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Marketing | Mar 30
Jessica Malnik on March 18, 2020 • 24 minute read
Whether you’re driving people to your online store via content marketing, paid ads, affiliates, etc., every visitor who leaves your website without buying anything is a missed opportunity.
This is why optimizing your website for more sales is so important.
An ecommerce conversion is recorded when someone takes a desired action on your site. This is typically a sale, although sometimes this might be adding an item to a wishlist, the shopping cart, or signing up for your newsletter.
So, your ecommerce conversion rate is the process of optimizing your website for more purchases, items in shopping carts, etc.
In this post, we’re going to share 26 tactics to help you optimize your ecommerce conversion rate, including:
While the conversion rate can vary wildly based on the type of ecommerce store (B2B v. B2C) and industry, a good benchmark to shoot for is 3%.
From adding social proof in the form of product reviews and testimonials to optimizing your checkout process, there are countless effective tactics for getting more visitors to purchase stuff on your site.
“The one tip that we have for increasing conversions is always lowering the number of steps required for adding to cart, thereby shortening your conversion funnel process,” says William Chin-Fook of Bumblebeelinens.com. “Whether you’re watching heat-maps, session recordings or event tracking on your website, it should be your top imperative to reduce any amount of redundant steps. One thing that we did on our site is we lowered the number of fields required for guest checkout. Testing your checkout procedure is crucial to having a strong converting online storefront!”
Zach Mitchell of Hausera says, “Simplify your checkout process. Try different versions and make it as less complicated as possible. Often long checkout processes can drive customers away.”
For example, Greg Bullock of TheraSpecs adds, “One way that we have improved conversion is by reducing the number of visible options, buttons and overall clutter in our cart. We previously had no less than 6 buttons highlighting different checkout paths as well as a related products widget too, and it was a roadblock for conversion. With the multitude of alternative payment options (Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal, etc.) for ecommerce, it can be easy to want to showcase them to customers—but offering them up before the actual checkout page clearly overwhelmed them in our case, resulting in abandoned carts and reduced funnel performance. When we simplified it down to two buttons (View Cart and Checkout) and removed the “Related Products,” we saw a 10% lift in conversion and similar gains in visits to the checkout page.
“Reverse-engineer the customer journey, starting with the confirmation page and working back to the home/product/landing page to look for ways to streamline the flow and process,” says Kent Lewis of Anvil Media. “Small tweaks at the last mile make a compounding impact on conversion rates and revenue.”
James Wade of MiniJumbuk says, “Put yourself in the shoes of your target consumer; as ecommerce professionals it is easy to forget that there is a person on the other end of the device – not just a ‘click’. Spend time using your website, watching recordings and get to know the data. From there, literally go through and remove every single pain point you can find and watch your conversion rate jump. It’s important to note this isn’t a one-time exercise, do it regularly.”
David Tile of Article-Writing.co adds, “When it comes to eCommerce, a lot of companies get focused on the bells and whistles and neglect some of the core important parts. One thing I always suggest companies look at is walking through their own checkout experience. You can do everything right in terms of using marketing to draw a customer in, but if there’s a slow or confusing checkout, you may still lose out on that final conversion. If you have the time and the ability, consider doing A/B testing with different formats until you find the one your customers respond to the most.”
Sam Ruchlewicz of Warschawski says, “Ensure that you have robust, consistent data pass-back to all the platforms driving traffic to your site – digital ad platforms assume that every conversion is incremental unless told otherwise, which is a dangerous assumption that leads to decreased profitability and lots of bad outcomes.”
Editor’s Note: If you use Shopify, you can use this dashboard to quickly see gross sales, orders, and abandoned carts.
“You need to make navigation as easy as possible,” says Ollie Smith of Card Accounts. “If your customers can’t find what they are looking for almost immediately, they will go to a competitor. Take some time to design and structure your website correctly – it could give you that edge!”
Muhammad Noman of fanjackets.com says, ”Clean and easy page design and transaction process so every user can understand and able to checkout.”
