How to immediately accelerate your ecommerce conversions

by Ben Hillman
05 July 2016

How to immediately accelerate your ecommerce conversions
Competition for online retail dollars is heating up as overseas brands are increasingly setting up shop in Australia. What are the top Aussie eCommerce brands doing to fend off their overseas counterparts?

British department stores Debenhams and House of Fraser are the latest retailers to announce plans to establish eCommerce sites in Australia.

Debenhams eCommerce Director Ross Clemmow told the SMH that Australia is Debenhams' biggest online market outside the UK, accounting for almost one third of international sales and 47 per cent of international orders.

These brands follow in the footsteps of Marks & Spencer, Topshop, Boden, and many more retail institutions who have recognised the untapped potential of the Australian market.

Australia’s popularity as an eCommerce destination was highlighted when it was ranked the tenth best eCommerce market in the world in the 2015 Global Retail E-Commerce Index, compiled by global management consulting firm AT Kearney. The study, which ranks the most attractive countries for online retail on a 0-100 point scale, positioned Australia only two positions lower than Russia, the luxury brand magnet.

The rise in popularity of overseas brands is attributed to the high number of expats looking for a taste of home, as well as Aussies looking for quintessential British brands.

So how are Aussie retailers competing? Online shopping behemoth The Iconic sprung onto the scene in 2011 and has set the model for fast fashion in the Australian market. The site sells all the latest fashions through a well-curated site, supported by a strong social community.

In this article, we will investigate what the Iconic (and other top Aussie online retailers) do to maximise conversions on their eCommerce websites.

Responsive website

Nearly two of every three minutes spent online are on mobile devices, reports comScore, so there’s no excuse not to design your website to be responsive and optimise for the device it is being viewed on.

Responsive design overcomes the challenges many face when a static site is viewed on the smaller screen of a mobile device. When The Iconic relaunched its website in 2014, it took a mobile-first approach. Unsurprising when you consider that half of its users are shopping on a mobile or tablet device.

Optimising the mobile experience is not just about aesthetics, it’s about making it easy to shop in the downsized version. People have a lot less patience on mobile, hence why many retailers are choosing to build their own apps. In the US, sales from mobile sales increased 56 per cent to $49.2bn in 2015, doubling the previous year’s growth.

The Iconic launched its app in September 2013 to much acclaim, reaching the top download spot for both iOS and Android in the first month. The app was showcased at the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival where it was used to live stream the River Island ‘shop the show’ campaign.


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Cart abandonment

Whether you are sitting at a bus stop, on a train or watching the TV, scrolling through pages of clothes – earmarking your favourites – has become something of a pastime. Yet, cart abandonment has gone hand in hand with this activity – it is as high as 68 per cent, according to the Baymard Institute.

One trick to minimise the amount of cart abandonment on your site is to include the option to login as a guest. Couple this with making your registration form mobile-friendly and you are one step closer to converting that customer.

Take the Glue website as an example, which gives the option of guest checkout (and includes a cheeky newsletter sign up at the same time). The power of remarketing should not be underestimated. According to SaleCycle, remarketing emails can boost conversion of abandoned carts by 30 per cent.

Glue can capture email addresses here for remarketing purposes. Remember those boots you put in the checkout, but didn’t buy? You could be sent an email with one click to purchase them.


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Boost average order value

The best shops are highly curated. Items will be grouped together to tempt shoppers to buy a whole look, as opposed to a single item. According to a study by Barilliance, 31 per cent of eCommerce revenue was generated by personalised product recommendations in Q4 2014.

The same merchandising philosophy has been applied to the best eCommerce sites.

Sports luxe brand The Upside is a case in point. Shoppers are invited to complete their look with complementary items, which are listed underneath the selected product listing. This function should be a staple of every eCommerce site.

Amazon is the king of upselling. The retailer grew its sales by 35 per cent when it introduced the ‘frequently bought together’ feature on its website in 2006. It is also great at creating a sense of scarcity. Consider letting customers know how many items are left in stock so they have an extra push to buy now.





Flexible merchandising

Merchandising in the online space was a topic of discussion at a roundtable held by UK fashion industry title Drapers in London last year. John Lewis Director of Merchandising Operations Jon Williams, said some merchandisers have already moved to join the online team.

Most eCommerce platforms allow the user the flexibility to easily drag and drop items to group items in the most logical order (and in line with merchandising best practice). In addition, comprehensive tagging of your stock items when listing them online will also facilitate easy filtering for the user.


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Engage customers with content

Content marketing is the art of using content to engage your customers and move them closer to conversion. Brands that employ content marketing have six times more web conversions that those that don’t use it, according to research company Aberdeen.

It is fair to say that content marketing is a long game. Creating a blog for your eCommerce site won’t automatically increase your conversions overnight. It will, however, drive traffic to your website and allow you to invite your visitors to sign up for your newsletter, so you can build your database.

Savvy content marketers repurpose their content in multiple ways. Could you compile a series of blogs into a downloadable eBook? What about creating a gallery of your best instagram looks? Or, could you amplify your content via social channels to help build the authority of your site in Google?

Australian leggings (and all things lycra) retailer Black Milk is a great example of a company that embraced content marketing. The retailer generated a strong social media presence early on. A central feature of this community has been their posting of the form-fitting outfits on women of different shapes and sizes – creating an instant way for customers to discover what that product would look like on someone of their proportions. Their clothes are now sold internationally.





Conversion Rate Optimisation

According to eConsultancy, the average pop-up increases conversion by 400%. There are a variety of different types of pop-ups (calls to action) that you can use to optimise conversions on your site from hello bars and modal takeovers to slide-ins.

Whichever method you choose to use, consider how quickly you serve the pop-up to the user. Give them time to orientate themselves on your site and decide if they want to find out more before putting the ‘hard sell’ on them. Consider following in the footsteps of eConsultancy and testing different CTA serve times to find your ideal (theirs turned out to be 15 seconds).





Hyper-personalisation is a marketing buzzword of the moment. It’s the idea of uses layers of data to build a picture of a customer so you can better market to their specific needs. CTAs (see above) are a great way to start collecting basic information about a prospect.

When you overlay this information with details of which items they have purchased, which items they have abandoned at the checkout, which items on your newsletter they click on, you can build a solid picture of the prospect.

Luxury retailer Harrods, in the UK, uses its data to invite customers to special events with relevant brands they know they like.




So what next?

While competition amongst eCommerce sites in Australia remains fierce, there are a lot of local retailers who are doing well online. Brands like The Iconic and Black Milk have led the way in this space and welcomed an international customer base as a result. Implement the steps above and you could follow in their footsteps.

Want to learn more about how you can convert more customers? Call 1300 725 628 to speak to Salmat's award winning eCommerce team Netstarter or get a quote today.

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About the author
Ben Hillman
Head of Marketing

Head of Marketing Ben Hillman has strong experience in telecommunication, marketing services and financial markets. His team’s responsibilities include lead generation, marketing automation, corporate communication, marketing campaigns, sales enablement, proposition development, and client & customer marketing.

More articles by Ben Hillman