35 Ways to Improve Your E‑Commerce Conversion Rate

February 22, 2023

If traffic is coming your way, but your conversion rate isn’t where it should be, that’s where CRO comes in. Let’s dive into what CRO means for your online store, and look at the different ways to tackle it.

What is CRO?

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is about encouraging your website visitors to complete certain ‘actions’ (and ‘convert’). In e-commerce specifically, the ultimate action tends to be buying something. But there are other conversions e-commerce managers will have their eyes on too, like filling out a data-capture form, signing up to a mailing list, or joining your loyalty program (amongst others).

So, why is CRO important?

Sure, it might be about selling more online, or building your brand’s mailing list. But it’s also about not wasting money. Say your marketing team is nailing their campaigns, getting truckloads of people to your website. Seems good, right? Not necessarily. Unless that traffic is doing what you want it to, it’s a bit like throwing money down the drain.

Instead, CRO looks at what traffic you do have, and aims to get more from it. And there’s a whole load of ways to do this (some, very simple).

Data is your first step. Before you do anything, have a dig around your analytics. Which of your pages has the highest bounce rate? Which pages see the best conversion? How long are users remaining on site? See what’s working, what’s not, so you can put your efforts in the right places.

Ready to learn everything you need to know about CRO? Here's our tips...

Don’t Ignore Your Website Performance

1) Work on your page-load times

Google found that as little as a 1-second delay on mobile load times can damage conversion by up to 20%. If they’re slow, they can be lethal (and not just on your conversion). Optimizing image sizes is quick and easy and doesn’t require any technical prowess.

2) Give page visitors tunnel vision

Each new landing page should focus your traffic to take one, specific action. Stuffing too many things onto a page that aren’t directly part of it’s main conversion funnel (such as separate CTAs), can make this unclear, damaging conversion.

3) Keep conversion elements above the fold

If you want optimum results, things like add-to-cart buttons, other key CTAs, and opt-in boxes should be kept above the fold. If your customer has to scroll for any actions you want them to take, you're not making conversion easy. A handy tip is to repeat the same CTA at the top and the bottom of the page to help this.

4) Default to minimalistic design

There’s lots out there suggesting minimalism in web design is more effective in helping traffic focus on the content that matters. You don’t want people getting distracted by visually-complex designs. But minimalism doesn’t work for everyone, so be sure to test!

If you fancy, try a single-column layout on your pages. Studies show that going from a 2-column page to a 1-column page can increase conversions.

5) Experiment with different colour combinations

Try out different palette combinations on your landing pages to see which result in the most conversions. Colour is a powerful tool. Even slight changes could have a big impact on conversion.

6) Recommend related products and content

One element you might have below the fold, is links to related products or content. Not imperative to the CTA of that page, but great in encouraging cross-sells, as well as keeping browsers engaged and on your site when they scroll.

Our client, Skinnydip, has a real knack for this. See how they embed cross-sell messaging within their PLPs.

7) Is all the info there to do your products justice?

Features? Possible uses? Delivery? Discounts? After-care? Make sure you’re mentioning absolutely everything this product/service will get them. Certain things like delivery info should be clear throughout the entire customer journey.

They say ‘Content is King’

8) Pay careful attention to your headlines

As David Ogilvy told us, about 5 times more people read the headline, as do the rest of the body copy. That’s a mere 6-12 words, standing between you and a higher conversion rate. Give headlines the time they deserve.

9) High-quality images only (and of people!)

Stick to professional, good quality photos across your store. Anything less could hurt your image as well as your conversion. Avoid generic stock images where you can. Use photos with happy, smiling people as subjects… they tend to do well (and good vibes rub-off. Win-win!).

10) A picture speaks a thousand words, but video...

From screencasts and product videos to influencer features and stakeholder interviews, video steals the show for immersing your traffic. Featuring people also helps humanize your brand. Make sure your brand personality shines in the shoot. Use humour and wit. Be inspiring.