Elijah Masek-Kelly of Powerful Outreach adds, “The classic K.I.S.S. (keep it simple, stupid) line applies a lot when I think about ecommerce website navigation, which plays a huge role in your conversion rates. While it’s common for a lot of business owners to try and forge new ground, this is one area where you’re better off sticking to what’s popular. Customers prefer to model navigation/the checkout process in a similar way to the mega ecommerce sites like Amazon. That doesn’t mean you need to rip it off completely, just understand the features that customers are going to respond to. These include a robust category and search function to help them narrow down their options, as well as recommended purchases so you can upsell.”
One of the most important elements in your design is your call-to-action buttons (CTAs).
Phil Gregory of Peak District SEO recommends, “Eye-catching CTA buttons. I know this sounds ridiculous yes? Truly though, bear with me. I’ve lost count of the amount of CTA buttons I’ve seen that are grey or white or some other bland color that fades into the background. Help your customers to easily see what you want them to do…don’t hide your buttons away, or sacrifice sales on the altar of design style.”
Aristide Basque of SH1FT adds, “We always test our call-to-action button color and design and it does have a huge impact on conversion rate for our ecommerce clients.”
“Improve site speed,” says Bob Buffone of Yottaa. “57% of shoppers say they have left a slow ecommerce site and then bought from a competing retailer. In today’s hyper-fast world, online brands only have 3 seconds to capture a shoppers’ attention before 50% or more begin leaving the site. Working with an optimization solution can help retailers inventory and control all of the heavy digital content on their site, so customers experience consistently fast page load times across the site.”
Apostolis Lianos of Tetragono Bookstores adds, “Loading speed is, by far, the factor with the biggest and instant impact for us. We’ve actually measured it. Our data show that for every extra second that our eCommerce site gets slower, we have a -17% drop in revenue. So, since speed also greatly affects a website’s organic rankings we allocated lots of resources in making our website as fast as possible.”
“Research has found that when page load speeds go from 1 second up to 5 seconds, bounce rates increase by 90%,” says Robert Rand of JetRails. “If you want a strong conversion rate, make sure your entire website consistently loads quickly, especially on your peak traffic days.”
Anastasia Zhuk of Whidegroup says, “My experience shows that speed optimization helps any ecommerce website (with modern or outdated design, good or bad product images and so on) to improve conversion rate. People want to do everything quickly, so if you speed up processes on the website, results will be unexpectedly great.”
Brendan Tully of WP Speed Fix adds, “I think it goes without saying that site speed is important for conversions, but most ecommerce businesses neglect the speed of their checkout process when moving between steps in the checkout and submitting the payment on the final step of the checkout process.
We do a ton of work with Woocommerce business owners at WPSpeedFix.com and right now most people take a one-dimensional approach to site speed – they test the homepage speed, once, from one location and obsess over minor speed tweaks or some random speed grade that doesn’t actually make that much of a difference in the real world.
Making sure all pages on your site are fast, do page weight (page size) isn’t too big AND the checkout steps all process quickly (and the checkout actually works!) is a key component of keeping conversion rate high and consistent.”
For example, Steve Blight of Arteil Office Chairs says, “What we’ve found by running an Australian e-commerce office furniture store is the importance of clear CTA’s (such as ‘get a quote’ or ‘purchase’), inclusion of a delivery information page which is readily available and page load speed. When users are flicking through tens if not hundreds of product options, it’s important that they can do so quickly with fast load times and can quickly access important information or request a quote/purchase.”
Gabriel Richards of Endertech adds, “Presuming you have a reasonably standard shopping experience, use full page caching to accelerate your site to Amazon speeds! We like Magento Open Source as a platform because of its built-in support for Varnish Cache. With Magento and Varnish, we achieve TTFB (time to first byte) times of less than 100ms!”
“An extremely valuable tip to improve ecommerce conversion rate is to include authentic social proof (reviews, testimonials, pictures) on your product/landing pages,” says Robert Remak of Art of The Gentleman
Kelan Kline of The Savvy Couple says, “The best thing you can do to improve your ecommerce conversion rates are testimonials. There is nothing more powerful than killing all buyers’ objections than seeing the proof that the product has worked for someone else. Take Amazon, for example, their listing is so powerful because of the information given in the reviews by previous customers.”
