To stay on top in the competitive ecommerce industry, it is not enough to have an appealing website and an outstanding product. Merchants need to create an enjoyable and efficient customer experience to convert website visitors into buyers.
Conversion rates show merchants how successful they are in that mission, while optimization of these rates can lead to significant boosts in return on investment (ROI).
In this article, learn about the most successful ecommerce conversion rate optimization tips and how to implement them to bring more customers to your business.
What Is an Ecommerce Conversion Rate?
An ecommerce conversion rate is the percentage of website visitors who convert, i.e., complete the action you want them to. Most often, this refers to customers purchasing a product but can also be signing up to a mailing list, subscribing or upgrading a current subscription, or sharing about your brand on social media.
The average conversion rate for ecommerce websites across industries is between 2.5% and 3%. However, top-performing websites manage to achieve conversion rates of over 11.4%. No merchant should be complacent about their conversion numbers, as even ecommerce businesses with satisfactory rates have plenty of room for improvement.
Note: Increasing sales is the number one goal for merchants. Learn how to in our article How to Increase Ecommerce Sales.
Ecommerce Conversion Rate Optimization Tips
Ecommerce conversion rate optimization is a comprehensive and ongoing process that involves researching, testing, and implementing a variety of tactics. Although there are strategies with a proven track record, there is no one-size-fits-all method for improving conversions on your website.
To ensure success, merchants need to fully understand their website’s usability as well as the needs and expectations of their customers. Conversion rate optimization relies on persuasion, personalization, and clarity of purpose: when you know what you want to do and what your customers need, it is easier to nudge them towards converting.
Here is our curated list of tips for optimizing your ecommerce conversion rate:
1. Provide a Satisfying User Experience
Customer experience largely depends on your website design and performance. You should optimize your online store with the following points in mind:
- Navigation. The website should be easy to navigate and without distractions. Display your product offering in an organized manner and enable product filtering.
- Design. The most successful ecommerce businesses have sites with a clean and simple design, and an instantly recognizable color combination.
- Speed. Site speed significantly affects the user experience as even a second’s delay can cost you dollars in conversions.
- Product Description. Good product description goes beyond providing dry information about your product. Website copy has to pique interest, be easy to read and answer customers questions before they think of them.
- High-quality images and videos. This includes pictures and videos of the products that are well lit, detailed, and provide a 360° view of the product. They should also be easy to zoom in and fit on all screen sizes without losing quality.
Note: If you are looking to start an ecommerce business, read our article on How to Build an Ecommerce Website Using WordPress.
2. Optimize for Mobile
Most online traffic today is generated by mobile device users so your mobile website should not look like the poor cousin of your desktop website. Making a website mobile-friendly is more than just having buttons and images that shrink to fit a smaller screen.
A good way of improving mobile UX is by using the mobile-first approach. With this method, design choices factor in the restrictions of a small screen, a weaker browser, and slower bandwidth. The result is that the UX feels natural, and customers progress smoothly from the initial search to the checkout. Only later do the designers add functionalities and features that suit desktop use.
Building a mobile app for your business can be expensive, so consider creating a PWA (Progressive Web App) instead. These web-based applications provide the same smooth user experience of a mobile app without the costly development. Customers can access them from their browser and scroll seamlessly without interrupting the browsing session.
Note: PWAs are a game-changer in the ecommerce industry. Learn more about implementing them in the article What Are Progressive Web Apps for Ecommerce and How to Develop PWAs? in our Knowledge Base.
3. Conduct A/B Testing
A/B testing, or split testing, involves comparing two versions of the same webpage with minor differences to check which one brings better results. The current page is the control or A, and the new page is the challenger or B. Make sure the pages are identical except for the variable you are testing.
To get reliable results, test as large an audience as possible. Remember to test one variable at a time, so you know exactly how each option is performing, and which one is improving conversion.
4. Know Your Audience
Understanding your audience is essential for encouraging prospects to finalize a purchase. Researching your target audience and establishing your ideal buyer persona will reveal their interests, needs, and shopping habits. If you deeply understand your customer and can offer what your competitors do not, your conversion rate will grow.
A good way to get to know your audience is by asking for customer feedback. Do this through product reviews, surveys, or directly through live chat, email, phone, or social media. The goal is to learn about customers' perceptions of your brand and products. Discovering points of frustration helps you improve the customer journey and achieve better conversion rates.
5. Show Off Testimonials
Approximately 9 out of 10 customers read product reviews before buying, so use this to your advantage. Letting customers rate the product after purchasing it in exchange for a promo code or a gift brings merchants twofold benefits:
- You gather useful data about your customer preferences and the quality of your product and service.
- By adding customers’ reviews to your website, you get social proof which builds trust and converts hesitant visitors into buyers.
