australian consumer trends generally follow suit to those in the mother country, and a valid contingency for this assumption is to make your site as trustworthy as possible. This can be easily achieved in two quick actions:

• Add some high profile security credentials to your pages, for example Verisign or PayPal. It’s helpful to add certification buttons throughout the online payment form just to re-assure customers that their personal information is safe.
• Testimonials re-enforce trust – If you have the space, consider adding some high-profile customer testimonials. These will help in re-assuring the customer that you are a product or service that people can rely on.

4. Test your site amongst friends – No site is idiot proof, so before you go wasting time, money and valuable resources in CRO testing and site changes, get a friend to test the transaction process. More than often an outsider unfamiliar with your site’s transaction process will spot something you won’t. This information is highly valuable because it could unlock the source of your site’s decline in conversion rates. Sit back and prepare to marvel at the flaws they will pick up!

5. Minimize distractions in the purchase process – Refine the purchasing process by making it simple, bold and straight to the point. Customers shouldn’t be wasting time search for FAQs or shipping terms, so be sure to be as informative as possible in the transaction process. Any links to terms and conditions should be included in pop-up windows, not site re-directs! Directing the consumer away from the transaction form will guarantee a loss in conversions.

Remember to put yourself in the shoes of your customer. A majority of the time, conversion issues often arise from usability issues – so aim to make the process as user friendly as you possibly can!