Jake McKenzie of Auto Accessories Garage agrees, “We’ve found real customer reviews to be one of the best contributors to a healthy conversion rate. The savvy shopper is in a researching mode for most of their online shipping journey and only making a purchase once they feel their research is complete. We make sure each of our product pages has reviews from real customers, positive and negative. It seems that some sites try to display only positive reviews, but today’s shoppers see right through that. They understand that no product will please everyone, and they want to know what unhappy purchasers have to say about it.”
Ninad Maneghatta of G for Gadget says, “Adding product use cases (in the form of a video) and including user testimonials section on the landing page are the best way to boost conversions on any platform.”
Matt Erickson of National Positions adds, “Ensure that you have real reviews accompanying the e-commerce product – especially if you are selling directly from your site. Very few of us will make a purchase without checking out a review (or five) first. If those reviews are not featured, the customer may jump over to Amazon to find your product and read reviews, which may lead them to buy a competitor’s product instead. Positive reviews submitted from previous customers are powerful ingredients.”
For example, Elliot Blackler of Evopure says, “Show average reviews rating on your product. Average ratings of 4 stars and above have helped us boost our conversion rates significantly.”
“Offer free shipping,” says Daniel Heuer of Corkscrew Agency. “It’s that simple. Figure out a way to roll shipping cost into your price and customers are much more likely to buy something.”
“Always run experiments,” says Dan Young of Loud Digital. “The industry is always evolving and you should have an ongoing experiment calendar to improve your website consistently. Whether it be tweaking a product page layout, call to action, image size or something as basic as the color of the add to cart button.”
Peter Zakrzewski of Now Comms Group adds, “Changing things up will have one of three effects, increase conversion, decrease conversion or have no effect. You’ll never know which unless you test.”
“A great way to increase conversions is an automated reminder of an abandoned cart,” says Roberto Torres of Turrem Technology. “Many times a visitor will add items to their cart and get distracted. Sending a reminder a few hours or days after will hopefully have them complete their transaction.”
Kylie Funesti of TopSpot Internet Marketing says, “With the inclusion of this feature, you can reach out to a user via email and encourage them to revisit the items in their cart and complete their purchase. Abandoned cart emails could also be customized to include discounts for completing their order.”
Alan Kong of Fire Roots adds, “If a user abandons the shopping cart, figure out new angles to bring them back into your store via Facebook ads. You already know what product he/she is interested in, so what new imagery, video, or ad copy can hook them back in and complete the checkout?”
“Once you’ve looked at all the usual CRO tactics, take a wider look at the customer journey to explore opportunities for improved personalization and relevance,” says Jason Lark of Celerity. “For example, do you have an automated cart abandonment journey set up? Does this maximize the opportunity for driving conversion by including the exact product abandoned as well as similar products or complementary ones? Some of our clients take this a step further and use transactional emails following a purchase to cross- and up-sell products that complement the original purchase.”
Another way to recover more abandoned carts is to look at the top conversion paths in Google Analytics.
Joe Sloan of Jurassic Sands says, ”This will help you see what paths users take before making a purchase. For Jurassic Sands, our most common path is for a user to first visit our site organically and then make a purchase coming directly back to the site. This means that we have a longer sales cycle than most ecommerce businesses but helps us prioritize organic traffic and make sure we have engaging content that will make a user want to come back and complete their purchase. This also helped us identify to set up an abandoned cart email.”
“The idea is to use analytical tools that make it easier to know where and when a customer left the conversion funnel and that allow contact with those users to try to redirect the purchase to close the operation,” says Rebecca Carter of UK-Essays. “This process is called remarketing.
If in the first steps of the conversion funnel, the user provides us with a contact email, this may be the beginning of a recovered sales process. With an email, it is possible to reach the customer to close a purchase, offer similar alternatives at better prices or give discount coupons.”
“It’s important to provide clear contact information so customers know that they will be able to reach you if there is an issue with their order,” says Marc Andre of Vital Dollar. “Customers who are not familiar with your company or have never made a purchase from your site before will want to know that you’re legit before making a purchase. They’ll feel more comfortable if they can easily find a way to contact you if they need help, and preferably a few different ways to contact you (phone number, email, chat). Providing your mailing address on the website can help to make visitors feel more comfortable as well. If a visitor is interested in purchasing one of your products, but they can’t find the contact information that they’re looking for, they might be hesitant to make the purchase.”