11) Match your copy’s readability to your audience’s

When you write, read it aloud. Too obscure? Too simplistic for who you’re trying to target? Consider your audience’s readability with everything you write to prevent drop-offs.

12) One lead-magnet might not be enough

Who said your audience all craves the same thing? Some might not be tempted to hand over their email address for a free shipping code. But they might throw it at you for exclusive access to your Spring/Summer sale.

If you don’t want 2 different lead-magnets on your site but have multiple ideas, at least set up an A/B tested form to see which you should run with.

13) Cut your copy to perfection

Words are no exception to the law of minimalism. When writing web copy, work with designers. Your final draft needs to be visually appealing as well as readable.

P.s. designers might argue it’s “too long” even when it’s not (sorry, designers). If you think cutting it more will impact meaning, or lose the good stuff, you can always test out different lengths.

14) Champion the benefit

The above are all important. But be sure you’re being clear on how your product or service will actually help people. Customers want to know what’s in it for them.

15) Include a clear value proposition

The market is swarming with alternatives. Tell your visitors what’s special about your brand and your product. Why should they pick this one, as opposed to your competitor’s?

16) Show off that social proof

Testimonials, reviews and ratings all help build trust. Subscribers and social followers do too (assuming the numbers are strong). Display social proof prominently, and place it strategically (try product listing pages and your email opt-in landing page, if you have one).

17) Provide contact info

And make sure it’s easily accessible. This gives your traffic confidence in buying from you even if they don’t need to get in touch. Having a localized phone number or returns address will give customers the confidence boost they need to buy from a website that is new to them.

18) Use a chat tool (and use it wisely)

Better still? Be there in real-time. Answer questions and lift concerns with live chat.

Make sure your chat tool is pushed on key performing pages, like PDPs or promo collections.

Consider making an action-based pop-up, e.g. live chat reminder message when someone’s spent more than 2 minutes on a product page.

19) Give them a guarantee

If you haven’t got one already, adding a no-questions-asked refund policy could be a gold mine. Sure, some brands in industries vulnerable to wardrobing won’t want the hassle. But for others, increased sales could more than make up for the increased returns.

20) Get a privacy statement on your opt-in forms

Here’s a nice, simple one. A little reassurance can really impact those email sign-up conversions. If that’s not enough, in many countries it is now a legal requirement.

The small but mighty call to action

21) The art of a CTA

It’s the element closing the deal, so it has to have pull. Firstly, stick to buttons over links, especially if your traffic is mobile-heavy. These are often easier to identify (especially on mobile).

But then… where is it placed? What shape is it? How big is it? What colour is it? Its effectiveness is likely to vary, as design elements change. Have a play around and get testing.

22) Make CTA copy magnetic

Same goes for the copy. It could be this pulling you back, not the design. And whilst it’s too context-dependent to tell you the ‘perfect’ phrase, what we can tell you, is a few things we see written across effective CTAs:

  • Positive language: ‘Yes, I want a discount!’
  • Authoritative statements: ‘Get ahead of the game’
  • Tangible, action verbs, compelling people to do: ‘Save your space’, ‘Grab yours’
  • Possessive pronouns coupled with these, fostering connection: ‘Grab yours’
  • Less process-orientated wording (this can suggest too much effort): ‘Get started’, ‘Begin now’

Play around with these and keep your TOV in mind. Is your brand bold? Be authoritative. Is it empowering? Then be positive. Hook line, and sinker.

23) Don’t leave blog post CTAs until the end

If you’ve got a blog, it’s good practice to have CTAs within your posts. If you’re just dropping them onto the end, it almost becomes a box-ticking exercise. Try embedding them earlier in the copy, if this doesn’t impact readability.

In one study, Hubspot found end-of-post CTAs generated 6% of leads, compared to 93% coming from in-post anchor text ones.

24) Get high-performing blog posts optimized

Another point on your blog: naturally, some posts will outperform others. Got a post with high traffic, but low conversion rates? Now there’s an opportunity. Have a good look through it. It might be something obvious preventing conversions. Is the promoted action aligned with the blog post topic? Are the CTAs clear enough?

