20 Best Practices for eCommerce Conversion Optimization
There are a million different concerns fighting for your attention when you’re running an eCommerce business. You have to engage in product research, marketing and SEO, loss prevention and risk management, A/B testing, logistics… the list goes on.
But, even with all those forces tugging you in different directions, your conversion rate should always be near the top of the priority list.
Of course, eCommerce conversion optimization is not as simple as enticing shoppers to click through and complete a purchase. There are plenty of “dos” and “don’ts” to consider. And, taking the wrong approach can create more problems than you ever anticipated.
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What is eCommerce Conversion Optimization?
- Commerce Conversion Optimization
eCommerce Conversion Optimization, alternately known as conversion rate optimization (CRO), is a practice aimed at refining the online shopping journey to boost specific key performance indicators (KPIs) related to sales and acquisition.
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CRO practices are applied across myriad touchpoints. Everything from landing pages to product category listings plays a part, all with the goal of guiding more customers through checkout.
When you think about conversion, you’re probably thinking about completed sales. However, it’s really more about the percentage of visitors to your site who take a desired action. That can mean making a purchase, but there are other points to consider beyond your number of buyers, including:
- Cart Additions: Signifying strong purchase intent.
- Wishlist Additions: Reflecting user interest.
- Email Signups: For remarketing and customer relationship building.
- Social Media Shares: Enhancing brand visibility.
- Custom KPIs: Tailored actions based on a company's objectives.
Your eCommerce conversion rate reveals the efficiency of your online store. Every element of a user's interaction on your site, from design to product descriptions, can influence conversion. That’s why CRO isn't just about minor tweaks; it's a comprehensive approach to optimizing the user's entire online journey.
How to Calculate Your Conversion Rate
Before coming up with a CRO strategy, it's essential to first establish benchmarks.
Let’s assume that the primary action you’re measuring as a conversion is whether or not a customer makes a purchase. In that case, your eCommerce conversion rate quantifies the percentage of website visitors who complete a purchase.
This metric is found by simply dividing your number of successful transactions by the total site visitors, then multiplying that number by 100. For example, if your online store attracts 5,000 visitors per day, and achieves 50 sales within that same period, your conversion rate is 1%.
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What is a “Good” eCommerce Conversion Rate?
There’s not really a single answer. Averages can vary considerably based on average ticket, product vertical, and other factors. That said, the average eCommerce conversion rate in the US sits at around 2-3%.
Getting people to complete a transaction is a struggle, even in product categories that see above-average conversion rates. Most of your site visitors will leave without making a purchase. You want to be realistic about this fact before deciding on a target.
Next, you need to identify the factors that will most influence your conversion rate. Some of these may include:
As a good rule of thumb, aim for a conversion rate of 2% for your online store to begin with. Once you can reliably reach this benchmark month after month, you can explore more sophisticated strategies to enhance your conversion rate.
Other Metrics to Keep in Mind
Several other essential metrics can influence your conversion rate and provide insights into user behavior. Use these indicators to identify potential problems that might be driving potential buyers away from converting:
20 eCommerce Conversion Optimization Best Practices
Fine-tuning your eCommerce platform is not just about attracting visitors in the competitive landscape of online retail. You must also convert them into loyal, recurring customers.
The cost of acquiring a new customer is five times higher than the cost of retaining a current one. That’s why strategic best practices and an intuitive user experience can make all the difference.
Here are 20 tried-and-tested strategies designed to bolster your conversion rates while ensuring secure and customer-friendly transactions:
#1 | Send Shopping Cart Reminders
Leverage software solutions, such as BigCommerce, to target potential customers who leave their carts without making a purchase. By sending timely reminders or offering incentives, you can recapture these missed opportunities.
#2 | Have a Clear Checkout Process
Ensure your checkout forms are intuitive and user-friendly. Auto-format common entries and reduce unnecessary fields to offer a smoother experience, thereby decreasing barriers to finalizing purchases.
#3 | Comprehensive Product Descriptions
Furnish detailed descriptions supplemented with videos or interactive demos. The more informed a customer is about a product, the more confident they'll feel about their decision.
#4 | Educational Content
Provide valuable content like blogs, tutorials, or how-to guides related to your products. This informs customers about your products, and also establishes your brand as a trusted authority.
#5 | Efficient Site Structure
Implement logical product categories and intuitive navigation tools. A well-organized site promotes quicker product discovery, thereby enhancing the user experience.
#6 | Engage Browsing Customers
You can use marketing automation tools, such as Klaviyo, to engage visitors who browse but don't purchase. Tailored reminders or special discounts can reignite their interest.
#7 | Guest Checkouts
Allow flexibility with guest checkouts, rather than requiring account creation before checkout. By removing the account mandate, you cater to users who prefer a quicker checkout process.
#8 | High-Quality Visuals
Offer vivid images and videos, showcasing products from multiple angles. By providing detailed visuals, you can help bridge that “tactile gap” inherent when customers can’t physically interact with goods.