Max Robinson of Capital Cooling Refrigeration adds, “Include a phone number sitewide. Although it might seem a bit old school, in certain industries, customers would much rather speak to someone over the phone rather than through an inquiry form. It allows customers to fully explain what they want without having to type out paragraphs. For any B2B ecommerce businesses dealing with other busy business owners, it can be a more effective way of closing a sale. Since we started including a number on our website we’ve noticed a massive conversion rate increase. Even if someone doesn’t phone, the fact that you have a number on your site adds a level of trust and increases conversion rates on it’s own.”
“Provide instant support,” says Ashwini Dave of Acquire. “In the age of instant gratifications, customers seek for immediate support on the website. Integrating live chat & chatbot on your website. It will give a delightful experience to your customers when they get an immediate response from your customer service agents when they get stuck somewhere. A simple help message from a chatbot or agent will lead them to make purchase decisions rapidly. Chatbots ensure 24/7 support and instant query resolution of customers. Chatbots can improve sales and engagement by initiating conversations to familiarize customers about various offers or lead them to other products as well.”
Manny Hernandez of OMNI adds, “Live Chat Support helps ecommerce stores to enhance the business and gain a competitive advantage. Providing web visitors and customers with a timely and accurate answer to their concerns is a sure way to enhance your brand image and trust with your customers and that will be reflected in the conversion rate.”
“One tip for improving ecommerce conversions, that I find a lot of people either abuse or simply skip out on, is creating urgency,” says Max Jonasen of Constant Clicks. “Ensuring your customers have that potential fear of loss makes for an oh so sweet conversion rate. Whether you’re on Woocommerce or any platform for that matter, there are hundreds of plugins you can play with to test.”
Editor’s Note: For any Woocommerce users, check out this dashboard to see a full sales overview.
Hasita Krishna of Primaseller adds, “Creating scarcity at this stage subconsciously influences people to buy ‘in a hurry’. Information such as how much of the product is available, how many people are viewing it, etc. can create a sense of urgency and prompt them to complete the checkout process. Such a feature is usually available on an inventory management system/ a marketplace. We see sites like Etsy doing this very well.”
“Optimize landing pages,” says Simone Timen of JotForm. “You should be running A/B tests on your landing pages, in order to determine which page performs best and has the highest conversion.”
Alistair Dodds of Ever Increasing Circles adds, “Remove all distractions at the checkout so the user is not distracted by your header or footer navigation. It should be a one-page checkout without a need to register. And it should be the only thing you can do on the page beyond clicking back. This way you have the user focused on the outcome you require.
Make sure to split test the checkout also. You can use a tool like Google Optimize for free to create A/B split tests on your checkout pages. Test significant variations to find the optimum layout for conversions.”
“People coming to your website will either leave or stay within the first 10 seconds,” says Seth Rouch of SethBuysHouses. “They have to immediately know that they are in the RIGHT PLACE. That’s when they stay and conversion happens, especially because you have great content they are actually looking for and can recognize quickly.”
“The best way to improve ecommerce conversion is to use high-quality images,” says Alejandro Rioja of Flux. “A detailed image or video helps customers visualize your product better that increases the probability of conversion.”
Ali Rizvi of Dream Superhero says, “Quality of product images is very important when it comes to selecting a product to buy. You can improve your image quality by using a high-quality camera. When taking images, use shadows to increase the depth to the image. Your images should be engaging and relevant to the products and services you are offering.”
For example, Isaac Grinsdale of TOAD Diaries says, “Optimize your page and images for your target audience. We thought about this in-depth, and after a site redesign, we gained a significant uplift in conversions rate.”
“Live video & streaming is available on every major social media platform and it is only getting bigger,” says Paige Arnof-Fenn of Mavens & Moguls. “To hook in users with short attention spans, in a mobile-first world, you have less time to grab people. attention spans are shorter than ever, so video will be used even more. Show don’t tell for the maximum impact.”
“I would definitely recommend adding a gamified email pop-up on your ecommerce website instead of a static one,” says Caroline Bricout of DTG Limited. “It has been proven that gamification is one of the most efficient ways to convert visitors. Why? Because gamification marketing is a little bit like nostalgia marketing, it makes people feel good! Gaming is something natural that we all have done since we’re kids. Gaming as an adult triggers past memories and using it in ecommerce is extremely powerful!
