We all have desired actions we want our customers to take. This act is called a conversion, and it is the number one most important metric to monitor and optimize for an ecommerce website. Conversion rates indicate revenue growth and stability.

In the current competitive digital marketplace, ecommerce sites have to have a strong ecommerce conversion rate optimization strategy in place to survive the increasing number of competitors each year.

While optimizing your website for conversions can seem overwhelming, there are tips and tricks each business should incorporate into their overall marketing strategy. Because let’s face it, conversions don’t happen without proper optimization.

Below we will walk you through:

  • What is the difference between shopping conversion rate and ecommerce conversion rate
  • How to calculate conversion rates for your ecommerce website
  • How to increase ecommerce conversion rates
  • What a good ecommerce conversion rate looks like
  • How to increase conversion rates for Shopify

 

What is the difference between total site conversion rates and ecommerce conversion rates?

A conversion can broadly be defined as a user completing a desired action predetermined by a company, or in other words, the sum of all individual goals completed An ecommerce conversion rate is defined as the percentage of website visitors who actually complete an online transaction from your store.

While purchases may seem like the most logical thing to monitor, ecommerce sites must also take their entire sales funnel into consideration when tracking conversions.

Other ecommerce conversions to consider and monitor:

  • Add to Cart Users
  • Cart Abandonment
  • Add to Wishlist Users
  • E-Newsletter Subscribers
  • Begin Checkout Process
  • Online Purchases Completed

While we could address  each individual bullet point alone, we will focus on your ecommerce conversion rate throughout this article. However, you should know that a lot of these metrics can be tracked automatically by setting up enhanced ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics. That will allow you to see data from users that add to cart, cart abandonment down to checkout completed.

If you are running on Shopify, this can be done quickly using this process. Using BigCommerce, Magento2 or a custom shopping cart will require some additional coding or configurations to get things set up properly.

eCommece conversion rate optimization(eCRO) is focusing on improving your user’s experience so they will more likely purchase from your site.

How to calculate conversion rates for your ecommerce website

To find your ecommerce conversion rate, all you have to do is divide the number of purchases by visitors to find your conversion rate.

Let’s do simple math. If your ecommerce site attracts 100 visitors and 1 purchase, your store’s ecommerce conversion rate is 1%.

By calculating your initial ecommerce conversion rate, you will be able to set a benchmark to use as you measure optimization success.

What is a good ecommerce conversion rate? 

Believe it or not, an ecommerce conversion rate that averages between 1%-3% is considered strong. Brands with a conversion rate between 3%-5% are usually ones with a strong brand presence and extremely loyal customer base, which allow them to maintain a high performing conversion rate.

Companies that do everything right, optimize consistently and invest in providing an exceptional user experience can still expect a 1%-3% average conversion rate. Obviously, this is general industry insights and depending on the type of industry you are in this can vary greatly.

Utilize Google Analytics Enhanced Ecommerce Tracking

Implementing enhanced ecommerce tracking will allow you to review:

  • Customer Behavior – before, during and after the purchase event.
  • Reports:
    • Average Order Value
    • Number of Transactions
    • Cart Abandonment Rates
    • Average Number of Items purchased per Order
    • New versus Returning Customer Revenue
  • Funnel Visualization – Details When and Where Customers Purchase or Abandon Cart
  • Coupon Productivity – Displays Transactions and Profit Revenue Per Order

How can I increase my ecommerce conversion rate? 

Tip 1: Understand How Users Navigate Through Your Site

Understanding how users navigate your site will help you perform crucial optimizations that will help increase user retention on your site. Improving user experience will also improve your conversion rates, and increase incoming revenue.

What’s the best way to understand how your users navigate your website? A heat-mapping tool!

Leverage Tools Like Crazy Egg

Crazy Egg is a heat-mapping tool that allows you to understand how and where your users interact with your site. You will be able to track where a user clicks, where their cursor points and how far they scroll on the page.

Depending on the plan you select, Crazy Egg will be able to capture 1,000-10,000 page views and build a custom aggregate analysis of how users navigate your site. This provides a high-level view, but you can also drill down and review how one specific user interacted with your page.