Customer Experience doesn’t stop at your website

25) Nail your abandoned-cart emails

Email is the perfect channel to win potentially lost customers. On average 75% of carts are abandoned, this is even higher on mobile so to save even a small percentage of that business is huge. The common misconception is that you need to discount for abandoned-cart emails to be effective.

You can and should be using abandoned-cart emails to provide more information to your potential customer i.e. let them know you have free shipping, or tell them they can pay with a buy-now-pay-later solution. There are many reasons for cart abandonment so testing the content is important.

26) Meet the expectations of your PPC visitors

Is your ad message consistent with what’s on the landing page it’s pointing to? The ad should tell traffic exactly what they’ll see, if they click through. Anything else can cause confusion and make them bounce. Create dedicated landing pages for PPC to make the most of your ad spend.

27) Don’t let choice overwhelm

Got a huge amount of SKUs on offer? Be clear about who each one is for. Highlight ‘top-picks’ or ‘best-selling products’, for those put off by too many options. Category landing pages are also great for trending topics or seasons. Gift-buyers will also love you for “gifts under X price pages”!

28) Visitors bounced? Time to retarget

Track visitors on your website so you can re-engage them if they leave, through clever retargeting ads popping up on other sites they visit. Particularly impactful when you retarget people who have been on your top-converting web pages. Don’t let yourself down at the checkout!

29) Make register-to-buy optional

Having a one-time ‘guest checkout’ as opposed to forcing registration means fewer roadblocks for those heading to pay. This could really help sales’ conversions.

30) Keep registration super simple

And for those who do register to buy: make their lives easier. Same goes for those registering for your mailing list, or filling out a form.

This means simple language, no unnecessary copy, no ‘demanding’ too much. Auto-generate fields where possible. Use tick boxes where you can. And remember: the more fields, the more abandoned-carts/drop-offs.

If you must keep multiple fields, try to make some of them optional. Or, just ask for the less important info later.

31) Be flexible with payment options

Different people have different payment preferences. Card, Paypal, Pay Later—you name it. The more flexibility you give, the better. If you want more people to purchase, cater for more payment preferences.

32) Think long-term with next-purchase bonus discounts

It’s not just about making them a customer this time. It’s about next time they visit, too. ‘10% off your next order’ as a bonus discount at checkout is only going to help them convert again.

33) Seek customer feedback

This is key to improving customer experience… even if it’s not what you want to hear! 80% of a survey sample telling you to ‘stop showing me that damn pop-up!’ might urge you to change it, or make it action-based. A change that could really help conversions.

34) Analyse customer journeys

It may be time-consuming, but combining the above with an independent analysis of your customer journeys gives more complete and accurate data.

Look at everything from when they first became aware of your product or services, to them contacting customer service, post-purchase. From this, you can predict how future customers are likely to behave, and create actionable insight that helps drive conversions around this.

35) Whatever you do, TEST

Clearly, there’s plenty of tips and best-practices knocking around out there. But sadly, there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach when it comes to CRO. Crucially, you need to know what works for your audience, and what suits your brand. What works for Gymwork won’t necessarily work for Hasbro, for example.

That is why testing is so important. Whatever you change, A/B test it. Create versions of the same landing page or form, and change one variable, be it colour, copy, incentive… you name it. A/B/C/D/E test it, if you want to!

And test it with the right people. Organic visitors might behave differently to paid ad visitors, for example. Make sure behavioural differences are reflected in your testing parameters.

Just use the data to guide your strategy, and roll with it ...but not for too long. Remember, what works for you now, won’t necessarily work in 6 months’ time. So once you’re satisfied with something, leave it a while, test it again.

Yes, the road to CRO comes with a whole lot of iterating. Good job the results make up for it. Now, go get ‘em!

If you need support when it comes to CRO, that’s what we’re here for! Get in touch now for a CRO audit.


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