6. Use Augmented Reality
The use of AR (augmented reality) in retail boomed during the pandemic, and buyers increasingly prefer shopping with brands that offer an immersive 3D experience. With AR, customers can engage with products before buying them. They can see how the product looks, works, or fits into their homes, which ups the chances of them finalizing the purchase.
7. Personalize Your Approach
Personalizing each part of the customer journey, from the homepage to checkout, positively impacts your conversion rates. Personalization means that each customer gets a unique message across multiple channels – one which focuses on their individual needs, preferences, and behaviors.
Customers want to feel valued, and 66% expect companies to understand their unique needs. Businesses that successfully anticipate their customers’ preferences increase the chances of prospects completing a purchase and even becoming repeat customers.
8. Simplify the Checkout Process
The checkout process is one of the most important and delicate steps in the customer’s journey. If not handled properly, it leads to abandoned carts and lost revenue.
A great way to optimize the checkout process is to add a progress bar so the customers know how long it takes to finalize the purchase. Reduce the number of form fields to the minimum and remove distractions. The checkout page should let the customers autofill their details and spend less time entering information.
However, many customers are reluctant to register and prefer to shop as guests, so ensure you have this option. Research shows that even customers with existing accounts like to shop as guests if it speeds up the process.
Another conversion driver is making the shopping cart visible on each webpage. This way, customers can navigate through different pages and product groups without losing their progress.
Note: CCBill’s FlexForms system allows merchants to fully customize their payment flow to achieve the best possible conversion rates.
9. Offer Alternative Payment Options
Giving your customers multiple payment methods significantly increases your conversion rates. Not only does it add a level of trustworthiness, it also minimizes cart abandonment rates since customers are more likely to finalize a purchase if they can use their preferred payment method.
Aside from credit and debit cards, the standard online payment method, you should consider adding the following payment options:
- bank transfers
- crypto wallet
Note: Learn about the alternative forms of payment you can offer your customers in our article Introduction to Alternative Payment Methods: Reaching a Global Audience.
10. Display Trust Signals
Trust signals show customers that your business is legitimate and that their data and money are safe when using your website. Most customers will focus on finding “red flags” when first visiting a website, including spammy content, broken links, missing prices, or no contact information. Aside from avoiding this, you should also display signals that show your company is trustworthy, such as:
- SSL encryption. This type of encryption guarantees the safety of customers’ data and money and should be displayed throughout the website, especially on the checkout page.
- Payment method icons. Displaying official icons of payment methods available serves as an unofficial stamp of approval from established credit card or payment companies.
- Antivirus certificates. Businesses should display the security certificates they receive from antivirus providers, displaying the exact information and certificate number (if applicable).
Note: Learn more about how to protect your customers and your ecommerce store from cyber threats in our article Ecommerce Website Security: Secure Against Cyber Threats.
11. Encourage Account Creation Gently
We already said that allowing your customers to shop without registering will help them finalize the purchase. However, your website should offer visitors the option of creating an account.
To incentivize registration, prominently display all the advantages this brings, not only the benefit of speeding up future purchases. Offer registered users welcome gifts, discounts, loyalty coupons, and other benefits that they are sure to value.
12. Know How to Use the Live Chat Feature
Live chat support is a great way to retain customers and reduce cart abandonment. When you have a live chat feature on every page, customers are less likely to leave when hitting an obstacle.
Whether you implement a live chat option with a person or a chatbot, you are reducing customers’ waiting times and potential frustration. The advantage of live chats is that the agent can offer a time-limited discount or a promotion code to encourage the customer to finalize a purchase. On the other hand, chatbots remain available outside working hours to help customers resolve issues quickly.
The most important thing to remember when adding a live chat option is not to make it too intrusive. Live chat support windows that pop up unexpectedly are one of the surest ways to deter customers from shopping on your site.
Note: Learn all about utilizing live chatbots for increasing sales in our article Ecommerce chatbots: How to Use Them to Boost Sales.
13. Offer Free Shipping
Free shipping is an effective way of optimizing conversion rates and encouraging hesitant customers. In today’s environment, free shipping is becoming a standard that is often the deciding factor for finalizing a purchase.
Regardless of where the customers live, a company should offer some sort of free shipping. One option is to provide free shipping for purchases above a certain amount or after a certain number of repeat purchases.
14. Make the Delivery Process Transparent
If it is not feasible for your company to offer free shipping, be upfront about it. Nothing deters prospects more effectively than springing unexpected shipping fees on them.
Every aspect of customer fulfillment must be clearly laid out, from when the order is placed to the moment they receive their package. Customers who received their delivery cheaply, quickly, and in perfect order will remember this and come back.
15. Optimize Returns and Refund Policies
Two out of three customers will carefully read your return and refund policy before making a purchase. This is especially true for ecommerce businesses since customers cannot know for sure if the product fits them or whether it looks exactly like in the photo.
Optimize conversion rates by letting your customers know wrong decisions can be fixed. Make the returns and refund process as smooth as possible, do not add hidden requirements and additional fees, and prominently advertise this on your website.