These session recordings are invaluable to ecommerce sites. They allow you to see what information is relevant to your audience and will allow you to rearrange your site content to best match what your users are looking for.

Another feature that is invaluable to ecommerce sites is properly setting up attribute-based filters. These filters will allow you to drill down based on visit length, country, device and so much more.

Tip 2: Product Landing Page Navigation and Content Distribution

Getting visitors to browse through your product pages might be easy, but getting those same users to add something to their cart may seem like an uphill battle. We all know your products are amazing, but your users might need a little more convincing.

Since we know a high-converting product page is critical, we have specific recommendations for you to try.

Review Placements

Do you have star ratings displayed on certain products or all of them? Displaying reviews on a handful of products can either negatively or positively impact your ecommerce conversion rates.

For example, we work with a cloth diaper company and they included five star ratings on their top three cloth diapers and no ratings on their other products. We recommended an A/B test to see if the ratings were either aiding or hindering users as they browsed and purchased products.

They removed ratings from their top products and compared results over a two-week period. Once they compared two weeks with reviews versus two weeks without reviews, it was clear removing the reviews drastically improved conversion rates across multiple products.

Our conclusion was reviews were misleading their users to believe all of the other products were not as exciting or worthwhile than the ones with reviews.

Key Takeaway: A quick test Ecommerce websites can test are review placements to understand if they help improve or decrease conversion rates.

 

Category Navigation Realignment 

Category navigation realignment is designed to make it easier for your shoppers to find what they are looking for. Removing user roadblocks will help ease the path to conversions.

Display filter options. If your ecommerce site has a large catalog of products, breaking down your navigation to include subsets of products can help users directly navigate to the product they are searching for.

Companies can also test having a “Most Popular”, “Features”, “Best Use” or other filters to help consumers get to the section or products they are interested in most.

REI, for has a filter where they can showcase their best-sellers and customer rated products:

 

Pop-up Placement

Ecommerce sites commonly use pop-ups to build email marketing lists. Placement of these intrusions can hinder a user from adding to their shopping cart. Testing where to place the pop-ups and when to trigger the pop-up (i.e. exit intent, immediately upon viewing the page, or 30 seconds in), can help improve your ecommerce conversion rate.

Popular Product Placement

Feel free to test product placement. Moving popular products to the top of the product listings or organizing products by style popularity, are examples of ways to organize and monitor conversion rate performance.

Tip 3:  Using trust signals on your site at key checkout points 

Incorporating trust signals during checkout can significantly increase conversion rates. Why? Approximately 7 out of 10 customers will abandon their shopping cart without purchasing.

According to an ecommerce research agency, here is a full list of reasons why users abandon their shopping carts.

  • 50% Extra costs (shipping, fees and taxes)
  • 28% Required to create an account
  • 21% Too long/complicated checkout process
  • 18% Total order cost was not communicated clearly
  • 18% Delivery took too long
  • 17% Lack of trust with site to give credit card information
  • 13% Website crashed
  • 10% Poor return policy
  • 6% Not enough payment options
  • 4% Credit card was declined

 

Incorporate the following trust signals to improve your user’s checkout experience.

  • Display positive reviews
  • Provide clear path to customer service
  • Ensure SSL certificate is active
  • Display different payment options
  • Address verification tools
  • Dual-Factor account logins

According to The Baymard Institute, sites that incorporate a security focused brand seal on their website are seen 2x more trustworthy than other seals. Security focused brands include Norton/Symantec, Google trusted partner and McAfee.

 

Tip 4: Use live chat software.

“It’s clear that live chat helps shoppers buy, buy more, and buy more often – especially when that chat is with a passionate and knowledgeable product expert who gives personalized recommendations.” Says Brandon Anderson of Needle.

Brandon goes further and explains that, “conversion rates lift across the board for purchasers that engage with live chat. Results vary from customer to customer, of course, but generally speaking shoppers who chat convert at 8x – 12x the site conversion rate. Additionally, our data show that chat purchasers spend more than non-chat purchasers, by as much as 10% – 35%.”

