In 2013 eBay awarded us with a certificate of achievement for the highest conversion rates. As a result of the gained publicity we received requests from a wide range of eBay sellers and businesses to help them grow sales.
In this article, I’m presenting detailed case studies from the work we’ve done with some of them, and how we helped them optimize their listings and boost sales.
The Basics: Never Stop Testing
No matter what your conversion rate is, be it 1%, 2% or 40% – there is always room for improvement! Try bold revisions, you have nothing to lose. If you see a revision to your listing affected your conversion rate negatively, simply revert back to the previous version. By constantly optimizing your listings, you are sure to keep an edge over the competition.
Think about this: the average ecommerce conversion rate is 2%, this means that of every 100 visitors to a product page, 98 leave empty-handed!
The art and science of “conversion rate optimization” is all about improving this number. (A conversion increase from 2% to 3% means a whopping 50% increase to your sales and revenue!)
The following is a collection of several study cases that will hopefully inspire you to conduct similar (and other) revisions to your listings. Let’s begin!
Case study 1 – Personalization increased conversion by 25%
COCOCHOCO is an eBay seller specializing in unique keratin-based hair products. Being experienced eBay sellers, they know the effect of offering free shipping to their customers (offering free shipping is also known to give some boost in eBay search results). Therefore, they decided to add a large free-shipping icon at a noticeable place at the top of their listing.
By analyzing their eBay messages, we noticed that international customers weren’t sure if the free shipping was applicable to their location. Yes, they can check the shipping policy of the seller, but apparently it still didn’t reassure them enough, as the offer might have seemed “too good to be true”.
We hired a freelance developer who wrote a short eBay compatible script to read the IP address of the customer and displays his country’s name near the free shipping icon.
For example, if a customer from Israel enters the listing, the message displayed is “Free Shipping to Israel”, adding a personal touch and addressing one of the customers’ main concerns in a creative way. This increased the conversion rate by 25% compared to the previous “free shipping” version.
Here is an example, before the change:
And here it is after:
There are 2 lessons we learned from working with COCOCHOCO. First is that once again we’ve been reassured that studying a seller’s eBay messages usually produces golden opportunities to improve sales.
Second is that you don’t have to be a tech genius, in today’s global economy you can use sites like Upwork, Elance etc. to hire an experienced developers to realize your business vision. In this case the script cost less than $100, and quickly returned the investment.
Case study 2 – Adding indicators of trust increased conversion by 12%
The following case study proves, once again, that it’s not about the quantity of information displayed in your listing, but how you convey it to your potential customers.
Herbetrade is in the cell phones and accessories business, one of the most “fishy” categories on eBay where scam and counterfeit merchandise are unfortunately very common.
Our challenge with Herbetrade was to dissolve the potential customers’ concerns regarding trust. I’m sure you’re familiar with this scenario – you’re looking for a relatively pricey item (cell phones are usually $100+), land on an eBay listing and wonder “Can I trust this seller?”, “What if he disappears with my money?” and so on.
Here is how the original eBay listing looked:
We overhauled the listing and added “indicators of trust” aimed at disarming the customers objections to doing business with this seller.
We added the hand shake as a universal indicator of trust. One may claim that it looks like a cheap shot at building trust, and my answer is – yes, it’s possible, you can’t win them all. Some customers will naturally see this hand shake as a “cheap marketing trick”, but we are aiming for the majority here, and most people get a positive feeling seeing this image.
How can I be so sure?
We actually surveyed 100 random people, asking them what the hand shake made them feel.
We made it clear that customer support is a big deal for Herbetrade, and noted the fact that they provide customer support after the transaction as well.
Last and most important is getting the seller “exposed” – there is nothing like personally presenting yourself in the front of your business to build trust. The photo at the bottom right is showing the seller at an international exhibition, visiting his supplier. It indicated that the seller is real, he is investing his time and money in visiting exhibitions to source the best products. He’s not hiding behind his listing, he’s proud to present himself to every potential customer. Think of it as a store owner who welcomes every incoming customer, isn’t that awesome?
I’ve been advocating in favor of showing yourself, your warehouse, your staff on eBay listings for years now.
Here is how our own eBay header looked (I’m on the left, my co-founder Max is on the right):
Here is a CrazyLister user who read our blog and implemented the tactic, he actually added a photo of his family! This may not feel comfortable for every seller, but if you do, this truly adds a lot of trust points to the seller.
Don’t feel comfortable “utilizing” your family to increase sales? Show your garage where you store the items, show your computer where you work on your listings, whatever feels right for you. By sharing these you’re closing the “internet distance” between you and the buyer, making them feel like they know you a little bit better.
Get into the heads of your customers, think like them – what can you add to your listings to earn more trust? You are a real, hard working, honest eBay seller – you deserve the customer’s trust! Make sure your listings convey that.
Case study 3 – Surveying a brick & mortar sales staff helped increase conversion by 52%
We were helping a large sunglasses chain improve their eBay presence and convey the authority they have offline to the online world.
Being among the largest Israeli sunglasses chains, the business enjoyed a lot of authority, brand recognition and trust. However catering to the worldwide consumer meant starting from scratch – being just another anonymous eBay seller.
Realizing that there must be a lot of knowledge and experience gathered by the chains employees, we went out to interview the “physical sellers”.
We asked the employees questions like “What questions do potential shoppers present?”, “What leads them to a positive buying decision?” and so on.
Studying the answers, we compiled a list of the most common issues and answered them in the listing (can you see the “why buy from us” icons?):
- Ability to get a full refund if the glasses are not a perfect fit.
- Free and fast shipping.
- Licensed optometrists. This is interesting – customers want a professional presence, someone they can trust, who can reassure them of their experience and training.
Utilize any source you have to understand the customers mind, it doesn’t matter what you think to be important, what matters is what your customers think!
If you have a physical store with employees, take the time to interview them to understand what makes the customer buy.
Send emails to customers – ask them what made them choose you. You’ll be surprised by the replies you’ll get.
The above case studies are just the tip of the iceberg, there are limitless aspects of the eBay listing that you can test.
By continuously revising our listings we managed to increase sales by 220% and ensure we were always one step ahead of the competition. This is indeed a lot of work, but running a business – any business – requires a lot of work and dedication.
The good news is that the first test you do will bring the most exciting results! You’ll find the “biggest” improvements fast, and go on to the smaller ones as you continue.
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