16. Create FOMO
Creating FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is an effective way of turning hesitant customers into buyers. Gifting customers with limited-time discount codes and promotions not only makes them feel valued but also creates a sense of urgency that encourages them to act fast.
FOMO can be induced in other ways, such as displaying the number of products left in stock or through raving product reviews and testimonials from satisfied customers.
17. Make Your Mailing List Work
Ecommerce businesses build their mailing lists when the customers need to input their email addresses when making a purchase. You can also collect emails by adding a “Subscribe” button for visitors who are not yet ready to buy from you.
As a part of your ecommerce email marketing strategy, you can send your customers welcome emails and cart abandonment reminders. Also, you can periodically send them special offers and notifications about current promotions, which will nurture customer engagement and boost your conversion rates.
18. Refine Your Calls to Action
Call-to-action or CTA buttons are the way to tell customers what to do on a page and encourage them to make a purchase. CTA buttons should be displayed clearly and send a specific message, such as “Add to Cart”, “Proceed to Checkout”, or “Contact Us”.
The right use of CTA buttons involves not only having a striking design but also right placement. Remember not to overdo the CTAs and put them where they make sense.
19. Share Your Story
The “About Us” page should display your company goals and mission. This gives your customers insights into your background and a sense of assurance. It also contributes to the legitimacy of your business, especially if you list your partners and collaborators.
The purpose of sharing your story is to make your customers want to be a part of it. This is especially effective if you use friendly language that speaks directly to the customers. The right tone will make your customers feel like they are relating to a person or a group of people and not a faceless corporation.
20. Apply the Omnichannel Approach
Omnichannel marketing is essential for driving more traffic to your business and optimizing conversion rates. It relies on connecting with customers through various communication channels (social media, email, mobile, brick-and-mortar customer service, etc.) and integrating them into one seamless experience.
Omnichannel allows customers to switch easily between different channels and touchpoints and achieve their goals without interruptions. Implemented well, the integration and consistency achieved through this approach build brand recognition, boost engagement, and guarantee a satisfying omnichannel customer experience.
Note: Learn more about CCBill’s Omnichannel Payment Solutions for your ecommerce business.
21. Utilize Gamification
Gamification is a great way to spark interest in potential customers. By participating in a game or a quiz on your website, they receive rewards, gifts, and special discounts. Here are some ideas for simple games:
- Spin-the-Wheel. Website visitors spin a virtual wheel to get a discount, special offer, freebie, etc.
- Raffle. Users subscribe, complete a purchase, or perform another action to enter a raffle.
- Scavenger hunts. Customers find hidden clues on your website and submit them for a chance to win a prize.
- Photo contests. Invite users to submit photos of your product or with a special hashtag and choose the best one.
- Quizzes. Add fun to your product recommendations by asking prospects a series of questions about their lifestyle and preferences.
22. Optimize Landing Pages
Many merchants do not know that landing pages achieve better conversion rates than product pages. Landing pages are usually separate from your main website and serve the sole purpose of promoting a particular product or service.
To optimize your landing page, ensure the following:
- Focus on one message.
- Have a single, clear call to action.
- Limit navigation options.
- Create outstanding copy, targeted at a specific audience.
A successful landing page leaves the visitor with no questions about the product or service and steers them directly towards the action you wish them to perform.
23. Upsell and Cross-Sell
Upselling and cross-selling are efficient ways to optimize your conversion rates. Through upselling, you offer your customers the option to upgrade their purchase with a higher-value version of the product they are interested in. On the other hand, cross-selling means offering them to additional products that would go well with their purchase, such as accessories.
When upselling, make sure you offer upgrades and additional products that are in a similar price range as the original products. On the other hand, cross-selling means offering related products with significantly lower prices than the original product.
With both these tactics, ensure your suggestions are relevant and personalized so customers do not feel assaulted by a barrage of unrelated and expensive products.
Note: CCBill’s payment processing solutions make upselling easy through automated upselling systems.
24. Measure Your CRO Success
Measuring the success of all the previous strategies is essential for improving your conversion rates.
To learn what is working well and what is not, first decide on the metrics you want to measure. These can include traffic, cart abandonment rates, account creation percentages, subscription renewals and upgrades, etc.
Perform tests and analyze conversion data frequently to ensure accuracy. That way, you can introduce new optimization solutions quickly, cut costs and improve the bottom line.
How to Calculate Ecommerce Conversion Rate?
An ecommerce conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of conversions during a certain period by the number of people who visited your website during that time, multiplied by 100 to get the percentage. This is your conversion rate, as shown in the following formula:
Optimizing your ecommerce’s conversion rate is essential for increasing sales and turning a healthy profit. By implementing the strategies given above, merchants can convert site visitors into buyers and encourage them to keep coming back and make more purchases. Merchants should regularly measure the success of these strategies to create a unique solution that will boost sales for their business.