If you asked any eCommerce store owner if they could make a wish and improve any key performance indicator on their site, most would probably say their conversion rate. It’s the metric that’s most directly related to how many sales an eCommerce site makes. Merchants try all kinds of strategies to bring that number up, but improving a conversion rate can be tricky. That’s because the number of visitors that a store converts can be affected in unpredictable ways by every single part of the sales funnel. The one thing everyone in this industry agrees on, however, is that the easier it is to checkout on your site, the better your conversion rate will be.
Everlasting Memories is a well-respected purveyor of cremation jewelry, photo engraved jewelry, and memorial gifts. Since they opened their doors in 2003, they have expanded their business with two more eCommerce sites including Jewelry Keepsakes, and just last year Messages in Metal, which focuses more on personalized jewelry than memorial mementos. Casey Doran, the owner of all three sites, first contacted the eCommerce design and development team, 1Digital Agency, years ago to move his sites Everlasting Memories and Jewelry Keepsakes from Volusion to BigCommerce.
The Ongoing Process of Conversion Rate Optimization
Since those original builds, Casey has spent years tweaking his sites, refining and perfecting them, sanding off all the edges he can find. “I do quite a bit of testing,” Casey told us. “I record a lot of user sessions to watch navigation. When you’re really close to it you think you know how people use your site, but you don’t.”
Websites are in a constant state of reinvention, especially eCommerce sites which always need to be working towards smoothing out the experience to boost conversion rates even slightly. To make these a la carte changes, Casey works with 1Digital Agency on a retainer basis. Each time he wants to implement a new test on his site, he can use the internal project management workspace to request an estimate on a task or assign one. “Sometimes I hire you guys to add something, then I hire you again to take it off,” Casey said. “Podio [project management system] is a pleasure to use. Sometimes I’ll have to go back and look at a ticket we did over a year ago. It’s so easy to find that information.”
Improving Conversion Rate with Bolt Checkout
As part of this ongoing conversion optimization work, it was 1Digital Agency’s CEO Dan Kogan who first recommended to Casey that he might be a good fit for Bolt. Bolt is an industry-leading 3rd party checkout experience for eCommerce stores. Many eCommerce merchants are frustrated by the lack of choice and customization that is afforded to them in the checkout area of their SAAS platform stores. Bolt provides a highly optimized checkout experience that can be plugged into a platform store to deliver a smoother checkout experience, greater fraud protection, and more approved orders. On each of his three BigCommerce stores, Casey has seen great strides in all of these areas since the implementation of the Bolt checkout.
By using his session recording software, Casey could see just how often customers were getting hung up on the very last phase of the sales funnel. “We were experiencing customers dropping out of the checkout,” Casey told us. “It was very frustrating to pay for PPC advertising, SEO, marketing, content development, etc, etc, only to have your customer get to the very end, attempt to make a purchase, and have difficulty with it.”
The Bolt checkout has been tested over the years to be as simple as possible for customers to use, but good design isn’t its only optimization feature. As its name would suggest, Bolt is designed to be fast. It boasts sub-1-second load times, about 10 times faster than a standard platform checkout. Since installing Bolt, the checkout completion rate on each of the three stores has markedly improved. On Everlasting Memories and Jewelry Keepsakes, checkout completion has risen from averaging around 36.5%, to 51% and 52%, respectively. On Messages in Metal, which used Bolt almost from the very beginning, checkout completions is now at 46% post-implementation.
A lot of merchants don’t know how many potential sales they are losing by allowing their out of the box payment processor to choose which order to accept and which to decline in an effort to weed out fraud. “We did not realize how many false-positive orders we were losing. I would guess about 10 to 11 percent,” Casey said. “Previously, the credit card processor was simply declining these orders. We have seen a nice uptick due to Bolt ‘wanting’ to get these orders approved.”
Bolt takes a percentage of each transaction, so the incentive is to approve as many orders as possible. Bolt also takes on the responsibility for any fraudulent orders they approve. The reason that Bolt can do both is that they leverage machine-learning algorithms to review 200 variables for each order and determine its risk level. If a transaction is declined by the algorithm, it receives a secondary review by a member of Bolt’s staff. If the order is still declined, the shopper is reached out to personally and given a chance to verify their information. This way the merchant can take more of the orders placed on their site while being better protected against fraudulent orders.
Casey’s sites were averaging an 88% transaction approval rate with the standard checkout. Now, Everlasting Memories and Jewelry Keepsakes are sitting at a 99.6% order approval rate, while Messages in Metal has a 100% order approval rate!
“Bolt is likely the future of eCommerce checkout,” Casey told us. “In addition, their tech support is fantastic. They respond quickly, even on weekends. I know their techs on a first-name basis, and they have no problem using the phone to discuss issues.”
Conversion rate is something every eCommerce merchant thinks about. Many bang their head against the wall to increase their conversion rate by half a percent, and most would tell you that it was worth the headache. Since Casey Doran installed Bolt on Everlasting Memories, checkout conversion has increased by 39.7% and sitewide conversion rate has increased by 4.2%! In anticipation of a brand new line of fingerprint customized jewelry launching this month, this kind of conversion rate lift from one change to these three sites is as extraordinary as it is gladly welcomed. Casey continues to work with 1Digital Agency at improving his eCommerce process piece by piece, but an obvious win, like installing Bolt Checkout, doesn’t come around every day.
- Joe Chilson
- August 19, 2019