In today’s ecommerce landscape , it is imperative you not only use some form of live chat solution, but that you are willing to have someone available to chat for as many hours as possible. Nothing is worse than trying to contact support and they are not available.

Establishing a human connection will not only help build trust but can be the tipping point in getting your customer to convert.

Live Chat Apps and Tools to Consider

  • LiveChat
  • Casengo
  • Facebook Live Chat
  • JivoChat
  • Olark
  • LivePerson
  • Needle

 

 

 

 

 

Tip 5: Site architecture and design: 

Site design and organization is critical as users navigate, browse and shop for items on your site. There are a number of things a business should consider when building out their site architecture. Think about google search data, or how consumers shop for items before getting to the site, and internal site searches, or how consumers use the site search feature to look for items once they get to the site. Once you have the data you can start to create the navigation. A major piece of the navigation is the main menu. Look for ways to leverage an interactive navigation.

Interactive Navigation Menu

Consider the benefit of building an interactive fly-out menu versus a standard menu layout. An interactive menu filters by products and has the ability to display a visual of what each product looks like.

BYLT Basics navigation has an in-depth navigation that makes it easy for users to find the exact style they are looking for.

 

The benefit is seeing what you are going to get before you have to commit. The large fly-out menu allows you to drill down to multiple filters (i.e. men & women, pieces, styles,etc.)

A traditional menu has the ability to filter by category and style, but it severely lacks the ability to see all options in one place. One must hover over a possibility to find out more options.

 

Tip 6: Incorporate Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Solutions 

“As the world of eCommerce increases in popularity, brands must find a way to create an online shopping experience that rivals in-store. With augmented reality, consumers are able to make better buying decisions by viewing what a product would look like in their space without ever leaving their home.” Says Ashleigh Koontz of Seek

What is visual search?

For years, consumers have relied on typing in vague descriptions into the search bar and praying their answer appears as the first result. The problem is, when users type vague descriptions the list of options can seem impossible to navigate.

That is where visual search can help set your business apart and increase your ecommerce conversion rates.

Visual search allows you to upload an image of the product itself in place of text. This provides search engines with more accurate information so they can display results more efficiently and effectively.

Humans are visual by nature. In fact, Google Images was responsible for 21% of all web searches taking the #2 spot in the US Search Market Share. 

Benefits of AR/VR Solutions

Source: Seek.

Comfort and Efficiency

Consumers value a shopping experience that is quick and easy to complete, in fact they note it as one of the most critical factors in ecommerce. VR and AR solutions are able to bring a showroom right to your living room.

VR and AR are able to display virtual landscapes that allow the user to manipulate product placement to ensure they are purchasing a piece they will be satisfied with in the end.

For example Overstock, an online furniture seller, utilizes AR/VR solution Seek to enable a user to see the product in their home prior to purchase. It allows you to see if the rug colors match or clash before you have to purchase.

 

Reduce Cost

Customers save money due to the ability of “trying before they buy.” Users are able to visualize with proper dimensions what the room will look like with the additional purchase before they even have to commit to the expense.

Visualization benefits go beyond the customer as well. Your supply chain will also benefit from users being able to visualize products, because they will not have to ship and return items that are not what the customer expected them to be.

Real Life Expectations

Ecommerce stores that sell beauty products can benefit dramatically from incorporating VR/AR solutions to their online store. Customers can virtually “try-on” lipsticks, eyeliners and so much more.

Source: Sephoravirtualartist

Retailers can overcome physical boundaries and provide a personal and unique experience for each customer based on their personal preferences.

 

Tip 7: Provide detailed product descriptions and product videos 

One of the most simple changes you can make to your website is building detailed product descriptions. Remember your customers are not able to physically touch your products and they can’t track down an employee to ask the tough questions.

“Incorporating video into you product description pages is no longer a nice to have, it’s a must have. Data shows that using video on your PDP can improve conversion by up to 85%. What’s more, it can also reduce return rates by as much as 25%.” Says Nick Stagge of VidArmy.