#9 | Interactive Customer Support
You may not be able to provide live round-the-clock service, but chatbots can be a big help with real-time query resolution. Instant support can nudge customers closer to making a purchase.
#10 | Mobile Optimization
Guarantee a smooth mobile shopping experience by making your site responsive across all screen dimensions. With an increasing number of mobile shoppers, ensuring your site is mobile-responsive is vital.
#11 | Personalization
Harness analytics and machine learning technologies to deliver tailored shopping experiences, including personalized product recommendations based on browsing history.
#12 | Prominent Action Buttons
Ensure key call-to-action buttons like “Add to Cart” are easily identifiable. Clear, bold buttons guide users and prompt transaction completion.
#13 | Regular Testing
Conduct ongoing assessments of your site. Employ A/B testing, exploring different options to refine the user experience continuously and identify better options.
#14 | Reward Programs
Launch loyalty or reward programs to incentivize repeat purchases. You’ll encourage more sales while also building a positive brand image and fostering customer loyalty.
#15 | Time-Limited Offers
Promote special, time-sensitive deals. Creating a sense of urgency can motivate hesitant customers to act. Beware, though, to watch for any sign of an increase in buyer’s remorse tied to increased return requests and chargebacks.
#16 | Transparent Policies
Display your return and refund policies prominently and ensure they're easily comprehensible. A clear policy can instill confidence in potential buyers, even if they don’t intend to make a return.
#17 | Trust & Security Indicators
Exhibit security badges and SSL certificate indicators on product pages, as well as during checkout. This can help reassure users about the safety of their data.
#18 | Social Proof
Showcase endorsements, reviews, or any kind of positive feedback from customers or experts in the field. This type of validation can enhance trust and credibility.
#19 | Seamless Multi-Platform Experience
Ensure that users get a consistent and optimized shopping experience regardless of whether they're on a desktop, tablet, or mobile device. Uniformity across platforms can lead to a more coherent brand image and user experience.
#20 | Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Communicate what differentiates your store. Whether it's unmatched product quality, exceptional customer service, or competitive pricing, your USP can sway purchasing decisions.
Are Some Conversion Optimization Practices a Bad Idea?
All the practices outlined above can smooth out the customer experience and remove barriers to purchasing. We’d be remiss, though, if we didn’t also pause to consider positive vs. negative friction.
Positive friction points are those intentional barriers we set up during the transaction process, acting as safeguards. Their purpose is to minimize threats that will ultimately result in chargebacks. Asking for a CVV, deploying 3DS, and asking customers to verify your terms and conditions are all examples of positive friction.
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Negative friction, on the other hand, results from genuine barriers that hamper the online shopping experience. These can manifest as complicated site navigation, extended checkout processes, restricted payment options, or vague product details.
Barriers can frustrate shoppers, making them reconsider their buying choices or abandon their carts entirely. Thus, an increase in these negative friction elements can lead to a decline in overall conversion rates.
It’s important to have a dynamic understanding of friction points. This is the best approach to ensure eCommerce conversion optimization without also seeing an uptick in fraud and chargebacks.Learn more about dynamic friction
Evaluate & Adjust
Finally, it’s important to review your success from time to time and consider areas in which you might improve.
Experts emphasize the importance of testing in conversion optimization. Analytics tools often present conversion rates and offer data segmentation capabilities for deeper insights. Then, by analyzing current visitor behavior, you can pinpoint areas of improvement and understand how users interact with your platform.
Trends in product, device, and checkout preferences change constantly. So do payments industry rules and the protocols governing transactions, fraud, and chargebacks. To keep up with these changes, you must gauge your success at eCommerce conversion optimization on a regular basis.
The most obvious indicator: does your conversion rate increase or decrease over time, as compared to risk? Examine your stats on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis to try and identify trends that develop over time. If you notice something questionable, like a creeping uptick in chargebacks, look for ways to address the problem.
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How do I optimize my eCommerce website for conversions?
To optimize your site for conversions, you should focus on providing a seamless user experience with clear navigation and fast load times. Building trust through transparent policies and displaying customer reviews can boost user confidence. Lastly, leveraging analytics and A/B testing helps identify and refine high-converting elements on the site.
What is conversion rate optimization in eCommerce?
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a technique aimed at refining the online shopping journey to boost specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) like sales. It's applied across various touchpoints, from landing pages to product category listings, enhancing the overall customer experience.
What are the steps in eCommerce conversion?
First, identify potential friction points on your site using analytics and user feedback. Next, implement changes based on insights, prioritizing user experience and trust-building elements. Finally, continuously test and refine these changes using A/B testing to determine what maximizes conversions.
What drives conversion in eCommerce?
In eCommerce, conversion is driven by a seamless user experience, compelling product presentation, and building trust through transparent policies and genuine customer reviews.