With gamification, the user drops his reluctance to buying or subscribing to another newsletter, and by playing on the ecommerce platform he creates a special and unique relationship with the brand.”
Zac Johnson of Blogging.org recommends using an exit-intent popup.
“Start testing with exit pop-up windows that offer a quick coupon code or discount when the user is trying to leave the site,” says Johnson. “Have the pop-up include an email submit so you can send a unique coupon code, while also further tracking conversions and growing a new mailing list in the process.”
“Showing a snippet of information to users is a good method of improving conversions,” says Rajdeep Dosanjh of Rent Round. For products such as online manuals, comparison results & guides, this strategy works well. Businesses can show a proportion of their material to the client and get their interest hooked. Once interest has been captured, clients are more inclined to complete a transaction or subscribe.
On RentRound.com, we show rental agent comparisons to clients for 5 seconds. After which, the results become blurred until the client enters their personal details. After we implemented this feature, our conversions increased by 65%.”
“The best place to start your conversion optimization efforts is at the bottom of your funnel,” says Bruce Hogan of SoftwarePundit. “For most ecommerce websites, this is the checkout flow. Any AB test wins that you have at the bottom of the funnel will have a bigger impact than a similar improvement higher up in the funnel. If you improve the conversion rate of your final purchase page by 5%, your overall sales will go up by 5%.”
“Send traffic to a dedicated landing page, NOT a product page,” says Brian Lenney. “It’s amazing to me how many campaigns still direct paid traffic to a product page or worse, the home page. Stop it. Just stop.”
”To improve your ecommerce conversions, it should be a no-brainer for your visitors to purchase from your site,” says Jonathan Aufray of Growth Hackers Agency. “Adding a guarantee for your products will substantially increase your sales. For instance, adding a badge saying 30-day money-back guarantee will help you with sales and don’t worry, if your products are good and you’re confident in them, almost no one will ever use this guarantee.”
“One tip for improving conversions is by having a personal touch to your website,” says Anh Trinh of GeekWithLaptop. “People like new things and having a different look from other websites can help catch people’s attention and even improves the chances that they’ll buy your product.”
Damon Inlow of seoplus+ adds, “If you want your ecommerce business to increase its sales, you first have to ensure what you’re selling is unique. With the amount of competition out there, it’s critical that you find a way to differentiate yourself from your competitors. For instance, we’re in the vaporizer industry, in which most businesses’ focal point is e-cigarettes and nicotine. Our advice would be to open a herbal vaporizer shop. By putting your attention and focus on the herbal vaporizers and away from the alternative nicotine delivery systems, you will stand out from the rest and appeal to a growing market that is more interested in their well being.”
”Provide coupons,” says Melanie Musson of 4autoinsurancequote.com. “Everyone wants to feel like they’re getting a good deal. A coupon makes potential customers feel like they scored a good deal.”
While some ecommerce marketers advocate for using more coupons and discounts, others say it can hurt conversions in the long term.
David Miles of The PPC Machine Ltd says, “Make your discount code box less prominent or remove it altogether.”
”One tip for improving conversion rates is by having the customer’s desired method as a payment gateway for users visiting your site,” says Newaz Chowdhury of Powerphrase. “Paypal is one of the most used and preferred payment gateways for businesses used by consumers. Having this option for payment increases your conversion rate. That’s what we did for superangeljuicers.com.”
“Segment your traffic and personalize your customer journeys,” says Justina Bakutyte of Yieldify. “This may sound like a very complex approach – and it can be if you’re an international brand with lots of web inventory and complex website structure – but the easiest way to start would be recognizing the 4 following segments: new visitors, returning visitors, returning customers and loyal customers.
Based on that, you can already start personalizing messages that appear once they land on your site, or even personalize offers: a discount code makes sense for a new visitor but discounting a loyal customer means you’re burning budgets. According to our research, the loyal customer group has the highest conversion rate of all visitors, with 31% in Retail and almost 34% in Travel.
As you become more sophisticated in segmentation, you can look into segmenting your visitors by location, traffic source, device, time of day, and more. A client of ours used time of day segmentation to target visitors browsing at lunchtime and saw an 11.2% conversion rate uplift.”
In sum, these are a bunch of tactics you can use to turn more visitors into buyers.
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