Detailed product descriptions that incorporate product videos and demonstrations allow shoppers to instinctively imagine your product in their hands. The more you are able to build a compelling fantasy about your product, the more likely your customer is going to buy it.

Source: VidArmy

Things to consider when building compelling product descriptions

  • Identify what audience your product is targeted for. Your target audience may be filtered by age, gender, or life events (new mother, tech enthusiasts, getting married, etc.)
  • Easily display product details. Make it easy for your customers to find the products materials, dimensions, and product benefits.
  • Describe when to use the product. Detail when they can expect to use the product. Is it a one-time use product, or is it a daily use product? Defining expectations can detail more fully the long-term value of the product being sold.
  • Define your competitive advantage. Identify what sets your product apart from your competitors. Is it the material of your product, or is it a unique feature that adds an additional benefit? Make it clear what sets your product apart.
  • Determine the best format for your product description. Is it best to detail using bullet points? Maybe a video walking through how to use the product is best. Understand how your audience responds and craft descriptions based on your findings.

 

Some quick conversion rate optimization tips for sites running on Shopify

A growing number of sites are running on Shopify these days and this is the platform a vast majority of our clients are using to run their business. While the tips above can drastically improve your sites conversion rates, they often take time and resources to implement and use effectively. There are some quick things site owners can do to positively impact conversion rate and don’t require nearly as many technical or financial resources to see the benefits. Here are a few things to consider for sites running on a platform like Shopify.

Review Call to Actions

Your site is likely filled with several calls to action focused on add to cart and purchase.While these are the ultimate end goal, you can take advantage of micro-conversions to slowly drive more users down the sales funnel.

Micro-conversions may include signing up for an email list, social shares, creating a user profile, adding to a wishlist or downloading any resource from your website.

Ugmonk, an online clothing retailer, masterfully incorporated an email capturing micro events. When you first come to the website you are shown a popup that offers you a chance to win a $50 gift card, just by offering your email address.

 

Review When You Capture Their Email Address

While you cannot convert 100% of customers who visit your site, you can set the goal of capturing a user’s email address. You can do this by incorporating email acquisition as the first step in the checkout process.

In the example below you will see the user has the option to check out as a guest by inputting their email, they have the option to set up an account using their email, or to login to a preexisting account setup with their email.

Users are interested in reviewing the final cost of their shopping cart, so placing the email at the start of the checkout process will not allow the user to get to that step without forgoing their email.

Optimize Your Website for a Mobile-First Experience

Similar to how online sales are growing more rapid than in-store retail shopping, mobile shopping is projected to grow at a significantly faster rate than desktop shopping in the next few years.

 

Things to consider when optimizing your website for mobile devices:

  1. Test your site using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Tool
  2. Redesign your website for mobile-friendly pop-ups
  3. Don’t use Flash, instead use HTML5.
  4. Don’t block CSS, JavaScript or Images – GoogleBots want to see and categorize your content.
  5. Ensure Responsive Web Design

 

Invest in High Quality Visuals and Copy

Take into consideration your customers cannot touch and feel your products first-hand. Investing in custom photography and copy will help bring your products to life.

 

Incorporate Structured Data

Ecommerce retailers can incorporate schema, semantic vocabulary tags that you can add to your HTML code, to improve the way social engines read and present your information in search engine results pages.

Conclusion 

Ecommerce sites should set the goal of developing a trustworthy brand, not a one-time flash sale site. Building a website that is custom designed to support life-long customers will lead to higher ecommerce conversion rates and long-term success.

The above tips are designed to help you accomplish a higher ecommerce conversion rate, and will help you not waste your advertising budget.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below!

I left Florida for Utah’s mountains in 2007. My passions are making pizza, mountain biking, skiing, and making movie props (as me about my helmets). My tips for being happier include drinking more water, eating more vegetables, sleeping 7-8 hours, and finding opportunities to exercise outside. I love accountable, responsible marketing. I’m not happy until I get results or answers for my clients.